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edu180atl: ross peters 8.16.12

As I took my first thing in the morning walk through each building this morning, I found just what I was looking for—the chance to talk with colleagues about students and teaching. It should not be news that successful teachers are fascinating people; rather the headline should be that their fascination and engagement with the world finds the perfect location in the classroom and its perfect manifestation in engagingstudents. Science teachers provide my favorite examples of this.

Science teachers can barely contain themselves when they describe what they love about their subject. Ask a physics teacher how he or she fell in love with the subject, and you are likely to hear to a story that still amazes them about the first time they encountered the Atwood Machine. They speak as if they still can’t believe their luck has been so good as to grant them a life that allows such easy access to their favorite intellectual playground.

Perhaps science teachers intrigue me because while I share their love of teaching, my chosen playground is the English classroom. It is the difference between us that allows me to see the truth we share. At the end of my walk this morning, I spoke with two biology teachers who were headed outside to collect samples for a lab.

“I bet you get to collect samples for English class everyday too,” one said smiling.

“Absolutely, I grab some metaphors from the garden everyday.”

Here’s to teachers! Happy new school year!

Ross teaches 11th Grade English and is HS Principal at The Westminster Schools. twitter: @jrosspeters; blog: http://jrosspeters.wordpress.com

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Natalie Sterrett #

    Thank you for this post- it speaks so much truth. I have shared similar experiences with fellow students and teachers. In a place where our differences are most apparent, our commonalities as people and as learners bring us closer together. We have more in common than we realize. While we may look at things differently, we share the same basic purpose: to understand. When we can open ourselves to others’ knowledge and ideas, we can see more clearly and understand more fully. As a student, when I see a teacher bring this knowledge and passion to the classroom, I am eager to learn and, in turn, more value my understanding.

    August 16, 2012
  2. I enjoyed your reflection, Ross, especially your emphasis on the horizontal connection between the study of science and literature. They’re not so different after all. Like you, I’m drawn to the written word, how it offers a window into the human experience. At heart, I believe that if each of us could learn how better to communicate, to understand, and to appreciate, we could lessen the pain that defines so much of that experience. That’s what teaching offers us – an opportunity. But to draw on your metaphor of the garden, a teacher truly doesn’t see those seeds sprout until much later, if she’s there to witness it at all. In the end, teaching is the supreme act of faith.

    August 17, 2012
  3. Yes, thank you, Ross. And speaking of science and literature, I have been thinking of the Mars craft, called the Curiosity. I love it, when these metaphors propel themselves from the sky onto the planet of our mind. Think of all the careful skill-construction, all of the building we do in schools, to help students land their intellectual and emotional crafts on faraway places, all in the interest of greater human understanding–to echo Natalie’s and Holly’s comments.

    August 18, 2012

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