Because life is a series of edits

How Hard Can It Be?

In Books, Calling, Education on January 27, 2010 at 8:41 am


I really like the beginning of this book review as it relates to the profession of education:

There’s no easier job in the world than being a bad teacher. It’s a
cinch, with short hours and plenty of long vacations. The pay’s not
always great, but as long as your standards are low, and all you’re
looking for is an easy job, I recommend being a really rotten teacher.
Be really awful. Cobble together some industry-standard lesson plans
and re-run them every year; grade superficially and with an emphasis on
numbers; kick back and watch the seasons change as the sea of young
faces before you renews itself year after year. (Don’t ask me how I
know so much about this)

But as soon as you decide to be a pretty good teacher, you’ve let
yourself in for a world of trouble. If that stack of papers needs
thoughtful grading and a quick turn-around, you’re in for long hours of
intense focus. If you have to re-think every sentence to make sure it
connects with this particular group of students, you’re in for a
high-energy workout.

And if you decide to try for excellence, to really make a difference
for your students, then you’ve moved to The Other Side of teaching, and
you find that there are few jobs harder than being a good teacher. It’s
not just that you’ll have to put in a lot of hours. It’s that you’ll
have to think. Think!

The really hard part about teaching is the thinking. Because if you
want to help people as an educator, you have to know what people are
for, why they exist, what it would mean for them to be fulfilled, and
what Good their existence is ordered toward. Suddenly, you are up to
your chin in the most important philosophical questions that can ever
be asked.

The full review is at The Scriptorium; the book is called Education for Human Flourishing by Paul Spears and Steven Loomis.

  1. It’s an excellent book. My wife, Kristin, was in the first graduating class from Torrey, where Drs. Sanders and Spears teach. She had both of them as professors, and can attest to their enormous aptitude as educators. If you haven’t read the book, you should.

  2. Good to know, Jake. They could have done a bit more with the cover to make it a bit more appealing, but I’m trusting the “ugly book rule” applies here (the uglier the book, the better it is). I’ll pick it up.

  3. The ugly cover is consistent with other books in the series (Christian Worldview Integration Series). There’s some maxim about pretty girls vs. those with “personality,” and I suppose that applies here, too. :)
    I know you’ll enjoy reading it.

  4. Great Quote! Just found your blog and enjoyed reading some of it. All the best.

  5. Wow. This is so true and so convicting. Thank you for this. It’s a great reminder. I’m always amazed how within the same day I can be a great teacher and pretty crappy one. It’s so tough to be consistently good at the craft of teaching.

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