Sunday, May 08, 2005
The Geranium on the Window Sill Just Died...
But teacher you went straight on.
I received an anonymous comment in a recent 'blog' mentioning the above book, written by Albert Cullum printed 1971, and quoting one of the poems in it. It motivated me to go and find my copy of the book, which by now is well out of print but none the less relevant – perhaps even more so in this technocratic age of distant experts determining what happens In our classrooms.
The book was not just funny but wise and deep, and reminded us at the time of the wide gap that separates the perceptions and experiences of children from those of their teachers. The book's preface said, ‘from our students we should be taught’. The book should be rewritten for those today who believe so strongly in a ‘one size fits all' mentality who impose standardization onto schools.
The book encouraged us to listen to the variety of voices of our students and reminded us, at the time, of what it was like ‘to be small, penned up, bossed around’; and that students, no matter what happens, retain a sense of resiliency and joy.
It reminds us also how we felt when we were students, awkward and powerless in a world of teachers, principals and parents.
‘You my dear teacher,
You who tell me my thoughts are wrong,
You who are neat and strong,
You so strict and proper and lukewarm,
You who tell me that I can’t and shouldn’t!
You, you –
Who are you?’
It would be enlightening to ask your students finish the three questions below and see what they say – what metaphors they call upon to use!
1. A school is a place where……
2. A student is a person who ……
3. A teacher is a person who…..
What would you want them to say? They should know what beliefs underpin your teaching, the purpose of school and the role of the teacher.
Be interesting to hear from anyone who tries the idea above.