Andy Hargreaves: Teaching is an emotional practice (Journal Excerpt)

It makes sense that teaching is an “emotional practice.” Such an inherent part of teaching is the building of relationships between student and teacher. I think it’s fair to say that students who feel no connection to their teacher are unlikely to feel they are in a “safe community” where they can be themselves fully and feel safe to do the trying-and-falling that is an integral part of learning (Sapon-Shevin). (Also, is it possible to spend an average of 30 hours a week in the same room as someone and not form some sort of relationship, whether healthy or not?) The first part of Hargreaves’s conclusion is that this emotional aspect of teaching needs to become a part of the discussion when talking about the work teachers do and the work that needs to be done to improve our schools:

“…the discourse of educational reform must acknowledge and even honor the centrality of the emotions to the processes and outcomes of teaching, learning and caring in our schools. The emotions must no longer be ignored, still less demeaned as peripheral in the proclamations of policymakers or…‘agony aunt approach’ leading to ‘a sloppy and sentimentalized kind of caring’ (Young, 1997” (850).

Seth Godin’s statement that teachers can “inculcate” their students with passion is an aspect of emotional work. Passion is an emotion! Passion for a topic, for an idea, for an action can be instilled in people and teachers have that power. “The discourse of educational reform” certainly involves much talk about teachers–how we need great teachers. Well, yes, but what makes great teachers great? What do they do that is better and beyond mediocre, average, bad teachers?

I would argue it’s the emotional labor and investment great teachers put into their work and students.

Where I’m From

I am from the motto: “Do you mean where I was born or where I live now?”
from here, there, and both at once
from the ROK with its morning calm
and the USA and patriotic fervor
but my heart belongs here in the PNW

I am from kimchi and rice
but also mashed potatoes and gravy
a goose mounted in the living room
and moon vases located in places of honor.
I am from wafts of Mom’s designer perfume
and camouflage ironed and hardened by starch,
spit-shined boots missed when absent

I am from roars of jets but always children laughing
the Mustang playground then the move to a fenced-in yard,
complete with weeds, neglected garden and
giant trees impossible to climb
but not from a lack of trying

I am from Hal-mi and the child she wounded
from Emos and Unnies and Dong-saengs
who claim me as their own
but see me as a foreigner
I am from indomitable Ans and selfless Jettes
and a baby brother who embodies both

I am born from a dying tradition
given up to new opportunities
with no love lost in-between