Worry about your learning more than your teaching

Sylvia Garrison being tutored Folks in the blogosphere have been talking a lot lately about teachers learning from their pupils, as if the idea had just appeared on the breakfast menu.

I was amused to see the same idea advanced by the heroine of Meredith Nicholson’s 1912 bestselling novel, A Hoosier Chronicle.

When Sylvia Garrison, a Wellesley-educated mathematician, determines to be a public school teacher, everyone tells her she is too good to waste her time teaching in the public schools. She says politely that what she intends to do. She views her Wellesley courses as preparation for her real learning.

Sylvia takes the pre-1900 version of Teach for America training one summer to give her the requisite pedagogical training.

As she starts her first year in the classroom, Sylvia writes a friend, “I’m a school-teacher…a member of the gray sisterhood of American nuns….it’s not what I’m required to teach, but what I’m going to learn that worries me!”

One thought on “Worry about your learning more than your teaching

  1. There’s no doubt about it–the best teachers are those who are in constant reflection about their practice, willing to learn from peers, and explicity or implicity model life-long learning for their students. I hope I’m imparting these values, at least a little bit, to my high school students.


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