During a celebration at one of our schools, a close friend and colleague presented me with a copy of The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life, by Parker J. Palmer. Although I had read the book nearly a decade ago, I decided to re-read it. I’m so glad I did! I was reminded that good teaching cannot be reduced to method and technique alone; rather, at its core good teaching originates from the identity and integrity of a quality teacher.
Good teaching comes in various forms but good teachers seem to share an important trait: they are truly present in the classroom, deeply engaged with their students and the subject they teach. The very best teachers bring their personality, along with their narrative and passion, into the classroom. On the other hand, less effective teachers tend to distance themselves from students and their subjects. It's resisting this urge to distance ourselves that requires massive courage. Palmer writes,
"As good teachers weave the fabric that joins them with students and subjects, the heart is the loom on which the threads are tied, the tension is held, and the fabric is stretched tight. Small wonder, then, that teaching tugs at the heart, opens the heart, even breaks the heart -- and the more one loves teaching, the more heartbreaking it can be. The courage to teach is the courage to keep one's heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able so that teacher and students can be woven into the fabric of community that learning, and living, requires."
Weber School District is filled with extraordinary teachers who exemplify great courage (by Parker Palmer’s definition) every day! Because of that, educators have tremendous influence on the lives of young people. There is no more noble achievement than that -- to positively impact others. Our entire district team of teachers, support professionals and administrators show great heart each day by inspiring students toward greatness and I want each of you to know how much I appreciate your commitment to children and your professionalism in your work. It is, simply put, "The Weber Way!" Because of your heroic efforts, we mark another successful school year!