Sunday, October 24, 2010


"I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in these stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding onto something...that there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo...and it's worth fighting for." ---Samwise Gamgee, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" by JRR Tolkien

All righty then. If you were brave enough to read one of the greatest quotes in all of literature, you are probably wondering how Middle Earth can possibly relate to education. Now I'm going to ask you to watch this:

This is the new documentary that is causing a lot of hype in the education world. That is not what I want to talk about today. This documentary is something I am extremely interested in viewing, but I also want to point out that this documentary seems to believe that there are no good teachers left in the world. This is so disheartening. I have connected with some amazing individuals who don't care about the test results or the rankings at the end of the day: they care about the students and what they teach.

I want to refer back to the line in the quote above that says, "Folk in these stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going." In TEAC 452 on Wednesday, we talked about how teachers have this invigorating job that allows them to do something new and exciting every single day. Sure, teachers could burn out, get overwhelmed, constantly have to bring their work home with them, but they have a gift of a job. They recognize that "there is some good left in this world...and it's worth fighting for." A very important person in my life makes a healthy salary but every single day I talk about what I want to do with my life, he reminds me that I am going to be doing something I love, and he cannot say the same for himself. He doesn't find invigoration with his job, he only sees it as a means of living. I'm aware that teachers make minimally above a poverty-line wage in many states (including mine) but I constantly find myself unable to switch off my teaching brain and I love it.

I'm going to see the documentary when I get the chance, but I also want people to recognize that even though this education system is going through some ugly Durm and Strang right now, there ARE individuals out there who are in this for the long haul and in it because they love and value something more than standardization: students and their work.

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