Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Teacher, the Businessman, the Blueberries

I can't believe I never heard this story before. I also kind of can't believe it's true, but it is. Click over and read it. I'll wait. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, a teacher points out to a soon-to-be-humbled businessman from an ice cream company that while he can send back an "inferior" shipment of blueberries for his top-quality ice cream, teachers can never send back children.

I loved the story, but as I share it with you (many of you who have undoubtedly heard it before), I have to say that I don't view children as raw materials in education, either. I don't see any child as "unteachable," "undesirable," or, heaven forbid, "inferior." Let's not pretend that all children are equally teachable or lovable, mind, but, even given the choice, I wouldn't refuse to educate any child I've yet encountered.

That said, when working with children with serious intellectual, emotional, or behavioral challenges, teachers do want and need extra support in the form of co-teachers, smaller classes, or more rigorous disciplinary procedures. Rather than think of these children as "inferior," I'd like to challenge more people to see these children as "artisanal," perhaps; in need of more time and care, but capable of turning out with a great deal of beauty and variety.

Damn, I'm feeling corny this week. But I suppose it's a good time to pause, as we drag ourselves toward the end of the marathon seven weeks between the winter and spring recesses, what we're doing here and why.
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