The Outermost Classroom blog is named in honor of the work, The Outermost House, by Henri Beston. In this classic, early example of nature writing, Beston lived in a shack on the shore of Cape Cod, and shared deep and beautifully penetrating views on the relationships between himself, the sands, and the sea. I can’t help but wonder what events and self-perceptions drove Beston to live so far away (at that time, anyway) from society. But I have known many, many students who will likely someday identify themselves as outcasts from our deeply rutted educational system, but stand a good chance of contributing to the world in groundbreaking ways.
I believe that the most successful teachers teach out of love for learners first, and out of love for their subject second. As such, we should not consider ourselves as ambassadors of our subject, but ambassadors of a love of learning, a love of bearing witness to the world, and furthermore, a love of influencing, in the best possible way, our human experience. Alas, there is too much stuff getting in the way of such an approach.
This is a blog of strong opinions, subtle observations, and much in between, based on my experience in education. If I offend anyone, I’m only sorry if that offense disables a rational reading of my argument. I have been offended by well-cited ivory tower arguments, and I’ve been offended by statements from (to name a few) dentists, chiropractors, cashiers, and delivery men—statements grounded in the soft sand of ignorance and the politics that seem to depend on it. If you are a teacher, you probably have a good idea of what I’m hinting at.
Anyway, I love sand. I love the fact that rising tides wipe away the ruts of heavy machinery. I hope, for the sake of public education, that such a tide is coming.