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Primary Teachers and Their Pedagogy

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copyright  2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

I offer homage to a Teacher whose pedagogy touched me in a manner invisible to me until this moment. For scores, I understood what a gift he was to me. His opening and caring ways were as I craved. However, I had never imagined that this man's schooling style made the difference in my life. Today, I invite each of us to look beyond the boundaries or the labels.

Often in life we are asked to reflect; who was or were your most profound Teachers. I shared my stories in a missive or more. Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned, Those Who Can Teach; Transformative Teachers, and Why I Write and Write, Then Write Again. There are myriad sorts of Teachers. A few are true treasures. These special souls take a personal interest in us as individuals. Students are seen as whole beings, not solely a score, or a name to be identified as a number. Without these rare Teachers we would not soar.

Innumerable Scholars seek to inform rather than interact in a way that inspires. Academicians, an abundance of these, think to fill a brain full of facts, formulas, and figures, is to teach. I wonder; do these Educators believe they learn from their students? I cannot know with certainty. For myriad mentors, their labor is not born out of love, but out of need . . . the need to train students for a test.

Gurus, a few, will sacrifice personal standards. The belief that it is best to do as was done to them is deep. Countless more desire to do as expected. To save oneself, retain face or employment becomes a personal priority. Few dare to test the system, rock the boat, or retreat from the status quo. Possibly, less think to do what is different, even if the untried is the truest pinnacle of pedagogy. A Mom, Dad, Grandparent, or Guardian, can be as classroom Teachers are, entrenched in established traditions.

This has an effect on us all, for some say their Primary Teacher touched them as no other did. This sage is frequently thought of as Mom or Dad. A mother or father, or each, teach us how to be and who we might be. For the fortunate, this relationship is a close one. Physical proximity usually allows for an experience that envelops everyone involved. However, there are those such as I who learn from a distance. It might be, as it was for me, that a corporeal togetherness did not exist, or did so only from an emotional distance.

Absence can make the heart grow fonder. Often, we want love from the person who is not with us, be it in our life, in our home, or in a heart, his or hers. For others, this feeling is far from reasonable. People ponder; why would I wish to be with someone who rejects me, abandons me, or is emotionally absent. Regardless of what might be for you, I suspect that you, as I, feel the person or persons who taught you most were your caregivers.

Some Moms and Dads are superior Teachers; several are less than lovely role models. Still, even the worse Instructor and instruction teaches. Each Educator has or had, their own "teaching style." Only today did I intellectually evaluate the pedagogies of parents. Indeed, I wonder if I would have ever thought to do so had it not been for my very, very, very, young 93-years of age cousin and his reflective ways. Alexander asked of my Dads. Yes, there were two.

My Daddy, Logan, passed from his Earthly existence only weeks ago. My natural father, not the same person, departed from the planet decades earlier. In truth, "Michael," the man whose genetic makeup made my life possible, fled from my sphere before I was born. While we shared a house for more than eight years, we were not truly part of each other's life. Our experiences, and the individual present at my conception, were profound Professors. Each taught me tons. Nevertheless, I feel secure in saying, Daddy taught me more.

My Dad gave me life. He breathed oxygen into my lungs. Daddy filled my world and taught me the ways in which I might choose to move through time and space. Logan provided the lessons that became my being. Forever, I acknowledged this, just not in the way I do today.

Alexander, the reflective truth-seeker that he is, has thought a lot about my Dad in recent days. While the two knew each other, they have not seen each other in more than two score. Alex has always felt my Dad hurt my Mom. Divorce does damage or at least it felt that way to my relative when he first spoke to my Mom immediately after the event that ended my parents' marriage. While Mommy believed that the split brought her the best of what was to be her life, Alexander never did.

My cousin admits that, slowly, he has come to appreciate Daddy through our relationship, Alexander's and mine. Alexander is an exemplary learner. As every Teacher has quoted at one time or another, "To teach is to learn twice," ~ Joseph Joubert.

I speak of Daddy often. He is a Scholar, a sage, a sensational Instructor. I recall when he helped me with a fifth grade science project. Together, Daddy and I built a light. We cut the wood, stained and lacquered the lumber, created, cut, and snipped the wiring, and voilÃ'Â , the lamp lit.

Logan also taught me to look, perhaps: look deeply into the fullness of an idea, a supposed fact, or an idea. Nothing for Daddy [and for me] is ever "just that simple." When I was a child, my Dad would invite me to read the newspaper. H would peruse one section and offered me another. I am unsure whether he had an influence on the veracity that comics were of no interest to me. Nonetheless, I am aware that cartoons were not entertaining for me. News was my delight.

Logan would hand the front pages to me and the two of us would read our respective sections silently. When we were ready to switch, Daddy would ask me, "What did you read?" I would tell him. Topics were ticked off one-by-one. Then, Logan would look at me with his piercing eyes and inquire further. "What did you think?" He might begin with one story and then probe in depth dependent on my response. The questions were open-ended. If I was unsure or did not know an answer, my Dad would suggest that perchance, I missed a portion of the narrative.

He offered that I re-read, or research. Funny. Daddy never made the request in a way that demanded I do as he thought wise. Logan's own excitement in the possibility that the two of us might learn together was a source of excitement for me. Indeed, I recall the occasions well. I would pose a question to Daddy. He would grin, from ear to ear, and then without the least bit of embarrassment say, "I do not know. Let us look for that answer together."

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I am an Educator, a student of life; I am an Author. On each path I learn from you and with you. Indeed. we all teach and study. Together we advance awareness and acumen. We learn, grow, and glow greater. Please peruse my prose at BeThink.org and (more...)
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