There’s no greater luxury in the world than the knowledge that your children are cared for by warm, intelligent, humorous, and kind teachers.
Each start of a new school year the privileges and good fortune our family enjoys by being able to send our children to work with incredible teachers who are dedicated to nurturing young people as well as our community becomes more and more clear. Similarly, the meaning of schooling and the value of it continue to shift profoundly as what is your life’s most important priority is taken into the care of others.
Of course, this sort of personal realization is not an entirely new or unique concept for any who work in education. Being both a teacher and a parent affects my views and undoubtedly all parents recognize a shift in their perspective on schooling as their children move from grade to grade. Surely all who care for children parents or otherwise, recognize new insights and meanings of school as life moves through its various stages.
That said – for me…
…being a parent of young children continues to open up new perspectives on schooling that are at the same time heart-felt, visceral, and intellectually fresh. For example, watching my children go through school is:
- Heartfelt = It’s a bittersweet feeling watching as they find new degrees of independence and stretch themselves further out into the world
- Visceral = I learn what it means to literally “swell with pride” as they take courageous new steps towards new experiences and overcome challenges and obstacles in their path towards being functional members of a new community
- Intellectual = I am constantly fascinated by the growth in information processing ability and new schema they acquire as they demonstrate more sophisticated skills, knowledge, and conceptual understanding
This perspective brings vividness to…
…the consequences of policy decisions that impact the atmosphere of a school from the macro-structures of community embeddedness and curricular design to the micro-details of daily routines and classroom activities.
This fluctuating and evolving worldview is especially interesting to me given the apparent disconnect between such meanings and values of schooling and the perspectives often present in national discussions of school reform. Most discussions of policy and systemic change seem to only rarely be cast from a point of view of care or stewardship of any sort. In contrast, our discussions seem most often drenched in political hyperbole that emphasize insufficient standardized outcomes and are bereft of local community values.
My guess is that the condition of schooling would be better off if reforms were considered from heartfelt, visceral, and intellectual perspectives that come with the sorts of priorities described here rather than from the detached and politicized ideological rhetoric of many publicized reformers. I am grateful and reassured that many of my colleagues in music education and others in the arts in particular embrace a similar perspective and only hope that such perspectives continue to become more prominently communicated to stakeholders and the public-at-large.
Here’s to a heartfelt, visceral, and intellectually stimulating start to the school year for all.