March 29, 2009

...Teacher - the activist ( Part 2)



A teacher is an activist, and has to lead by example. Students have to see you fight injustice around you, even if it's about dealing with the structural inequities of the school itself, especially ones that relate to the students. They must see you take on their cause and fight for it. If the students can see you fighting for them, they will better be able to address the inequities and injustice in their own lives. Furthermore it also makes them cognizant of your love for them. A teacher is in fact an advocate of love; not the feeling , but the love that manifests itself in action.

Bell Hooks talks about love as "the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth." The ways in which the teacher opens the curriculum up to a student or a group of students is the first way that she can express her love to a student. As a teacher, she can empower the student to leave his comfort zone and venture into areas thus far challenging or even unexplored. Then, by encouraging the student to 'feel comfortable being uncomfortable' the teacher plants and fosters risk taking abilities in the student. A skill that'll forever come handy to the student when going down untrodden paths or etching out new ones!
...to be continued

8 comments:

EXSENO said...

This is truly a wonderful post. I wish lots of teachers could read this post maybe it would inspire them to rethink what they are there for. Sometimes I think there are no more teachers like this, at least not here where I live.

human being said...

this made me cry... and still i am crying... can't help it...

this reminded me of all those days i fought for my students with love...

and that was just the hidden reason why i was dismissed:

you overvalue your students!
you take them very seriously!
just relax!


and the way we loved each other... they way they talked to me about all their problems even their personal problems...
i remember all those eyes shining with courage... with a beautiful new light...

some of them still write to me...


this writer is really a teacher in love... so resonating...

Eshuneutics said...

bell hooks transgressive view of education has not found many supporters sadly. If it had been about activism it might. The problem is that her line is towards intimacy and that is too intimate for the system.

Id it is said...

eshu,
I agree with you that 'intimacy' is not conducive to providing a 'learning environment' as 'intimacy' creates excessive comfort that takes the 'challenge' out of 'learning'.

human being said...

" 'intimacy' creates excessive comfort "

unfortunately this is true... there should be some distance... and it's not fixed... depeding upon the maturity of the mind, it can be different...

in rare cases when the student has gained that maturity (not to be lost in the comfort), intimacy can do miracles...

human being said...

ooops...
*depending

Id it is said...

HB,
I've often wondered about that ('intimacy can work miracles'), especially when its mature individuals one is interacting with, but even there I stand on shaky ground because I'm afraid that emotional needs/drives may take precedence over learning. The fact that a teacher is only human cannot be ignored and what if he/she is going through an emotional low and clutches onto the first emotional anchor she/he finds, perhaps a student....

Saadia said...

Agreed. As an undergraduate, I studied at LUMS - one of the country's prestigious institutes - but it always irritated me that the teachers there kept at a distance, as if, with a stiff upper lip. Our relationship to them was defined in terms of class-work only.

Thankfully, all that changed. The way this nation was driven by the lawyers' movement last year, some of these teachers stood shoulder to shoulder with the students, protesting on the roads; going to jail for the cause etc. Today, there is so much more respect for them; not to mention, students wanting to emulate these role-models.

A great band has also come out because of the same willingness to be intimate with the students. LAAL - a band that's rocking the scene is the result of the merger of our Pakistan Studies instructor with a fellow student.