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Friday, October 2, 2015

Empathy it's my teaching superpower

In this new millennium, policy makers, the wealthy and the powerful are radically altering the goal of public education from preparing citizens to preparing obedient workers. They are driving out the arts, music, recess, and reading and writing for pleasure. They have ruthlessly reduced teaching and learning to meaningless data points. They use money and a fear of the future to push standards without empathy, and their hammer used to enforce those standards is high-stakes testing. If they can't scare you then they'll buy you off.

Their high-stakes testing policies are some of the most inhumane polices ever written in the history of public education. What else, but inhumane should we call the reduction of America's children to either below proficiency, at proficiency, or above proficiency? Empathy brings humanity into the classroom not standards.  Leo Buscaglia said “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” The potential to turn a life around for teachers in our public schools to me is being able to feel empathy for the students we teach. Empathy is understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or to see yourself in their shoes. It means teaching with compassion for every student in your class.
What is not driving high-stakes testing and the Common Core? EMPATHY!

                                         That is me second from the left some 55 years ago

Recess, milk, cookies, art, play, music, story time, and empathy ruled my kindergarten experience. In between we learned our ABCs, our colors, and to count. We were reminded to say please, excuse me, no thank you, yes Sir, no Sir, yes Mam and no Mam. We learned to share, be kind to one another, and to apologize when we did wrong. No one ever gave me a standardized test. No one ever labeled any of us with proficiency levels. At 60, and 4 university degrees later I still believe those things matter more than twenty-first century high stakes testing and the Common Core.

See the child, not the score,
Be the teacher not the enforcer,
See the wonders of God's own creation,

Walk in the shoes of others,
Be the kind touch,
Be the smile in the life of another, 
Be the kind word,
Be the listening ear,
Be the honest compliment,
Always, always, always be the smallest act of caring.

Become the teacher you always dream of becoming.
Wear your empathy like your armor, and let no power on earth steal it from you.
Trust me Empathy matters!

For as Natalie Merchant said you are the wonder of God's Own Creation....So as that gentle rain fell on my walk through the woods today I listened to "Natalie's "Wonder" > <

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the best articles I`ve ever read recently. Good lesson for a teacher. Thank you!