I think that there are some teachers that do a very good job of incorporating culture and history. And there are some teachers who could use a little more help in that area.
Textbooks are no longer given to schoolchildren; they’re too expensive. So they’re given to the teachers, who probably need them more.
Excellent teachers showered on to us like meteors: Biology teachers holding up human brains, English teachers inspiring us with a personal ideological fierceness about Tolstoy and Plato, Art teachers leading us through the slums of Boston, then back to the easel to hurl public school gouache with social awareness and fury.
Working as a correspondent for ‘Business Week,’ I felt that I was simply informing people, not empowering them. I saw a parallel problem in the world of education. In too many educational settings, teachers simply ‘inform’ or ‘instruct’ learners, rather than providing learners with opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.
In many ways, ‘What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World’ is just one big thank-you note to my teachers. The book is dedicated to my fifth and sixth grade English teacher, Dr. Joseph D’Angelo, a massive force of erudition, martial artistry, culture, and love.
My contract with my teachers is fair, and is two pages. The union contract is 200 pages. You cannot manage your business when you cannot make any decision without going back to 200 pages worth of stuff.
My education in the public schools of New York City between 1932 and 1944 was an excellent preparation for a life in science. Because of the Depression, these schools were able to attract a remarkably talented and dedicated collection of teachers who encouraged their students to strive for the highest levels of accomplishment.
It may be said that modern Europe with teachers who inform it that its realist instincts are beautiful, acts ill and honors what is ill.
The great want of our race is perfect educators to train new-born minds, who are infallible teachers of what is right and true.
In Kenya, I met wonderful girls; girls who wanted to help their communities. I was with them in their school, listening to their dreams. They still have hope. They want to be doctor and teachers and engineers.