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By A. Block

During this booklet, Block seriously examines the political and social critique now directed on the educating career, and to examine a few moral positions the instructor frequently and already takes during her everyday life within the lecture room.

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How could I expect that all of these students should all feel the same about school at the same moment as that moment of the class in which I was teaching? And that somehow these students would be intrigued to exactly the same degree and coincident with the present material as I had offered. How could I expect that all of these students would be willing to learn with me or from me? What was Hecuba to them or they to Hecuba that they would weep for her? What right did I have to demand very much intellectual struggle from them when for many just getting to school was an achievement far in excess of my seventy-mile drive!

In the newspapers they still condemn our practice. Why should I teach? Eisner says that to teach is to make a difference. He says that immortality is the teacher’s reward: “living in the memories of our students is no meager accomplishment” (44). Perhaps this may be so, but as teachers we have no control over the character and quality of those memories, and as our standards-based curriculum comes to dominate our pedagogy, the distinction between one teacher and the next disappears. My friends tell me that to teach is to touch minds, to teach is to change lives, to teach is to stimulate thought and be open to the ideas of our students.

And though I don’t own a Lexus, I can afford to change the muffler every so often and drive quietly down the streets of my hometown, silently subverting the zeitgeist. I do not teach for the money. Once, Rabbi Hayyim of Krosno, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, was watching together with his disciples a tight ropewalker. He seemed so absorbed in the spectacle that his students asked him what it was that riveted his gaze to this somewhat senseless performance. “This man,” Rabbi Hayyim responded, “is risking his life, and I cannot say why.

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