Tuesday, September 6, 2011


In a lunchtime conversation, a teacher spoke about the freedom he felt after teaching for several decades. No longer worried about his grasp of the subject matter or teaching methods, he begins a school year confident, and eager to share these treasures with a new crop of students. And in staff meetings, he says what needs to be said without fear of censure.

He recounted a recent meeting on a very hot day as teachers and administrative staff gathered. One topic: how to teach the kinds to infer. My friend piped up: “Perhaps we could ask them what they might infer when all the classrooms were un-air-conditioned and sultry and the room in which the staff was meeting was air-conditioned and comfortable.” That is something, he noted he would never have had the courage to say was a beginning teacher. [A friend of his afterward remarked that his comment had enabled him to simultaneously be smart and a smart ass.]

I am not a teacher. But I have recently had a milestone birthday. I too have a kind of tenure. I must remember to enjoy the concomitant freedom – to say and do whatever needs to be said and done.

While the tenure holds.

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