The difficulty of “getting to” things like blog tasks must be overcome. Just now I pulled a bookmark out of a book accidentally, losing a place with good stuff on language teaching I had marked. I’ll no doubt find it again as I go through the book copying out paragraphs from here and there, but it shows the frustration inherent in trying to pass on to people the things I find through my reading but do not have the time to write up.
Where is this blog going? While some people do read it, and some of those are folks who participate in this wonderful dialogue of teachers, nevertheless it reaches only a tiny handful of teachers. Even with my categorization where people can skip my personal notes like this one, most people just are not going to read enough to get what I think is essential. And what is that?
First and foremost, an understanding of the Basics. The years I spent as a counselor and psychotherapist laid out before me the screwy thinking people fall into. How could they not? When I think what a good childhood I had compared to many people, I really cannot take credit for having maintained an even-minded approach to life. How much the Buddhism I have read a good part of that life can be credited, I don’t know. I remember thinking through emotional crises with great effort before I had ever heard of Buddhism. But then my emotional crises were tame compared to those of other people.
So what impelled me to write The Basics? As with almost all this blog, it was the plaintive cries of teachers who just know that they must do everything the admins say or just have to respond to every parent complaint or just have to attend to every student with a question. The sense of obligation and responsibility put on teachers, esp women teachers, is crippling. Why don’t we reserve our scorn for those teachers who refuse to come to parent-teacher meetings on the child? Is there an excuse for that? I can’t think of one.
The Basics are what I think everyone needs to keep in mind when confronting a classroom full of students. This is life. And then Pat’s World View gets more particular; these items are my take on what makes our world the way it is, with a focus on the classroom. For example, Basics may talk about the centrality in the past of the parent-child bond in educating the child while Pat’s World View may comment on what is going on now to shake that bond.
The rest of the categories just get more particular: minority kids, the history of fl teaching, my own daily lessons, etc. A crucial part of that are the categories on Spanish grammar, English, linguistics, etc. which form the background of all this. By reading those, I hope readers are pulled up short in their assumptions I so often read in the posts to listservs about language and language learning.
Then there are, on top of that, my interests in history, music, and so on which I just want to share with people. The politics category does affect our classrooms but is so broad I consider a matter of personal views and interest.