Monday, November 30, 2009

Learning: The Burn-out Antidote

I happened to find uplifting the comments of a public school teacher, Louise Abrams, writing in a letter to the editor of The New York Times, November 3, 2009.

Her brief letter bears reading again and again, but I'd like to quote two of her sentences here:

The interdependent relationship between teaching and learning is a priceless labor of love and a joy that must be experienced to be believed.

Show me a teacher who actively pursues through love the art of learning, and I’ll show you a teacher who will never burn out of the teaching profession.

In the first quote Abrams is referring to the dynamic of 21st century learning and how we teachers can find relish in the sometimes unsettling realization that we can learn from our students especially when it comes to technology, and that they have much to learn from us especially when it comes to technology.

The second quote reminds me of my college methods supervisor, Hilda A. Kring, doubting that there was such a thing as teacher as well as their students can never, ever burnout. Of course there are many mitigating factors--supplies, funds, bureaucracies, misunderstandings, societal ills--but some of our best teachers come from schools where supplies and funds are low or bureaucracies and other ills run rampant. Or said another way, perhaps a burnt out teacher is one that has ceased to learn.

Image created at

No comments: