BTLT In the News: “Your Land: Two points for February”

By Sandy Stott, Your Land

To read the full article online, click here.

“I looked at the photo for some minutes. In it, a young adult and three children surround what looks to be a pool or puddle of water; three of the four have their hands in, and the fourth has the dirt of earlier adventure on her hands. They are fascinated.

The young adult, who must be the teacher, doesn’t appear to be talking, nor do the kids. And yet there is the unmistakable aura of learning in the photo. Yes, my guess is an easy one, because this photo is from the Cathance River Education Alliance’s summer camp, but if you removed the identifier and asked a passerby, “What’s happening here?”, the answer would be clear: They’re exploring, figuring something out.

I was, for many years, a teacher of 17-year-olds, and for a number of those years I also supervised my school’s teachers. When viewed from the inside, this seemed a hopelessly complex ask. Good teaching comes in so many forms; perhaps, when a school is lucky, there are almost as many ways of teaching as there are ways of learning. While there is a common caring and drive to know in any good teacher’s heart and mind, how that teacher approaches the touching and firing of many different minds can fill many possible instruction manuals rapidly. There are hundreds of how-tos out there.

Still, my supervisory class visits and my own work led me slowly to form a core belief about teaching and learning, and it’s best explained in a brief vocabulary lesson. For me, there’s teaching and there’s educating, and the two differ … markedly.

Here’s why. Both teaching and educating are true to their roots. Look back to those root words and we find that the word “teach” traces back to the index finger, the pointer finger. A teacher truly is a pointer (outer). Educator also is true to its word root, and it comes from the Latin verb ducere, to lead. An educator then sees him/her/themself as leading students out, always in front — leading them out of darkness and into the amply lit spaces of the master’s mind. The educator would lead; they would follow. The teacher, on the other hand, would point to something and wonder what might be found out; the students would then explore answers. I grew wary of educators; I honored teachers.” ……

To read the full article online, click here.