Monday, February 08, 2016

Hedge School Teaching

One of the bloggers who promoted my writing ten years ago said my blog was like a hedge school--the illegal, clandestine gatherings of Irish students and teachers behind hedges along the back roads of British-occupied Ireland.

He eventually succumbed to the demands of paying child support, and took a job with a Soros-funded organization. One of several of my students to fall by the wayside, despite their superb talents and skills and good hearts.

Harry Britt, Harvey Milk's special advisor, and my friend, once told me that as a teacher, you start from where each student is, and take them as far as they can go. As a prospective faculty member at New College in 2003 -- Harry called me their "new star" -- I took that to heart.

Only now, looking back, do I realize that even though some drop by the wayside on their personal journeys, for a moment in time, they rose to the occasion, doing what had to be done, and in whatever situation they find themselves later, they will always remember that.

The lessons they learned in hedge school, in all likelihood, made them better citizens, and even if they don't become revolutionaries, they will probably contribute to their communities in ways that help make a better world.

And that, in the end, is about all we, as teachers, can expect.


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