Teaching’s heavy obligation

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I found this great graphic on Michael Smith’s PrincipalsPage Posterous blog. It’s darkly amusing.

And it points to an often overlooked but extraordinarily heavy of obligation schools everywhere–not just Michigan:

There are in normal circumstances just two occasions when the state deprives people of liberty. One when they break the law and are sent to jail. The other when they are school age and are sent to school. In the first case, we say it’s for *our* own good; we take the malefactors out of circulation and have them pay back the debt to society–us. In the second, we say it’s for *their* own good.

Regardless, it is an extraordinary thing to take away someone’s liberty, whatever his or her age. The criminal has a hand in his or her own fate. The student does not and is, well, innocent in the broadest sense of that word. The debt falls on our side in this case, and it is a large one to repay.

Not a day goes by in my teaching when I do not have this in mind. Often I am terrified by the thought.

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