Simply Contemplate: The Art of Teaching

posted in: pedagogical | 13

wordy wednesday

I finished Gilbert Highet’s Art of Teaching awhile ago, but there are still some quotes I wanted to share. If this has been on your to-read list for awhile, like it was on mine, I really encourage you to pick it up and make a start! It was not a difficult read and it was very encouraging and helpful.

Teachers Must Themselves Read

The alternatives are only these: to allow your teaching to petrify by neglect, or constantly to refresh it by transfusions of new vitality and interest from your own reading.

It is a difficult thing to fit in our own reading when we have diapers to change, dishes and laundry to wash, plus multiple students to teach. But cultivating our own intellectual and creative life is vital if we are going to have the energy and stamina to keep up a life lived to inspire others to learn and work hard. Reading and thinking is simply not an optional activity; it is life-blood.

The mind which is exercised in books is not being strained and stretched. It is being used for its proper purpose.

And, remember, if you are trying to raise readers, you yourself must be a reader, for

everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. – Luke 6:40

How do you fit your own reading into your day or week?

13 Responses

  1. Sarah
    |

    I need to add this book to my stack. This is exactly my experience- that in order to breathe life and vitality into mothering and homemaking and teaching, I need to feed myself heaps of books.

    I’ve always been really good at squeezing reading into the days nooks and crannies of my day, but lately I’ve not managed even that. I think my main obstacle is the internet, made so convenient by mobile devices.

    If I have a free moment I need to reach for my book, not my ipad! It takes more brain power to read something worthwhile but the payout is multiplied. :)

    • Lisa
      |

      Mobile devices are a big problem for me too. I am making an effort to have all access to the internet turned off during the day, but I call more often than not. I think maybe I’ll have to take a page from Willa’s book and just carry my book with me through the house instead of my tablet or iPod. ;)

      • Mystie Winckler
        |

        I need to be better about turning to a book instead of a screen, too. And I need to stop thinking that just a page here and there hardly “counts.” It does count.

  2. Ginger
    |

    Hi Mystie,
    I started reading for pleasure again this year and it has been so enjoyable and it has brought a lot of joy into my read aloud for my children.
    I had never read GK Chesterson so I picked up The Man Called Thursday….I love it, and have missed out not having read him sooner in life.
    My reading list has been almost all research oriented for the last four years and glad to be over that and have time for more pleasure reading.
    I suppose it comes with the territory of teaching one’s own children; daily to do’s take creep in and teaching becomes a task instead of a life.
    May your day at home be filled with joy and wonder.

    Ginger

    • Mystie Winckler
      |

      “teaching becomes a task instead of a life.” This is so true! I’ve just starting thinking about this in light of what I might change for next school year (which I generally start planning in February or March).

  3. Willa
    |

    I liked that book, too!

    In answer to “how do you make time to read?”
    My Dad would bring a book everywhere with him and read in places that people would normally not read in — like waiting rooms. Kindles make that easier — I always put my Kindle in my purse when I leave the house.

    When I had babies I read while they were nursing…. either aloud to their siblings, or catching up on my own reading.

    My oldest thought it was funny that I brought books into the kitchen and read bits while waiting for something to finish cooking, etc. It has become so habitual with me that I didn’t even know why he snapped a photo when I was browning hamburger with a book in my hand.

    • Brandy @ Afterthoughts
      |

      Willa, I’ve been known to do the same thing! (Read while cooking on autopilot…) Necessity breeds these sorts of things, I suppose. :)

  4. dawn
    |

    I bought that book in the summer when you first mentioned it. I must read it! (See, the recommendations go both ways!)

    I read the last half hour before bed, usually. I also always have a book in my purse for snatches here and there. I’ve been reading a lot this winter at basketball practices – put on my headphones, some Joshua Tree, and read away.

    I also avoid housework ;)

    I’ve been wanting to work more on *doing* something, making output. Crochet, write something by hand, draw (crazy, I can’t draw) … That is a new thing for me, and something I want to share with the children so they see me doing as well as reading.

    • Mystie Winckler
      |

      Cooking is doing. :) Sometimes I crochet during CT, but for the last year I too often have a baby or toddler in my lap. I actually find having something for my hands during CT reduces my bad reactions to bad (or just plain annoying) behavior. :)

      • dawn
        |

        Certainly, cooking is doing. But I have found myself mentally daydreaming about cross-stitching and crochet and writing and my hand is moving in the proper motions. It has been a greater need than cooking. I don’t know how to explain it. Making something that lasts, perhaps.

        I am completely incapable of doing something with my hands whilst juggling books and notebooks and pens and clipboard during Circle Time. I was also completely incapable of reading whilst nursing. (I definitely needed both hands to do that!) I’m impressed with those for whom the left hand is capable of more than balance or symmetry (or the QWERTY side of the keyboard).

        • Mystie Winckler
          |

          I think we are created with a desire to make things; it’s definitely an instinct you should follow through on!

  5. Julie
    |

    My goal is to read more books this year. I used to read a lot, voraciously. I used to walk to college from my apartment and read while I walked! People would look at me funny. I miss those reading days.

  6. Cindy
    |

    When people ask me how I have time to read, I always feel baffled and maybe a bit guilty. What should I be doing? It is true that much of what I have learned over the years and how I have grown has come through reading and that without any strained effort. Reading does stretch the mind. I like that thought.