The Purpose

“The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals…We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is…

“A Time to Build”

For this week’s post, please check out a small piece I wrote for Be’chol Lashon (link below). It is accompanied by two other pieces from some wonderful Jewish educators. I wish you and yours Moadim LeSimha!

Pathfinder

The hills were alight with changing fall foliage. In the background was the sound of water coursing over stones. A faint scent of smoke hung in the air. We had arrived at another fork in the path, by this time well off the main trail. Neither of us had remembered to take a picture of…

Mastery

In the field of education there is an ideal of becoming a “master teacher”. Of course, the notion of becoming a master is not limited to teaching. It is found in nearly all disciplines. But interestingly, it is only in a few that the status of “master” is part of the culture of that discipline….

Making a Difference

If you were a world leader of global influence asked to address a group of high school students, what would you speak about? There would be multiple factors to consider; that you were going to give a speech that many in attendance would remember for the rest of their lives; that these were young people…

“I Was Wrong”

As the summer months cool and the days begin to shorten, there is a group of people who begin to wake up before dawn. As the last of the night holds on to its final moments, stretching time out over the infinite horizon, this group of people sings. The songs they intone are a theme…

A Room with a View

Think about your favorite room. It might be from where you lived growing up. It might be a nook in your current apartment. It might be your front porch. Walk through it in your mind. What is it about this spaces that resonates with you? What does this space tell you and the world about…

Teachers and Kings

A student and I were standing outside on one of the balconies of the school building on an overcast, autumn day. He was going through a tough time and we were talking about a number of things, school, his parents, his favorite video games. Then he said, “you know, you’re one of those teachers that…

Circles and Triangles, Speaking and Listening

In conversations with middle and high school students over the last twelve years, several common threads have emerged. One of them is how important it is to students to feel understood. The truth is, their preoccupation with this feeling is partly a product of where they are at developmentally, but it highlights a truth about…

Your Next Step

A couple of years ago I began taking classes in continental Portuguese in order to be able to translate some historical documents I was working with. It was one of those great moments, as a teacher, to again be in the seat of a student. In the first session of the course, the instructor had…