I’m battling with my “selves” right now; the Literature-loving English teacher and Innovative Teaching and Learning Leader are fighting for mind space. I’m going to sound like a confused wingnut in this post, but before I move forward into the world where technology is a daily part of my classroom practice, I need to give space to my concerns, my questions, and give voice to what I believe to be at the heart of English teaching.
I unashamedly believe that literature and the discussion of it should be at the core of every English classroom; all people need what stories can give. And, I believe that a significant part of my job as an English teacher is to open up young people’s minds through the exploration of it. In short, I believe in books. Paper. Face-to-face conversations. Time every day to unplug, silence and ignore the fast-paced cyber-world.
So, here is the battle: though I want to and will embrace technology and hopefully come to recognise when, how and why to incorporate it into my daily practice so as to enhance the learning that happens there, I simultaneously want to make sure that what I believe remains central to this journey. Right now I am questioning and questioning is not a synonym for being negative or dismissive—I need to live the questions in order to answer them. In writing that sentence I am reminded of Rainer Maria Rilke:
I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Ok—Rilke, I hear you. I won’t search for the answers with a spot light. How about I just explore why I believe Art and Literature are important in a world of 42 character communication. And, how about I try to keep an open mind to the possibilities that new technologies afford. Let the journey begin.