Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Since my teaching brain is still on vacation

Here are a couple of things to look at, not written by me.

From a smart and lovely colleague... She does such a nice job of summing it all up. Both the messiness of teaching, and the pay-off. And also, perhaps, why tidy tasks are so much fun, even if they are a lot of work? Tidy tasks that get finished, unlike teaching, which is never done.

And an article about the birth of children's literature from the New Yorker. It involves several of my favorite things, such as children's books, libraries, people from Maine, and E. B. White. In case you don't have time to read all of it, here are a few of my favorite tidbits from Anne Carroll Moore, the librarian who was so influential in the world of children's literature in the early twentieth century. Although she was most certainly controlling and closed-minded in some ways, in others she was far ahead of her time:

"Books about girls should be as interesting as girls are,” she said at a time when most books were written for boys. She believed that her job was to give “to the child of foreign parentage a feeling of pride in the beautiful things of the country his parents have left," instead of melting them into a pot of homogeneity. And, "'do not expect or demand perfect quiet,' she instructed her staff. 'The education of children begins at the open shelves.'” Still true today, say those of us who do not believe in silent classrooms.

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