Skip to main content

'Embarrassment' Review

I just finished Thomas Newkirk's Embarrassment: And the Emotional Underlife of Learning. Like anything by Newkirk, I devoured it and found that so much of it rang true with my philosophy and feelings when it comes to teaching.

Here are ten lines that stood out to me in the book (in no particular order):


  1. "Unless we can get beyond this reluctance, we never put ourselves out there to learn--we never become the novice we need to be to learn." (15)
  2. "Schools face what might be called the paradox of offering help... you need a designation for that group, and that very designation may be so stigmatizing that students would rather forgo the help than to accept the label." (33)
  3. "We need to look beyond the posture of indifference, or just see it as a posture." (61)
  4. "We are happy, gratified to offer help--that is a big part of our professional identity. But we (or at least I) are far more reluctant to receive help." (63)
  5. "Failure or disappointment is less scary if we can name it, share it, and see it as a normal and expected feature of thinking and working." (73) 
  6. "Good teachers never appear rushed. Or make students feel rushed." (79)
  7. "We assume that students know how to engage in processes, and that all we have to do is ask that it be done. ... To avoid assumptive teaching we need to follow Mike Anderson's lead and surgically examine seeming simple and habitual processes." (85) 
  8. "If students can consciously engage in a process, and build a history of working through difficulty and complexity, that history becomes the capital that they can draw on." (92)
  9. "In writing, as in teaching, our personality is our greatest asset." (149)
  10. "To learn something new, we must be publicly awkward, and there is nothing 'natural' about wanting to be revealed this way." (186)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Handwritten Cue Cards in the 21st Century

I just stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes clip of Saturday Night Live's cue card process. This is intense writing. This is writing that is dependent upon trust and checks and balances. Over a short period of time, skits are written, drafted on cards, revised, and the cards revised over and over again. I also really love that SNL continues to use cue cards and not a teleprompter. Like Wally points out, technology can fail. Handwritten cue cards ensure the show goes on. Comedy is hard work. Writing is hard work. Changes are made up until the last minute to get things just right. This is a form of real-world writing.

What's your "gap plan"?

Brene Brown introduces the "family gap plan" in the fourth episode of her podcast, Unlocking Us . This came about when she and her husband would argue when she would return home from traveling. It seemed like the minute she walked in, her husband would expect her to be ready for him to "tap out," where she could take over where he had been supporting the family. While she was away from home, this didn't mean that she was full of energy and at 100% the minute she walked in the door. She had been working too and was exhausted. So, over time they began to name where they were at as people and as a family: I'm at 10%. I'm at 30%. They knew they needed a plan for when collectively she and her husband were not at 100%, but they needed to be for their family. Beyond our personal lives, the idea of a "gap plan" got me thinking about our classrooms and schools. What happens when we are not at 100% or we know that our classrooms or students are not

Filling the Hole in Our Heart

I am taking advantage of this time at home to clean my garage and revisit the notebooks that I have kept for years as a teacher. I stumbled upon this piece from a notebook I kept in 2013, the first summer I spent with the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. --- For the past four weeks, I have had the opportunity to vent, share, and collaborate with a group of like-minded people. We all had different reasons for getting together and different outcomes, but for me, a sense of community really developed. It isn't often that I feel as if I have a group of people who "get me." But now I know that I do. Maintaining this network of friends is so important to me. It really helped me feel safe in this time of educational insanity. And it has also brought about a renewed sense of purpose. I often tell my students not to put themselves in situations where they give away their power and let others make decisions for them. And while education is under siege, I want to fight again