A Reader: A Message for Teachers

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Gary Stein, a teacher in his last year of teaching, read the post by retired superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder and was inspired to share this message:

After reading Ms. Snyder’s article and all of the responses to it on the dianeravitch.net page, I was reminded of the best advice for all teachers, and what seems to me the best advice for teaching, always, regardless of social circumstance or historical situation. It comes from Chaim Ginott, (1922-1973), teacher, psychologist, theorist.

Dear Teacher,

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness:
Gas chambers built by learned engineers,
Children poisoned by educated physicians,
Infants killed by trained nurses,
Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates,
So, I am suspicious of education.

My request is: Help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns.
Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more humane.

For those of you who know this quote, I hope this isn’t perceived as either ‘trite’ or too idealistic. This passage has guided my teaching for over 30 years, including this year, my last as a certified public school teacher. For those of you new to either teaching/learning, or ‘education’, I hope you take this quote to heart as you engage with young citizens in every interaction. Peace.

By the way, Superintendent Snyder’s post went viral; it has been opened more than 200,000 times on this blog.

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