In interviews I often ask this question of prospective teachers.

“How do you teach the same thing again and and still keep it fresh?”

I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m still waiting for an answer that I really like. But I’ve encountered one in writing, in a book called Against School Reform by Peter S. Temes.

Here it is. If you’re ever in an interview with me, just memorize this, and you’ll make me cry.

“The challenge . . . is not the teaching of cell division but the learning of it by a wild variety of individual students who will file through the biology teacher’s class one after the other, year after year. Should the teacher present all these students the solution to the problem arrived at years ago, and written in the lesson plan? Or should the teacher embrace the problem anew, confront its challenges, try new ways to teach it, experiment again and again with new approaches? The simpler approach seems easier, and in a way it is, much as sitting in a dark room from morning till night is easier than getting up and walking into the world. But if a teacher is to find and share any joy of learning as part of his or her own work, that joy will be bound up with the vivid newness of trying something new.”

You’ll make me cry, and you’ll probably get the job.

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