What is a teacher?

Pupil Treehorn:- What’s wrong with a pupil-centred, achievement-focussed, test-free, holistic schooling system ? Why can’t we kids have it?

Kleinist Testucator:- What’s wrong with a fear-based, tension-building, teacher-squirming, scoring-based system ? We’ve got it. We like it. You lump it.

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn is the hero of a children’s book called The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heidi. It’s about a small boy with enormous problems, who remained totally ignored by all adults, including his parents, teachers and principal during an important period in his life. Like all young school pupils, he came to learn that adults don’t take much notice of school kids, no matter how dire the circumstances. Children are left on their own to survive, despite the stress that some very cruel adults impose on them – like the operators and users of NAPLAN the Wombat tests. The Shrinking of Treehorn is a powerful story with a morally-stunning conclusion.

What is a teacher?

Henry van Dyke writes about The Unknown Teacher …..
And what of teaching : Ah, there you have one of the lowest paid and best rewarded of all vocations. Dare not enter it unless you love it. For the vast majority of men and women it has no promise of wealth or fame, but they to whom it is dear for its own sake are among the nobility of mankind.

Others plan new systems of pedagogy, but it is the unknown teacher who delivers and guides the young. Living in obscurity, contending with hardship, no trumpets blare, no chariots wait, no golden decorations are decreed. Keeping watch along the borders of darkness and leading the attack on the trenches of ignorance and folly, the patient teacher quickens the indolent, encourages the eager and studies the unstable. Communicating joy in learning and sharing the known treasures of the teacher’s mind, thousands of candles are lit which in later years will shine back to cheer the teacher’s life This is the reward.

Knowledge may be gained from books and instruments; but the love of knowledge is transmitted only by personal contact. No one has deserved better of the Republic than the Unknown Teacher No one is more worthy to be enrolled in a democratic aristocracy – proud of achievements and servant of mankind.


I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watch two sculptors there,
The clay they used was a young girl’s mind
And they fashioned it with care.
One was a teacher, the tools she used
Were books and music and art;
One a parents with a guiding hand
And a gentle, loving heart.
Day after day the teacher toiled
With touch that was deft and sure,
While the parent laboured by her side
And polished and smoothed it o’er.
And when at last their task was done,
They were proud of what they had wrought,
For the things they had moulded into the child
Could neither be sold nor bought
And each agreed she would have failed
If she had worked alone
For behind the parents stood the school
And behind the teacher, the home.

The Role of the Teacher

John Dewey
“…to keep alive the sacred spark of wonder , to fan the flame that already glows. The problem is to protect the spirit of inquiry, to keep it from becoming blasé from over-excitement, wooden from routine, fossilized through dogmatic instruction, or dissipated by random exercise of trivial things.”

The Teacher

I took a piece of living clay
And gently formed it day by day,
And moulded it with power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart

I came again when years were gone.
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore
And I could change that form no more.

A Teacher’s Prayer

Those who walked with you, called you,Teacher.
So, you understand what I face.
Help me to be a teacher like you.
Full of love, care and support.
let my heart and mind be with
all my pupils.
Help me to learn to meet their needs in words and
stories, they understand.
I want to teach the truth.
So, help me keep
opinions and doubts to myself.
I promise to prepare my lessons and to keep my
focus on the topic in hand.
Please give me confidence in this ministry.
Let me enjoy my pupils so the my loving
concern for each of them is a small reflection
of your concern for us all.
Also, help me to listen and learn from my pupils.
When the year is over, I want to look back on what
we accomplished with joy and satisfaction.
Let every person who was entrusted to me
be ever a part of me.
[R.C.Leach – Tabor Cards]

My Room

A cunning sage at a seminar for teachers asked each of us to draw our own classrooms as we had left them the day before. Based on the dictum that “The environment you live in is the environment that lives in you” she asked us to pretend that our classroom was preserved for 2000 years. When found by the educational archaeologists of that time, 4014, they assumed that they had discovered something that would tell them about the reigning educational school-learning philosophies of the 21st century.
Based on a study of your arrangements of the furniture and teaching aids and wall hangings what do you think they would conclude?


Even though Treehorn did not have an enlivening experience with his teacher or his principal, when he had a serious problem, he wishes you well. He wants you to notice his problems [still green?] and he wants you to really ‘pupil’ him with his schooling. He hopes that you hate those silly standardised blanket tests as much as he does. He is in Year 7 now and really hates Maths. He had trouble with it during his Year 3 tests. His mum and dad don’t seem to care much.

You’re his teacher.

Phil Cullen [friend of Treehorn] 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point, Australia 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com
http://primaryschooling.net     https://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com https://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/history-of-qaspsa-first-5-years/


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