The Search for Scholé Begins!

My Post (11)

Welcome to my blog, fellow eduventurers! For the coming weeks, months, years, etc. I’ll be using this as a space to wax philosophical about my experiences as an educator. The content of my posts will vary, but will be unified by the idea presented in my title: my search for scholé. Now, unless you’re a fellow geek or an ancient Greek, chances are you have no idea what a “scholé” is, never mind why I’d be searching for it. Allow me to explain.

When translated from its original ancient Greek, scholé simply means leisure. Now, the ancient Greeks had some funny ideas about relaxation that don’t much resemble our own. For them, leisure didn’t involve afternoon napping, beach side tanning, or binge watching reruns of the Iliad, but rather the restful learning that comes from open, inquisitive, and reflective conversation with friends. This collaborative pursuit of wisdom was one of the highest, most noble endeavors one could pursue in Ancient Greece. Considering I’m an English teacher, the appeal of that idea was immediate and obvious. Having meaningful dialogue about life and literature is what lead me to the profession. The more I read about it, the more captivated I became.

In fact, though I only stumbled on the word a few months ago, I’ve come to realize that my teaching philosophy is essentially an attempt to recreate and remix scholé for my students. I want to make my class a place where they’re able to navigate the complexities of the human experience, share their insights, and discover their voice. I want them to grapple with concepts that really matter: ideas like truth, purpose, beauty, identity. Most of all, I want them to leave my class with a deeper understanding of themselves and their world.

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Let’s hope all this talk of dialogue and inquiry doesn’t end in a hemlock smoothie.

Now, I admit that might sound self-aggrandizing and idealistic to some, and to varying degrees it might well be, but I truly believe that, now more than ever, our students need scholé—heck, our society needs it. In an age defined by its frenetic pace and lack of authentic connection, we need more meaningful conversations and restful learning. By designing my instruction in the image of scholé, my class has been imbued with a sense of direction and purpose it previously lacked. Obviously, there has been/will be plenty of failures and frustration along the way, but overall I think my search for scholé (which has lead me to transformative ideas like concept based literacy, learning transfer, and design thinking) has done more to strengthen and transform my instruction than anything else since I started teaching. For someone who relishes the challenge of new ideas, it’s been an exciting year and there’s endless opportunity on the horizon.

In addition to being a place where I’ll share my activities, lessons, resources, and professional reflection, this blog will also be a place for personal reflection. I believe that educators should be just as concerned with their own process of “becoming” as they are with our students. It’s so easy to internalize the martyr narrative created by the modern systems and structures of education, so I want to share my journey to highlight how important it is to never lose your story in your effort to help students write their’s.  Taking time to ponder how we’re shaped by our experiences inside and outside the classroom shouldn’t be an after thought, but rather a central part of our own development as educators and (more importantly) as humans. So, these journal style posts will be my attempt to walk-the-walk of self-care and self-cultivation.

My real hope is that this blog will grow to be a place where we can connect, share, and come to better understand ourselves and our profession through restful learning. If that interests you, I hope you’ll join me in my search for scholé. Until then!

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