Some Thoughts on Teaching
Elizabeth Catanese

I believe that in education, one must suffer various ship wrecks. This goes for science ed and humanities ed. The greatest strides can be made through failing and learning one's own way through that failure...if the directions are too clear then teachers get students following along the paths that they themselves have already traveled. Those paths are safer because one can be warned of wild animals along the way but, ultimately, the energy of the world moves forward because some teachers allow their students to fail without trying too hard to hold them to previous paths. They also allow them to suceed. They are not afraid to let them go to places that may lead nowhere or conversely to places the professor him/herself has never been. Teaching is not protecting. It has to be about love and love also means trusting the motion of life which is not steady which is only forward in so much that it is circular....ALL education should be about giving students the gift of knowing and wanting from themselves....

I'll admit that part of this comes from where I am now...and being brought up not to take risks and such...always sitting with my face pressed up against the window watching other kids play outside. I wanted so badly to break my arm or get a scrape or fall...that was not the usual childish desire for sympathy (though that was part of it) was also a real impulse to live and the child-like knowledge that to live is necessarily to be marked--to find oneself by falling down, unafraid.

I also have decided that Bryn Mawr has taught me to speak in ellipses....Bryn Mawr...must have given me...the sense that...for everything you say...something...else is...left out.

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