About the lesson
My purpose for teaching is to provide students with experiential challenges that educe--educate- is to bring out-their sense of wonder, surprise, curiosity, and hunger for truth. I attempt have students INCORPORATE PERMANATELY, not uselessly memorize, five to six essential habits of mature, moral, self-realized human beings. For example, I've attempted to educe life-long, unconscious habits like-controlling one's ego, listening to others with our eyes and heart, discovering our life mission/purpose/quest/natural gift, finding out who actually owns and rules America, and hosting
our own funeral. All these projects require a well-written and delivered speech and, most important,
preparing each project through lived, outside class, first-hand, EXPERIENCE. I've had students drive
100 miles to rekindle a broken friendship, apologize for hurting someone, meet a forgotten aunt before she dies, pay a loan, thank a teacher, ask someone for forgiveness, speak to an abandoned father. All these experiences were done under the assignment: listening. The single point of the course was/is
OUR POWER TO CHOOSE-moment by moment, choice by choice. Run the red light or stop, study or
party, return the wallet or keep it. Only in our capacity to choose lies our freedom. And freedom ain't free. If we do not learn (incorporate, make habitual like breathing) this, what good is our "education?"
What good is memorizing fifty trillion facts if facts cannot, and never do, positively affect our mental and moral actions. If a teacher and course does not change us-however slightly-into stronger, brighter, more courageous, healthy, responsible, and compassionate human beings, what are we doing Yes, this philosophy of education may appear quixotically platonic. But if we can actualize just one part of it as a seed in a student's mind so it sticks, grows, and clarifies his choices, When will we know our lesson on Henry VIII is not names and dates of the 1500's. Henry and his six wives is truth about men women, and marriage NOW. When will we see and teach history's truthful, honest purpose? Are Henry and Ann Bolyn
dust of the meaningless past? I think not. Henry, Ann, Atilla, Alex the Great, Joan of Arc are alive in hundreds, thousands? of living, breathing people. The wars? Crusades? Abelard and Eloise are next door. When do we see and teach that Huck Finn has the same problems with his father as our students? When do we see and teach that Henry, Madam Bovary, Huck Finn, Romeo, and Juliet are...you, me, every teacher and student living or bored to death in every classroom that ever was? When will we wake students to the truth, that every "subject" vibrates, pulses with the heartbeat of our students? That there is relevant excitement in the human dimension of history, literature, physics, algebra, foreign languages, every discipline. Is it beneath our dignity to demonstrate Henry VIII's gout by moaning and limping
about and collapsing into his throne wheezing, "Yeeee Guds! Thees gout ezz killin me!!" Where the joy? The wonder? The laughter? The... passion?
Credo: The only thing worth teaching is how to get rid of the teacher.
- Vocabulary - English
- Oral expression - English
Writing comprehension - English
Listening comprehension - English
Writing expression - English
I've taught English ten years at Simeon High School; taught speech, writing, and acting 30 years at St. Xavier University (tenured professor); taught creative writing/speech/acting at DePaul University, Goodman School, Columbia College, Steppenwolf Theater, Malcolm X College, St. Xavier University, Chicago Dramatists,, other venues. Directed 100+ theater productions, acted in 50, wrote 35 plays that earned over 60 productions and six national playwright awards. I've designed and implemented 400+ educational seminars for elementary, high school, and college faculties on ADHD, positive
student discipline, and humor for teachers. Hold B.A, M.A, and MFA degrees.