Martha’s reflections on risk, inspired by what she rightly terms Barbara Ganley’s “call to arms,” make me think hard about our vocation.
It seems to me, tonight, after a fine first day of Faculty Academy, that risk is at the heart of authentic teaching and learning. Both roles are exceptionally vulnerable, and must be so, if a genuine encounter is to occur. All authentic human relationships involve profound risk. And real school requires extraordinary openness if it is to succeed.
The alternative is not safety. The alternative is death. Why give any part of ourselves to death before we must? I am not advocating recklessness; rather the opposite. Reckon the cost, and do all due diligence. Professionalism and true collegiality require no less. But seek guarantees, or seek safety for its own sake, that is, for the sake of being left alone and untroubled, and there can be no authentic educational encounter.
Today doesn’t clarify my commitment so much as it clarifies how precious the community of risky commitment truly is. It clarifies for me that I must not forget my gratitude to that community. I must not forget my calling and obligations to my colleagues in that community, no matter how tangled the circumstances or fraught the encounters.
It’s hard to keep all that clear in the dust and noise of the factory floor. I will try harder.