An Ethic of Excellence

This book, by Ron Berger, helped me to understand what is going on at Matthew Moss High School. As Lindsey said, when she lent me a copy, it is inspirational.

In this blog, however,  I’ll mention only one point that the author makes towards the end of the book, because I felt this passionately throughout my fourteen years in Teacher Education:


 In any classroom there are so many human interactions going on all at once that it is no wonder teachers go home every day exhausted, pleasantly or unpleasantly according to the conditions they are working in. Every learner is reacting to the teacher and also with fellow pupils, as well as thinking about the demands of the institution and problems outside school.

Ron Berger, himself a high school teacher for twenty-five years in a small one-school town in Massachusetts, trained first as a carpenter, He tried to bring the excellent craftsmanship of carpentry to his teaching. He points out that it takes seven years to train a carpenter but after a short training in teaching, which is a much more complex skill, the new teacher in his first job is thrust into full responsibility. I used to feel this most acutely when I said goodbye to each cohort of “qualified” teachers. We had taught them the basics of certain lessons but in no way were they equipped to deal with the multifarious tasks of the teacher who was going to survive in the profession.

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