NEVER NEUTRAL: A TEACHING LIFE

 

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NEVER NEUTRAL: A TEACHING LIFE

A new book by Ted Schmidt   from the preface:

Why aren’t there teachers like you anymore?” the young teacher asked me.

I had never met him before he showed up at talk I was giving on scripture in 2010. His name was familiar to me and many people told me he was doing good things in the working class school he was in.

I brushed off his compliment and told him I thought there were lots of really good teachers around. I never was one for “old fartism” and genuinely believed that every generation produced stand outs. When he persisted with, “you know what I mean” I simply told him that in many ways we were products of our time. He had included my good friends the late Fintan Kilbride and Dwyer Sullivan in this grouping. We all had been honoured by the Catholic Teacher’s Union OECTA  with the Marion Tyrrell Award, a kind of “teacher of the year” for the province.

This memoir is my attempt to answer Steve’s question.

One never fully understands how one is viewed and I never attempted to forge a persona. If anything I often saw myself as ‘conservative’, simply trying to answer the Psalmist’s plaint uttered in Babylon,”How do we sing the Lord’s song in a new land.” I loved the tradition which was handed on to me. I resonated with the words of the greatest pope of the last century John XXlll

It is not that the Gospel has changed: it is that we have begun to understand it better. Those who have lived as long as I have were faced with new tasks in the social order at the start of the century; those who, like me, were twenty years in the East and eight in France, were enabled to compare different cultures and traditions, and know that the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead.

I have always said that I never had a career in teaching. I had a life poured  out on the sacred soil of young lives. Career connotes ambition, plotting with one’s eyes on the next rung. It was about upward mobility. My horizon was about  downward mobility, an ever deeper immersion both in the lives of students but also into the never-ending search for wisdom. Triste dictu, I met too many careerists. They had their rewards but in my judgment they missed the many splendored thing. I chose the classroom as the place where the real action was, where the sparks flew, eyes were opened and laughter bounced of the walls.I was never cynical about people who chose to be admistrators.Some whom I name in this book had that charism. I take no  pleasure in saying that most did not. As the Bard said of such types ”Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.” Many indeed were decent people but they were not leaders in any significant way.

Available from the author  jtschmidt@rogers.com

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2 Comments »

  1. 1

    The problem with Ted’s books is that they celebrate Ted. They are essentially narcissistic. Why don’t you try writing a book that is not about you, but about Christ, or the nature of the Church, etc., without any kind of self-reference. We all know there is evil in the world, we all know there are Pharisees, there have always been corrupt bishops, priests, popes, and laity, as well as saintly priests, bishops, popes, and laity, and there always will be. Pointing out the hypocrites….boring! It is also condescending and gives us a sense of being one up on them. The saints focused on their own sinfulness in order to give us a boost. You, on the other hand, focus on the shortcomings of others, and when you highlight the good that others do, it’s always in reference to the failings of certain others, and so it is essentially “shaming”. That’s why your books don’t sell. Try taking yourself out of the picture completely and give us a book that turns out attention only on Christ and Christ alone.

  2. 2
    Din Yalonen Says:

    I may have physchward ability. D

    thesolesmusic.com – youtube – facebook – twitter – myspace

    Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:26:16 +0000 To: dinofthesoles@live.com


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