A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned

A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned

A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned

A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned

Synopsis

sroom and discovers how much of what she learned there needs to be unlearned. A painful and exhilarating story of spiritual awakening, Tompkins' book critiques our educational system, while also paying tribute to it.

Excerpt

At the age of forty-nine, having spent most of my conscious years inside the walls of academic institutions, I realized I no longer had much use for the things I'd learned in school. By this I don't mean that what I had learned was worthless, but that the subjects I had studied and taught, and the way I had studied and taught them, were secondary to the real concerns of my life.

This realization followed upon a period of internal change, still going on, in which I gradually became aware that life was not as I had always taken it to be but something very different. How different was only just beginningto dawn. It became clear to me that I was not in my life to make a career for myself but to give something, though what, specifically, I didn't yet know. I could tell that school was no longer the place for me. And even while I continued to draw a salary and teach classes in the university, I had, in some sense, graduated and was living in another world.

This book looks back on my life in school with an eye to understanding at least some of it: recording what it was like, for me, to be a teacher and a student. Though much of what I have to say is painful, my intent is not to repudiate that life but to examine it in a way that may be useful . . .

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