I was reading a book this summer, and I learned so much about society, and how people communicate, how technology can be a problem, or it can be a savior. It showed me so much about human nature is evolving and changing, and how change is scary, but unavoidable. The book shaped my thinking as an educator and as a person because it challenged my notions of why we do the things we do.
Was this book the latest educational book that all the teachers are talking about?
It was Cell, by Stephen King.
I have a confession: I don't like nonfiction. At least not as much as fiction. I will read it, and sometimes get something out of it, but often times I read it because I feel I am supposed to to be a better teacher. I've always been this way, even in my time as a minister. I spend so much of my time reading nonfiction trying to figure out what point they are trying to make, and I look for the formula to repeat.
But give me a good work of fiction, and man, do I start thinking. When I read fiction, I fall in love or hate with characters, I lose myself in the world they walk in, I hang on the suspenseful, dripping words of the author, I imagine seeing and hearing the things that are leaping from the page.
Something about reading fiction makes me think more creatively in general. And to me, education is all about creativity. I want to look for something beyond the ordinary, try to find a way to communicate an idea in a manner my students haven't seen before, something that might connect with them in a relevant way while shocking them that "We are actually doing this in class?!?!?"
Now, before I continue, I have no problem with educational blogs I see all over Twitter, and that some of my friends write. Clearly, I engage in writing them myself (see, I am not a hypocrite). And I have no problem with nonfiction educational books. But I really wish that someone would start writing more fiction-y educational blogs to stretch my thinking.
Think of your great teachers, the ones you remember from twenty or thirty (or more) years ago.
Didn't they tell stories? Jesus told parables in the Bible to explain hard concepts in terms the average fisherman and paralytic could understand, so clearly, He was a fan.
Stories trick us into learning.
So, rather than wait for someone to write the next great American novel, I decided to write it myself. Well, not a novel, and not necessarily great, but I decided to create some parables for teachers. Periodically, I will post them on this, my new blog site. I will also post those nonfiction teacher blogs, because some people learn better from those than from fiction.
HEY! Look, differentiated instruction!
Which happens to be the first parable I plan to post!