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Two Ministers of Sorts

This is a short interview and song from two great thinkers.  I first learned of Parker Palmer during one of my first experiences with the Arkansas Leadership Academy.  His book, Courage to Teach, was available to us that week.  I found myself underlining like crazy and identifying with many of Dr. Palmer’s struggles in teaching.  I’ve come to think of Palmer as a minister of sorts because he challenges me to be congruent in my thinking and actions.  He also challenges me to be more understanding of others, their stories, and their struggles.

I can’t remember how I learned of Carrie Newcomer’s music but suspect her name was mentioned during a talk Parker Palmer gave at a conference I attended several years ago.    Carrie Newcomer writes songs that draw out the significance of everyday events.  She is a minister of music for me because her lyrics instruct and sometimes have a healing effect.


Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer



The Work of Our Hands

I thought of this song today while doing classroom walkthroughs and thinking back on several of the wonderful classroom observations I’ve done over the last few months.  I feel a sense of great thankfulness when seeing good teaching.

A masterful teacher rises to the level of sainthood described here in Carrie Newcomer’s song, “The Work of Our Hands.”  People who are fully alive display a commitment to doing good work, whether canning tomatoes, laying bricks, or building young lives.  Doing the best we can do with the task set before us is a high calling and one we must answer as educators.

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