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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.
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.