What is to learn? Don’t we do it every day? By talking, by listening, by sharing ideas? Isn’t sharing a cycle of learning and teaching? Can’t sharing and receiving new ideas lead to new ways of looking at the world? Creativity? Innovation?

Alright, I can believe that. But then what’s a teacher? Am I one, because I have a class? Or because I have this specific degree? Perhaps because I never stop asking questions of myself, and so I continue to learn. Is that what it means to teach? To guide other’s learning?

Yeah, ok, but sometimes students can be a challenge, the job can be unfulfilling. So? How do you handle it? Do you give into your frustration and move on to the next student or task? Do you continue and try to reach out, try to make some connection, and move your learners forward?

I guess a teacher is someone who tries their best to act in the best interests of their students. What kind of activity can move them forward? What do they know, and what have they still to learn? How can I challenge them? How can I make the challenge fun? These are the questions of a teacher.

But why a school? Well, adults have to work, children have to learn. Schools are daycares, they are social training centers. They establish a leader, and define what it means to succeed. Schools condition minds for the society they will one day enter as a participant, not a ward.

Is society fair? Is it just? Or does it follow established regimes of power, conceits, and prejudice? There are so many voices, ideals and ideas that define who we are and who we should strive not to be. What is feminine, what is masculine, what is normative and what is deranged? Culture prescribes and schools help to guide.

These prescriptions are like walls, keeping some safe and warm, with others out in the cold. There are those who cut the wood, and those who bask in the fire. So, come, let us walk to the edge of the wall and peer through. It doesn’t matter if you are looking in, or looking out, what do you see? People. Dressed differently, sure, but people just the same.

A rainbow may be beautiful, but on its own, it’s all there is to see. It is the contrast that makes it special. So, let us peer through the walls. After all, what would you prefer? To be in a box, a room, or a cage – or a field, a vista or a universe?

Does society define itself by which doors are closed, or which are open? Come class, let us sit and watch as the doors open and close, listening to the symphony of clicks and clacks. Eventually what you have to consider is that they are doors, created, some we can easily pass, some we can’t, but they were all made by people, to contain, to define.

Still, at the end of the day, don’t we all go home? Don’t we then close our own doors, shut our eyes, and reflect? On your eyelids, can’t you see the internal tapestry? Of ideas that open, and others that are shut, too scary to confront, or perhaps just unknown. During the day, did you meet someone new? Share some experience? Then close your eyes and watch a door or two creak open (though sometimes they swing wide, while another slams shut with a terrible bang). That’s what I try to do.

Does this make me a teacher? I don’t know, but isn’t that the point? If I’m always questioning, aren’t I always learning? If I challenge myself each day, to be more open, is that the right path to guide my students? To be honest, I don’t know, but perhaps questions can guide my way? Questions for myself, and for others. Questions, too for you. What do you think? Does all this hold any truth?

Web Data Integration with ManageBac

This post was written for the talk “APIs and Beyond” at the Faria Education Technology Conference 2021.               APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are central

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