Reviews - What do customers think about The Teacher's Calling: A Spirituality for Those Who Teach?
Insighful, but Insufficiently Grounded Feb 20, 2004
In her book The Teacher's Calling: A Spirituality for Those Who Teach, Gloria Durka argues that the key to being a successful teacher--one who is not "bored, dull, or tired"--is to view teaching as one's calling. According to Durka, this means that teaching is not just another profession. Rather, a teacher is called to "preserve and transmit our traditions as sources of beauty, truth and freedom." The task of teaching is not merely to pass along information and fill students' heads with data. It goes much further that, to teaching people how to know and how to learn.
This vision of teaching as calling has many implications for how education ought to be done. Teaching is a matter of nurturing, not just informing. This requires courage, creativity, and wisdom. A teacher must have the creativity required to help students awaken to new ways of thinking, or to connect new ideas with things that they already know. He must have the courage to be a model for his students by being willing to engage in the learning process with them. And he must have the imagination and wisdom necessary to empathize with his students, keeping in mind their perspectives as he teaches them.
All of these elements of Durka's vision for teaching as calling are helpful for the Christian educator. But despite her emphasis on the objective nature of this calling--a calling that is "bigger" than the teacher--the author is surprisingly vague as to the actual source and purpose of a teacher's calling. She often speaks in vague terms of "social transformation" and "personal development," but neglects to tell us the purpose or telos for which such transformation ought to be pursued. Nevertheless, this need not be a serious obstacle to appreciating the book. So long as a Christian brings to the text a biblical grounding in the covenantal purpose of church education, Durka's insights are certainly helpful and instructive.