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[Susan notes: Surprise. Surprise.



The New York Times prints long articles on the importance of grit. They won't print a letter acknowledging the importance of a good heart.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published
08/12/2015

To the editor

Re: Can We Interest You In Teaching?" by Frank Bruni

Decades ago during a teacher shortage New York City issued emergency credentials, and I left a job on Madison Avenue to teach in a high school larger than my home town. I cried every night over my classroom inadequacies, but learning that my students had never been on a field trip, I took two busloads from our school in Queens to the Cloisters. In those days, the Feds operated on the belief that if they made money available to expand student horizons, teachers would make good choices.

At the end of the year, still struggling, I considered my official grade of 'C' a gift, but what hit home was my supervisor's observation sitting right next to that 'C'. Somewhere in the great crypts at the Department of Education, there's his declaration that I had a very good heart, made special effort with students with great needs, and, with experience, would become an excellent teacher.

Today I wonder if any school administrator--or newspaper columnist--would have the nerve to buck the rubrics of control that have become the standard in the land and declare that in the matter of teaching, a good heart counts for a lot.

Susan Ohanian


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