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Running head: What I Love To Teach

What I Love to Teach: A Reflective Essay Eric M. Brame University of Central Florida

What I Love To Teach

Personal Reflection What does it mean to love a topic and teach it? In fact, many teachers believe they teach. There are many topics which we can teach. However, what topics are we most qualified to teach? This is the most concerning question in my own mind. For this reason, I must ask what branch of English studies I would like to teach. This fair and simple question is overladen with complex answers. In a simple sentence, I can say that I love the concept of literary studies. However this brings into the question: What type of literature? The list can go on forever in an infinite regression. Thus, the big question should be, How do I teach students to explore literature. The answer to this can summoned up as, Teach them to love what they read. However, this creates the question, Define the love of reading. This creates further compounding problems with the concept of literary teaching. Thus, my desire of teaching must be the concept of student wellbeing. What if I am able to find a book that a student can connect to? If they are quiet in front of it and silently thinking, are they attempting to critically think or creatively think? Maybe that is a question that they must answer for themselves. However, I desire to teach students that every story has something that connects with them. As the proverbs say, Raise a child in the way that they should go, and they wont part from it. Thus, it is necessary to show a student that reading is about connections. Sometimes they are very personal connections. For this reason, I take a philosophical and historical view on literature. I want the characters to come to life. In fact, I want to see students imagine the very motions of the swords that Musketeers drew to defend their great king. Maybe I will be able to show them how betrayal in The Odyssey teaches us how to know when to act and when to be passive. Even Solomon taught us: There is a time to gather stones and time to cast them away, and further saying, There is a time for peace and a time for war. How would I be able to personally connect literature with the student that says, in its own way, Forgive those who have done evil against you, and to show them how literature has many answers they are seeking. I want to be able to show students how literature is a personal adventure which creates a summit that they must climb. They must know that at the top of the summit there is a golden rise of the sun that casts its glow for the signal of another day. This type of pedagogy I call Philanthropic Pedagogy which is inspired by Augustine and John Calvin. I want to show through their methods that literature is a holistic quest of self-discovery. In fact, the great Augustine in his Confessions speaks of the many essays he hated to write as a child. He spoke against the teachers that beat him as a child. He explained the lack of personal connection with the literature. For this reason, Augustine became rebellious and wandered to Rome where the great seat of imperial power was held. What if a child that experiences abuse sees Augustines Confessions and sees the spiritual renewal of Augustine in spite of his experiences? Maybe literature can save lives. This is an endeavor I desire to partake in, especially these great and arduous times. I desire to teach students how to make personal connections with those of the past. Many believe it is boring. However, when they are sparked by their emotional connection, they will continue to the summits peak where the golden glow of sunrise is. Then they will see the grand lush verdure of the literary valley. The concepts will be understood as a whole in time. They will learn as they explore further and plunge the depths of the literary seas to Know thy Self.