Anecdotes and Afterthoughts: Literature as a Teacher's Curriculum
thesisposted on 28.06.2013 by Edward Podsiadlik III
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This qualitative study explores how literature informs and challenges my understanding of teaching and learning on an intrinsic level. It explores how aesthetic immersion into works of literature helps me transcend linear boundaries in order to inspire deeper understanding of my identity as a teacher. Insights, questions, challenges, and conflicts are revealed through a series of essays in which my life as a teacher is illuminated through literature and imagination. Hopefully reading this portrayal of literature, which has been a source of educational insight and imagination for me, will be of use to other educators as they reflect on their own teaching. These philosophical and narrative inquiries are viewed through an aesthetic lens as I draw from literature that I have used in the classroom with students. Autobiographical tangents tinged with relevant literary analyses are used to transcend external forms and functions into multi-dimensional landscapes that underlie my teaching and learning. The primary works of literature used to facilitate this journey are: The Red Badge of Courage (1895), Les Miserables (1862), and American Idiot (2004); Light in August (1932), Seinfeld scripts (1991-98), and Frankenstein (1818); and The Odyssey, Night (1960), and The Souls of Black Folk (1903). By delving beneath my exterior ‘teacher mask,’ a collage of images, anecdotes, reflections, aspirations, and fears is exposed. As a resource for pre-service teachers or a reflective exercise for veteran teachers, this study would benefit educators by providing a new pathway through which to better understand their intrinsic identities as teachers. Each chapter concludes with a list of “Recommendations for Reflection” that readers are encouraged to consider individually and/or collectively. The spirit of daydreams allows me to integrate literature, autobiography, and imagination through my imaginative discourses with literary figures, using quotations as the content of their commentary about my intrinsic realities, fears, and aspirations as an educator. My hope is that this journey will inspire other educators to further reflect on realities and possibilities of what it means to be a teacher.