Oh, the eternal quandary of the educator. The Water is Wide opened up deep conversations about the philosophy of teaching. Luckily, many of our book group members are educators, so Pat's wonderful words spoken personally to their own experiences.
The takeaway is clear. Just like Conrack, our teachers were fueled by idealism and smacked with reality. Like Conroy, I believe that teaching is a noble profession ignored by the powerful out of simply fear.
However, I remember 12th grade English teacherMrs. Fetter, who insisted we knew of Samuel Johnson, John Milton and Donne, "because when you are at cocktail party and someone brings up Paradise Lost, it is imperative that you'd be capable of intelligent conversation." My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Tucker, ruled that books were pretty much sacred biblical artifacts. If one was found, god forbid, on the floor of the classroom, the flaming gates of all hell broke loose. Mrs. Graber taught Anatomy, so no literature ran through the veins of my dissected cat, but I was told to memorize everyone bone, joint, tendon and muscle of the body and you believe believe that is exactly what I did. My atlanto-occipital joint bows my head in homage the these teachers, and each educator in my book groups, who have enriched my life.
Here are the links the the videos shared: