Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 06:14:03 -0400 (EDT)
Dear Professor Y:
You castigate me for "playing with fire", of engaging in therapy and counseling for which I am not trained and which is not "our jobs as academicians." Well, you may call our conversation therapy; I call it "wholeness" education. You may call it counseling; I call it caring. In that room, on that floor, John and I weren't student and professor. We were just two human beings who respected each other. And, when we respect another person, we value that person; and, when we value another person, we accept the responsibility for that person's well-being.
Why is it that we academicians so often much prefer to emotionally sterilize our workplace? Why is it that we are so quick to say and applaud that we want to illuminate or open the minds of students and then cringe and condemn if someone talks about the hearts and spirits of students? Somehow I think we forget that when anyone--ourselves included--thinks, that person feels. Sometimes I think we look upon ourselves and the students as a segmented, compartmentalize, categorize, separated being in which the body, emotions, the spirit, and the intellect are placed apart in distinct and unrelated cells. How many times to find ourselves saying, "Oh, that's not my job" when it comes to addressing non-academic concerns of the students however much such concerns may impact on a student's academics? How many times to we find ourselves perceiving that schools deal with a student's intellect, the parents with the students emotions and values, the church with the student's spirit, and the physician with his/her stomach, and that somehow one has nothing to do with the others? The fact that so many teachers/professors often want to ignore emotion and spirit in both themselves and the classroom doesn't mean either a professor's/teacher's or student's emotion or spirit is not present, is not affecting his/her performance, or is not unaffected by what goes on in the classroom.
The bottom line is whether we like it or not, know it or not, he or she has no choice than to teach what we might call the "whole person." No, I think we all have to include, not exclude, the addressing of students emotions and spirit in their classes. We have to realize that while we're dealing with the intellect, we're affecting the emotion; and while we're dealing with the emotion, we're affecting the intellect. The "whole person" of a student is not an ideal; it's not an abstraction. It is a description of reality.
Make it a good day. --Louis-- Louis Schmier (912-333-5947) firstname.lastname@example.org Department of History /~\ /\ /\ Valdosta State University /^\ / \ / /~ \ /~\__/\ Valdosta, Georgia 31698 / \__/ \/ / /\ /~ \ /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\ -_~ / "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\ _ _ / don't practice on mole hills" -\____