But most of the time I look around me and I fall out of the "we" that does all of this. I feel miles from the faculty room talk about "these kids." These kids -- as if they are machine-stamped, consistently flawed duplicates of one another.
One can crunch numbers. One can make "data-driven decisions" about academics. One must. But analysis and policy and curriculum are not the heart of education.
I was reminded of this today, as I was standing in the main hall of our school at dismissal. I watched the energetic crowd of high schoolers flowing around me, happily bound for home. As they passed, I caught sight of a student whose face was unfamiliar to me. We are a small school, so this doesn't happen much.
All I could think was: That's someone's boy. He is the most important thing in someone's life. He's a person whose inner life is every bit as vast as my own.
Call me corny, but every face in the bleachers; every face in the classroom; every kid whose face I see in the crowd for the first time -- every one of those kids is someone's child.
That is the heart of education.
Does any job present such an awesome responsibility? Sometimes, the thought of this overwhelms me.