Teaching for the last fifteen years has taught me that relationships are the foundation for all learning and growth. As the old truism proclaims, “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” And caring, as I understand it, is positively regarding and being invested in the potential for life in another person. This level of regard and investment can’t be faked or manufactured because investing in another person’s growth takes time and commitment. What I’m talking about is an authentic pedagogical relationship.
Pedagogy is often defined as the “the art, science, or profession of teaching.” Like many words, time and use have stripped pedagogy of its original and more profound meaning. The etymological story behind “pedagogy” takes us back to ancient Greece, where it was common practice for a house slave to lead (agogos) the child (paides) of the house from the home to the polis. Typically, the adult slave walked behind the child, and in this way, “pedagogy” emerged as the art of leading by walking behind. More than providing direction and protection for the child, the pedagogical relationship was defined by entrusting the care of a human being in the hands of another as he or she journeyed between the known and the unknown.
At the heart of my work is this pedagogical relationship based on leading by walking behind. Your vision and resolve drive our work together. I cannot and will not tell you what you should or shouldn’t want for yourself, but I can and will challenge and support you in any and every way possible. I’m not interested in superimposing my journey (or anybody else’s) onto your journey; rather, it’s about “walking behind” and supporting you as you move towards a more enriched understanding of who you are, what you value, and where you want your journey to go.
© 2018 Matthew Dewar, Ed.D.