Southeastern professor discusses teaching vocation in new book

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
by: Rene Abadie

     HAMMOND – What does it mean to be a teacher? For Southeastern Louisiana University Professor of Education James Kirylo, teaching is more than just a job, it is a calling or vocation that carries with it significant responsibilities.
     In his new book, “Teaching with Purpose: An Inquiry into the Who, Why, and How We Teach,” Kirylo underscores what it means to be an insightful teacher and the critical aspects that intersect the teaching and learning process. The text, published by Rowman and Littlefield of Lanham, Md., is designed to be informative for educators, as well as policy-makers and those who have a general interest in what it takes to be a teacher.
     “Being called a teacher is an earned privilege that carries a great sense of responsibility. For five days a week and numerous months of the year, teachers work with other people’s most treasured gifts, their children,” Kirylo said. “It cannot be overstated that the teacher is the most important element in fostering an energetic, engaging and inspiring classroom environment where authentic learning can take place,” he added.
     Kirylo further points out that teachers must have what he describes as five components of knowledge, which include knowledge of students, subject matter, pedagogy, learning and classroom management. Moreover, he underscores the point that all teachers should possess what Kirylo characterizes as six dispositions of significance, comprised of love, faith, home, humility, compassion and persistence.
     He said education is about relationships and working with human beings on their dreams, goals and inspirations.
     “Teachers teach children, not a discipline or subject matter. The chief task of a teacher is to inspire, to ignite in the student an aspiration toward accomplishment,” said Kirylo, who has earned one of Southeastern’s highest honors, the President’s Award for Excellence.
     Kirylo also urges teachers to know the politics of education. It’s important, he said, to be well informed about the political climate and process.
     The book is receiving excellent reviews from fellow educators.
     “In this time of teacher-bashing, James Kirylo’s book offers new hope,” says City College of New York Professor of Psychology William Crain. “Kirylo describes teaching as the development of basic human virtues, including self-understanding, caring relationships, the ability to inspire and attention to those most in need.”
     “James Kirylo skillfully reminds us of what constitutes as purposeful teaching at a time when test taking seems to be valued over teaching students to become life-long learners,” wrote Vidya Thirumurthy, associate professor of education at Pacific Lutheran University. “He pithily articulates the major principles that all teachers must bear in mind: that the rectitude of teaching depends much on the teacher’s disposition and ability to reflect, to build relationships with students, to hone every child’s natural talent and gifts so they may attain their full potential.”
     “Teaching with Purpose” is available through the publisher and Amazon.

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