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Johnathan Carosella Dedication Page


NAME: John J. Carosella

SCHOOL: Saint Joseph High School

CLASS: English II, English IV, Liturgy Choir, Freshman Liturgy Choir, Drama


What is green?
                                    Anyone who has entered Room 204 at St. Joseph High School during 
                                    my tenure as English teacher may have seen the question "What is 
                                    green?" prominently displayed in some way or another along the 
                                    borders of the room. As decoration, it is decidedly unimaginative; and 
                                    yet, students frequently poke their heads into the room on the first day of 
                                    school to see whether or not "the question" is still there. It is, of 
                                    a relatively simple question; but the answers it has elicited over the 
                                    years have been as varied as the students who have sat with me in that 
                                    room. Some have been humorous; some, profound. Some have 
                                    proferred scientific explanations, while others have attempted 
                                    theological ones. All have had merit. All have reflected the innate wonder 
                                    that each human being possesses--the inborn sense of curiosity--the 
                                    completely natural desire to learn. This question--"What is 
                                    green?"--expresses my personal philosophy of education more 
                                    thoroughly than any other single aspect of my teaching life.
                                    Green with envy
                                    Over Math teachers who
                                    Often times
                                    Have all the answers
                                    I long for greener pastures which
                                    Seem greener on the other side of the fence
                                    And yet
                                    Most times
                                    I look at the tender green shoots before me and wonder
                                    What is green anyway
                                    If not a sign of good things to come
                                    Philosophies of education come and go. During my thirty six years of 
                                    teaching I have seen quite a few of them. The strict, eight-period day 
                                    came and went. Modular scheduling came and went. Modified eight 
                                    periods with electives, block scheduling, and trimesters have all left 
                                    their marks. I have seen discipline tightened, loosened, and sometimes 
                                    amost totally abandoned. Behavioral Objectives, Writing as Process, 
                                    New Math and sundry other attempts to increase the effectiveness of 
                                    schools have made their appearance on the stage of my teaching 
                                    career. Throughout all of those (and many more), however, one item 
                                    has remained constant and it is the item that forms the foundation of 
                                    what I consider to be my personal philosophy: the first and most 
                                    important goal of general education is the self-realization of the student; 
                                    the first and most important goal of Catholic education is achieving 
                                    self-realization in order to gain access to heaven.
                                    Two roads diverged...
                                    On the horns of a dilemma...
                                    Between a rock and a hard place...
                                    What's a teacher in a Catholic school to do?
                                    What kind of a balancing act does it take
                                    To help the "self" become real...
                                    And then ask them to sacrifice it for the "other"?
                                    Realize it and then deny it?
                                    What is love anyway
                                    If not choosing to relinquish the center, the self
                                    For another?
                                    If everything in the world were green...and the same shade of 
                                    green...would there be any need for the word green? The answer is 
                                    obviously "no". One does not need the word green until a tiny spot of a 
                                    different color appears within the green world. Then, and only then, is it 
                                    necessary for observers to "name the difference". It is, after all, "the 
                                    difference" that gives rise to words. If a table were the same as a chair, 
                                    there would be no need for the word table. It's "the difference" that 
                                    makes the difference! And there it is: the philosophy of general 
                                    education. In the general classroom, educators MAKE A WORLD OF 
                                    DIFFERENCE! In the Catholic classroom, educators try to MAKE A 
                                    DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.
                                    The first and foremost goal of general education is self-realization. Each 
                                    student who sits with me in Room 204 has a name and no two names 
                                    are alike. This indicates that each student is, in some way, different from 
                                    all of the others. Each is an individual. This situation leads to the 
                                    universal question that Literature deals with: Who am I? Of course, that 
                                    question leads to subsequent questions: Where do I come from; where 
                                    am I going; what am I doing here?, how do I fit in? Whereas these 
                                    questions are enthusiastically welcomed in the Catholic school 
                                    classroom, they are often skirted in public school classrooms. After all, 
                                    there is the possibility that we come from God and are going to God--a 
                                    possibility that, by law, may not be discussed in publicly-funded 
                                    institutions. Avoiding those questions is at cross purposes, therefore, 
                                    with the primary goal of general education, self realization. 
                                    There does seem to be, however, an aspect of each individual which 
                                    appears to be the same and not different.  Some call it "life"; some, soul;
                                    some, the animating principle; some, spirit.  Whatever we choose to call 
                                    it, we call it the same thing for each individual. And so...whereas our 
                                    bodies have individual names to indicate the differences, our "souls" do 
                                    not.  My soul is not called "George" while another's is call "Sally".  No, 
                                    merely soul.  And soul is soul is soul is soul.  
                                    Does that mean that there is something about me that is precisely the 
                                    same as that something in each other person?  I wonder...and I 
                                    encourage my students to wonder along with me.