Contrasting Carson Part I

I am not one who apologizes for the work I have done over the past 9 years of teaching; I have fully enjoyed the Advanced Placement history courses I have taught, the success of my students on the exam, the excellent and very open relationship I have with current and past students, as well as the number of academic and research projects I have contributed to. But, I must say, I find it interesting when one attacks me as a person on my own blog; a few students who read the comment were surprised I did not delete it; I used it as another example to illustrate the weakness of individuals who hide behind an anonymous name. Still, I understand there are those who fear me and my knowledge without understanding my plight nor my background. As a Christian, one who was raised by agnostic parents, I will say that they taught me the one thing Christianity has taught me over the years: love all people as Christ would love them — even those of different values and views. I will let those who know me and my passion judge my political, social, and intellectual values. I think the About the Proletarian outlined the purpose of this blog. In defense of the first comment below, I value his/her opinion and would prefer a more personal email. If it is that much of a concern, my contact information is posted on this blog too. A honest conversation would be nice.

Point of View #2 here is values my intellectual diversity more:

I am a former student who took Carson’s class for 2 years. Firstly, I want to point out Carson is an EXCEPTIONAL teacher. It is said the best teachers seek to make themselves obsolete. What this means is a great teacher instills a student with a desire to learn and the analytical and intellectual skills to teach his or her self- an incredibly valuable skill. I can honestly say that even though i am not majoring in history in college, i not only enjoyed Carson’s class immensely but find the ability to think freely, explore opposing viewpoints intellectually without compromising my own, and solve and articulate complex problems has served me immeasurably well.
Secondly, as a Christian, i have to disagree with some of the other religious viewpoints on this blog, especially regarding Carson’s character and teaching style. In a way, its great that some students have chosen to represent their religious beliefs on this blog, although i think the aggressive tone really undermines the message. But Carson is always kind and open minded towards his students- he never ridicules but always encourages his students to think and challenge. He always does this out of a sense of love- Carson is less concerned about “correcting” his students that letting them discover for themselves what they believe. Isn’t this the kind of servants God wants? We have free will- Carson teaches us to exercise it. St. Francis of Assisi once said we should “preach the gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” There are different types of spiritual mentors- some teach us to use language to articulate beliefs and help us with out spiritual issues. That’s great, but that’s not the singular example of how to represent faith. My experience with Carson has been filled with nothing but patience, kindness, gentleness etc. – Carson really preaches the gospel in the way he lives- not in the way he posts things on a blog. I don’t think “blogging” Christianity in this manner- aggressively and in a headstrong manner- is going to change minds. If you do that you are going to draw praise from those who think the same as you and criticism from those who don’t (I’m going to go out on a limb and extend that comment to say, legislating morality). Christianity believes in a personal God- literally one that became a person and has the power to change human beings into “sons of God”. If this is the kind of Christianity you believe in, then it starts with your friends, your family, and your coworkers and your case is the way you live your life- with joy and perseverance in the face of hardship. In a way, the fact that Carson persists to teach at a place that doesn’t value his incredible contributions the way is should is such evidence. Am i right in recollecting you were never once voted teacher of the year at Houston Christian? Of course, not that it makes any difference- good teaching is good teaching whether it is awarded or not and i think Carson is a big enough man to recognize that. Even though Carson claims to be “elite”, he never beats his chest over his own accomplishments (like KILLER AP passing rates, rivaled perhaps only by the Dox). Lastly, i also am going to pray for Mr. Carson to be a better teacher and mentor- not that he isn’t but that he goes on to do even greater things. God bless Mr Carson and keep up the good work!

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18 thoughts on “Contrasting Carson Part I

  1. I was hoping you would address this. I have been frustrated by this since I first read it. What took you so long? If this person is so concerned, why don’t he or she ask to speak to you on a more individual level? People kill me. Many do not even see that they are closed minded to different views. sad.

  2. I think it is because you are so cocky. No, not really. But, you do tend to march with your head up. That is okay. Too many people who are unsure anyway. Do not let this bother you. It is neat that you kinda defend this person. Are you students just worshiping you or something?

  3. Hey Carson,
    I’d just suggest that anyone who has any criticism of you spend a few days on a college campus and then smile when they come back a little more tense than they left or a little more relaxed.
    Your class is the closest thing to a college course in the school, and its because of the skills I learned in your class that I aced my first hums paper (at Davidson where grade inflation doesn’t exist). Besides class, you take the most personal interest in your students of anyone I’ve ever been taught by. Reinforcing old thought patterns does a person no good. Being challenged does, especially when that challenge merges with life outside the class room.

  4. Lerin,

    I respect what you are saying and must agree with uour comment. You are very right in that some if not mant cannot hack the political and academic tension that exist on many college campuses. My campus is no exception. carson is almost too nice in many ways. I hope your campus is not as narrow in focus carson as the first comment stated on your post. If so, it would seem that you are a bit ahead of them in a number of ways. Good luck.

  5. Well, Carson. You already know how I feel about your teaching style and character as expressed in that previous blog piece. It’s nice to know there’s an intellectual to converse with about things that most teachers would just blow off because of a closed mind (eg. Ethics today).

  6. Hey Carson,

    Sorry if my first comment on your blog caused such an uproar. I in no way intended for it to be used as a personal attack against you or your character. It was merely a sad side-effect of what I had stated earlier and I apologize for any grievance that it has caused you.

    God Bless

  7. …but there are those who feel this way. I do not understand why. I am different. But you must admit, that is why you like my class? You are free to say and think as you please. I hope that will not change. Plus, you are one of my favorite students. Keep working hard in my class and challenging me. I like that.

  8. maybe its time for a piece on the proper etiquette of addressing people on the internet? its such a new thing that its really hard to get a handle on, but i feel like some of the same rules apply as when dealing with people face to face (don’t make vague unqualified statements, avoid inflammatory words, don’t attack the speaker, only his or her view). I think all of us here agree that the person who wrote the first statement certainly has a right to their view, but i wonder if a private email would have been more appropriate. When we are talking about politics, or the Bible, or any number of intellectual but sensitive issues it’s really easy to degenerate into frustration that ends up hurting people and not really accomplishing much- although i am really impressed with everyone on this blog, most of the comments have been not only very insightful, but well articulated in a mature fashion. It’s important to know what you stand for, but vitally important to be able to talk about it in a way that will encourage thought instead of inciting anger.

  9. Carson, dude… I’ve been w’o power at home and haven’t checked your blog until now. What kind of trouble are you stirring? (wink) ‘Cause I like it when you stir the pot… makes me think.
    I’ve told you many times in person; I’ll reiterate it here: we need you at HCHS.
    Well, now that you’re a beastly runner, I guess our walking days of discourse are over? BTW, WHEN ARE YOU GONNA GET YOUR PHD??? Seriously… you are the iconic “piled higher and deeper”. Dr. Carson… it fits ya. cheers. jk

  10. Oh, and Carson, How’d you like the debates Friday? The first round definitely went to Obama for explaining what he believed, but the other seven definitely went to McCain. What was your judgement?

  11. Edward, you strike me as a teacher who takes himself and his profession very seriously without taking himself TOO seriously. Does that make sense? 😉

    I enjoy your commitment to learning, to your students, and I am in the learning mode whenever I read your blog.

    Like my Dad (the Latin teacher) used to say, “Non illegitimi carborundum est.” Or something like that. 🙂

    Of course, if your critics don’t like it, “Sic friat crustulum!”

  12. Carson it really bugs me about this school and the people that run it and attend it are filled with such die hard right wing conservatives that will not even entertain a different idea even if it is presented just for academic discussion. I mean here is a great example as you know the school musical is Kiss Me Kate in this musical there is a famous line where the women playing Kate calls Patruchio(exuse my spelling) a bastard in the middle of the song. With out it the next middle of the song makes no sense but since our school is so high strung we can not have that kind of language on stage where if you walk down any hallway in the school you will hear much worse. Sorry for ranting but I am sick of it, but Carson is any one honestly surprised it happed i mean we all know its not the first time this has happened its what we get when academics challenge the status Qou

  13. I personally, don’t think either comment was entirely fair. The writer of the first comment was truthful about his opinion and had SOME good points even if they are a little “aggresive” as the second commentator stated. The second commentator made the first out to being overly critical of Carson. In some instances that is true, but I felt that the first commentator was more concerned. Even though he/she was a little bold, I don’t feel that the intention was entirely hostile. The second commentator was a bit unfair with the first. However the second very much showed his/her point well. I myself feel that Carson is a great teacher. Although his beliefs strongly differ from mine, he has never forced anything on us but the oportunity to examine our beliefs from a different viewpoint. I feel that unlike some extreme liberals, that he does not have an agenda behind his teaching.

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