Engaging in the act of teaching often requires us to engage with a sense of vulnerability – both our own and that of our students. Learning is inherently a vulnerable act. When we are learning, we are in a position of unknowing and uncertainty. As teachers, we often sense this vulnerability in our students, but we may overlook it in ourselves.
This sense of our own vulnerability while teaching can be one of the more challenging aspects of our jobs. This vulnerability can emerge due to such things as constantly feeling like we have to be “on”, our own inner critic and sense of failure, or the idea that we are under unremitting evaluation from ourselves, administrators, and students. This sense of vulnerability may never go away completely, but we can bring an awareness to our teaching that lessens our sense of risk.
Which aspects of teaching make you feel most vulnerable? What are some places of vulnerability that teachers experience that you wish those who did not teach would understand?
How does your sense of vulnerability affect what you do in the classroom? What is one way your students ask you to engage with their sense of vulnerability?