Power resides in understanding it is YOU doing the choosing.
The ability to choose is the ability to exert power. As the first step on the Arc of Transcendence, the power of choice sets the stage for all future steps.
In the classroom, the power exists for you to choose some things, but not others. But, the most powerful choice, the one that matters the most is yours to make. You have the power to choose what type of students you want to be. Much of your classroom experience will come down to this choice, and your willingness to exert the power behind this choice.
How have your choices lead you to be the type of student you are?
Making choices is an act of power. Sometimes, though, we weaken this power by selecting conflicting choices. We may want to be a successful student. We may also equally desire a “stress free” life with an abundance of free time. These decisions do not support one another. Educational endeavors are stressful by nature and require our time.
Neither choice is “right” or “wrong”. The problem only arises when we choose options that are in opposition.
What has brought you here – to this moment?
What are two desires/goals you have in the classroom? Do these choices support one another or do they conflict with one another?
Most teachers have a clock and calendar in their heads, knowing the curriculum they want to cover in an academic time frame. You, as a student, also, have a clock and calendar in your mind, as to how you manage these expectations. You may also have a calculator in mind, as you determine how many points must be earned, or standards must be met, in order to earn the desired grade.
Both teachers and students may focus on these parameters and the choices required to fulfill them, because both teacher and student are seeking to create a particular experience. The teacher wants to share the curriculum of the course, and the student wants to succeed. The arc of connection between choices leading to the desired experience can become lost, however. Students, and also teachers, can begin to make choices that move them further from the desired experience. If you want to make effective choices in the classroom, you must become very clear about what experience you are seeking.
What has brought you here – to this moment?What is your desired experience in the classroom? How are your choices leading you towards this experience? How are your choices leading your from this desired experience
You have to put in effort to succeed in the classroom. You also have to put in effort to fail. Most understand the connection between effort and success. Many overlook, though, that failure also requires effort. When you miss assignments, do poorly on examinations because of lackluster effort, you may think you are getting a free ride.
The initial effort leading to failure may be low, only to appear on the other side of the failure. Teachers may arrange extra work or make-up examinations, or you may need to retake an entire class. Both success and failure in the classroom require effort. Don’t fool yourself that failing is less work.
If both require energy and effort, why would you choose failure over success?
For the most part, everyone embarks on a journey through the classroom and coursework. Even if someone is home-schooled, learning goals and educational objectives are present. Within the shared undertaking of education, stories and labels emerge.
Stories evolve from ourselves about ourselves, as well as from others. One student is the hero of his or her classroom narrative, overcoming a challenging examination to earn an “A”. Another student lives the story that he or she has never been good at school, and thus, will never succeed. From these stories, labels appear, “smart”, “good at math”, “doesn’t have to try”, or “slow”, “can’t read well” and so on.
Not only are the stories and labels a problem, but the stories and labels remain with a tenacity that may color a person’s self-perception for years. Tenacity, not accuracy, tends to be the mark of these narratives.
In the classroom environment, what stories and labels do you use about yourself? How long have these stories and labels been in use?
You can only learn if you show up in a way that indicates your learning matters to you.
In all the world of choices, preferences, decisions and actions, you need to become very clear of one thing – that you matter. And not only that you matter in a general sense, but in the utmost profound and sacred of ways, you must matter to yourself.
No action you undertake, in a learning environment or otherwise, will have relevance if you can not get to the core understanding that for ANYTHING to have significance in your life, you must matter to you.
How does learning happen if you do not matter to you?
Throughout your life, you encounter many teachers. Some teachers will inspire you. Some teachers will leave you with mixed feelings, and some teachers will fail your expectations.
No matter what you may feel about any particular teacher or classroom-type setting, you must come to understand that no teacher is as important as the teacher who is with you every single moment, YOU.
Day in and day out, the primary person teaching you is you. Years of classes and even the best teachers pale in comparison to the power and effectiveness you develop when you learn how to teach yourself.
You are the teacher you are seeking.
As a teacher of yourself, how would you rate you as a student?
Gratitude is an act of Transcendence. Something new is created when we exchange our gifts with one another, both as giver and receiver.
When you are a teacher, you are a gift to others. In giving of yourself, you provide the possibility for the development and transformation of others that extends far beyond you. Within your teaching experience, you free to manifest the transformative steps of the Arc of Transcendence in sharing the following:
May your Choices, Presence, Awareness, Ascendance and Transcendence reflect the teacher you long to be.
Relative to your teaching experiences, for what are you most grateful?
The teaching experience is not built upon comfort, but rather upon the sense of possibilities inherent in Transcendence.
Although we may all like the comfort that comes from teaching a consistent set of courses and curricular content over the course of several semesters, we need to recognize that this predictability must be balanced with a sense of possibilities for transformation within ourselves and our students. When we become too comfortable, we can become resistant to evolution, within ourselves and our profession. By engaging with the steps along the Arc of Transcendence, we are asked to reconsider our intentions. Each step along the Arc of Transcendence propels us into learning something new about ourselves and our experiences within teaching. Comfort is left behind, as Transcendence emerges.
What motivates your teaching more – a sense of comfort or the desire for Transcendence?
Do your students suffer because you long for the comfort of predictable teaching?
One thing that often needs to be brought to an end in order for Transcendence to emerge is our limiting thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Each day, we only have so much energy to spend. To Transcend and transform in our teaching experience inside and outside the classroom, we must be willing to let go of those energy expenditures that no longer serve us or others. This is the only way in which to have energy available to do the work of transformation.
Which set of limitations do you need to release in order to engage with the energy of Transcendence in your teaching experience?
What set of limitations must your students eliminate in order that they may have a more transformative experience in your classes?