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?
As an act of creating something anew in our experiences as teachers, we are helped when we reflect on a component that may be missed with Transcendence. Within any act of Transcendence, for something new to be developed, something else likely has to be brought to ending or closure. In teaching, this can be a problem, as administrators and others tend to believe that constantly adding new ideas and actions is a mark of success. However, if additional “newness” is to be incorporated into the classroom experience, a wise question to ask is, “What must come to an end?”.
If you are wanting to transcend your current teaching experience, what actions must come to an end for you to create something new?
How can help your students see what they may need to bring to closure to create something new for themselves?
To teach is to be involved in an act of Transcendence.
At this point, we have examined the role of Choice, Presence, Awareness and Ascendance within our experiences as teachers. Now, we come to final step on the Arc of Transcendence, which is Transcendence itself. In many ways, education is an act of Transcendence, as Transcendence does not only apply to the spiritual sense. Rather, Transcendence can be seen viewed in the sense of transforming in such a way to create one’s self anew. When we educate others, we are involved in the act of Transcendence, because learning in and of itself is an act of Transcendence. We expect learning to transform our students, as we are transformed by the experience of teaching.
How has teaching transformed you?
What transformations do you expect your students to experience in your classes?
As teachers, we are expected to show up in ways that benefit all around us. The expectations are numerous and multi-leveled for each student we teach, for the contributions we make to our institutions and our fields of study. Within all the expectations, Ascendance provides us with a larger view and understanding that who we are, what we do, and how we do it matters. With Ascendance, we see beyond the limitations to the possible actions that may benefit all. The classroom is designed to be a space to push beyond limitations. Ascendance provides a means by which to do this in a way that contributes to the “greatest good for all”, including us.
Within your teaching experience, where are you most likely to employ Ascendance? Where do you find it difficult to utilize Ascendance?
How can you help your students create an atmosphere in your classroom that is Ascendant in nature, in which they are more able to see beyond limitations?
Teaching is a giving profession. Thus, for many teachers the perspective of Ascendance in which one considers the “greatest good for all” is a common way of seeing the world. A sense of altruism and a desire to contribute to the betterment of others are primary motivators for many teachers. All of this is beautiful.
But, as teachers, it is important to remember that we, too, are part of the “greatest good for all”. When we make choices and decisions, and we want to consider the “greatest good for all”, we must remember to include ourselves within this context.
In your teaching experience, how often do you consider yourself when making decisions for the “greatest good for all”?
How may your students learn from you how to consider themselves within the “greatest good for all”?
A perspective of Ascendance can help us navigate one of the more challenging aspects of being a teacher – the need to be “right”. Of course, teaching is a profession by which we must be “right” in the sense of knowing the correct information and material we are instructing. We cannot instruct our student incorrectly, but we also must understand, other than concrete information, the perspective of being “right” is a bit more nebulous than we like to believe. In the classroom, “right” answers are to be expected. Within the rest of our professional lives, we may be better served with a broader and accepting sense of “rightness”. With the perspective of Ascendance, we are asked to see beyond our sense of “rightness” to the best solutions for all involved.
Can you use the perspective of Ascendance to reflect on how being “right” may impact your experience of teaching?
How can you help your students use Ascendance to understand the appropriate understanding of the need to be “right”?
A gift of Awareness is that it takes the focus off of others, whom we cannot control, and places the focus back upon ourselves and our actions. We convolute issues by pretending we have authority and responsibility where we do not, while ignoring our true sphere of influence. Often, in our personal and professional lives as teachers, we see a blurring of our understanding of where our actions end and the actions of others begin. The blurring of these edges into confusion speaks to a lack of Awareness.
Are we influenced by the behaviors and actions of others? Of course, but our power is lost when our Awareness is solely given to the actions and behaviors of others, while neglecting our own.
How do you spend your time relative to your teaching experiences- contemplating how you should change or how others should change?
How are your students helped when you maintain Awareness about your behaviors and actions?
The first steps on the Arc of Transcendence, Choice and Presence, do not necessarily move us from our typical, rote reactions. Unless, we bring Awareness into the picture, we can continue to choose mindlessly, and we can show up with a presence, which by default, is not helpful. Awareness forces us to assess the manifestations we have created and the possibilities that remain. Too much of the drama surrounding teaching manifests from our reactive responses rather than our aware reflections.
In our teaching experiences, we must develop the capability to evaluate and terminate default behaviors that no longer serve our best interests. Otherwise, we can too easily fall into embracing the comfort of past behaviors, whether they have been effective or not.
Based on your Awareness of the outcomes you desire for your teaching experience, are your actions relative to these desired outcomes reactive or reflective in nature?
Would your students asses you as being more reactive or reflective relative to your teaching actions? How can you help your students become more reflective rather than reactive in regards to their learning?
Choice and Presence are, respectively, the first and second steps on the Arc of Transcendence. Choice and Presence, though, can only take us so far. We may be unwilling to note or take responsibility for these steps, and instead act as if we are simply suffering the circumstances of our lives. Awareness forces us to move beyond this complacency, as Awareness asks us to actively and consciously assess our actions and their subsequent outcomes.
Awareness moves us along the Arc of Transcendence as we evaluate how effectively our actions contribute to our desired teaching experience.
What motivates your actions relative to your teaching experience? Your feelings? Your goals? Pleasing others? Pleasing yourself? How does your answer make you feel?
What would your students say motivates your actions in the classroom? How does your answer make you feel?