Teaching- Choice 2

Within our teaching experiences, we are often most upset when we do not perceive any Choices available to us.  We may be told which courses to teach, when the course offerings will happen, and the format for these offerings. Of course, this can lead to frustration.  However, we may overlook the other end of the spectrum.  What to do when we confront ever increasing choices? 

These increasing Choices may revolve around different modalities, different course offerings, different course offering formats (digital or otherwise), variations in student preparation and expectations and so on.  How do we incorporate all of this into our sense of ourselves as teachers? If we allow it, a sense of overwhelm can appear.   One of the best ways to mitigate the problem of too many Choices is to become clear about what we are seeking in our teaching experience.  Having a wealth of options does not mean we must do and be everything. Rather, we are asked to bring our greatest wisdom in making those Choices that fulfill what we desire to create. 

Take a moment and consider the sheer number of Choices you make relative to your courses each term.  How do you best navigate all the choices and options available to you? 

Students also face a number of Choices within each course. How can you help them become aware of the number of Choices they are making and relate these Choices to what they are seeking?

Teaching- Choice 1

Choice is the first step on the Arc of Transcendence, because it is where we first begin to understand and exert our power in the world.  When we feel we are able to make the choices that are best suited to our success, we feel empowered.  On the other hand, we can feel powerless when situations arise in which we feel we have no Choice.  A feeling of powerlessness can be especially problematic for teachers, as so many are depending upon us.  We also confront the idea that if we feel powerless as teachers, how can we convey a sense of power to our students?

Although we may not always have the Choices we would prefer relative to our teaching, we always have the Choice of how we will respond and engage with whatever circumstances emerge. This sense of Choice is our power.

 What role does Choice play in the sense of empowerment (or disempowerment) in your teaching?   In turn, how does this affect the joy and effectiveness of your teaching?

Do you think students struggle to learn when they feel a teacher conveys a sense of powerlessness? How can you make Choices that demonstrate an awareness of the power of Choice to your students?

Teaching – Introduction 3

Teaching is a giving profession. We give of ourselves physically, intellectually, and emotionally, as we attempt to show up on all levels for all learners.   But as is true in any area of life, you can only give what you have.  You can not give anything to your students that is not part of you in the first place.  This can cause problems for us as teachers, as some may expect us to be everything to everyone.  Of course, this expectation is not only unreasonable, it is not even possible. 

On the other hand, we can not fool ourselves as teachers, acting as if we can give something that we do not have.  If you are not organized, how can you expect to give your students a sense of organization? If you do not know the curriculum, what do you expect your students to learn from you?  You must constantly evaluate yourself as a teacher, asking yourself, what it is you are seeking to give your students? And, then, you must be very clear if you have it to give.   

What is your greatest gift to your students?  What are some things you expect your students to have that you, yourself, are unable to give them?

What are some expectations students have about what you can give that exceed what is reasonable for you to give?  How can we make it clear to our students what are appropriate expectations in regards to our giving of ourselves as teachers?

Teaching – Introduction 2

Teachers are identifiable.  Many of us can look back on our lives and still remember, years (or decades) later, those teachers who had an impact on us.  Their influence may have been positive or negative.  Rarely did such influence remain attached to the classroom, but rather extended well beyond.  One of the challenges that we face as teachers is the extent of our power (or supposed extent of our power), and how we participate with this sense of influence on others, individually and collectively.   

I know, for myself, I have almost buckled under this perception from time to time.  I have arisen on some days, wondering how I was going to get through a day of engagement and leading students, where we needed to be, on so many levels.  As teachers, we show up as us, as individuals, but the expectation is that a singular “me” can, somehow, meet the needs of all.

Do you think it is realistic for each individual teacher to meet the needs of all?  As a teacher, what is your perception of the actual level of influence you have on others?

Do you think your students have an accurate understanding of how much influence you have on their success as a teacher? What feelings does your answer evoke?

Living What We Teach

Before we begin the Ascend and Transcend for Teacher program, I wanted to share some thoughts of how teaching during the pandemic transformed us as teachers.

In many ways, teaching during pandemic has us, as teachers, “Living What we Teach”.

As we switched modalities and formats, we experienced the same uncertainty, confusion, and development of new skills that we so commonly expect of our students.

Just as we expect our students to transform and grow, we experienced our own transformation and growth. May we take these changes forward with us.

How can we live up to the same expectations we place upon our students?

How may our relationship with students change when we embrace the idea that we are “living what we teach”?

Teaching as an Act of Transcendence

I will be starting an Ascend and Transcend series for teachers. For now, I would just like to introduce that idea that to be a teacher is to be involved in the act of transcendence.

I feel so many teachers (and others) overlook this aspect of teaching. For me, it reminds me of the sacred work that teaching is.