The Courage to Teach musings

Parker Palmer’s The Courage To Teach:  Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life  “good teaching cannot be reduced to technique;  good teaching comes from identity and integrity of the teacher.  . . Good teachers join self and subject and students in the fabric of life.  Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness.  They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves.  The methods used by these weavers vary widely:  lectures, Socratic dialogues, laboratory experiments, collaborative problem solving, creative chaos.  The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts – meaning heart in its ancient sense, as the place where intellect and emotion and spirit and will converge in the human self.

image from Weaving Broken Twill at Keyboard Biologist’s website

 As good teachers weave the fabric that joins them with students and subjects, the heart is the loom on which the threads are tied, the tension is held, the shuttle flies, and the fabric is stretched tight.  Small wonder, then, that teaching tugs at the heart, opens the heart, even breaks the heart – and the more one loves teaching , the more heartbreaking it can be.  The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in  those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community that learning, and living, require.”

Palmer has given a beautiful mental image of what gives life to teaching and to students.  Spring break is officially over; needed a bit of inspiration.  Kids dragging, so I looked over my highlights in The Courage to Teach.

Lord make my children’s teachers, the children, and me equal to such a task!


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