Dating names eternal courage
Face to face with my students, only one resource is at my immediate command: my identity, my selfhood, my sense of this “I” who teaches—without which I have no sense of the “Thou” who learns..In every class I teach, my ability to connect with my students, and to connect them with the subject, depends less on the methods I use than on the degree to which I know and trust my selfhood—and am willing to make it available and vulnerable in the service of learning.My evidence for this claim comes, in part, from years of asking students to tell me about their good teachers.As I listen to those stories, it becomes impossible to claim that all good teachers use similar techniques: some lecture non-stop and others speak very little, some stay close to their material and others loose the imagination, some teach with the carrot and others with the stick.No matter how we devote ourselves to reading and research, teaching requires a command of content that always eludes our grasp.Second, the students we teach are larger than life and even more complex.After three decades of trying to learn my craft, every class comes down to this: my students and I, face to face, engaged in an ancient and exacting exchange called education.
When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject—not at the deepest levels of embodied, personal meaning.
Intellect, emotion, and spirit depend on each other for wholeness.
They are interwoven in the human self and in education at its best, and we need to interweave them in our pedagogical discourse as well.
To chart that landscape fully, three important paths must be taken—intellectual, emotional, and spiritual—and none can be ignored.
Reduce teaching to intellect and it becomes a cold abstraction; reduce it to emotions and it becomes narcissistic; reduce it to the spiritual and it loses its anchor to the world.To see them clearly and see them whole, and respond to them wisely in the moment, requires a fusion of Freud and Solomon that few of us achieve.