The Courage to Teach Again

So often, Parker Palmer helps me regain a healthy perspective on teaching and returning to the classroom:

"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. The techniques I have mastered do not disappear, but neither do they suffice. 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.
This book builds on a simple premise: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher." --from Parker J. Palmer's The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life (10)

This passage from Parker Palmer helped me calm down about our return to school this fall. Partly, I’ve been avoiding blogging for a few weeks due to an overwhelming inner and outer glut of technique-talk.

Reading Parker Palmer helps me refocus on subject-centered teaching (and learning) with my students. In a previous blog, I mentioned Parker and Rilke’s focus on “the grace of great things,” and I’d just supplement that with the “the grace of ordinary things.” Most importantly, being ready to teach is about planning some space to read, write, and talk about what matters in life.

As a wise theologian once said, “To progress is to begin again.”

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