When Asked What I Can Bring to Teaching
September 3, 2012 Leave a comment
I was always a soulful kid: an underground reader, a closet poet, and a natural-born mystic. Indeed, all the ‘adult’ stuff so deeply valued in our endlessly materialistic culture—by this age achieve this (fill in a blank with a product), by this age acquire so and so, and by mid-age at least there should be mortgages, a family with children who are at least well on their way through elementary school—never demanded my respect or attention. I never felt concerned about having a solid and passable sound bite in response to the social toll: What do you do? This has not been my path. The doing was passed up for the being…and so all of my twenties and most of my thirties were spent diving deep into the recesses of my own mind, healing what needed love, and nurturing what needed to grow. In short, when it comes to the spiritual aspect—and the knowing thyself—of teaching, I am brimming and inspired.
When I was a kid my grandmother told me again and again, “Kelly Girl you have a way with words.” The fact is, though, I never much had a way with academics–at least not until university. Indeed, throughout much of my schooling I felt alienated, overlooked, and unvalued. The more I reflect about teaching and learning the more I uncover unspectacular memories of my own schooling. A tear in the heart is a tear in the mind—this I know empirically to be true. Although I have undergone and created profound healing I am still plagued by a deep insecurity that, on occasion—when mingled with my intuitive power and heightened perception—can really knock my balance out. This is my biggest weakness. There’s medicine I’ve discovered to keep this monster at bay: daily meditation and a hard physical workout at least every other day. Too, it seems, I will soon be forced to release my inner poet (who has been holed up in a Himalayan cave tucked somewhere out of range of my amygdala).
Kids have finely tuned bullshit detectors. I am fundamentally incapable of faking it. This helps us click and connect at the ready. Unfortunately, it also makes me the person who, upon seeing a four-year old running, shouts “run faster!” and to exude a particular vibe that authority figures sniff out and then bristle. Yeah, I have a shaky relationship with authority—so much so that I am not keen on taking on that mantle, that is, to play the role of an authority. This humility makes me a better learner and a more sensitive teacher—but it also makes me extremely vulnerable. The power plays, the politics…they scare me…I am quite illiterate in that regard.
Truly, I have felt more vulnerable and exposed in the last few weeks than I have in quite some time. There is so much to prepare, so much to know, so much to perceive. How can I possibly do it all?
I can bring presence, soulfulness, love, resourcefulness, patience, insatiable curiosity, humility, humor, industriousness, and a deep respect for play to my practice. How should I pace myself, how will I uncover my weaknesses so that I can then get to working on them and building my strength? Help! I need a critical friend!