Finding the ‘Courage to Teach’
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
I have played the role of student as well as teacher in this ancient Buddhist proverb. I had been teaching for several years when I first encountered my teacher, a man whose wisdom influenced my life and my teaching for almost a decade before I finally met him.
His name is Parker J. Palmer, and my first encounter was a remarkable book, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. It is as profound a book about teaching and learning as I have encountered in several decades of reading about those subjects, beginning well before I decided to change my life’s work and take on the task of serving as a teacher of others.
I periodically return to this book, and others by Palmer that have also spoken to my condition, such as Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation and A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. It was—and is—The Courage to Teach that most influences me as person and as teacher. This is appropriate because, as Palmer makes clear, those of us who teach should not seek to separate our teaching from ourselves. Nor should we seek to separate ourselves from our students.
- Ready, Set, Teach: You in the Classroom (acrlog.org)