Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Courage to Teach

While I am not a teacher in a school, I am surrounded by them in my life. I know that I have a teacher's outlook on things no matter what my title currently says. So, I picked up The Courage to Teach at a garage sale last summer and finally got around to reading it. WOW! Any leader, any teacher...this is a good read.

Thanks to Amy Dutt for introducing me to Parker Palmer, giving credit where credit is due.

Some quotes from the book that struck me:

Good education may leave students deeply dissatisfied, at least for awhile. I do not mean the dissatisfaction that comes from teachers who are inaudible, incoherent or incompetent. But students who have been well served by good teachers may walk away angry – angry that their prejudices have been challenged and their sense of self shaken.

The hallmark of the community of truth is in its claim that reality is a web of communal relationships, and we can know reality only by being in community with it.
We invite diversity in the (learning) community not because it is politically correct but because diverse viewpoints are demanded by the manifold mysteries of great things.

Becoming a leaders of that sort – one who opens, rather than occupies space – requires the same inner journey we have been exploring for teachers. It is a journey beyond fear and into authentic selfhood, a journey toward respecting otherness and understanding how connected and resourceful we all are. As those inner qualities deepen, the leader becomes better able to open spaces in which people feel invited to create communities of mutual support.

The decision to live an undivided life, made by enough people over a long enough period of time, may eventually have social and political impact. It is a deeply personal decision, made for the sake of one’s one identity and integrity. To decide to live divided no more is less a strategy for attacking other people’s beliefs than an uprising of the elemental need for one’s own beliefs to govern and guide one’s life.

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