The Courage to Teach

Rereading “The Courage to Teach” was really helpful. It is always helpful to remember that there are others, even well-established and experienced professionals, who struggle with the insecurities that arise during teaching. The fear that arises during teaching seems insurmountable–what if the students openly rebelled, and left all at once? What if they don’t even respond when you ask them a simple question? These sorts of fears lead teachers to lecture, to avoid those risky moments. They certainly lead me to avoid taking chances in the classroom. 

To supplement this reading I chose an article entitled “Good Teaching” by Parker Palmer. Though published in 1990, the themes in this article are still pertinent. In fact, the last section of the article is titled “The Courage to Teach,” and includes this incredibly insightful passage: “Fear is a driving force behind objectivism, that mode of knowing that tries to distance us from life’s awesome energies and put us in control. Fear is a driving force behind the kind of teaching that makes students into spectators, that pedagogy that tries to protect both teacher and subject from the give-and-take of community, from its rough-and-tumble. When our fears as teachers mingle and multiply with the fears inside our students, teaching and learning become mechanical, manipulative, lifeless. Fear, not ignorance, is the great enemy of education.”

I must try to acknowledge and then conquer this fear. I have to find a way to put myself out there. Otherwise, my sessions will be boring and un-engaging. 

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