Teaching is Learning

Most students are voraciously hungry to cultivate inner awareness and to have more choice over their emergent self- hood. They do not want to be just another academic unit with a tuition tag sewn on their backs. More than anything else they are seeking their bliss. That is to say, they want to go on a journey that will take them home again as a transformed person. Some years ago it was Joseph Campbell who taught us this wonderful pedagogical secret and he could not have been more accurate.

As a community college professor my goal is to help students expand their personal and social horizons. If I can teach them to think more critically about themselves, the people around them, and their own purpose for learning, then my work will be useful on some level. That is why I keep coming back to the classroom.

Specifically, I think my teaching succeeds best when I am the one who is also learning along with my students. I really mean that. I feel like my classroom is most alive during those moments when I hear something that forces me to reconsider my presuppositions and innate biases. From my unique vantage point as the “instructor,” I can experience the whole room’s energy growing and the illumination of ideas forming in the cerebral air of thinking minds. In those pregnant moments of courageous possibility I am the one who is granted the honor of standing in the presence of a force more significant than my own reputation, duties, habits, beliefs and doubts. That is when the fearless curiosity of my students takes over and I am made uncomfortable in the most refreshing ways.

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