Identity and Integrity in Teaching

The Courage To Teach
-Parker J. Palmer

Now I become myself, It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces...
-May Sarton, "Now I Become Myself"

Excerpts from Chapter 1...

Teaching Beyond Technique

"Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher."

"The more one loves teaching, the more heartbreaking it can be."

Teaching and True Self

"Identity is a moving intersection of the inner and outer forces that make me who I am, converging in the irreducible mystery of being human."

"Wholeness does not mean perfection. It means becoming more real by acknowledging the whole of who I am. "

"The divided self will always distance itself from others, and may even try to destroy them, to defend its fragile identity."

When Teachers Lose Heart

"Teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability."

"As we try to connect ourselves and our subjects with our students, we make ourselves, as well as our subjects, vulnerable to indifference, judgment, ridicule."

"Distance makes life more dangerous still by isolating the self."

"Re-membering involves putting ourselves back together, recovering identity and integrity, reclaiming the wholeness of our lives. When we forget who we are we do not merely drop some data. We dis-member ourselves, with unhappy consequences for our politics, our work, our hearts."

Mentors Who Evoked Us

"Not only are the qualities of the mentor revealed, but the qualities of the student are drawn out in a way that is equally revealing."

"What mattered was that he generously opened the life of his mind to me, giving full voice to the gift of thought." (My favorite quote of all! So far)

"The key to my mentor's power was the coherence between his method and himself."

"Mentors and apprentices are partners in an ancient human dance, and one of teaching's great rewards is the daily chance it gives us to get back on the dance floor. It is the dance of the spiraling generations, in which the old empower the young with their experience and the young empower the old with new life, reweaving the fabric of the human community as they touch and turn."

Subjects That Chose Us

"Why do people want to adopt another culture? Because there's something in their own they don't like, that doesn't name them."

The Teacher Within

"If a work is mine to do, it will make me glad over the long haul, despite the difficult days. Even the difficult days will ultimately gladden me, because they pose the kinds of problems that can help me grow in a work if it is truly mine."

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