Teaching Middle School... A Spiritual Practice

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Teaching Middle... A Spiritual Practice
Teaching is profound, personal, and complex- almost a spiritual practice. Using that metaphor, perhaps we can draw on inner resources which will allow us to remain balanced and compassionate even on our most difficult days. This presentation will not espouse any specific religious tenets but gently look at philosophical underpinnings common to all.
Presenter: Ann Mary Roberts - Radford University - Radford, VA

Published in: Education
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Teaching Middle School... A Spiritual Practice

  1. 1. Teaching Middle School A Spiritual Practice Education is a mirror - it brings about a fundamental understanding of our own mind." Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche North Carolina Middle Level Education March 18th, 2014 Ann Mary Roberts Radford University aroberts@radford.edu
  2. 2. AGENDA • Introduction- who am I? who are you? Why this workshop? What do you hope to get? • Goals of this workshop • Assumptions and landscape • Defining spirituality • Spiritual aspects of teaching middle school • Closure and questions
  3. 3. GOALS Why this workshop? What would you like? What do you need?
  4. 4. GOALS FOR THIS WORKSHOP • To remind you of who you are and what you know • To provide a different framework to look at aspects of teaching and your role • The goal is not to tell you that there are more things where you fall short…and having you judge yourself as lacking
  5. 5. ASSUMPTIONS • Everyone here believes there is something greater than him or herself at work in the world. • As people of spirit we are motivated to work on ourselves to strengthen our connection to that which is greater than ourselves • KNOW THYSELF
  6. 6. Knowing others is intelligence, Knowing yourself is true wisdom Mastering others is strength Mastering yourself is true power Lao-Tzu
  7. 7. TEACHING LANDSCAPE • TEACHING IS COMPLEX • THERE IS MORE THAT ENTERS YOUR CLASSROOM THAN STUDENTS • “STUDENTS MIRROR YOUR MAGNIFICENCE AND YOUR LIMITATIONS” (Ann Mary Roberts)
  8. 8. Our children, from infancy to adulthood and beyond, can be seen as perpetually challenging live-in teachers, who provide us with ceaseless opportunities to do the inner work of understanding who we are and who they are so that we can best stay in touch with what is truly important and give them what they most need in order to grow and flourish. — Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn in Everyday Blessings
  9. 9. What is Spirituality? • An inner sense of something greater than oneself. Recognition of a meaning to existence that transcends one's immediate circumstances. • The experience of meaning and unity. • Having to do with deep, often religious, feelings and beliefs, including a person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life. • concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul; "a spiritual approach to life"; "spiritual fulfillment"; "spiritual values"; "unearthly love"
  10. 10. SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF TEACHING MIDDLE SCHOOL
  11. 11. To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; To put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; To put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; We must first set our hearts right Confucius
  12. 12. "If I don't hold a spiritual space within myself then I can't invite students to share their gifts with me. " Parker Palmer
  13. 13. COMPASSION…CARING… LOVE “To feel true compassion for all beings, we must remove any partiality from out attitude toward them. Our normal view of others is dominated by fluctuating and discriminating emotions…. Genuine compassion must be unconditional… We must kead our minds skillfully, and with patience and perseverance we shall find that our concern for the well-being of others will grow.” An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama
  14. 14. Compassion…. Caring….. Love… Kindness verses caring by Rick Smith Consciousness Classroom Management • Boundaries • Consistency • Following through • Consequences • Guidance
  15. 15. ACCEPTANCE FORGIVENESS The teacher provides a space within themselves so they can take into themselves the uniqueness of others so they can mirror it back." bell hooks “You are going to make a thousand mistakes and I get to forgive you a thousand and one times.”(Ann Mary Roberts)
  16. 16. Joy and Laughter"Laughter is the sun that drives the winter from the human face."--Victor Hugo "The human race has but one really effective weapon, and it is laughter." – Mark Twain A merry heart does like good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22)
  17. 17. Chuckle, chortle giggle, guffaw, belly laugh, snicker, smile Deep laughter is sort of like a mini-vacation for our minds, which of course has everything to do with what's going on in our bodies. From a medical perspective, it's been proven that humor and laughter play a vital role in expediting the healing process. Dennis Merritt Jones “The Art of Being: 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life."
  18. 18. Mindfulness and Detachment Mindfulness is to become completely alive and live deeply each moment of your daily life. Mindfulness helps you to touch the wonders of life for self-nourishment and healing. Thich Nhat Hahn
  19. 19. Detach……… Detach…….. Detach………. Work hard at the task….. Work hard at continually fine tuning yourself….. Work hard at balance…… Then let go…….
  20. 20. CONTEMPLATION INTROSPECTION We must look at ourselves and upon the day fearlessly with compassion and non- judgment We must daily reconnect with the qualities want to foster Reflection can slowly bring us to wisdom. Sogyal Rinpoche
  21. 21. BREATHE OFTEN By freeing the breath one learns to breathe through difficult or uncomfortable experiences and feelings where the tendency has been to hold one's breath. Energy from a denied experience can be freed up and released. The after-effects of this can be an enormous sense of relief. Old patterns of holding begin to gently break up and a new sense of aliveness enters as the breath anchors one's self in the present. http://www.breathe-mag.co.uk/
  22. 22. FAITH SURRENDERING Everything is unfolding as is should We plant seeds and will never know what comes to fruition Teaching middle school is an act of faith
  23. 23. Questions and Closure CODE:3295 Ann Mary Roberts Radford University aroberts@radford.edu
  24. 24. Bibliography • Dalai Lama, (2001). An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life. Boston: Little Brown and Company. • Durka, Gloria, (2002). The Teachers Calling: A Spirituality for Those Who Teach. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. • Kurtz, Ernest and Ketcham, Katherine, (2002). The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning. New York: Bantam Books.
  25. 25. Bibliography continued • Merton, Thomas (1961). New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Publishing Company. • Nagel, Greta, (1998). The Tao of Teaching: The Ageless Wisdom of Taoism and the Art of Teaching. New York: The Penguin Group. • Nouwen, Henri, (2001). The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence. New York: Ballentine Books. • Palmer, Parker, (1998). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
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