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Teaching on the Margins

Last week, I wrote Mojo Gathers Momentum. A gift of my journey to Bainbridge was the realization I had lost the belief I was a good teacher. I have never believed this was my place to speak to that. There is a certain humility a teacher should have and extends beyond patting myself on the back. What I do know and recognize is I am different teacher. I have modeled my approach after teachers I believed operated on the margins and accepted that is their place. It was a place that they could do more good for students and the communities we live in.

false security

when hidden

yet, fully surrounded–

paradox of my humanness.

stand out

reveal blemishes

make them obvious

revel in them.

great teachers

found comfort on the margins

not hidden in the crowd

stepped out with pride.

humanness lived;

so fully

it reveals imperfections

for I am human, after all.


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

28 responses »

  1. Yes, Ivon; it is indeed a difficult thing to accept our uniqueness, and yet, there it is staring us in the face waiting patiently for our recognition… It is also a difficult thing to step forward in that uniqueness, and yet what are we if we do not…

  2. The world always benefits from those magical teachers who are willing to go above and beyond, coloring outside the lines — if that’s what it takes to inspire another mind. 🙂 YOU are ONE of them, Ivon. Thanks for all that you do!! Huge hugs…

  3. You are a busy person. Working on your doctorate, teaching, blogging. What else do you do?

  4. Great anything, is few and far between. Most of us try to do our job well. And that usually includes overcoming certain limitations and blemishes. I am very grateful for the teachers I’ve had… even those who were far from perfect. The role of the teacher is very difficult, and not always appreciated… but their students know how much they’ve gained from them, and hold them dear, regardless of blemishes.

  5. In my childhood we were terrified of our teachers, changed days. 🙂
    It’s not an easy job, but I’m sure even with your limitations you are making a wonderful difference in the lives of those blessed by your teachings.

  6. I have a feeling Ivon that you are a profoundly effective teacher..unique yes, with an approach that resonates in the way a song returns to memory over and over again, leaving you humming the chorus at the most unexpected times. That is a gift.

  7. Always enjoy your posts, teashing is a gift and those who realize that become memorable, those who consider teaching as just another job miss the joy of creating our future through students

  8. Teaching is one occupation in which we can completely lose ourselves – it is this process of recalling who we are, in all of our humanness, that keeps us connected to the ones we serve, and connected to who we are and are becoming. It is the learning and growing we do ourselves that will ultimately decide our relevance in our profession, isn’t it?

  9. Blessings to you Ivon and Happy Elections Day!

  10. I especially like this one, Ivon!


  11. That you ask yourself the question, demonstrates the care and compassion you have for your students. No, Ivon, I’m not a buyer at all that you are not a good teacher. I learn from your posts each day.

  12. To be human is to be imperfect. To admit blemishes takes courage because we make ourselves vulnerable. But vulnerability is the key to connection. And what is life is we have no connection. P.S. Embracing our uniqueness is a wonderful thing. Embrace it. Celebrate it!

  13. In reading and writing, I always prefer a character that is only human. “Mary Sue” is shorthand for the perfect heroine that no one really believes in or relates to. I am glad to know that you too are human!


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