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Character of Teaching

While having tea in a small coffee shop I inhabit, I jotted down the beginnings of a poem.

A phrase that repeated itself in my dissertation and the interviews was “differences make a difference.” When I began teaching, people asked “what made me go into teaching, particularly at 32 years of age.” It was the sentiment that I might make a difference, maybe not for every student, but for some. It reminds me of the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song: Teach Your Children Well, but it is more than teaching. It is serving them and whatever I do well.

Someday, whether we are teachers or not, we feel a desire to be lost. Responsibilities weigh on us whether we are parents, at our work, partners in a relationship, etc. In our relationships with the weight of responsibilities, something calls us each back. It is more of a whisper. It can only belong to each of us. Teaching was this way for me.

I experience a desire to be lost,

Weighing down on me,

Responsibilities cloak me like a vapour

Covering me with their many coats,

They arrive without being asked.

From the multitude, one desire arises;

A clarion call from the cosmos,

It carresses my soul;

It whispers “be useful and kind.”

A flower sharing its pollen,

Spread on the wings of others;

Teach what is possible–

What is possible of each of us?

Save them from glory seekers and profiteers;

Gently, send them away

Pollinating a new generation,

Flowering anew with compassion,

Rejoice as they float around the corner,

Knowing not what they will sow,

Trusting your character.

I took this picture on the upper reaches of the Fraser River. Around the corner from Kathy, the river narrows quickly and there is a waterfall.

About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

10 responses »

  1. Sweet poem, nice picture.

    Reply
  2. As I read the last six lines of your poem, I thought of my adult children. They are not following the religious path I consciously taught them, but they each follow a spiritual path of loving nature and moving in the direction of kindness – things I likely taught them by my actions and character. Thank you for helping me let go and trust that all is well.

    Reply
  3. I have a feeling many of us can relate to this poem. It is so real.

    Reply

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