Recently, I had the honor of presenting at the Holistic Teaching and Learning Conference in Ashland, Oregon. It was a very inspiring conference to attend. There were several people there working in schools around Canada and the US who are re-imagining an education that looks at the whole child – not just the intellect.
In Education for Life, we work each day to create lessons that cultivate the intellect, and also the will, the body and the feelings. There is an expanding understanding in our culture of the importance of bringing up well-balanced people. We can all see the destruction that is wrought when someone’s will is strong, but it is not balanced with intellect or feelings. Or, the meaningless and sometimes dangerous ideas created by someone who has a strong intellect, but who is not interested in the body or the feelings. It is exciting for us at Living Wisdom School to be a part of this burgeoning education movement.
One of the recurring messages of the conference is one that we talk about frequently. That is, the greatest tool for a teacher is her sadhana – spiritual practice. As a teacher, when my spiritual practice is strong, I am able to look at what is really happening in the classroom. I can adjust my teaching to meet the energy in the class and to shift it gently if that is needed. I am not looking at my own need to control the students, but I am tuned into their needs in each moment. Teachers can only do this when they are truly grounded and able to notice what is happening in each moment.
In this way, teaching is a spiritual practice. The “problems” of the day become great teachers that expand the consciousness of the teacher beyond himself. It is a wonderful gift to be able to teach.