Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This week, when people around the world will be unwrapping gifts, I’ve been thinking about another kind of unwrapping that I’m trying to do in my work as a middle school English teacher. Over the last 15 years or so, I have been trying to unwrap my role as an educator and see it for what it really is. For a good part of my long career, I’ve been covered over with a ‘packaging material’ called the ego, or 'self', and I’m continuing to try to untie the strings, take off the tissue, and discover what’s truly inside. I guess I would call it ‘unselfing’ instead of unwrapping, because what I’m hoping to do, more and more, is step out of my confined and tiny self and experience my true role as a participant in the unrestrained, universal, and truly miraculous process called learning. Indeed, this fake covering called ‘my self’ has been the only thing holding me back from coming into contact with the limitless realm of real education. For too long I toiled inside the small box of the ego – trying to create my lessons so that my students in my classroom would think of me as a good teacher – but now I'm slowly unwrapping the box. I'm gradually taking the cover off my teaching and bringing to light the limitless -- and selfless -- universe of learning that’s been there all along.