Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teaching Whole

What a powerful morning I've had today.  I'm sitting here, eating lunch and reflecting on my dear friend Marcia Bond's presentation on "Teaching Whole".

Marcia is co-facilitating the Oakland Writing Project's Advanced Leadership Institute (#OWPSI14) along with Richard Koch and myself.  We are are a site of the National Writing Project in Oakland County, Michigan.  The OWP and NWP have made a profound impact on my teaching practice (and life).

Marcia's message is an important truth.  We need to live and teach along the border of the things that make us whole.  In today's society, too many times are we asked to pick a side.  In order to teach whole, we must be whole.  To me that means acknowledging and embracing everything that I am... Father, husband, brother, friend, teacher, etc. Only then can I truly be whole when working with my students.It's a scary thought at times.  It makes me vulnerable in front of my students, but is that any different than they feel in front of me?

Parker Palmer discusses this idea in his book "The Courage to Teach".  We reflected on Ch.3 - The Hidden Wholeness: Paradox in Teaching.  I highly recommend teachers read this book.  It will have you deeply reflecting on your practice.

Feel free to follow the "official" hashtag of the Oakland Writing Project's Summer Invitational at #OWPSI14.


  1. Hi Steve! I think you make a great point about our students also feeling vulnerable in front of us. As teachers, we know what a gift that vulnerability is in making space for deeper connections and learning. We do owe it to them to bring our full selves into the room, as well.

  2. We do owe it to them! Thanks for responding!

  3. My first comment got lost in the cloud. I agree that we must be "whole," to share of ourselves and learn about our students to build a rapport that allows us to communicate better. Because we are human first - teacher and student builds from that.