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why teach?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

I am a teacher: it's my passion, and I'm good at it. I love it because I love learning, and nothing teaches like teaching. I love taking a complicated concept and parsing it so that it is understandable and accessible. I love the a-ha! moments of illumination, and seeing students brighten when they realize their capacity for learning. I love learning from students when they share their perspective and insight in classroom dialogue. I am motivated to teach because I see liberatory education as a means of disrupting or at least challenging the status quo of modern culture.

My teaching experience is outside of formal and institutional settings. I facilitate yoga teacher trainings, public workshops, somatic movement classes, and private sessions. I enjoy these formats because there is little regulation. I can be creative and spontaneous; however, I take it seriously and always provide well-documented and rigorously researched curriculum. Because lived experience is a valid and prioritized means of knowing in this context, experience is a main source of information. I don't teach what I do not deeply know. This enables me to authentically present complex concepts in a way that makes practical sense. My method combines lecture, dialogue and practice. 

I am open to working in educational institutions; however, I'm aware of how challenging obtaining and holding such a position can be, so I am happy to have opportunities to continue working in community. In considering the challenges of teaching the subject matter of spiritual activism in traditional institutions I feel engaged, not enervated. I believe that liberatory education challenges the harmful paradigms of hierarchical culture, and this motivates me. I want to teach in the belly of the beast. Paulo Freire (1970), Parker Palmer (1998) and bell hooks (1994, 2003), through their realistic descriptions of the pitfalls and wonders of teaching, inspire me to teach authentically from a spiritual foundation so that burn-out and losing heart are only temporary setbacks, if they happen at all.

My skill as a facilitator lies in my ability to listen and my love of learning. I am deeply honored each time I step into a setting where I am considered to be the 'teacher' because I learn as much from the 'students' as they learn from me. I teach in Circle. I always set intention to create a cooperative and inclusive environment where each individual feels confident that they can set their own tone for learning. I encourage dialogue but do not require it. I also offer opportunities for varied means of sharing, such as reading written contributions or meaningful texts. Creating a space of ease and comfort enables people to soften and open up, and this is how connections are made with others and with self. This is how we best learn.

I believe that education is a vehicle to disrupt what I believe to be the harmful cultural status quo. Whether I teach in non-institutional community settings or in academy, I intend to operate as counter-culturally as the circumstances will allow. I am passionate about teaching and about my subject matter because it is a spiritual as well as intellectual and social process. education for me is as much about my learning as it is my teaching, and it is magic.

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