The Courage to Teach

I am just finishing the final edits on the New Habitudes book (coming very very very soon!)

My editor asked me to post some reflections on the chapter of Courage; as it is one of the hardest “Habitudes” to articulate and teach.

I am sharing these with you in hopes that you will add to my pepective and understanding.

What gives you “your courage to learn and teach?”

Here’s how I see it:

My Reflections on Courage

The heart of education is an education of the heart.

The root of the word “courage” is the Latin word “cor,” meaning “heart.” The English word “core” comes from the same Latin root. So at its core, teaching is about developing courage.

Unfortunately, much of our teaching is devoted not to the heart but to the mind and the hand. We develop the intellect to solve a differential equation, to analyze and evaluate literature, and to classify differences between rocks and minerals.

The lessons in this chapter serve not only to compliment these intellectual objectives; but to remind us of the need to educate the heart, developing in students the courage to propose a new explanations, the courage to ask a new question, and the courage to share their contributions with the world.

The heart of teaching is the teaching of the heart. In order to teach, we need courage to overcome our fears. Consider and reflect on the following statements of courage.

I have the courage to…

What say you?
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  • Shama Noman

    I believe you’ve covered pretty much every aspect there. The fear of failure does hamper our spirit to try a different approach most of the time. We seldom raise our hands also when our teachers exert a certain type of authoritativeness and exercise sarcasm. Courage to teach with a new methodology or idea also requires a trusted synchronization of teacher and institution. The student exercises more of what I believe self-courage and the teacher on the other hand requires a lot of support and infrastructure to reproduce a courageous idea. Best of luck with the book!  

  • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

    I say YOU have courage, Teach. To speak out. To take on new challenges and start great things (like You Matter). To write and speak publicly. And, most of all, to put up with me! Lol…So thrilled you will be co-hosting #DadChat a week from Thursday, Feb. 9. We need to discuss that, btw…lol. Got a very cool, VERY unusual guest for this week’s #DadChat – you may want to drop in. Then I’m off to ski yet again Sat – Tues. It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it!

  • Janet | expateducator.com

    It takes courage to begin a project-based learning classroom. Questions arise such as: 
    = Will I be able to teach the standards and benchmarks necessary for students to do well on standardized tests?
    – Will I be able to maintain management of a classroom when students have freedom to choose project topics or formats?
    – Will I receive pushback from parents or administrators?

    Then you learn to let go of the fear. Courage turns to confidence when you realize that all those fears were needless. See http://wp.me/p1Dq2f-oE

    Janet | expateducator.com

  • Holly Gordon

    It takes a great deal of courage to challenge ourselves as teachers, just climbing out of bed some days takes a tremendous amount of courage. Most days, my challenge comes in just trying to figure out how my students learn best. This year I have learned a great deal about courage and determination. I am now using Helen Keller, the Westward Movement, and the book I Knew I Could to teach my second graders about the mountains we all face in life. I am trying to build their self-esteem back up. They need a good strong dose of “I can do anything!” It may take a great deal of work, but through courage, determination, and persistance- the three words I am drilling every day, my students will learn more lessons about life and being prepared for it than I could ever teach out of a book. I believe education needs to move out of the pre-made workbooks and be moved back into real life, using passion and hands on learning to hit a home run with all of our many types of learners.

  • Erika Conn

    My name is Erika Conn and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class.  Courage is something that needs to be instilled in the mind of educators and we as educators need to make it important that our students have courage as well.  I have always been a shy girl and as I’ve made my way through my 3rd year of college I have gained the courage to speak up.  It was ever easy for me to do this; to ask questions in a big lecture hall, to go to a professor and ask for help, etc.  I have come to realize that I need to have courage myself before I can expect my future students to show courage.  I want to teach them from the heart, not by drilling mathematical equations in their heads.  I want them to ask questions and be courageous. Thank you for your insightful post!

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Thank you so much for taking to stop by the blog and share your thoughts. I am thrilled that blogging is a part of your University experience. I love what you shared here: 

     I have come to realize that I need to have courage myself before I can expect my future students to show courage. 

    If you keep that realization close to your heart; you future students will be blessed learners. 

    Thank you for having the courage to share your ideas with my readers- good luck with your studies, Erika.

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Hi Holly,
    I completely agree. We are bravest when we show our students what we “dont know” and they see that learning is a challenge everyday if we are truly growing. Everyday we do this; we ensure that our students get a strong does of “I can do anything” because we are demonstrating it!Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! 

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Janet, 
    I so agree. Courageous teachers do not tolerate the status quo and demand more of themselves and their students; even within the confines of these standards. 

    You are spot on when you say- courage turns to confidence when learners realize that those fears are false evidence appearing real! FEAR

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Thanks Shama, the comments say it all! Fear of failure, fear of insignificance, fear of the un kown have the power to plague us but only if we let them.  Surrounding ourselves with passionate teachers and learners like yourself is just the cure we need to be our best courageous self! 

  • Holly Gordon

    Thank you for coming to our school. You have an energy that is uplifting and desperately needed. I appreciate your websites as well. I can’t wait to explore more and to become part of a larger “world” than what I am in from day to day.

  • Carrie

    Angela, I want to tell you how thankful I am that you came to our school.  I can’t tell you how much your visit and your message meant to me (and to my students)!  My latest goal is to “engage in discussions that challenge my deepest convictions and ignite my hidden passions.”  That quote is on the bulletin board above my desk now.  I think our school has such an amazing amount of talent and passion…we just need to get together and mine out the gems of passion we have inside!  I really think looking at what we do with new eyes and having these deep discussions will enrich our lives and energize our teaching.  I can’t wait to get started… What an exciting journey!

  • Holly Gordon

    Well said, Carrie!

  • http://www.martingysler.com Martin Gysler

    Great post and thank you for the mention :)

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