As a teacher it is easy to fall into the trap of believing we are the sole source of information and knowledge in the room. The moments of my worst teaching were when I was simply focused on the transmission of material and not on the students in front of me.
During my lessons I must ask: “Am I allowing my students to deepen a relationship with their inner teacher?” At first I was resistant to this thought…that should not be one of my focuses surely. Then the more I reflected on the principle as applied to my practice it began to make sense.
When I give my students the proper amount of ‘wait-time’ after I have asked a question. I am allowing them to engage with their inner teacher. The silence is awkward, because in our lives today we have cancelled out this process of intentional thinking and reflection. Some students I’ve learned cannot handle it…they must either respond to fill the silent void with some noise or they look around wondering what just happened.
The more though I have been intentional about preserving that space and time for thought the more naturally students fall into the process. Reflective and purposeful thinking must be trained similar to a muscle. The more we use it and practice with, the better and stronger it will become.
The thoughts of an inner teacher runs deep in various cultural and spiritual contexts, but the example I will draw upon is the Quaker tradition of ‘clearness committees’. In seeking guidance for significant decisions and problems, a person would be asked by a group of close friends or community members questions that would allow for deeper reflection and processing. There can be no feedback or commentary, only open-ended questions from the group. The goal is to help the person find clarity from their inner teacher.
Think of how you could apply this principle in your own life. Practice intentional reflecting through journaling. Take time in the midst of the day to just think. One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a repository of my thoughts on learning and continue my practice of reflecting.
What will you do to help you and your students interact and grow from your inner teacher?
Agimus tibi Dominus