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Summer Practice: Cultivating Teaching Presence

Summer is a wonderful time to replenish ourselves, develop our own inner capacities, and cultivate our “teaching presence”.

We define teaching presence as the aspect of teaching that relates to who we are, how we authentically express ourselves, and how we engage and develop relationships with our students.

Beyond technique, strategy, and curricula, “teaching presence” refers to the simple and powerful impact of our very being. As Parker Palmer says, “we teach who we are”—and summer can be a time where we slow down and re-connect with ourselves and our own passions and interests outside of school.

In the videos below, two teachers share about particular aspects of sustaining “teaching presence.” In the first video—a high school teacher speaks to the dimension of teaching presence we call “cultivating the open heart.” By simply noticing what opens our heart and what closes our heart, we can develop more awareness about our triggers and resistance and make more conscious choices about our view and actions. We invite you this summer to investigate this dimension of your life.

In the second video, a middle school teacher speaks about the dimension of “being present”. When we consciously engage in practices that help us to come back to the present moment and let go of distractions, worries and perseveration about the past or future, we are more able to access our creativity, wisdom, and compassion.

This summer you may wish to consider what supports you to be present and what gets in the way of being present.

With the beauty and expansiveness of these summer days, we encourage you to consider doing something on a daily basis to support your capacity to be present and cultivate an open heart. If you are inspired, send us a few words about your personal practices. We would love to hear from you!

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