Ah, Not to be Cut Off

Ah, not to be cut off,

not through the slightest partition

shut out from the law of the stars.

The inner—what is it?

if not intensified sky,

hurled through with birds and deep

with the winds of homecoming.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Parker Palmer introduces the most evocative book about teaching, The Courage to Teach, with this Rilke poem. Palmer addresses the fear in teaching by suggesting that “Each time I walk into a classroom, I can choose the place within myself from which my teaching will come…from curiosity or hope or empathy or honesty, places that are as real within my as are my fears.”

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