Rilke (and Palmer) on teaching

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.”

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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