Back from sabbatical

I’m back to teaching after nine months of working on New Age medievalisms, mysticism, hermeneutics, enchantment, and other fun stuff. And I’m finding re-entry difficult. Even after vowing, publicly and privately, to bring a sense of “sabbatitude” into my classroom & committee work– by creating and sustaining space for reflection, for pursuing genuine questions– I find myself quickly falling back into old habits, such as filling space with words!words!words!

Rather than beating myself up about this backslide into hectic-ness, I’m recalling the lessons of meditation and simply noticing the emotions that arise and watching myself react to them. There’s a lot of fear. I’m afraid the students will be bored and so I start tap dancing (not literally, of course). I’m afraid we won’t actually get anywhere and learn anything and so I start over-planning. I’m afraid that if I leave space to see what arises, nothing will arise and I’ll look foolish and everyone will feel like we’re wasting time.

And I’m recalling the lessons I try to impart to students: Take risks. Trust. Let go. See what happens. Experiment. Play.

So here it is, Sunday night. I’m not sure what we’re going to do in class tomorrow because students have not yet posted their blog entries (due at 11 a.m.), and so I don’t yet have anything to help me shape an activity or choose a reading. I can take this time to plan something, to ensure that space is filled and that we get somewhere I intend us to go. Or I can go play fetch in the September twilight.  Here I go. IMG_7580

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2 comments on “Back from sabbatical

  1. actualham says:

    I like the image of you in the twilight “playing fetch”: sometimes throwing the stick and waiting happily to see if it comes back, and sometimes running after it with your tongue hanging out with the joy of catching. Both nice metaphors for teaching, too!

  2. I hope you chose to play catch. Learning to let go of the “control” is the hardest lesson for anyone.

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