Who is the “Who” Who Teaches?

As I’m planning for the final session of the New Faculty Institute, titled “Your Inner Teacher: Cultivating an Authentic Pedagogical Approach,” I’m struck by this quote from Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach (the title for the session is also taken from a quote from this book):

Seldom, if ever, do we ask the ‘who’ question– who is the self that teaches?  How does the quality of my selfhood form– or deform– the way I relate to my students, my subject, my colleagues, my world?  How can educational institutions sustain and deepen the selfhood from which good teaching comes?”

This quote has always been a sort of an ars poetica for me– the “who am I?” question is the one I most often asked myself during my decade in the classroom.

In this new position, the final question becomes even more relevant to me, but on a bigger scale.  In my role as Program Administrator, Faculty Development, I am now thinking not just about the 34 community and technical colleges as separate institutions, and how I might support them in this work of sustaining and deepening faculty selfhood, but also about the 15,000 or so faculty in our system.

In what ways can we, the Assessment, Teaching, and Learning department, my boss and I, help these faculty members sustain and deepen the selfhood from which good teaching comes?

It’s a wonderful question– one with many answers.  I feel so fortunate that I get to explore faculty development in this way.

Teachers . . .  what are your answers to these questions?  Who is the self who teaches?  How does your educational institution sustain and deepen the selfhood from which good teaching comes?

And . . . what suggestions do you have for me as Program Administrator?

Have a wonderful three day weekend, everyone!

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