UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teaching and living in the classroom of the soul Stager, Mary Catherine


Teaching is a call to the sacred in life, for it is the field of self-knowing and ultimately of transformation. My conceptual exploration of the inner life of the teacher represents an experiment in educational research wherein I define the qualities of the "True" teacher and show how a heightened teaching "presence" cultivates a classroom of compassion and soulful learning. I have invited the voices of other writers from the fields of psychology, philosophy, spirituality and education to co-habit this text, offering their unique insights into searching/educating for spirit. This auto-ethnography presents a personal narrative of my teaching/living experiences revealing the pre-requisites necessary to be fully present in the classroom, and honoring the humanity both in myself and in my students. I examine the essential qualities of the True teacher as manifested in her presence, and in the acts of "myth-making," "witnessing," "compassion," and "knowing." Throughout my writing, I juxtapose my personal/professional inquiries with a more academic discussion revealing the tension between these two voices within myself. As well, I locate my personal inquiries in the experiences of the body honoring the kinesthetic wisdom that I have too long ignored. What emerges is a conversation between teacher and person, both identities searching for communion with the other. The classroom is the site of that communion as I come to inhabit my body and my spirit more fully, and begin to recognize the barriers and bridges to my True self/ teacher within my pedagogy and my life. This autobiographical writing is a healing journey locating transcendence within the everyday experiences of a teacher's life.

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