For most teachers who love their work, it’s more than a job. It’s a creative outlet, an opportunity to share what you love, and an opportunity to grow.
That’s the way it’s been for me, anyway.
Burnout is common in the helping professions, but when I approach teaching as a cauldron for my own growth, I stay renewed and inspired.
When I teach, there’s a “third thing” present that’s bigger than me. I’m being held and led by Something greater.
The “third thing” is doing the teaching.
The philosopher Peter Kingsley wrote, “The teacher is a point of access to something beyond the teacher.”
When the weight of the situation is all on our shoulders—when we feel we must be perfect, have all the answers, and be “in control”–it’s exhausting.
But when we find and access the “third thing”–the place of mystery–we have fresh space to breathe into. We can be present in a whole new way.
Being a teacher in the traditional sense presents an uncomfortable polarity. On one side is the teacher who’s expected to be in charge. And on the other, are students who’ve come as empty vessels, waiting to be filled.
This polarity of naturally brings tension…and pressure. And annoyance from students.
But when we honor the “third thing,” we bridge the dichotomy between teacher and student. Beauty, grace, and inspiration are present in the room. We get to participate in mystery.
Somewhere in the Bible is the phrase “two or more are present, there I am in your midst.” I don’t consider myself to be a religious person, but I’ve always taught with this in mind. There is a third thing that is present when I teach and that third thing brings beauty.