I have been thinking a lot about the need for spaciousness in any educational setting lately. The kind of space that allows life to blossom, questions to emerge, engaged and authentic exploration to happen, wisdom to be revealed, and true communion to occur. We often lament the lack of spaciousness in our educational contexts – lack of time, an overcrowded curriculum, limited resources, overwhelming diversity of needs – all valid laments and concerns and not easily ‘fixed’. So where can spaciousness be found? Where can calmer, clearer, harmonious educational endeavours happen – spacious endeavours that might actually alleviate some of the suffering that is ever-present?
I think this is an essential question for educators, open-ended and spacious in the sense that many answers can be revealed…if we are listening with warm and hopeful hearts. Flowers do not open in the icy winds of winter; they open in the warmth of spring.” (Abbot Vasileios)
One small but very rich answer was revealed to me today. I received a note from a person who participated in a curriculum conversation with me and several other colleagues. I was leading the conversation and she thanked me for letting her ‘interrupt’ and share her own thoughts and insights, to “allow another teacher in the room.” My response to her ‘interruptions’ at the time was one of gratitude – how wonderful that someone is building on my thoughts and ideas, refining them, translating them into new contexts, enhancing them. How wonderful that I, the ‘teacher’, get to listen and learn and be inspired by others.
I am always so grateful for other teachers in the room and they are always there: our students, parents, colleagues. And then there is the voice of the Holy – the One we hear when we remember we are on Holy ground. The One who is “heard in 1000 ways…and illumines a thousand places within you.” (Abbot Vasileios)
There is always another teacher in the room, always space for more.