As we roll with the punches of an intensifying semester, I have been pondering on ways to nurture authentic relationships with my colleagues, professors and other members of our learning community.I have learned that the heat of completing numerous assignments, studying for exams and preparing presentations can disfigure the ideal posture of heart and mind.
This, in turn, adversely affects the various interpersonal relationships mentioned above.
By ideal posture of heart and mind, I speak of having goodwill toward your colleagues. Having the decency to greet them rather than ignore them in the hallway, avoiding ridiculous flexes of patronizing assistance that one may offer to their colleagues or resisting pangs of jealousy when colleagues seem to perform better in whatever discipline (keep reading…you know what I am talking about).
While it seems like a lot is expected of students with respect to maintaining the ideal posture of heart and mind, professors are not exempt from making an effort to reach such a posture.
However, those efforts may manifest in a different manner.
For example, there is an art to navigating the liminal space where one learns from their students while teaching in a way that lacks the hubris that is sometimes expected of a sage on the stage.
There are a myriad of forms that the ideal posture of heart and mind can take.
However, I have come to understand that most of them, if not all of them, require one to truthfully reflect on their own attitudes and actions.
This reflection is not meant to feed the idea that one is of a higher moral standing than other people nor is it meant to be a disheartening burden.
This reflection is meant to redirect and energize the person who engages in it toward a sense of respect for others and for themselves when all is said and done at the end of the semester.