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Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the true self  in education

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  • Mick Scott

I taught at my first school for five years. It was the high school that I attended as a student, an engineering and science public magnet school in Baltimore City.


In my first couple years teaching, I taught around 240 different students each year. I taught around 150 students each day. I would have students who just took my class the previous semester say hello to me in the hallway, and I would sometimes struggle to remember their name (I’d think back to where they sat in the classroom, then picture my roster, then get to the name) - I’d remember faces, but not always the names.


After I accepted a new job, at some point I informed my own students, and word got around. There was a girl I taught in her 9th grade year whom I barely saw in school over the next couple years. In the late winter of her 11th grade year, after she heard that I was leaving, she came to visit me in my office with a couple other students. While her two friends expressed sadness that I was leaving, she was angry and even kicked me: “How can you leave us, right before our senior year?!”


I had little idea that this particular student even remembered that she took my class, let alone that it or I mattered so much to her. And it did matter to her, more than I could really even understand; I mean, how could she be upset about my leaving?


Teaching is an immense opportunity, and it’s also an immense responsibility. How many times each day to I unknowingly give a student a hurtful look, say something insensitive off the cuff, mishear, misunderstand, or misrepresent them? Likewise, how many kids each year do I awaken to something they’d never seen before, inspire in a way they’d never felt before, or acknowledge, respect, or grant space and expression without even noticing that I’m doing it?


My vision is that teachers understand and own the foundation of their experience so that they can most effectively, clearly, and enjoyably engage the full potential and possibility of students. My intention for students is that they grow and master their capacity for authentic, supportive, and mutually beneficial relationships. Humanity and our societies need this awakening.


A downside might be a shin that aches for a couple hours, but the upside is a kid awakened to something about themselves that they’ll never forget.️


Thanks for reading. ❤️

Thanks for joining me on this exploration/reflection! If you'd like to receive blog updates via email twice weekly, be sure to subscribe here.

  • Mick Scott

Just before the first day of class each school year, I create my intentions for the year. It’s a bulleted list of 3-5 intentions. It’s strange, though, because I typically don’t look at them again for the rest of the year, yet at any moment I can tell you what they are.


One of my intentions is that students master course content; that’s our most obvious and measurable job as teachers. I enjoy the structuring of lessons and challenges in a way that guides students to build an understanding. Deriving equations and creatively solving problems - these are pieces in the puzzle of student learning that I find deeply satisfying to facilitate. And each lesson I teach is a lesson for me too, greater depths of understanding for even some of the seemingly most basic science concepts.


My other intentions, for myself and my students, tend to go something like this:

  • Foster curiosity and appreciation for the universe and its creatures

  • Develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and others

  • Get in touch with our passions and what we care about

  • Grow in our ability to experience ease, enjoyment, and fulfillment

All of these objectives are the challenge I was born to grapple with. I’ve grappled with them for years for myself, and the lessons deepen with each moment of conscious notice and each modicum of insight. And, these goals are tougher to measure.


When I consciously interact with students, I am aware of a few things:

  • There is no where I need to “get” my students to.

  • My students are as whole and perfect as they’ll ever need to be, and so am I. Mostly, we just need to awaken to it.

  • The relationship between us is a sacred dance.

Though each of my students has always been and will forever be deserving of attention and love, it’s still the most generous gift I can give them. When an advisee comes by my desk, or a student hangs around after class to chat longer, there’s nothing more important to me in that moment than engaging with that human.


As I reflected on the draft of this post this morning, I wondered how it fit into the recent themes of my writing the past couple weeks. The suggested two steps to simplify and deepen our relationships, from Where Relationships Exist, connect the dots pretty well:

  1. Create an intention for the interaction, perhaps something you’d like to bring to the person you’re with, and then communicate from that place.

  2. Get curious about the person actually there in front of you.

We can harness the power and creativity of Thought by setting an intention, either long-term or short-term, and we honor and more authentically connect with others by paying attention to who we're actually engaging with.


A relationship is the engagement between beings, and that engagement can be fun, healing, powerful, and sacred. It's through this engagement, this dance with our students, that we can support them and ourselves to master course content and wake up to greater depths of experience.


Thanks so much for reading. ❤️

Thanks for joining me on this exploration/reflection! If you'd like to receive blog updates via email twice weekly, be sure to subscribe here.


  • Mick Scott

Last March, just as the pandemic descended upon us, I went on a short spiritual retreat with a dear friend. During part of the retreat, I got in touch with my desire to be the best partner and husband I can possibly be for my wife, and I thought about the challenges that I (and many of us!) can sometimes experience in these life partnerships. Out of this reflection, a beautiful insight arose.


Relationships don’t exist in my memories, stories, or other thoughts. Relationships exist in the engagement with another.


It’s one of the things that most teachers enjoy and cherish about our jobs: the opportunity to authentically engage with young humans, especially within a mutually shared intention, like learning and growth.


My personal practice, now, is to extend that insight to my colleagues and others.


When we have a conversation with another person, it’s easy to fall into a default engagement that minimizes the value, perhaps even the sanctity, of the exchange. Thought is an infinitely creative, powerful, and magical gift of being human, and sometimes it gets in the way of us fully experiencing our lives and the people in it.


It's in the engagement with people that our relationships exists. What you bring to the interactions and what you accept from them, that becomes the nature of the relationship.


I invite you, whenever you remember and whenever you’re able, to simplify and deepen your engagement with others by taking two steps:

  1. Create an intention for the interaction, perhaps something you'd like to bring to the person you're with, and then communicate from that place. Generosity, ease, enjoyment, compassion, vulnerability, attention, love?

  2. Get curious about the person actually there in front of you. Chances are, there's much more to the person in front of us than we're immediately aware of.

From this insight last year, I’ve experienced a new level of freedom in my ability to enjoy the people in my life. I often forget it, however, and that sometimes results in my minimizing myself and others.


This post is a reminder to you, and hopefully you’ll remind me back, of the opportunity, joy, satisfaction, and love available when we’re authentically engaging with another person.


Thanks so much for reading. ❤️

Thanks for joining me on this exploration/reflection! If you'd like to receive blog updates via email twice weekly, be sure to subscribe here.

Photo credit to the photographers at www.unsplash.com and Wix.

Music credit to the musicians at freemusicarchive.org.

©2021 by Mick Scott