Hold It All

Category: Teaching

At the End of the Semester

For friends in
Spirituality of Service
& Social Justice classes

I want us to be freer
I don’t want us to be in thrall to guilt

I want us to let our light shine
Why play hide and seek with our soul?

Tomorrow is as far away as Hiroshima
Right now is our permanent mailing address

When you hear the knock
Fling open the door

I want us to give ourselves as much love
As we give our best friend when she’s broken Read the rest of this entry »


A Facebook Message from ‎Thao Truong‎

March 29, 2013

Dear Dr. C, i just had a dream about you and your class last night. I saw that we studied abou Love. You wrote a lot of questions about love on the white board. You asked us, “what is human love???” “How long one person can love another person??” You also had a really interesting question wrote in this format
“because ………… It will take ……. to love you. It will last……… I dont want to……… I want to………… I love you”

You told everyone in class write their own thought in the ……. space, then read it out loud with the reverse format (beginning with i love you….. End with because…..)

It was a really interesting dream. I love it. Maybe i just miss you and your class so much 🙂 You are my best humanity professor ever

Lessons in Teaching by Erin

Erin recently started teaching as an adjunct professor at SLU, and gave me permission to share this.


Teaching has been a very humbling experience. There have been many times I have felt insecure about my abilities as a teacher. My insecurity arises out of a fear of not being good enough. I want so much for my students, and sometimes I want more than I think I can offer.

Don’t be a teacher (or a professor) if you need people to like you–not all of your students will like you.

Don’t be a teacher if you think you know everything,  or do and find out you are wrong.

Don’t be a teacher if don’t like being wrong – there will be many times you will be wrong.

Don’t be a teacher if you enjoy hearing yourself talk – your students should be do the talking, asking questions, teaching one another.

Don’t be a teacher if you enjoy the status quo–your students deserve dynamic environments.

Be a teacher if you care.

Be a teacher if you are good at facilitating a positive learning environment.

Be a teacher if you can provide a variety of perspectives and a variety of learning resources.

Be a teacher if you can admit to not knowing everything.

Be a teacher if you can handle your students knowing or having experienced more than you.

Be a teacher if you understand that your students have a lot to teach you.

Be a teacher if you get excited to see your students learn, if your heart fills with joy when you see that “aha” moment.

Be a teacher if you enjoy learning, especially  if you enjoy that type of learning that never ceases.

Reading List

After recent correspondence with Robert MacArthur, I went back to see the books we read when he took Social Justice with me in the fall of 2005. I must say–I am glad I assigned these!

  1. Riane Eisler, The Power of Partnership
  2. Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down The Bones
  3. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
  4. James Hodge, Linda Cooper, Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of Americas
  5. Kathy Kelly, Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison
  6. Chan Khong, Learning True Love: How I Learned and Practiced Social Change in Vietnam
  7. Arundhati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire
  8. Cornel West, Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism


Reading List

September 18, 2015

Maryville Campus

Maryville University Campus

He Would Have Never Gotten Tenure

The thing is to get under the students’ skin and arouse enough enthusiasm that they get under their own skin.  This means allowing yourself to be yourself in class. My own best teachers were WC Williams, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac. I learned by hanging around with them, from watching their reaction to cars going down the street or a story in the newspaper or TV or a movie image or a sunset or moon eclipse; when you see the intelligence of somebody reacting to the phenomenal world, you learn by imitation. You see beauty and you want to share it.

My best learning was just being myself with them and they giving me permission to be myself and then discovering myself with them – how funny I was. So you’ve got to encourage the student to discover herself and how funny she is and the only way you can do that is by letting yourself be yourself in class which means not teaching, but being there with the students and goofing off with them. The best teaching is done inadvertently.

–adapted from Allen Ginsberg, Spontaneous Mind


Fragments on Teaching & Learning/1

And there was some point as a professor at Stanford and Harvard when I experienced being in some kind of meaningless game in which the students were exquisite at playing the role of students and the faulty were exquisite at playing the role of faculty. I would get up and say what I had read in books and they’d all write it down and give it back as answers on exams but nothing was happening. I felt as if I were in a sound-proof room. Not enough was happening that mattered—that was real.

–Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert
Be Here Now


Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, 1960

I Know the Richest Person on Earth


In our Intercultural Studies class today
Mariah, Ta’mare, and Rachel read the following stanzas
Of “Our True Heritage” by Thích Nhất Hạnh:

The cosmos is filled with precious gems.
I want to offer a handful of them to you this morning.
Each moment you are alive is a gem,
shining through and containing earth and sky,
water and clouds. Read the rest of this entry »

Before Class (Waking Up 101)

In the School of Revolutionary Mindfulness
When students arrive early to class
No Smart Phones  are anywhere to be seen

In the minutes before class begins
Students and teachers are sitting
Breathing calmly and smiling


SLU is Tony Albrecht (Law, 2009)
SLU is Josh Aranda (A & S, 2009)
SLU is Laura Aranda (A & S, 2010)
SLU is 783 Facebook friends
SLU is 14 years of life
SLU is 50-something courses I facilitated/animated
SLU is all the surrounding cafés (6 North Coffee, Laclede Coffee, Cafe Ventana, Na-Doz)
SLU is Fr. Biondi Read the rest of this entry »