Why Teachers Need Spiritual Development Rather Than Professional Development
The education world has an overflow of PD opportunities and is deeply lacking in Spiritual Development. One reason so many teachers struggle in the classroom is because they have spiritual gifts they haven’t been empowered to or have learned how to harness. The institution of education was created to beat the spiritual gifts/identities out of our native and Black children and teachers. The very institution is guilty of genocide. GENOCIDE. The institution, IMO, needs to be burned to the ground completely. Yet, I know there are many admin and teachers in the institution whose hearts desperately want to make a difference and change or reform the way the institution has traditionally run. Yet most of these attempts have originated from left brain approaches - the rational, systems, curriculum, policies, theories, structures, data, numbers, etc. Which all stems (hehe, pun intended) from white supremacy culture.
The real difference isn’t going to come from doing, implementing, restructuring, etc. The real difference is going to come from FEELING, MOURNING, ATONING, RESTING, EMBODYING COMPASSION, EMBODYING FORGIVENESS, CONNECTING TO YOUR SPIRIT, CONNECTING TO A HIGHER BEING, RELEARNING INTUITION, PRIORITIZING THE RIGHT BRAIN, AKA THE DIVINE FEMININE.
Doing “the work” requires admin and educators to mourn, grieve, and heal. Many of us come from families of educators - this means we also have ancestral and generational educational institutional wounds to mourn and heal.
My maternal grandparents were both teachers and my grandfather was also a principal back in the day. My mother was a teacher, too - all of them were teachers in Bolivia. And I’ve spent the last three months living with my grandmother and realized she mainly knows how to connect from her left-brain. She helps her great granddaughter, who is 8, with her homework all day long yet is emotionally and spiritually disconnected from her. She doesn’t understand or know how to embody play or rest. It hurt to realize and witness that. And to realize that that’s all a result of the institutions that trained and socialized her and intentionally murdered her spirit. She was trained to disconnect from her heart and her feelings. And so have most admin and educators. So many of us have forgotten or (un)intentionally repress how to feel and are teaching and operating from closed, deeply wounded hearts.
Healing requires you to mourn and grieve for your wounds and broken heart/spirit, for your mother’s and father’s wounds, for your grandparents’ wounds, and then your heart may open enough to feel the pain of those you work with and serve. All of this pain hurts so much it literally exhausts the body. But this work is absolutely critical for any admin or teachers who want to “walk the walk of social justice.” There is no social justice without making room for this heart-work and spiritual justice.
I know most teachers really struggle with making time for their physical health and needs. And at some point in our careers we may get into the flow of hitting the gym before or after work and getting on that meal prep train. And we make time for lesson planning and signing up for PDs. But we MUST make time, space, and a commitment to our spiritual development. Crying, releasing, and processing your emotions needs to be a part of your hygiene and wellness routine. Teaching is a deeply emotional and spiritual profession/calling that we need a place, person, community, and/or a higher being to unload all that we subconsciously pick up and we need support in processing it all. Educators deserve the time and space to mourn, grieve, heal, and align their mind, body, hearts, and spirits. It is impossible to do any of this if they’re on zoom or in person and working 5 or even 4 days out of the week.
I dare any admin who truly feels called to prioritize their communities’ healing to devote 1-2 days out of the “work week” to healing and spiritual development. Screw policies, mandates, standards, tests, scores, etc. I dare you to actually make moves that would benefit your community. Who has the guts?