Is publishing my latest scribbles to a blog and to face book--and calling them poems--shameless self-promotion? It is, at least, courage, though I may live to blush another day.
I was thinking about this while reading Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's Blog "Unselfish Self Promotion" on 21st Century Collaborative. This is the brilliant site that accompanied my learning and application of Web 2.0 while a teacher during the last several years. Now, I read it to help me think about the transformative power of learning communities. Sharon justifies self-promotion because it is necessary for collaboration in positive change, in fact she shows that what we may shy away from as self-promotion is a necessary sharing of ideas. This is the dialectic of discovery in any field.
When I put forth my writing, however, I do not think it will make the world a better place. I know writing poems and sharing them will make my own world a better place for this while, that it may lead me to recognize my next ministry. And it may not.
I have pushed publishing on my students in the past so that they would experience the possibility of influencing others and being influenced; so that they would experience the equality of their own choices and articulation among myriad others; so that they would consider the possibility of the public and caring exchange that can be the best feature of democracy. Am I to be less demanding of myself?
My students trusted me to keep them from embarrassing themselves, and that is the partnership I am missing at present. I fear the labels that cause readers/listeners to turn away. I feared turning away myself as a teacher--feared having a delusion that a student might already be set in stone and not worth following through the changes that experience can bring. Looking back at my teaching, I think this is the best of it: that I encouraged writing before knowing the truth, before the possibility of contradiction was past. Imagine walking forward in the dark without fear, without reason to fear. Not so easy.
Can I be a teacher to myself? I have moved past the outbursts of obscenity and anger of youth, the iconoclastic rhetoric of extreme positions. I think subtlety, satire, and skepticism may be left--but nihilism is gone. That leaves hope. Shamelessly publishing is the next necessary step, before I definitively decide that this mind here (that is the mind of a learner) should be silence, before I know beyond a doubt that I have something to offer.