chapter  2
5 Pages

Teaching Affectively

WithKathleen Stewart

Ten years ago, I started teaching affectively. This meant changing my state of being as a teacher. Actually the first time it happened was more like twenty years ago. I was teaching a large lecture class right after a yoga class, which always, for me, included falling into a deep sleep during the final relaxation. The yoga disconnected me from my drivetrain. I would awake refreshed, calm, and differently, less automatically, oriented. Then I would walk straight to my classroom where I would just stand in the front of the room, looking around for maybe a full minute. The first time I did this, the atmosphere in the room swelled. A pen dropped. The students looked anxiously around, and then, much to my surprise, they started to smile at me. Something subtle but powerful had shifted. The abstract high horse of classroom knowledge decorum had been contaminated with any number of things pinging around the room—possibilities, memories, preoccupations, eyes seeking contact, and bodies shifting in their seats. The room had become a scene we were in together as bodies and actors.