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The month of August in the USA heralds the beginning of the “back to school” season – summer break is over and students and teachers begin the new year of school. As summer camps and summer vacations wind down and the focus shifts to preparing for new children to enter new grades, entire communities shift gear. Teachers may have to start preparing and revising lesson plans. School administrators may start focusing on myriad issues like budgets, staffing, curriculum and more. Parents may have to shift focus to gathering resources like school supplies, clothing, and waking up earlier than usual 🙂 And the students? What about the students, around whom this entire process of shifting focus revolves?

The student has perhaps the biggest shift to make – from the relatively carefree days of summer – to the relatively structured days of school. For some, the transition, the shift in focus, is easy. But I would guess, that for many, this shift is difficult, and takes some time. When I look back to my school days, this transition was slightly different. Our school year would begin in April, we would have a six week summer break, and then go back to school in early July. And, we had a stack of homework and projects to complete during our summer break. Oh, the injustice of it all – a summer break ruined with having to do school-work! 🙂

But, I digress. I was talking about the transition that ‘children’ have to make – mentally, physically and emotionally – to go back to school. We know of the responsibilities and roles of teachers, administrators, support staff and parents in transitioning ‘back to school’. What about the responsibilities of the ‘children’ to prepare themselves for ‘back to school’? In a way, we adults are perhaps like ‘children’, often find ourselves in having to make similar transitions – of going back to ‘school’. If we view our life as a playground of continuous learning – we adopt the attitude, and spirit of a student, don’t we? When we ingrain this student spirit into our minds and hearts, we have the potential to make our ‘back to school’ transitions easier. We simply view these life transitions as new opportunities to learn more about ourselves.

However, some among us, particularly the experts in a particular field or occupation, may find that it is difficult for us to go ‘back to school’. This can also happen in our spiritual life – where we have accepted certain truths, certain beliefs, certain rituals, and so on, as inviolate or non-negotiable. Yes, we need some truths and beliefs, and maybe even some rituals, to serve as foundations for the value systems in our life. So, how do we retain the spirit of a student? Of being open to continuous learning? As students, do we have a responsibility to prepare to be taught? If so, how can we do this? How does a spirit of trust affect the student-teacher relationship?

I hope some of these questions energize the student in you. I invite you to join the #SpiritChat community on Sunday, August 11th on twitter to talk about the Spirit of a Student. Come ready to share, and to take notes, and learn from the #SpiritChat community.

Thank you for reading – Namaste, and Be well.

Kumud

Update: Here are the questions asked during the chat. Enjoy, and feel free to answer in the comments… The full transcript and statistics are available at http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0811

Q1. The Spirit of a Student. What does it mean to you in your present life context? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366546228101660672

Q2. What makes an ‘ideal’ student? Does this ‘ideal’ create pressure for you as a student? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366547871773896704

Q3. As students, what are our responsibilities towards our ‘teachers’? Do we have any? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366549727333990400

Q4. In what areas of your lives could you be a better student? What stops you from being so? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366551856438194178

Q5. How do the lessons that we learn as students, serve us in our roles as teachers? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366553362897973249

Q6. Can spirituality be taught, even to the best of students? If so, how? If not, why? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366555484221734912

Q7. “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.” Thoughts? #SpiritChat
http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366556842953932801

Q8. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. Do we need to get ‘ready’? Why or why not? #SpiritChat http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/366558104814501889