If Everything Happens That Can’t Be Done: A Mindful Approach to Teaching in Community College

If Everything Happens That Can’t Be Done:
A Mindful Approach to Teaching in Community College

By Steven L. Berg

Edited by Kaysi Holman

Yuzu TreeImage by Stefan


Riccardo C. Berg
Lorain F. Berg
Snooki, Lil’ Mama, Abuela


Table of Contents


1. Dukkha: Pervasive Dissatisfaction

    “Judge Judy and Academic Success”
    “…we wouldn’t have taken the course…”
    “Of Horticulture and Horses” 
    “Venting On-Line”
    “Trimming the Yuzu Tree: Reflection on our Inability to Help Students”

2. Majjhimapatipada: The Middle Way

    “Implementing a Foolish Consistency”
    “The Pornography of On-Line Education?”
    “A Deep Appreciation for History”
    “We’re Off to See the President”
    “Trimming the Yuzu Tree: Reflection on Not Being Too Rigid”

3. Metta: Loving Kindness

    “To Reteach Students Their Loveliness”
    “If You Are Without Power and Seek Warmth”
    “Rebuilding Trust”
    “Showing Documentaries on the First Day of Class”
    “Trimming the Yuzu Tree: Reflection on Giving Students Choices”

4. Kurana: Compassion

    “A Pedagogy of Compassion”
    “On Compassion and Public Shaming”
    “Advocating for Compassion”
    “Teaching While Underimpaired”
    “Trimming the Yuzu Tree: Reflection on the Complicated Lives of Students”

5. Mudita: Sympathetic Joy

    “Swimming in the Deep End”
    “Non-Teaching and Sympathetic Joy”
    “Losing Control in a Student Centered Class”
    “Taking Students to Candy Mountain vs. Taking a Kidney”
    “’Big Boy College’ and Community College Voices”

6. Upekkha: Equanimity

    “Speaking of Failure”
    “Teaching Our Failures to Benefit Students”
    “You Have a Right to Your Opinion, But Not in My Classroom”
    “The Devil’s Den of Ignorance”
    “On Killing Liberal Professors”

7. Nibanna: Enlightenment

    “Not a Typical Friday Night”
    “Learning in a New and Unconventional Way is Scary”
    “Living Up to Our Expectations”
    “Ten Seconds to Forever”
    “From Gladiators to MOOCs:  Higher Education, Technology, and Social Mobility”

8. Samsara: Cycle of Wandering-On

    “Unlearning Classroom Geography”
    “Taught by Not Learned”
    “Fostering Mediocrity”
    “Twisting Truth into Lies”
    “Learning from Danica Savonick”