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The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life

Parker J. Palmer

ISBN: 978-0-470-46927-9

May 2009, Jossey-Bass

224 pages

Select type: E-Book



"This book is for teachers who have good days and bad -- and whose bad days bring the suffering that comes only from something one loves. It is for teachers who refuse to harden their hearts, because they love learners, learning, and the teaching life."
- Parker J. Palmer [from the Introduction]

Teachers choose their vocation for reasons of the heart, because they care deeply about their students and about their subject. But the demands of teaching cause too many educators to lose heart. Is it possible to take heart in teaching once more so that we can continue to do what good teachers always do -- give heart to our students?

In The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer takes teachers on an inner journey toward reconnecting with their vocation and their students -- and recovering their passion for one of the most difficult and important of human endeavors.

Introduction: Teaching From Within.

The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching.

A Culture of Fear: Education and the Disconnected Life.

The Hidden Wholeness: Paradox in Teaching and Learning.

Knowing in Community: Joined by the Grace of Great Things.

Teaching in Community: A Subject-Centered Education.

Learning in Community: The Conversation of Colleagues.

Divided No More: Teaching from a Heart of Hope.

"This is the best education book I've read in a long time. Palmer provides a powerful argument for the need to move from our over-reliance on technique toward a learning environment that both honors and truly develops the deepest human capacities in children and teachers. It's about time we remember that it's the person within the teacher that matters most in education, and Palmer makes the case eloquently." (Teacher Magazine)

"If teaching is just a chore, and you are content to just 'do chores,' this book is not for you. You will be challenged to go beyond the minimum and pursue excellence. But rather than approaching teaching as something we just tolerate, Parker Palmer holds out the promise of it being something we can celebrate." (Academy of Management Review)

"Reading this book will enrich the life of any teacher who loves teaching." (Pro Rege)

"Parker Palmer is a teacher's teacher, and it is when he writes as a teacher that this book is a remarkably inspiring, almost religious companion for anyone who has taught or might be thinking of about teaching as a vocational journey for life.... This book can change your life if you are a teacher." (Religious Education)

"Through a series of vignettes, Palmer encourages reflection, and strives to bolster readers' initiative and confidence. The Courage to Teach is an awakening, and a gentle, directive touch that reaches out to teachers of all levels and ages." (Childhood Education)

"To go on this journey with Parker Palmer into the uncharted territory of 'the self' in teaching is not only to experience the joy of viewing teaching from a thrilling new perspective. It is also to be in the presence of a great teacher who, by sharing himself so openly and honestly, engages us in the very kind of teaching he so eloquently describes." (Russell Edgerton, director of educational programs, Pew Charitable Trusts, and past president, American Association for Higher Education)

"A profoundly moving, utterly passionate, and inspired articulation of the call to, and the pain and joy of, teaching. It is must reading for any and every teacher, at any level." (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author, Wherever You Go, There You Are, and coauthor, Everyday Blessings)

"This book is good news—not just for classroom teachers and educators, but for all of us who are committed to the healing of our world." (Joanna Macy, author, World As Lover, World As Self)

"Parker Palmer has taught me more about learning and teaching than anyone else. The Courage to Teach is for all of us—leaders, public officials, counselors, as well as teachers. It compassionately and insistently asks us to recognize that our capacity to do good work springs from our recognition of who we are." (Margaret J. Wheatley, author, Leadership and the New Science, and coauthor, A Simpler Way)

"This is a profoundly satisfying feast of a book—written with a rare mix of elegance and rigor, passion and precision—a gift to all who love teaching and learning." (Diana Chapman Walsh, president, Wellesley College)

"Evokes the heart of what teachers really do, and does so in a vivid, compelling, and soulful way." (Robert Coles, University Health Services, Harvard University)