The Courage to TeachExploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
Wisdom that's been inspiring, motivating, and guiding teachers for two decades The Courage to Teach speaks to the joys and pains that teachers of every sort know well. Over the last 20 years, the book has helped countless educators reignite their passion, redirect their practice, and deal with the many pressures that accompany their vital work. Enriched by a new Foreword from Diana Chapman Walsh, the book builds on a simple premise: good teaching can never be reduced to technique. Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher, that core of self where intellect, emotion, and spirit converge—enabling 'live encounters' between teachers, students, and subjects that are the key to deep and lasting learning. Good teachers love learners, learning, and the teaching life in a way that builds trust with students and colleagues, animates their daily practice, and keeps them coming back tomorrow. Reclaim your own vision and purpose against the threat of burn-out Understand why good teaching cannot be reduced to technique alone Explore and practice the relational traits that good teachers have in common Learn how to forge learning connections with your students and "teach across the gap" Whether used for personal study, book club exploration, or professional development, The Courage to Teach is rich with time-honored wisdom, and contemporary clarity about the ancient arts of teaching and learning.
Foreword to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition ixDiana Chapman Walsh Foreword to the Tenth Anniversary Edition xviiParker J. Palmer Gratitudes xxvii Introduction: Teaching from Within 1 I The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching 9 II A Culture of Fear: Education and the Disconnected Life 35 III The Hidden Wholeness: Paradox in Teaching and Learning 63 IV Knowing in Community: Joined by the Grace of Great Things 91 V Teaching in Community: A Subject-Centered Education 117 VI Learning in Community: The Conversation of Colleagues 145 VII Divided No More: Teaching from a Heart of Hope 169 Afterword: The New Professional: Education for Transformation 191 Notes 215 The Author 225 The Center for Courage & Renewal 227 About the Companion Media 229 Index 231
PARKER J. PALMER is a highlyrespected writer, lecturer, teacher, and activist. He is founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, which offers long-term retreat programs for people in the serving professions, including teachers, administrators, physicians, philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, and clergy. Author of nine books, including Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness, Healing the Heart of Democracy, and The Heart of Higher Education, Palmer has been recognized with thirteen honorary doctorates and a number of national awards. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
"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 For forty years, Parker J. Palmer has worked on behalf of teachers and others who choose vocations for reasons of the heart, but may lose heart because of the troubled, sometimes toxic, systems in which they work. Hundreds of thousands of readers have benefitted from The Courage to Teach, which takes teachers on an inner journey toward reconnecting with themselves, their students, and their colleagues, and toward reclaiming vocational passion. The Courage to Teach builds on a simple premise: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique, but is rooted in the identity and integrity of the teacher. Good teaching takes myriad forms, but good teachers share one trait: they are authentically present in the classroom, deeply connected with their students and their subject. These connections are held in the teacher's heart—the place where intellect, emotion, and spirit converge in the human self. Good teachers weave a life-giving web between themselves, their subjects, and their students, helping their students learn how to weave a web for themselves.
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF PARKER J. PALMER'S CLASSIC WORK "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 "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 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, former director of educational programs, Pew Charitable Trusts, and past president, American Association for Higher Education