“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
For many years, Parker Palmer has worked on behalf of teachers and others who choose their 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 people have benefited from his approach in The Courage to Teach, which takes teachers on an inner journey toward reconnecting with themselves, their students, their colleagues, and their vocations and toward reclaiming their passion for one of the most challenging and important of human endeavors.
This book 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, in community with their students and their subject, weaving connections that help their students weave a world for themselves. The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts—the place where intellect, emotion, spirit, and will converge in the human self—supported by the community that emerges among us when we choose to live authentic lives.