Supporting Teachers: A Special Offer

Posted on 18 August 2010

It’s back to school month in many locations, and I can’t enter this time of year without remembering the excitement and nervousness that accompanies the start of a school year.  A public high school teacher for ten years, I know the first week drill — state the rules clearly, break the ice, set the tone, cross your fingers, and hope your lesson plans unfold as you planned.  I loved teaching, but, I have to say, it’s one tough job!  It’s a job in which you want to give your all because you  know your students deserve your best and more, and yet, your best never feels like enough.

Making it through the school year can feel like running up hill with weights every day.  It’s rare that a teacher ever feels ahead of the game, and it’s also too rare that they are truly acknowledged for the multi-tasking, the endless patience and the juggling of many hats they perform from.  And, yet, a teacher’s job is incredibly important and the influence of a teacher is broad in scope and substance.

So, this month, I’m reaching out to teachers.  I’m offering coaching support throughout the semester and I’m inviting teachers to enter a nourishing, supportive and reflective conversation with me.  It’s important that teachers stay balanced and healthy through the school year, and I’m not just talking about maintaining a strong immune system or avoiding the latest flu or virus. No, I’m talking about intellectual, emotional and spiritual health.  It’s from that place that a teacher is passionate and powerful!

Email me for more details on my Back to School Coaching special, and if you aren’t a teacher, or a school administrator, send your teacher-friends my way, or purchase a coaching series for your child’s teacher.  Wouldn’t that be gift worth giving?


Below is an excerpt from the book The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer that inspired and challenged me as teacher!  It’s in this spirit of respect and reflection that I make my offer!

Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror, and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge–and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject.

In fact, knowing my students and my subject depends heavily on self-knowledge. When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my unexamined life–and when I cannot see them clearly I cannot teach them well. When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject–not at the deepest levels of embodied, personal meaning. I will know it only abstractly, from a distance, a congeries of concepts as far removed from the world as I am from personal truth.

We need to open a new frontier in our exploration of good teaching: the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. To chart that landscape fully, three important paths must be taken–intellectual, emotional, and spiritual–and none can be ignored. Reduce teaching to intellect and it becomes a cold abstraction; reduce it to emotions and it becomes narcissistic; reduce it to the spiritual and it loses its anchor to the world. Intellect, emotion, and spirit depend on each other for wholeness. They are interwoven in the human self and in education at its best, and we need to interweave them in our pedagogical discourse as well.”

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