The Courage to Teach

The Courage to Teach Book

Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life

by Parker Palmer
For Middle Level & Elementary • All Grades

"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.

The book is based on the premise that "good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teachers." Palmer examines some of the reasons for teacher isolation and fragmented systems, and he offers a guide to creating communities of learning and new feelings of wholeness. He suggests that only when we know ourselves can we help our students to develop into whole people who will become lifelong learners.

Palmer concludes that "when we are unfaithful to the inward teacher and to the community of truth, we do lamentable damage to ourselves, to our students, and to the great things of the world that our knowledge holds in trust. . but if you are here faithfully with us, you are bringing abundant blessing. It is a blessing known to generations of students whose lives have been transformed by people who had the courage to teach."

This book has already become a runaway bestseller in education, and is the basis for numerous discussion and study groups.

Teacher's Perspective
Palmer helps teachers uncover their most cherished thoughts and beliefs. He believes that we teach who we are; our actions and words come from our life experiences and our knowledge. He believes good teaching cannot be reduced to technique, but comes from knowing oneself. Why do we choose one discipline method over another? What do we believe makes good curriculum? How do we speak to kids? Coming to know ourselves is both demanding and exhilarating. Palmer leads the reader through an investigative, interpersonal journey of discovery. He writes in a style that is both humble and based in real life experience, yet scholarly and profound. For anybody who ever asks the question, "Why?," this book will deliver.
      –Scott Tyink

10th Anniversary Edition, includes CD and new Foreward
San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass, 2007, 272 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-7879-9686-4