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Donna Quesada had been teaching for about a dozen years when the first signs of burnout hit her. Rather than give into her frustration, she reached for Buddha’s teachings—the Zen wisdom that formed the basis of her own longtime spiritual practice. She survived the semester and gradually rediscovered the joy of teaching that had been progressively declining. In this wonderful book, she shares the lessons she learned—lessons that reveal time and again: No matter the situation, it’s always about getting your head in...
Donna Quesada had been teaching for about a dozen years when the first signs of burnout hit her. Rather than give into her frustration, she reached for Buddha’s teachings—the Zen wisdom that formed the basis of her own longtime spiritual practice. She survived the semester and gradually rediscovered the joy of teaching that had been progressively declining. In this wonderful book, she shares the lessons she learned—lessons that reveal time and again: No matter the situation, it’s always about getting your head in the right place first. Resolution begins in our own minds. Some days, some semesters, and even some years will be more challenging and more wearisome than others, she warns. But in Buddha in the Classroom, Quesada offers a lasting source of encouragement and inspiration. Although the book draws from Eastern teachings, the wisdom is for everyone, regardless of personal background, creed, or faith.
With elements of The Last Lecture as well as Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul, this is the perfect gift for teachers—but also for anyone needing inspiration.
Posted September 3, 2011
The classic adage, "don't judge a book by its cover" applies here. A cursory glance at the title might lead many to assume that Quesada's work is only applicable to practitioners of Zen that work in the teaching profession. However, even though I do not fall into either of those two categories, I found this book to be both engaging and illuminating. Each of the book's chapters focuses on a common issue in life, including burn out, responsibility, forgiveness, expectations, demands, and passion. But of course, this set of concepts is not unique to the audience noted in the title. Quesada has woven a guide to better manage coping with each issue in everyday life, by adding a few pearls of wisdom on dealing with each topic. Anyone can find to this book to be both enriching and enlightening, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 28, 2011
I just finished reading Donna Quesada's The Buddha in the Classroom. I should start off by saying that although I have been awaiting this book for quite some time, I myself was unsure of the impact that it might have for me. As someone who is an atheist, neither religious or spiritual, with a somewhat marked disdain for certain religions over others, I was a bit unsure of any value this book might hold for me. In addition, I am not a teacher, have never been a teacher, and have little desire to be a teacher at this junction in my career (though I have the utmost respect for those who teach. I quite simply do not have the patience). But, as a lifelong student, I figured, why not jump right in?
And gosh-darn-it if this book didn't just blow me away! This is not just for the spiritual followers of Zen Buddhism. There is something for everyone in this little gem. It is a quick read full of insightful stories from the classroom. The chapters are brief, always beginning with a fun anecdote from Quesada's own teaching experience at Santa Monica College, with a cohesive lesson of zen to cap off each chapter and tie together the book so beautifully.
Speaking on a more personal note now, I think there are lessons to be learned for every individual in this book. In my own life, I deal with quite a bit of anxiety (Type A personality might be a bit of an understatement), and this book provides coping mechanisms to help not only the teacher and the student, but the everyday person too, as all of us can benefit by putting an extra thought or two into our actions most of the time. I think the tendency among our modern academia and clinicians to over-diagnose and provide quick solutions marks a dangerous shift. Rather, I think the zen modes of analysis that Quesada provides in dealing with annoyances, disappointments, and what she describes as "burnout" can provide all of us weary travelers with a better skill set with which to conquer our careers and lives.
Quesada obviously loves what she does, and she puts a lot of thought and care into every word and lesson in the book and it pays off. I would highly recommend this book to everyone I know. At the very least, these charming stories will surely put a smile on your face, as Quesada's delightful literary voice is brimmed with good humor. And hey, it might just positively change the way you look at life!
Wasn't into Zen--didn't matter! Totally readable, relatable and often funny stories about actual occurrences inside the classroom. In relating these stories, the author confesses her own mounting frustrations and and how she pulled herself up and out of it. She speaks directly to you in the wisdom sections, and you get the feeling you're talking to a very wise friend and advocate, or some secret, hidden guru! It's a page turner, definitely. And, I'm actually going to buy more stuff on Zen! Well written, deep, honest, and still fun.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 16, 2011
Probably the best book on teaching I've read in a long time. Without the probably, I was in serious need of help! And this book lit the fire under me again. Teaching high school can kill a man. And all I kept finding were books on method. So, this was a refreshing change! I was feeling exactly like she was, but the wisdom sections at the end of the chapters in this book flip everything around and help you take it all in stride. She totally changed the way I think about things (including the whole notion of "passion" - great chapter). It's like suddenly I have the energy to try new ideas with all my trouble makers in class. Very inspiring indeed. Loved it.. the stories and the wisdom..and who knows...I might even get into Zen after this!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.