Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach

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“I wish I could afford to buy copies of Teaching with Heart for all the teachers I have interviewed in my forty years of reporting. My budget can’t handle that. Instead, I recommend that all of us non-teachers buy copies of this inspiring book for teachers we know. You will probably want one for yourself, too.”
JOHN MERROW, Education Correspondent, PBS NewsHour; President, Learning Matters, Inc.

Teaching with Heart is the rarest kind of book:...

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“I wish I could afford to buy copies of Teaching with Heart for all the teachers I have interviewed in my forty years of reporting. My budget can’t handle that. Instead, I recommend that all of us non-teachers buy copies of this inspiring book for teachers we know. You will probably want one for yourself, too.”
JOHN MERROW, Education Correspondent, PBS NewsHour; President, Learning Matters, Inc.

Teaching with Heart is the rarest kind of book: one that actually does justice to the full range of emotion and skill teaching requires. It provides a personal and powerful antidote to the caricatures and misperceptions we often see in the headlines or popular culture, and it speaks to the heart of the teaching experience.”
WENDY KOPP, Founder, Teach For America; CEO, Teach For All

“Although we understand that teaching is an intellectual activity, we also understand that it is a moral activity. To do it well, great teachers engage both the mind and the heart. Teaching with Heart describes that wonderful combination of the heart and mind.”
GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS, Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison

“In this exhilarating collection, ninety teachers use poetry to illustrate the ups, downs, joys, frustrations, and, ultimately, the redeeming value of both teaching and poetry. In spite of the increasing demands, the disrespect, and the appalling conditions, these teachers, and millions of others, practice their craft with courage, hope, and love. This book will be a bedside companion to teachers who need to know they are our nation’s unsung treasure, as well as a wake-up call to the nation about the value of its teachers.”
SONIA NIETO, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118459430
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/19/2014
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 129,955
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

SAM M. INTRATOR is principal of the Smith College Campus School, and professor of education and child study at Smith College. A Kellogg National Leadership Fellow, he is the author/editor of seven books, including The Quest for Mastery: Positive Youth Development Through Out-of-School Programs.

MEGAN SCRIBNER has three decades of experience editing books, reports, and essays, including co-editing two other poetry anthologies with Intrator: Teaching with Fire and Leading from Within. In 2012, she received the Takoma Park Azalea Award for School Activist and continues to be active in her community.

Royalties from this book help create more Courage & Renewal resources and programs for educators.

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Table of Contents

A Note to Our Readers by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner xi

Foreword by Parker J. Palmer xxi

Introduction by Taylor Mali xxvii

Relentless Optimism 1

Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus” reflection by Randi Weingarten 2

Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues” reflection by Stephen Lazar 4

Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love” [Excerpt] reflection by Rachel Willis 6

Edgar Lee Masters’s “George Gray” reflection by Mel Glenn 8

Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” reflection by Kaitlin Roig 10

Rudyard Kipling’s “if” reflection by Andy Wood 12

Loris Malaguzzi’s “No Way. The Hundred is There.” reflection by Tiffany Poirier 14

Gerald Jonas’s “Lessons” reflection by Julie A. Gorlewski 16

Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make” reflection by Kevin Hodgson 18

Teachable Moments 21

Rainier Maria Rilke’s “All will come again into its strength” reflection by Gregory John 22

Richard Wilbur’s “The Writer” reflection by Emily Brisse 24

Theodore Roethke’s “The Waking” reflection by Nora Landon 26

Emily Dickinson’s “’Tis so much joy! ’Tis so much joy!”

reflection by Lily Eskelsen García 28

Paul Boswell’s “This Splendid Speck” reflection by Christine Intagliata 30

Stanley Kunitz’s “Halley’s Comet” reflection by Rob Maitra 32

Emily Dickinson’s “If I can stop one Heart from breaking” reflection by Annette Breaux 34

John O’Donohue’s “Beannacht” reflection by Emanuel Pariser 36

D. H. Lawrence’s “The Best of School” reflection by Tom Vander Ark 38

Beauty in the Ordinary 41

Fernando Pessoa’s “To Be Great, Be Entire” reflection by Vicki Den Ouden 42

Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Famous” reflection by Safaa Abdel-Magid 44

Pablo Neruda’s “In Praise of Ironing” reflection by Cindy O’Donnell-Allen 46

Louise Glück’s “Aubade” reflection by Kent Dickson 48

W. H. Auden’s “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” [Excerpt] reflection by Jamie Raskin 50

Stephen Crane’s “LVIII” reflection by Liam Corley 52

Mary Oliver’s “Crossing the Swamp” reflection by Maureen Geraghty 54

Philip Levine’s “What Work Is” reflection by Holly Masturzo 56

Walt Whitman’s “Section II from ‘Song of Myself’ ” reflection by Jennifer Boyden 58

Enduring Impact 61

Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness” reflection by Hannah Cushing 62

Margaret Atwood’s “You Begin” reflection by Karen Harris 64

Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Please Call Me by My True Names” reflection by Ruth Charney 66

William Stafford’s “Deciding” reflection by Michael Poutiatine 68

Li-Young Lee’s “Eating Together” reflection by Wanda S. Praisner 70

John O’Donohue’s “Blessing: For Presence” reflection by David Henderson 72

Tara Sophia Mohr’s “Your Other Name” reflection by Lianne Raymond 74

Jim R. Rogers’s “Good Morning!” reflection by Jane Zalkin 76

Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow” reflection by Kirsten Olson 78

The Work Is Hard 81

Antonio Machado’s “VI” reflection by Michael L. Crauderueff 82

Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” reflection by Kathleen Melville 84

Calvin Coolidge’s “Persistence” reflection by April Niemela 86

Sharon Olds’s “On the Subway” reflection by Lori Ungemah 88

Anonymous’s “Work Gloves” reflection by Tom Meyer 90

William Stafford’s “Next Time” reflection by Leanne Grabel Sander 92

Emily Dickinson’s “We grow accustomed to the Dark—” reflection by Rachel Fentin 94

Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” reflection by Ronald Gordon 96

Wislawa Szymborska’s “Life While-You-Wait” reflection by Veta Goler 98

Tenacity 101

Tupac Shakur’s “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” reflection by Jose Vilson 102

Philip Levine’s “M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee Intermediate School, Detroit, 1942” reflection by Laura Roop 104

Mel King’s “Struggle” reflection by Susan Rodgerson 106

Langston Hughes’s “Theme for English B” reflection by Paola Tineo 108

Irene Rutherford McLeod’s “Lone Dog” reflection by LouAnne Johnson 110

Billy Collins’s “On Turning Ten” reflection by Will Bangs 112

Edgar A. Guest’s “It Couldn’t Be Done” reflection by Glendean Hamilton 114

Lao-Tzu’s “On Leadership” reflection by Larry Rosenstock 116

William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” reflection by Caridad Caro 118

Feisty 121

Rumi’s “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing” reflection by Hugh Birdsall 122

Mary Oliver’s “The Poet Dreams of the Classroom” reflection by Katie Johnson 124

Langston Hughes’s “Mother to Son” reflection by Ron Walker 126

Jane Kenyon’s “Otherwise” reflection by Alison Overseth 128

Richard Brautigan’s “The Memoirs of Jessie James” reflection by Stephen Mahoney 130

Marge Piercy’s “To be of use” reflection by Amy Christie 132

Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” reflection by Mary Beth Hertz 134

Olive Senior’s “Colonial Girls School” reflection by Dena Simmons 136

The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell’s “An Innocent Freedom Writer” reflection by Kayleigh Colombero 138

Moment to Moment 141

Bill Holm’s “Advice” reflection by Teri O’Donnell 142

Katha Pollitt’s “Lilacs in September” reflection by David S. Goldstein 144

Herman Hesse’s “The Ferryman” reflection by Rachel Boechler 146

Mark Nepo’s “The Appointment” reflection by Judy Sorum Brown 148

Captain Ed Davidson’s “Footprints by the Sea” reflection by Sandi Bisceglia 150

Rumi’s “The Guest House” reflection by Richard H. Ackerman 152

Chuang Tzu’s “Flight from the Shadow” reflection by Mark Bielang 154

Thomas Merton’s “In Silence” reflection by Thomas A. Stewart 156

Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love” reflection by Tim Ryan 158

Together 161

John Daniel’s “A Prayer among Friends” reflection by Melissa Madenski 162

Maya Angelou’s “Alone” reflection by Nina Ashur 164

Stephen Dunn’s “The Sacred” reflection by Dan Mindich 166

James A. Autry’s “On Firing A Salesman” reflection by Brian Dixon 168

Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins, to make much of Time” reflection by Cordell Jones 170

Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats” reflection by Kathleen Glaser 172

Raymond Carver’s “Happiness” reflection by Dennis Huffman 174

X. J. Kennedy’s “Little Elegy” reflection by Kenneth Rocke 176

Mel Glenn’s “A Teacher’s Contract” reflection by Harriet Sanford 178

Called to Teach 181

Gary Snyder’s “For the Children” reflection by Julia Hill 182

Maya Angelou’s “The Lesson” reflection by Jovan Miles 184

Gregory Orr’s “It’s not magic; it isn’t a trick” reflection by John Mayer 186

Judy Sorum Brown’s “Hummingbirds asleep” reflection by Sandie Merriam 188

John Fox’s “When Someone Deeply Listens to You” reflection by Nell Etheredge 190

Alexis Rotella’s “Purple” reflection by Leatha Fields-Carey 192

William Stafford’s “The Way It Is” reflection by Donna Y. Chin 194

Langston Hughes’s “I loved my friend” reflection by Margaret Wilson 196

Wendell Berry’s “The Real Work” reflection by Amy Harter 198

Using Poetry for Reflection and Conversation 201

Afterword by Sarah Brown Wessling 221

Center for Courage & Renewal 223

The Contributors 225

The Editors 241

Gratitudes 243

Credits 245

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted June 29, 2014

    This is the book I've been waiting for! So many of my favorite p

    This is the book I've been waiting for! So many of my favorite poems--and so many new favorites -- all in one beautiful cover. I love the range of poets, from well-known to new. And I love that the poems are those that speak to real teachers, chosen by the teachers themselves. The teachers' introductions to each poem are as beautiful as the poems! I am keeping this one close at hand, as I find myself constantly opening it, to find the right line, the words I need to hear, the poem I need for my class or Circle of Trust retreat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    As I page through Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the

    As I page through Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach, I'm struck by the deeply thoughtful writing that surrounds and upholds the entirety of the book--a book that recognizes this simple and enduring truth: To do the tough, demanding work of educating our children in the face of so many pressures requires enormous passion, courage... and poetry.

    Here are ten good reasons to buy a copy, and gift it to a favorite teacher:

    1. At the heart of the book are the heartfelt stories of 90 diverse teachers, educators and administrators who write about how each poem speaks to them and guides their teaching--teachers who are dedicated to standing up for their students and the integrity of their profession.

    2. In an opening Note to the Reader, authors/editors, Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner declare their intention to "...strive faithfully to honor the noble aspirations of the profession." This volume certainly does that!

    3. In Parker Palmer's Foreword, he asks "Where do teachers find the resources necessary to continue to serve our children in such difficult circumstances?" Then Palmer names the sources: "In the human heart... and in communities of mutual support." This book is full of such evidence.

    4. In Taylor Mali's bold and moving Introduction, he writes: "Whether teaching or writing, what I really am doing is shepherding revelation; I am the midwife to epiphany." And Mali adds this affirmation: "...poetry replenishes the well because it is another way of teaching."

    5. In paragraphs that introduce each section with deeply moving language, the editors note: "The teachers describe how reading poetry provides a low-tech version of time-lapse photography. The work of good teaching is quiet, hidden, and often immeasurably subtle." Like good poetry!

    6. They also use Wendell Berry's poem "The Real Work" to point to "the beauty of important work done well and the heartbreak of important work that is beyond what one can accomplish. This paradox is the heart and soul, the wonder and burden, of the teaching life.

    7. In National Teacher of the Year Sarah Brown Wessling's richly personal Afterword, she reminds us that, "...the center of all good teaching is a nexus of humility, an understanding that teaching isn't about the teacher, it's about the learner."

    8. No wonder PBS Newshour Education Correspondent John Merrow's endorsement states his desire to buy copies of Teaching with Heart for all the teachers he has interviewed in forty years of reporting.

    9. No wonder Sonia Nieto calls the book "...a wake-up call to the nation about the value of its teachers."

    10. And no wonder Wellesley College President Emeritus Diana Chapman Walsh claims that the book is "...the best possible field guide..." for "...every teacher with heart..." to keep close at hand "...while carrying society's most sacred trust."

    And there is yet another bonus. The final chapter is a gem of a guide for how to "unleash poetry's capacity to touch the human soul and open up opportunities for us to retain our humanity."

    For all the headwinds in the face of teachers, this book--truly a gift--puts wind beneath their wings.

    Rick Jackson, Co-Founder and Senior Fellow
    Center for Courage & Renewal

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