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Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach Hardcover – May 19, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Teaching with Heart

“‘Warn the whole Universe that your heart can no longer live without real love.’ Those words from the poet Hafiz are the reason you must buy this book, as the best possible field guide to accompany you through the brambles, over the chasms, up and down the treacherous slopes that every teacher with heart traverses every day of the year, while carrying society’s most sacred trust.”
— DIANA CHAPMAN WALSH, president emerita, Wellesley College

“As a poet and a teacher, I’m always looking for what is essential and how it can be of use. Teaching with Heart inspires and models the use of what matters in life and community.”
— MARK NEPO, author of The Book of Awakening and Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

Teaching with Heart honors the heroic optimism of teachers and their belief that despite the many challenges and obstacles of the teaching life, much is possible. The book is a collection of ninety treasured poems, each accompanied by a teacher’s brief personal reflection on how poetry helps them make sense of the challenges and possibilities in their work. Teaching with Heart is the highly anticipated sequel to the wildly popular Teaching with Fire, and like the original it will guide, renew, and inspire teachers.

Written by and for teachers of all levels of experience across the entire educational spectrum, Teaching with Heart explores the gamut of emotions teachers experience—joy, outrage, heartbreak, and hope—helping teachers to make sense of the ups and downs, and to stay invested and inspired, especially during difficult times.

This anthology includes a rich variety of poems from Emily Dickinson, to William Stafford, to Maya Angelou, to Mary Oliver, to Tupac Shakur, and moving commentaries that speak directly to everyone who teaches, exploring the questions, challenges, and triumphs that lie at the heart of the profession.

From the Back Cover

“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

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118459431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118459430
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book. It speaks to me on so many levels - as a former student; as an admirer of the teachers that everyday fill my children with wonder, confidence and knowledge; and as a believer that education is by far the best and most reliable path to achievement regardless of where you start on the road. I will be giving a copy of the book to all of my children's teachers and administrators because I know that that they will laugh and cry and learn and grow from the words that are shared on these pages.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I had access to this book when my children were school-age; it would make a wonderful present for those special people who had touched their lives. The book consists of poems by well-known poets that are submitted by educators from a wide range of backgrounds who also contribute a short essay on why that particular poem inspired or motivated them. I discovered a whole new crop of poets -- and was reminded again and again about why teachers are so critical to our communities and to the lives of our children. It's a lovely book.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner have brought to print the courageous
voices of a multitude of teachers speaking to and for their colleagues and students in
classrooms across the nation and around the globe. Parker J. Palmer's foreword,
Taylor Mali's introduction and Sarah Brown Wessling's afterword are power-filled.
What a great time of year for this amazing collection of writing and poetic witness.

Chip Wood
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a wonderful and inspiring collection of essays by teachers and educators, all of whom have selected poems that have been important to them personally and professionally. The book is divided into sections with titles such as ""Relentless Optimism", "Teachable Moments", "Tenacity", and "Called to Teach". Each teacher's essay speaks to the subject at hand and introduces a favorite poem. The choices are interesting and varied, from the familiar ( like Emma Lazarus' Statue of Liberty poem "The New Colossus") to the less familiar and even surprising (like the lyrics of "Helplessness Blues" by the alt-folk band Fleet Foxes). There are perennially favorite poets too, like Whitman, Dickinson, Kipling and Frost, but also more contemporary poets like Naomi Shihab Nye and Mary Oliver. I'm glad to see that one teacher selected "What Teachers Make", an inspiring spoken-word rant by Taylor Mali, who also wrote the book's introduction. The final section of the book presents ideas on how to share poetry in the classroom. Even as a non-teacher, I enjoyed this book very much, but it would truly be a special gift for any teacher you know, or for yourself if you happen to be one.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been teaching for more than half of my life. In that time, I've seen some awful teachers, the kind I hoped to avoid when I was a student. But I've seen far more good teachers, men and women for whom teaching is not just a job but a vocation in the true sense of the word, a calling. This wonderful collection of poems and mini-essays (or anecdotes), containing poems from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, Margaret Atwood and Maya Angelou, Lao-Tzu and Rumi, is a truly eclectic and wonderful collection of poems that really mean something to the working teachers who submitted them.

Each poem is preceded by a few paragraphs by the teacher who submitted it, and these paragraphs convey the struggles and joys of teaching and the significance of the accompanying poem to that teacher. If nothing else, this book will remind the teacher that he or she is part of a fraternity filled with countless hardworking, dedicated professionals who share a passion for the next generation.
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