The Way of the Teacher
Teaching is demanding and rewarding work. Teaching becomes perhaps not less demanding, but certainly richer and more rewarding when we teach with passion, an open heart, and a genuine presence. These are qualities that can grow and become stronger and The Way of the Teacher looks at ways to support you in nurturing these dimensions of yourself and bringing forth more of what your heart,...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,303
The Way of the Teacher
The authors gratefully acknowledge the dedicated time spent by and insightful feedback received from reviewers with a variety of educational backgrounds and experiences. The comments and ideas we received helped to ensure our language, ideas, and suggestions were well grounded in practice and supported deep reflections about the teaching life. Our many thanks to:
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
273
The Way of the Teacher
Teaching is a creative endeavor that draws on the full range of our human abilities – emotional, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. No matter what age group or which subjects you teach, there are many needs to be met. Your students need you to be clear and organized, kind, patient, and trustworthy. Administrators need you to be all these things, and to follow...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,470
The Way of the Teacher
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
66
The Way of the Teacher
Teaching involves so many actions, yet it is the teacher’s way of being that ultimately colors these actions for better or worse and affects students’ learning and growth. When we say that, as a teacher, it is important not just what you do but the way you do it, we are talking about the personal qualities that people bring to their teaching. A way of being with students...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,960
The Way of the Teacher
It is not only children who ask the question, “Who am I?” It is a life question, an adventure of discovery. Our essential mystery cannot be fully penetrated. To describe this knowledge as a mystery, we mean that each of us has a unique and marvelous essence that is ours alone and that core of what makes us unique cannot be fully known.
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,492
The Way of the Teacher
Sonia Nieto’s extensive experience in working with students with challenges of language, ethnicity, and poverty and her research into what keeps teachers going in tough situations demonstrate that while teachers are not the only factor in students’ success, they are the most crucial factor. Their dedication to their students comes from their values, beliefs, their own experiences, and...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,697
The Way of the Teacher
Young children are attentive to their surroundings and are wonderfully surprised (and sometimes immediately frightened) by new sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and tactile experiences. Their concentration is intense and their minds don’t wander as they taste dirt for the first time or bury their nose in the soft hair of the family dog. These sensual experiences can raise a range of feelings...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,974
The Way of the Teacher
One of the most important actions we can adopt as teachers is to feel our feelings, to take the time to feel our pain, our compassion, and our joy. Most spiritual traditions include practices for accepting and understanding our own suffering – the ways we have been hurt. This is the work of a lifetime. This is the work we most often avoid. Too many unrecognized or unacknowledged hurts from...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,004
The Way of the Teacher
How many times have we ignored that little voice within us only to discover later that we should have paid attention to our initial internal response to a situation? It is important to emphasize here that an initial internal response is not necessarily an impulsive response. There is a wide gap between an inner integrated intuitive response and an outer fractured impulsive response. Hoff (1982)...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,256
The Way of the Teacher
Love is our true nature. We may forget this at times when we are experiencing feelings of regret. At such times, our task is to trust our own inner goodness and remember that nothing in life and no action of ours can permanently destroy our goodness. The instinct to teach comes from this center of kindness which can’t be truly lost, but we can forget or doubt it when it is shaken by some...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,863
The Way of the Teacher
Elizabeth Bennet’s reflection, as shown in the opening quote above, concerns the unwinding of her prejudice against the apparent arrogance of her suitor, Fitzgerald Darcy. Throughout the novel, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth engages in many bouts of reflection, both privately and in discussion with others. In the excerpt above, she is reliving events and problem solving as she walks....
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,987
The Way of the Teacher
“Doing it right” can be an obstacle to caring. When we are totally focused on “covering the material,” preoccupied with competence and success, we often forget to open our hearts to our students. . . . Our hearts can also become blocked when we are attached to a particular plan, technique, or...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
176
The Way of the Teacher
Teaching contexts, like all others that involve human relationships, do raise moral dilemmas that test us. In meeting these dilemmas well, Palmer (1998) sees wholeness as central. This is evident in his claim that “good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher” (p. 10).
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,714
The Way of the Teacher
Despite her busy teaching life, Rachel consistently demonstrates an openness of spirit. This supports her in keeping an open mind to the curricula she works with and allows her to discover her informal theory regarding arts education and the development of products. As teachers, it is helpful to be familiar enough with the respective curricula that we work with so that we can discover and let go...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,105
The Way of the Teacher
But Huck Finn knew that he did not have time to “blow and gasp.” So he called out to Jim to wake up and set the raft loose. They had been floating down the river on a raft, enjoying adventures and narrowly escaping life-threatening mishaps on the way. Throughout Mark Twain’s novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck consistently demonstrates his resilience by surviving an...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,896
The Way of the Teacher
There are many positive ways to use our new and old technological media. Teachers can communicate with colleagues around the world, read blogs on educational topics of interest, and write their own. Research for both teachers and students is often simplified by search engines such as Google. Computers and smart boards can bring images, sounds, and experiences to the classroom that strengthen...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,147
The Way of the Teacher
Similar to how Alice felt when she was swept up in the Queen’s curious game of croquet in Wonderland, there are times when teaching can feel like the ground is shifting under our feet. School district policies or school-level decisions can affect our teaching life in unforeseen ways. Even our best-laid plans, developed through hours of careful thought and based on current research, can be...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,138
The Way of the Teacher
The notion of harmony and balance in the practice of feng shui provides an interesting backdrop for thinking about our personal and professional lives. How is it possible in our busy day-to-day lives to attain this balance and to bring harmony between the energies of our teaching life, and our home and social lives? Attention to our energy level is important as work-related stress can lead to...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,391
The Way of the Teacher
If you ever hear the skit above, which wildly exaggerates a misbehaving class and a teacher’s response, it will bring a smile to your lips. That is because of the visual picture that comes to mind when we hear the sweet and gentle Sister Mary Elephant screaming unceremoniously “Shut up!” and then meekly saying, “Thank you” in a tiny voice. This type of outrageously...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,052
The Way of the Teacher
Reasons for writing about your teaching do not have to be any more complicated than liking sentences or the smell of ink, but the rewards of doing so can be many. The ways to do so are equally numerous. Personal writing can reveal aspects of your teaching formerly unnoticed and be a source of discovery. It can be a cache of questions to explore, a memory bank, a conversation with yourself, or an...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,931
The Way of the Teacher
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
97
The Way of the Teacher
We all have a sense that we know many things and the stable things of our world – our table, our dishes, the sun coming up in the morning, and the switch turning the light off are knowable. There are other aspects of our life, as Mattis-Namgyel reminds us, that are ultimately unknowable but enriching to ponder. We have so many possibilities for opening the mind, freeing ourselves from...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,164
The Way of the Teacher
This curiosity about the world and need to explore it is intensely striking with babies and toddlers who make amazing progress each day, as they interact with their surroundings in novel ways. When they fail to roll over, reach the mobile, or stand up unaided, young children continue to push themselves through difficult trials and multiple attempts. Similarly, when learning to ride a two-wheeled...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,030
The Way of the Teacher
The seventeenth-century Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō, understood the human need for beauty and felt one way it could be found was to return to the elemental world of our natural and spiritual origins. This poem was written when Bashō was on a spiritual journey to visit a hermitage and temple high in the mountains. He wrote in the journal he kept on that journey that often the greater...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,794
The Way of the Teacher
A theme in the work of Nachmanovitch, Richards (1989), and others who work with and write about the creative process is that it involves finding the heart’s voice. This may not be the way that you usually think about creativity. You may be like many people who think that creativity is the province of artists and not feel that you are creative. Yet we all share the creative nature of the...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,629
The Way of the Teacher
Have you ever been engaged in a task only to look up and discover that time has flown by? This engagement is often described as “flow” – that locked-in feeling when we’re at our most productive. Visual artists, musicians, writers, scientists, athletes, and others find themselves in a state of flow when engaged in and excelling at their respective activities. Their activity...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,089
The Way of the Teacher
There are many ways to understand what is meant by hope and why it is important for your life as a teacher. Hopefulness, as an orientation we try to maintain in our teaching, is more than wishing for something we perceive as good. Rather, hope needs to be acted upon. It can be understood as a marriage of vision, intention, beliefs, and actions. A helpful vision would be one in which you see your...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,201
The Way of the Teacher
Happiness can be described as the overall experience of both pleasure and purpose.The concept of happiness as being a synthesis of pleasurable experiences and an overall sense of meaning and direction is found both in the fields of psychology and philosophy. This chapter is grounded in sources...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,199
The Way of the Teacher
The eighteenth-century poet William Blake is considered by many to have been a visionary, seeing and writing about the life of the spirit in a broader and deeper way than most of us understand our life to be. Where we may see limits, he saw possibilities, angels in the trees, and heaven in a wild flower. His insight here is a central one in terms of how we live joyous moments. We try to be fully...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,809
The Way of the Teacher
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
126
The Way of the Teacher
Following Kohn’s reasoning, genuine acts of kindness would come from a teacher who is a whole, integrated person bringing all aspects of her/his being into classroom relationships. Our kindness is strengthened and grows out of our ability to also see those we teach as whole persons and not simply as students.
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,820
The Way of the Teacher
Our busy lives as teachers often prevent us from taking the time to appreciate the humor present in our everyday lives. These humorous moments can range from a student’s “ah ha” related to a learning discovery to a teacher’s personal reflection related to a classroom observation. It is ironic that such daily experiences, which are often funnier and less insulting than...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,095
The Way of the Teacher
Although Nachmanovitch is referring to artists in the quote above, his ideas apply equally to our classrooms. We are building communities of collaborators which bring both joy and challenge. An important benefit in providing students with the security to expand their horizons and explore the plentiful nooks and crannies of our world is knowing that they are not alone and can count on their fellow...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,030
The Way of the Teacher
For Kingwell, to shape the world we want, we need to be able to speak up as global citizens. This allows others to know what we think and perhaps provide another viewpoint as we contribute to the dialogue underway. Finding our voice can be challenging but is worthwhile, not only for ourselves, but for others and for the world. Democracies and communities become stronger when all voices are...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,773
The Way of the Teacher
Teachers benefit from the opportunity to learn from and be supported by their peers. A large body of research exists that demonstrates the importance of trust, enjoyment, and social support from colleagues and coworkers. Some of this researchLarrivee (2012) summarizes the results of a large number of studies that support this...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,708
The Way of the Teacher
The poet Robert Louis Stevenson wrote these words over a century ago and his insights were based on his own experience. Scientists today confirm these benefits not only to the human spirit but also to the mind and body.
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,379
The Way of the Teacher
We are all a part of the natural world. We come from the same building blocks as other life forms on earth and in the expanding cosmos. We may set ourselves apart from the natural world; but we are not apart, and when we do not remember this, we are diminished, the planet is harmed, and we are closed off from rich sources of learning, growth, and enjoyment.
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,855
The Way of the Teacher
We have come full circle. Our explorations of ways to strengthen our spirits and nourish our overall well-being create new possibilities for us to be open to the earth and all its creatures and cultures. The sense of belonging and connection this creates enlarges us as humans as we develop an openness of heart and empathy for the suffering of others, including the plants and animals in the oceans...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
1,735
The Way of the Teacher
Whether you have taught for one year or thirty years, you will have discovered that teaching is not for the faint of heart. Every day, we witness miracles with our students – the first time they kick a soccer ball, experiment with their voice in song, or tackle a difficult physics challenge. This is the way to live our teaching life – on full alert experiencing the joy, pain, success,...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
614
The Way of the Teacher
This short overview of mindfulness is based in the works of many long-time teachers and scholars in the field who adopt approaches that are helpful to everyone. Sources used remain within a secular approach to mindfulness and mindfulness meditation including Chade-Meng (2012), Germer (2009), and Kabat-Zinn (1990, 1994, 2005). As well, a book that is particularly useful to teachers is...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,139
The Way of the Teacher
Research related to helping people improve their mood, appreciate and accept themselves has discovered some common patterns of thinking that people in the Western world are particularly prone to. David Burns (1999), building on the work of Dr. Aaron Beck and other pioneers of cognitive therapy, has identified a group of...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
872
The Way of the Teacher
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
529
The Way of the Teacher
You can use the questions and Textbox D.1 to focus discussion with your students to help them understand themselves and their peers better and to help them understand that all people have the same needs for happiness and emotional safety.Adapted from a lesson in Finney (2013).
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
568
The Way of the Teacher
Rate your strength of agreement to each of these questions (2 for Strongly Agree, 1 for Agree, 0 for Disagree). The higher your score the more likely you are to reap all the benefits of nature therapy and become involved in practices that contribute to a healthier planet.Adapted from Selhub and Logan’s Your Brain on...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
390
The Way of the Teacher
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
2,446
The Way of the Teacher
~Sandra Finney, PhD, has had many roles in her lifetime in education, including that of public school teacher, curriculum developer, and teacher educator – at all times working to support the overall well-being, compassion, ecological values, and critical and creative thinking abilities of teachers and...
Sandra Finney and Jane Thurgood Sagal
Rowman & Littlefield
187