What does the courage to teach and equity in education have in common?

Few months ago, I wrote that equity and social justice in education is work of the heart.  I thought not many people would understand my plea because I am not God to change a heart. However, I know now I am not alone in this quest. After reading The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer, I learned that there are others like me searching for a way to promote equity and social justice in education. The thesis of the book as I understand it will require teachers to look at their hearts to find if they are working in the right field and/or to renew their passion for their calling.

Here are some of the assumptions in the book that encouraged me not give up:

  1. “Until we realize that the capacity to translate private feelings into public issues, when warranted, has been an engine of every movement for social change”.
  2. “When students go year after year as passive recipients of education, small wonder that they carry their passivity into the work place. What they have learned at school is that keeping one’s mouth shut is a way to stay safe. (That’s referring to us teachers and administrators). But they have not learned (us)….that opening one’s mouth to challenge what is wrong is a way to stay sane.”
  3. “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique, good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of teacher” ( You have to read the book to understand this concept)
  4. “The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than is able…”
  5. “Bad teachers distance themselves from the subject they are teaching and in the process, from their students. Good teachers join self and subject and students in the fabric of life” ” ( You must to read the book to understand this concept)

I am deeply encouraged by Dr. Palmer’s work. If you are a teacher and you are reading this, do yourself a favor read the book, reflect on its message and begin to work on what God and your heart lead you to.


About drcorretjer

Doctorate in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning. Vast experience working with English language Learners and their families. Has successfully implemented programs that increased parental involvement in schools and professional collaboration among teachers. Has presented at local, state, and national levels on the topics of curriculum and best teaching practices for English Language Learners. Specialized in alternative assessments for English Language Learners to include portfolios. My goal at this time is to mentor,and nurture new teachers or prospective teachers. I'd like to create a bridge between their college education and the realities of a public school classroom. I believe we can attract and retain the best and the brightest if we provide them with a real foundation and help them be successful. Our children deserve that. Publications: Listen to me: Exploring students' voices regarding homework Lambert Academic Publishing |May 11, 2011 Most of the research conducted about homework is based on adults’ perspectives. This case study explored the perspectives of 5th and 6th grade students in comparison with 10 teachers’ perceptions regarding homework completion. The author administered questionnaires and conducted in depth interviews using a stratified purposive sample and extreme case sampling; which educed the participants’ perceptions and practices about homework. The students’ represented 4 distinct groups: English Language Learners, general education, gifted and talented and special education. The teachers’ instruct 5th and 6th grade. The results of the study indicate that students do not complete their homework because they find it too hard, boring, or they do not understand it. Interestingly, students think that worksheets are hard and boring. However, they are not against homework! This book should benefit teachers, parents, school administrators and staff developers. It would also help develop homework practices that would increase homework completion and student learning. This book brings out the voices of the students to the forefront. After all, they are the ones doing the homework. Listen to them!
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