The Best of School & Other Great Poems in Teaching With Heart

Teaching with Heart is full of good news about our schools” said Parker Palmer. “The good news comes from ninety gifted and committed educators, each of whom shares a brief personal story about the teaching life, accompanied by a poem that embodies insights, values, or a vision that helps sustain him or her.”
Palmer’s forward opens Teaching with Heart, the sequel to the popular poetry collection Teaching with Fire. Both are edited by Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner and published by Jossey Bass. Sarah Brown Wessling, Teaching Channel, adds a moving afterword.
Poems from 90 amazing contributors are collected in categories including Relentless Optimism, Teachable Moments, Beauty in the Ordinary, Enduring Impact, The Work Is Hard, Tenacity, and Called to Teach.
The collection includes many favorites from Angelou (Because I love to live), Stafford (There’s a thread you follow) and Oliver (here is struggle / closure), Frost (I took the one less traveled by), Kipling (If you can keep your head), Rilke (All will come again into its strenght), and Dickinson (If I can stop one Heart from breaking).
The collection includes poets you many not know: Fox (When someone deeply listens to you), Orr (hear the poem / Which is the world), Daniel (Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive).
A D.H. Lawrence account about the rewards of watching young minds learn was my contribution:

And then he turns again, with a little, glad
Thrill of his work he turns again from me,
Having found what he wanted, having got what was to be had.

The Best of School is my favorite description of the job in watching students “darting away with discovery” and the subtle satisfaction of watching light bulbs go off. Lawrence concludes:

I feel them cling and cleave to me
As vines going eagerly up; they twine
My life with other leaves, my time
Is hidden in theirs, their thrills are mine.

Teaching with Heart will inspire you and everyone you give it to.
For more, read this blog post, 100 Reasons to Love Teaching With Heart.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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