I already have mixed feelings about this book. Although I have found a lot of truth in the introduction, on the second page Palmer states “If you are a teacher who never has bad days, or who has them but does not care, this book is not for you. This book is for teachers who have good days and bad, and whose bad days bring the suffering that comes only from something one loves. It is for teachers who refuse to harden their hearts because they love learners, learning and the teaching life.” I disagree with the point that Palmer is making. The Lord says we should never dwell on anything; You should not bring suffering into the classroom. I do not think that teachers who “never have bad days” are people who do not dwell on the badness of the day and turn the experience into a good one. No day will ever be bad for me because every day that I teach I will be living out my God –given passions and if things do not meet the expectations I may come up with in my mind, then that is God humbling me and telling me “Let me do it my way.” Teachers who never have bad days might just know how to handle the good and the bad in ways that do not affect the day.
I do agree with Palmer (although he has a weird way of talking about it) that the “inner landscape” is correlated with self-knowledge. There is much truth to “teaching who you are.” I do not think that it is possible to not teach who you are. I really liked that Palmer said “To educate is to guide students on an inner journey toward more truthful ways of seeing and being in the world” (6). I could not agree more! Plus, what is the point in teaching if the student is not learning? If the students are not learning, then the teacher is defintely doing something wrong. If your methods do not work, you must change them to suit the needs of the students so they do learn! It is so true that students can quickly sense whether you are real and they do respond accordingly (7). This is something that students have built into them that I have experienced first hand. I look forward to continuing to read this book and although I will agree to disagree with Palmer on minor details, I hope to learn a lot or to gain “courage” to teach.