The Courage to Lead

81rS7W0DJ1LA group of 21 educators in my district just started a book study for The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer (Jossey-Bass, 2007). This book club consists of teachers, administrators, and professional support staff.

We are facilitating this book study in a Google+ Community. My hope is that this online forum will provide a safe space for everyone to reflect on our chosen profession and renew our purpose.

My role is to pose questions in the community and recognize others’ responses with “+1’s” and comments that acknowledge their thinking. I am also charged with setting dates in which we should have read a certain number of pages. If you have read The Courage to Teach, then you know this is not a text you can speed read through in a couple of days.

As I reread the introduction to start posting questions, I was struck by this powerful statement on page 4:

In our rush to reform education, we have forgotten a simple truth: reform will never be achieved by renewing appropriations, restructuring schools, rewriting curricula, and revising texts if we continue to demean and dishearten the human resource called the teacher on whom so much depends.

I am going to share this quote with our group. I thought it would be appropriate to share here as well.

For more on Parker Palmer’s thinking, check out his most recent post for On Being as we embark on a new year:

Five Questions for Crossing the Threshold

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

2 thoughts on “The Courage to Lead”

  1. That sounds like a great book, and a very valuable opportunity for learning and professional growth through the book club. I agree with the quote, but it’s not quite the conclusion I was predicting as I read. I was being a little more subversive in expecting it to be more than reform, revise and restructure that was required. However the point about valuing teachers is definitely an important one. Thanks for linking to Palmer’s blog also. I will check it out. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s