Chapters: Zen and the Art of Public School
1. Who Am I? (an exercise on looking at one's identity as a human being
and then as a teacher)
2. Why Am I A Teacher? (a personal sharing of what motivated me to become a teacher and reflective questions for the reader to consider their motivations and impetus for pursuing the teaching path)
3. Developing a Philosophy of Life and Teaching (a discussion of how one develops a philosophy of life and how that philosophy directly translates into one's "philosophical identity" which resonates to the core of that teacher's abilities and skills to inspire, or not).
4. The Most Important Day of the School
Year: (a look at the first day of school, and strategies for developing expectations and rapport with students that I have put to the test for 22 years. Preventing discipline problems, what to say on the first day of school, sharing one's philosophy of life and teaching with students; why are we doing this?; use of humor etc.)
5. What's in it For Me? (a look at the psychology of human need fulfillment from both the teacher's and student's perspective and how teaching can be more fulfilling for both the teacher and the student)
6. What Was I Supposed to Be Teaching? (a refocusing on the "art" of teaching and what great teaching means in contrast with pure "instruction.")
7. Zen and the Art of Teaching: Avoiding Burnout (a melding of Eastern philosophy with Western teaching methodology and the concept of SHOSHIN, or "cherishing one's "beginners mind" as a way of staying fresh, excited, and passionate for this noblest of noble arts).
8. Children Punished by Rewards: (a look at how 'intrinsic' learning has taken a back-seat to 'extrinsic rewards' and the unfortunate toll that this assumed and often well-meaning practice has taken on our children)
9. Making Our Mortality Our Ally (an exercise for both teacher and student for honestly confronting one's own mortality for the purpose of illuminating and
accentuating the experience of one's life)
10. The Parable of the Bird in the Hands: (a beautiful story about "free will" and our opportunity as teachers to shape our own and to enable our students to shape their destinies)