The Joy of Opening Hearts and Minds

The Joy of Opening Hearts and Minds

Essential Reading for the Teaching Staff at Renaissance this term.

Authentic teaching is messy, exciting, frustrating, joyful, challenging―and sacred.

“Through stories, information and reflection, we [will look] inward, going more deeply into the discovery of who we are, not only as teachers but also as women and men for whom teaching is only a part of life. I believe the deepest calling … is the call to be who we truly are.”
―from Chapter Seven, “Teaching Who We Are”

Beloved teacher Rev. Jane E. Vennard leads an inner exploration of the hopes and fears, joys and frustrations, gifts and limitations that influence teachers of all kinds―teachers like you―every day. Drawing on her own experience as well as stories from many teachers in conventional and unconventional settings, she inspires you to reconnect to your original desire to open minds and hearts to learning. With reflection questions, practices and activities, she helps you reinvigorate your passion for your vocation, your students and your subject, thus recognizing how teaching is a sacred art.

Editorial Reviews


“Required reading for any teacher. Jane’s insights … are profound, challenging and inspiring. The spiritual dimension that she brings to this inquiry is the antidote for teacher burn-out.”
Gary Friedman, Center for Understanding in Conflict/Center for Mediation in Law; author, Inside Out: How Conflict Professionals Can Use Self-Reflection to Help Their Clients

“Truly a book for all who teach, at any level and in any subject…. Pivotal and persuasive … the reader comes away with a clear sense that those traits and practices by which we become most authentically human allow us to become uniquely effective teachers.”
Marjorie J. Thompson, author; Soul Feast: An Invitation to Christian Spiritual Life

“A masterful meditation on teaching as a sacred art. With the gentle guidance of an experienced teacher, [this book] will enrich your life and may wholly transform your perspective on education.”
E. Glenn Hinson, Emeritus Professor of Spirituality and John Loftis Professor of Church History, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

“One of the finest books I’ve read on the vocation of teaching as a journey to deeper self-knowing. Eloquent and informative.”
Diane M. Millis, PhD, author, Deepening Engagement: Essential Wisdom for Listening and Leading with Purpose, Meaning and Joy

“Teaching is a tough job; Jane Vennard shows us how to make it a blessed calling as well.”
Rami Shapiro, author, The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice

“An intimate exploration of the deepest contours of one’s soul. For both self-identified teachers and would-be teachers … offers a challenge to view teaching as a life-long journey of discovery.”
Arthur C. Jones, clinical professor of culture and psychology, University of Denver; author, Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals

“Extraordinary! The exquisite weaving of insights and stories illuminates a sacred teaching in Islam: the teacher kindles the light; the oil is already in the lamp.”
Imam Jamal Rahman, author, Sacred Laughter of the Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mulla’s Comic Teaching Stories and Other Islamic Wisdom

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