Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Book Review - The Zen Teacher

The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico 
The book is meant for educators and to be more precise it is meant for teachers. I picked up the book due to my keen interest and passion in contributing to the domain of education. While conducting training for teachers, i do come across many queries where teachers admit losing their cool, feeling burnt out, unable to multi-task, dissatisfied with their teaching effort as they have loads on their plate, and many other similar issues. 

This book delves into almost all the above mentioned issues and introduces how Zen or Mindfulness could help us be more centered, focused and aware. I wrote a couple of pieces on the topic in my posts at http://thinkshiksha.blogspot.in/2017/07/mindfulness-and-teachers.html  where the necessity of mindfulness for teachers was highlighted. This book boasts of an excellent content, nicely segregated into three well thought out sections such as "Zen", "Meditation and Mindfulness" and "Space, Stillness and Self-Care". Each of the sections then goes about explaining the relevant topics. For example, in the section on "Zen", the book introduces the concept of Zen and then goes on to explain about what comprises Zen Practice. Similarly, in the section on "Meditation and Mindfulness", 3 major types of meditations are explained and various simple techniques to practice Mindfulness are presented. 

The key focus of the book revolves around the re-iteration of the fact that teachers are also humans and prone to maladies of the present times; of the digital age that we live in. The book then connects the practice of Zen to address the various challenges that a teachers face - both teaching related and otherwise such as working with peers. The reflection activities are nice and apt and must be applied to derive the best from the book. The book goes beyond the realms of teaching and talks about how Zen could be applied at a personal plane by the teachers as Zen is all about helping our self get better by living in the present moment. The book delivers about many key components of Zen, some of which are Mindfulness, Meditation, Detachment, Non-Judgement, Intuition, Acceptance and Compassion. The concluding message of the book is asking the teachers to focus on "Self Care" as if they are well, so will our upcoming generation of learners will be. 

All in all, a very good book for teachers to start practicing and integrating Zen in their lives and their teaching practice. Few real-life scenarios would have further re-iterated the message to Zen. 

Few of my favourite quotes from the book are

"...one of most difficult parts of teaching is learning to accept one’s own limitations"

"...Learning to accept others as the complex, contradictory..."

"...When you learn to accept failed expectations and common disappointments, you can embrace what life gives you and live a happier life by enjoying what is..."

I highly recommend this book for teachers. 

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