American education is in a funk. And it has been since the very start of the COVID19 epidemic, during the 4th quarter of the 2019-20 school year when schools across the country closed up shop or turned to what proved to be inadequate virtual learning methods. As if this weren’t alarming enough, much of the malaise that set in then has yet to dissipate. Teacher shortages, lingering and unremediated student learning loss, a lack of substitute teachers, and a dearth of applicants for para-educators and other classified employees, stubbornly persist. So how do we get back to the ‘old days’ when there was still so much joy in coming to school each day? The ancient, yet surprisingly modern, philosophy of Stoicism may hold the key, even in today’s increasingly diverse culture. By examining the underlying principles and a set of practical techniques from this philosophical school, as outlined in this book, school people—teachers, administrators, teachers’ aides and others-- may very well find a way back to happiness and tranquility in the profession they have always loved.
Joseph Graves is the superintendent of schools in Mitchell, South Dakota. He has served as a superintendent, principal, and teacher for the last 37 years. In addition to education and the social studies, which he taught, he also studied philosophy as both an undergraduate and a graduate student.
Chapter 1: The Essence of Stoicism
Chapter 2: The Stoics
Chapter 3: Stoic Skill 1: Negative Visualization
Chapter 4: Stoic Skill 2: Love the One You’re With, Appreciate What You Have
Chapter 5: Stoic Skill 3: Never Fall from Your Purpose
Chapter 6: Stoic Skill 4: Value that Which Should be Valued, Despise that Which Should Be Despised
Chapter 7: Stoic Skill 5: Spend No Time or Effort on Trifles
Chapter 8: Stoic Skill 6: Death and Focusing on What you Control, Ignoring What You Don’t
Chapter 9: Stoic Skill 7: What the Well-Dressed Stoic is Wearing These Days
Chapter 10: Stoic Skill 8: Do Not Seek the Preferment of Rome…or the Central Office
Chapter 11: Stoic Skill 9: Let Nothing Perturb You, Let Naught Disturb You
Chapter 12: Stoic Skill 10: Control Your Anger. Better Yet, Eliminate it Altogether
Chapter 13: Stoic Skill 11: Ask Not ‘Why Me?’ but ‘Why Not Me?’
Chapter 14: Stoic Skill 12: Conclusion
Appendix: Can a Christian be a Stoic? Can an Atheist?
About the Author
“Many of us still find ourselves in an emotional malaise. Luckily, Dr. Graves shows us the way forward. His thoughtful, insightful, and accessible work can help any of us re-discover the joy of our professional calling.”
"Renewing the Joys of Teaching resurrects the best of Stoic philosophy and applies it to the post-Covid education landscape in practical, usable ways. Educators will find insight, joy, and renewal in the problem-solving skills of the Stoics, which are helpfully summarized and organized by Joseph Graves."
“As a prevention specialist whose job it was to work closely with people—students, teachers, parents—I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects COVID had on people, especially those who were already under stress for any number of issues. But I’m not unique. Everyone can see the wreckage the pandemic visited upon us. What I haven’t seen much of, though, is solutions, bright ideas for helping educators through not just the pandemic but all of its lingering effects. Until now. In Renewing the Joys of Teaching, Dr. Graves takes the reader through a set of positive techniques that, I am convinced, can help even the teacher in the depths of malaise find their way back to the fun and the purpose they once found among their students.”
“Graves shrinks the timeline of history, allowing the words of Marcus Aurelius and other Stoics to inform and guide today's teachers. Graves' thoughtful insights will prompt conversation and debate among educators and laypeople alike.”