Study Guide

Suggestions for making the most of The Feeling of Teaching: Using Emotions and Relationships to Transform the Classroom. First:

  • Read the Introduction to get a sense of what the book intends to do and how.
  • Check out Glossary p. 335 just to see what kinds of terms you can look up as necessary.
  • Check out Appendix p. 325 to see how many defenses are described there (so you don't have to think too hard about them as you read Chapter One).


Before you begin:

  • What pushes your buttons inside and outside the classroom?

As you read, keep the Chapter Questions in mind:

  • What is a “button”?
  • Where are these buttons located?
  • Why is one behavior or experience a button for one person and not for another?

And pay attention to how these words are used (remember that they're defined in the Glossary p. 335):

  • Psychic structure
  • Enactment
  • Psychodynamic perspective
  • Emotion work
  • Emotional and relational data
    • About one’s own emotions
    • About relational patterns
    • About students’ emotions
  • Defenses
    • Worry not about memorizing or being able to refer to the individual defenses; focus on the questions “Where’s the anxiety?” and "How is it being managed across relational partners?"
  • Joining

Make an effort to use these words when you discuss the book in the Study Group.

NOTE: There are a lot of stories in this chapter. If you are feeling tired of them by p. 77, try this: read a story and practice applying the psychodynamic perspective on your own (or in your study group). Imagine yourself as the protagonist in the story and do the emotion work:

  • What are your (the teacher’s) emotions?
  • What might the Other’s emotions be?
  • Why might the Other be feeling this way?
  • Given your guess(es) about the Other, what could you have done differently?
  • What might have happened if you had done that? Can you revise your plan based on this possibility?

Compare your thinking to my analysis in the book and share what you discover with the group when you meet. (I’d love to hear from you as well!)

During your group meeting:

  • What about the concepts in the chapter remains unclear to you?
  • Which terms do you need clarity on?
  • What’s your response to emotion work?
    • Pros
    • Cons
  • How did you experience the stories and analyses?
    • What helped?
    • What didn’t?
    • Where did your analysis/es differ from the author’s?
  • What are your buttons?
    • Share a story about a pushed button in your classroom.
      • What were your emotions?
    • As a group, do emotion work on this story.
      • What guesses can the group make about the Other(s) involved in the enactment based on your emotions?
      • What might you have done differently based on these guesses?
      • How might this plan have worked?
    • Given the likelihood of having this button pushed in the future, how can you prepare for it? How will you know your button is being pushed? What will you say or do? How can you help yourself remember these things?