Sustaining Our Spirit to Teach

Susan Kaplan
Music Therapy Track
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“….the more one loves teaching, the more heart-breaking it can be.” Parker Palmer says “We became teachers for reasons of the heart, animated by a passion for [music] and for helping people to learn. But many of use lose heart as the years of teaching go by.” Any number of things can affect our spirit, such as changing teaching standards, the type and number of students, and how we feel we belong in the wider school community. “How can we take heart in teaching once more, so we can do what good teachers always do – give heart to our students? The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able, so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community that learning, and living, require.” We will explore the connection between our inner and outer lives as teachers and the pull towards or away from our essence and a sense of identity and integrity. This interaction between our role as a teacher and our own spirit is where we can either sustain a spark for engaging with our students, teachers and parents, or lose our light from exhaustion and burn out. In order to grow as a teacher, we will explore practices and principles of Courage & Renewal work. These reflective listening practices are an invitation to listen deeply to what truly matters to you in this moment and to see the seeds and roots of your teaching. This reconnection to what brought you into teaching music may surprise you – that you can leave more refreshed than you thought possible! A new song may arise from touching into this inner voice.


Susan Kaplan, M.S.W., M.P.A., R.Y.T., believes reflective and compassionate listening is essential for living an undivided life. To sustain our professional lives, we must explore questions, rather than having to find “the right answer”. These practices help us bring balance and clarity to our lives. Listening & Leading From Within®, is Susan’s invitation to hear what truly matters to me and to you. She works with school communities, organizations and community groups.

As a Courage & Renewal Facilitator®, Susan provides: Seasonal, Courage to Teach, and Cross-Professional Leadership Development Retreats; Walking with Loss – finding light amongst the shattered pieces; Engaging & Healing Differences for Schools; and Colorado Courage Diversity Initiative.

She is a Certified Trainer Candidate (Center for Nonviolent Communication) and Rocky Mountain Compassionate Communication Network Facilitator, providing life-enriching programs based on Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, i.e. Living a Compassionate Life; The Heart of Parenting & Teaching; Change the Face of Anger; Dealing with Difficult People; Bridging Introverts & Extroverts; Healing Generational Pain; and Power of Empathy. Susan is a Storyteller & Story Listener® for peace wrestling, Yoga Teacher, an early childhood provider, and a Restorative Justice School Facilitator (Olive Branch Resolution). She has written a children’s story “Learning to be A Mensch”, in Frijoles, Elotes, y Chipotles, Oh My! & Other Tummy Tales and Engaging & Healing Differences Workbook.

Susan Kaplan's website