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Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  640 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A practical framework to avoid burnout and keep great teachers teaching

Onward tackles the problem of educator stress, and provides a practical framework for taking the burnout out of teaching. Stress is part of the job, but when 70 percent of teachers quit within their first five years because the stress is making them physically and mentally ill, things have gone too far.
ebook, 384 pages
Published March 21st 2018 by Jossey-Bass
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Kate Diamond I bought the workbook right away, and I'm enjoying using both books in tandem. For me, the book is theory. The workbook is application. …moreI bought the workbook right away, and I'm enjoying using both books in tandem. For me, the book is theory. The workbook is application. (less)

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Christine Fitzgerald
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We chose this book for our professional learning group this year and I couldn't have asked for a better book to get me thru the school year with my colleagues. This book puts you back in touch your purpose as a teacher and why you chose this profession. At the same time it also provides practical suggestions for re-thinking your daily approach with both students and colleagues. ...more
Suzanne Charles
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great teacher book club resource. Made me reflect upon my approach to my profession, and how to stay focused, positive and mentally healthy in regards to work, relationships and life. I enjoyed discussing a chapter a month with a small group of valued colleagues. I'm sad it's over! ...more
Cristy Jimenez-Shawcroft
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Probably the best education book I’ve ever read - lots of inspiration and actionable ideas. I highly recommend it.
Joyce Yattoni
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
For any educator who feels overwhelmed by the profession of teaching. I had good intentions of doing all of the exercises in the book, however it got to be too much of a chore. Instead, I found more enjoyment in reading the thoughts and underpinnings of how to embrace life and all that comes with it instead of hyper-focusing on your career. You can create balance as I am finding out.
S. Myers
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this quickly to verify that it would be good for a summer-read for my staff, and now I look forward to going through it month by month. Get this for educators you know. The author shares real experiences, and these issues are so important for surviving and thriving in education.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read for work. It is what it says it is. If you are an educator, intentionally engaging with this work may help you avoid burnout. A practical guide for habituation.
Holly Gillam
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is for all professionals who coach others.
Mrs. Kristin
Ehhh. Not a ton of ‘advice’ per se. She mostly just advises to stay positive, change your way of thinking (to be more positive), and practice mindfulness to be a more positive person. Did I mention this lady thinks you should be positive?

I think it overlooks a lot of benefits you get from indulging in venting and that teaching is still a job. We are not super humans and I am not Michelle Pfifer in Dangerous Minds or Edward Jame Olmos I’m Stand and Deliver. It’s ok to be angry and frustrated yet
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, byobook-club
One of the most interesting, useful, and meaningful books I’ve read in some time - I laughed, cried, took notes, learned, reflected, and grew. I’m now itching to implement this learning with the many new teachers in my orbit. Already obsessed with everything Elena Aguilar does and would say this is her best work yet.
Kris Patrick
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I feel guilty that this sat on my work bookshelf for so long, I’m not sure the timing could have been better.
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-wellness
This book was introduce to the Mentor Cohort in my area. We attended several self-wellness workshops. I enjoyed reading this book and working through the workbook.
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book with strategies to implement with teachers. Used as a book study. Would HIGHLY recommend!!
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and all of the suggestions. Recommending it as a district read!
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been listening to this book, little-by-little, every day since I purchased it on Audible about a week ago. I can't recommend it enough to every single colleague near and far. Whether a first year teacher, a new tenure, a 20 year veteran or someone ready to retire, this book focuses on building resilience in the face of all types of stress we typically deal with in the education profession, both in and out of the classroom. I find myself grabbing my notebook and jotting down some of the many ...more
Debs Taylor
Although the book is written so that you can read one chapter a month I read the entire thing in one go, with some breaks to reflect and tamp down the ideas and practical approaches to becoming more emotionally resilient in the school community. You might think, like I did, emotional resiliency?! Aguilar takes the 12 indicators of resilience (I learned about these a long time ago when I did an article on them with a G9 class), and unpacks what that looks like and how to work on developing them, ...more
Mary Beth
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book rather quickly, because I found it to be an engaging and interesting read. However, it’s meant to be read and processed on a month-by-month basis throughout the year. I’m looking forward to returning to each chapter and further processing each aspect of the book.

There is SO much covered in this book that’s it’s impossible for the author to cover all these topics in a completely satisfying way. It feels like she brings up everything, from the power of positive affirmations to th
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book even if you wouldn't consider yourself an educator. One of the best books I've encountered about resilience and how to build it. Lots of great tips for leaders about how to create communities (in this case, specifically schools) that are resilient. I appreciated that she also several times says, "but that doesn't mean" or something similar. Building your resilience to be able to deal with a toxic environment is a very different thing than telling someone that they sh ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Teaching is one of the world's most demanding yet rewarding occupations. It could get stressful and exhausting, so educators need to develop their emotional resilience. These steps include self-care, mindfulness and gratitude will give your well-being a boost, and enhance your relationships' quality. Every educator could reclaim their passion for teaching by building up resilience. This book suggests celebrating every transition for resilient teachers who see many new beginnings and just as many ...more
Aileen Noura Vitarelli
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Building emotional resilient is vital. World are moving too fast, we have limited span on everything, clouding our attention cue and build tension in order to accomplish task, target, ambition and often people forgetting the gratitude. Gratitude changes someone life, from sadness to happiness. In the Chinese language, the word for change is represented by two symbols: one denoting “danger” and the other meaning “opportunity.” This seems fitting because although change can feel threatening and sc ...more
Aug 06, 2020 marked it as stoppedreading  ·  review of another edition
Dnf 17%. This was on the summer reading list for the teachers at my son's school, and the board decided to read along. I read the Brene Brown book from the list without question, but this one is very focused on educators, and I object to a few assumptions she makes. Based on that, and because covid threw a wrench in the works, I'm not going to finish unless the staff actually does something with it.

Although I'm not a huge fan so far, I do think it's probably a practical and helpful book for tea
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great resource for teacher therapy. Moving it off my currently reading list, but I flip this open to reread parts regularly. Focuses on the mental, emotional and physical health challenges teachers face with practical suggestions for how to cultivate habits and dispositions that counter these challenges. There are 12 brief chapters, 1 for each month of the year with a different focus habit and disposition to practice.

The workbook that goes with it is expensive, but is full of useful j
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book seemed like a compilation of a lot of truisms I have heard before about teaching. Some of those things are useful, but the book does not do a lot for people who are already trying to reduce stress/make the job more sustainable. I do think it may be helpful to school leadership who are thinking of systemic ways to improve the job, but even a lot of those considerations are pretty much common sense. Still, I guess I'm happy some of these things are written down? I hope this book and ones ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wellspring of Healing

I bought this book and the workbook after the worst year of my teaching career. The "school year" sequence of the book is the perfect format for educators. It was like she was reading my mind and gave me just what I needed to hear each month. FYI-There is quite a bit of "spirituality" and Eastern meditative influence in the book, but as a person of a different faith, I was still able to go from "ready to throw in the towel" to borderline joyful in just 10 months. It's effect
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Emotional resilience isn’t only important for teachers, but also to everyone irrespective of professions too. Aguilar explores boosting your resilience in the face of stressful and exhausting profession like teaching. So it’s imperative for teachers to cultivate their emotional resilience.

The author defines emotional cycle, detecting causes of emotions and vigil with mindfulness on emotional impulses. Aguilar stresses to make time for self-care like exercise and 8-hour sleep daily, and being gr
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elena Aguilar has put in a lot of thought and research and ideas into building educator resilience. If you've read any of her other books, you'll see some overlap, but she knows her stuff and is writing to support educators in this difficult work they show up to do each day. Written to support teachers through each month of the year, you can read it all the way through or pick the chapters you want to read first. ...more
Tina McLaughlin
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book and completing activities in the workbook as a part of a book club with some of my closest teacher friends. I learned a lot about myself, my teaching, and my colleagues during the process. I recommend this book to all my educator friends because it is imperative that we build our resilience in order to move onward in our journey as teachers and to continue to empower our students in their own journeys.
May 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book gathers all the clichés and truisms about teaching into one resource, so at least there’s that. It would benefit greatly from specific suggested exercises. The tips for school leaders seem helpful for making systemic change within a school, but for those of us trying to survive teaching (especially in toxic environments) this book is too theoretical and vague to help make any meaningful changes.
Adam Rice
Sep 11, 2020 rated it liked it
While Aguilar begins by providing advice that will be genuinely challenging to most and seems grounded in science. Unfortunately, that "grounding" becomes a lot more literal as the book descends into some unusual areas like making contact with the earth. Aguilar does say this may not actually make you more resilient but, at the very least, it's nice but I found it difficult to trust anything after heading down these paths. ...more
Henry Seton
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So thoughtful. Great synthesis of mindful practices for teachers and school leaders so they can support themselves and others for the long haul. Helpful resources and engaging stories. Thoughtful reflections for both newbie and veteran teachers. Includes issues of race and gender as well. Workbook is also good!
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I have read on education and resilience. It was incredibly helpful to me this year, and I will probably read it again next year. While it is specifically geared toward teachers, I would highly recommend it for all who work in challenging and stressful situations and seek to increase their emotional resilience.
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Elena has trained thousands of educators across the United States and abroad in transformational coaching. She is the author of four highly acclaimed books: The Art of Coaching, (2013) and The Art of Coaching Teams, (2016) Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators (2018) and the Onward Workbook (2018), and the forthcoming Coaching for Equity (August 2020). She is a regular contributor ...more

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