About Planning to Stay
“Teachers should consider planning for a life that centers wholeness.
The radical challenge to live a life that allows you to love yourself and, by default, love your students.”
from Foreword by Bryan A. Brown, PhD, Professor, Science Education, Stanford University
Teaching has never been easy, but those teaching between 2020 and now know that it’s also never been harder. Understandably, many educators are calling it quits on a profession that previously felt like a calling.
Planning to Stay is a book for educators who are exhausted, who don’t think they want to quit, but who feel like they don’t have any other options. Planning to Stay helps educators to better understand the cause of their pain (by distinguishing burnout from demoralization and exploitation), offers structural perspective (because the least helpful thing is to blame individuals for systemic failure), and provides clear strategies for fortifying against all of the myriad threats so that teachers can stay true to their good work - and stay in the gig.
What People Are Saying About
Planning to Stay
Doris Santoro, PhD
Professor of Education, Bowdoin College
Author of Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay
"Cleeves offers insightful and down-to-earth guidance for educators who find meaning through their work, but who are interested in ending their relationships with “psychopathic” school systems.
For teachers who want to stay but who are facing difficult conditions and unpalatable choices, this book is for you."
Elisa Stone, PhD
Program Director, CalTeach Executive Director, Berkeley Science and Math Initiative
"Cleeves’ recent book describes a practical yet theory-based approach for realizing the joys and counteracting the challenges of being a teacher. The author shares her personal experience and stance as an educator throughout, making the book an easy and compelling read; at the same time, she presents a variety of perspectives based on current research and relevant for any educator. Compassion for the struggles many teachers face is balanced with direct and probing questions or recommendations aimed at improving teaching practices, dismantling White [supremacy] culture in school settings, and motivating sustained passion for exceptional work with students. At the end of each chapter, Cleeves outlines clear take-home messages and presents workbook-style checkboxes and questions that promote self-reflection and thoughtful self-care. Within the pages of Planning to Stay, beginning teachers, seasoned classroom teachers, and teacher educators alike will find immediate and relevant guidance for developing their well-being and professional joy."
Chris Proctor, PhD
Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences
Director - University at Buffalo (SUNY) Computer Science Teacher Education Program
"Planning to Stay offers a refreshing and honest jolt to the useless pieties offered to teachers trying to care for themselves and their students in inhumane and unjust systems. The distinction between burnout, demoralization, and exploitation provides a way in for teachers to understand what they are feeling and to make concrete plans to reshape our relationship to the classroom and the boundaries which protect the rest of our lives.
"In order to survive my classroom, I wrote myself out of it." Starting from professional reflection on her classroom experience, Cleeves offers compassionate analysis and tough love grounded in the realities of classroom teaching, not the way we wish our schools were or the way we were told they would be in teacher preparation.
This book speaks to me--both as a former high school teacher and as a professor of education, reflecting back on my time in the classroom. If you are thinking about your future in the classroom, this book can help you feel and understand your experience. This deeply personal and insightful book is the mentor teacher you wish you had, offering reflections ranging in scale from systematic societal analysis to tips and tricks (pee breaks! email signatures!) to get you through the day."
Linda Thai, LMSW ERYT-200
Somatic trauma therapist
Free-lance educator and story-teller
"Personal, insightful, relevant, and practical. This book inspires the next generation of teachers to reclaim their passion for contributing to society by naming the forces that collude, collide and contribute to teacher burnout. Wherever you are in your journey of becoming an educator or a mentor to future educators, creating and sustaining longevity requires practical sustenance. This book is it."
Andrew Wild, PhD
Middle School Science Teacher Winooski, VT
"Planning to Stay is a timely and important book for teachers like myself, who are burnt out or at risk of it (pretty much all of us!) and in need of frameworks for meaning-making and practical strategies for reconnecting with the values that drew us to the profession in the first place. Drawing on research, expertise as a mental health professional, and the grounded wisdom of a former public school teacher, Jess Cleeves offers refreshingly frank perspectives on issues that are fundamental to the day-to-day work of teachers but sorely neglected in teacher education programs and professional development. A few of these interrelated issues are teachers' mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health; how boundaries can help us thrive in an exploitative education system; sustainable approaches to grading; and rehumanizing our practice and classrooms despite the structural -isms we work within. The concise explanations of these topics and the strategies that accompany them have helped me find more joy and peace in my teaching practice and life outside of work (the book reminds us there is life outside of work!), and by extension, reading Planning to Stay has benefitted my students and others dear to me."