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Reach Before You Teach

Ignite Passion and Purpose in Your Classroom

Reach Before You Teach shows educators how to form the nurturing, individualized connections that make students feel worthy, fulfilled, and ready to flourish as learners.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452261386
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 216
  • Publication date: September 17, 2013

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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Facilitating students’ unique paths towards identity development is the key to teaching young teens.

Students face pressures that undermine the development of a solid sense of self, jeopardizing success in school and in life: Family issues, economic concerns, media influences, social pressures, physical changes, and more influence how students feel about themselves.
When these go unnoticed, even the best teaching methods fall short. Reach Before You Teach shows educators how to form the nurturing, individualized connections that make students feel worthy, fulfilled, and ready to flourish as learners.

The book details:

  • Practical, empowering information about how a sense of self comes to be, and what threatens it.
  • Interventions that soften the myriad defenses students develop to protect themselves.
  • How to address the often-overlooked connections between physical, social, and emotional health and classroom performance.

Packed with real-life examples and results-delivering exercises, Reach Before You Teach supplies educators with the all-important skills to connect with students so academic and life success feels more attainable.

“In our present education system that seems to be caught up with numbers and standardization, this book is a welcomed read. Education will never improve if we don’t make the social-emotional skills of children our first priority.”
—Peter DeWitt, Principal
Poestenkill Elementary School, NY

“This book is a must-read for all who want to encourage self-awareness and self-reflection during classroom instruction and help students feel more connected, curious, and confident! Students no doubt will achieve emotionally and academically with help from the strategies in this book.”
—Dr. Ann Marie Dargon, Assistant Superintendent of Schools
Westport Community Schools, MA

Key features

The benefits and features of this book include:

  • Details seven straightforward, easy to implement steps to ignite passion and purpose in your classroom.
  • Demonstrates the ethical necessity to reach the whole child and foster his potentials socially, emotionally, physically and, yes, cognitively.
  • Includes a plethora of real life teacher illustrations showing the power and impact of the tools and strategies given.
  • Provides over 50 interventions to reach and connect with each student in your classroom, particularly those students that seem to defy your previous attempts at connection and instruction.
  • Offers techniques and strategies to form authentic connections with students and explains why these connections you create can mean the difference between thriving students and those who drop out.
  • Incorporates opportunities to check in with yourself to develop awareness as to how your habits and views impact your teaching style.
  • Details the functions and structure of the brain and offers ideas on how to share this information with your students.
  • Explains how social emotional skills and focusing on the self will foster 21st century skills.


Paula Prentis photo

Paula Prentis

Paula Prentis was a conflict resolution counselor and a rape crisis counselor in New York City before earning her master's degree in social work (MSW) at New York University. Later, she continued training at Westchester Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and worked in private practice. Prentis is certified in past life regression therapy and continues her professional interests through workshops, lectures, and conferences in neuroscience and the mind/body connection.

In addition, with Chris Parrott, Prentis is the coauthor of the Your Self Series of books and website. Your Self Series is a curriculum that facilitates teen identity development and is taught as part of an advisory class, a health class, or an after-school program.

Prentis and Parrott lecture nationwide on issues pertaining to teens and mental health in schools. They continually update and populate the Your Self Series website with relevant teen information and lesson plans for educators. They have three other products that all aim to influence children to be the best they can be while combating obesity and improving overall health and well-being: YourChatMat.com; YourStacs; and HealthyStacs.
Chris Parrott photo

Chris Parrott

Chris Parrott earned her bachelor's degree with a psychology major at Dartmouth and went on to study counseling psychology at the City University in London, England, where she earned both her master's and postmaster's degrees, and the distinguished title of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Counseling Psychologist. She also has a diploma in hypnosis from London University. Parrott has published various articles in Counseling Review Quarterly and chapters in psychology training books, and she has coauthored a book titled Doing Therapy Briefly. Parrott was also a media consultant on behalf of the BPS and has been quoted in The Times, The Look, and The Daily Express.
Amy Smith photo

Amy Smith

Amy Smith was a high school English teacher for over 15 years in the states of Texas, California, and New Jersey, which gave her a diverse experience within the educational sector and a broad spectrum of teacher contacts. Working as an English teacher and, later, as a media specialist for another 15 years, Smith's primary focus was always on the individual spirit of each student who passed through her doors--or walked onto her court: She acted as a tennis coach for several years alongside her teaching. Indeed, her passion for her students led her to numerous conventions and professional development seminars over the years where she expanded both her knowledge and contacts. Now retired, Smith enjoys time with her partner, two daughters, and grandson while continuing to look for opportunities to positively affect teen education.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents


A Child’s Sense of Self Is of Paramount Concern

The Focus and Purpose of This Book

This Book Applies to Educators of Teens

The Bottom Line

About the Authors

1. The Self

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

What Do We Mean by the Self?

The Self in School

Social Emotional Learning: Its Importance and How the Self Enables SEL Potential

How Does a Sense of Self Contribute to Personal Success and to Society?

Steps to Success – For Teaching and for You

Chapter Summary

2. The Development of the Self: Understand and Connect With the Self Behind the Desk

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Early Attachment and Self Development

True Self Versus False Self: The Battle Begins

Making Connections

Chapter Summary

3. The Unaware Emotional Self: Soften Defenses to Foster Academic and Personal Growth

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

The Purpose of Defenses

The Development of Defenses and How They Inhibit Optimal Learning

Common Defense Mechanisms and How They May Manifest in the Classroom

How to Manage Defenses Through Interventions That Build the Self

Chapter Summary

4. The Aware Emotional Self: Provide Tools for Emotional Management

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Emotional Awareness - Knowing Your Temperature

Emotional Management – Shutting the Window

The Emotional Self in the Classroom

The Benefits

Chapter Summary

5. The Cognitive Self: Use Cognitive Understanding to Awaken Potentials

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Brain Structure and Related Functions

Stress on the Brain

Neuroplasticity: The Role of Experiences

Improving Motivation

Chapter Summary

6. The Social Self: Consolidate the Self in the Social World

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Set a Positive Social Tone in Your Classroom

Top Social Skills


Chapter Summary

7. The Physical Self: Support the Physical Self for Optimal Overall Health

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

The Importance of Physical Health

Exercise and Health

Nutrition and Health

Sleep and Health

The Mind/Body Connection

The Physical Self in the Classroom

Chapter Summary

8. The Self in the School Climate: How to Put the Environment to Work for You

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

What Is School Climate?

Personal Principles of Behavior

School Wide Policies

Parents and the Off-Campus Community

Chapter Summary

9. The Self: Decision-Making, Motivation, and Giving Back

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Where Are We?

Where Can We Go From Here?

Decision-Making – The Sine Qua Non of Self Skills


Final Interventions

Chapter Summary





Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.