Book Offers Inspiration to Teachers

By Scott Craig   |   October 5, 2021
Michelle Hughes has co-edited an inspirational new book for teachers (photography by Brad Elliott)

Beloved local educator Michelle Hughes has co-edited a new book that offers ways to reframe obstacles to teaching as opportunities for personal and professional growth. Joyful Resilience as Educational Practice: Turning Challenges into Opportunities, a collaborative effort with Hughes’ colleague and friend, Ken Badley, is available for pre-order through Routledge at A 20% discount is available if you enter the code FLY21 at checkout.

“Teaching is hard work,” says Hughes, Westmont associate professor of education. “It is courageous work; it is not for the meek or weak. This book is our love letter to all teachers.”

Hughes graduated from Westmont in 1989, also earning a Preliminary Teaching Credential in English. She served as assistant principal at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta from 1996-2009, and an English teacher at Goleta Valley Junior High School from 1989-1996. She earned a Doctor of Education from George Fox University.

The cover of the book features a rose growing and blooming from a crack in the sidewalk. 

“As a journey, teaching requires pruning and growth,” she says. “There are thorns in our daily work that don’t immediately bring to mind great rewards or reciprocities. Yet the consistent work that we all do in classrooms for students reveals why we keep showing up and why we keep making the best of the challenges – and why we keep transforming hurdles into opportunities. This book is our thank you to all the teachers who encourage and empower us. May it remind you that your work is meaningful, joyful, and inspiring.”

Joyful Resilience as Educational Practice: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

The book includes a chapter, “A Long and Rewarding Apprenticeship: The Sustaining Inspiration of Our Mentors,” by Andrew Mullen, Westmont professor of education.

Willis to Read at Poetry Zoom 

Former Santa Barbara Poet Laureates Paul Willis and David Starkey offer a 45-minute Zoom poetry reading on Tuesday, October 5, at 7 pm. Links to view the event, sponsored by Chaucer’s Books, are available at 

Willis, Westmont professor of English, is promoting his latest book of poetry, Somewhere to Follow, which takes readers on a path through California’s coastal redwoods and giant sequoias in the Sierra, weaving in adolescent practical jokes and sharing unexpected epiphanies. 

Willis’ seventh volume of poetry ascends the switchbacks of ordinary experience to cross paths with song-leading rangers, exhausted mothers and dirt-loving children.


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