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Avoiding Burnout, Gaining Peace

SIX YEARS AGO, Grossmont Education Association member and high school English teacher Dan Tricarico found himself headed toward burnout, even though he loved teaching and didn’t want to quit. He started a blog to help him work through his stress, which soon turned into The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom.

Though the book published in 2015, its message is perhaps more needed and urgent today. Tricarico, now in his 30th year of teaching, uses The Zen Teacher in workshops across the country to help educators reduce stress and improve their self-care. It shows how Zen-inspired techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, beginner’s mind, compassion, gratitude, subtraction, decluttering, nonjudgment, and intentional, radical self-care can help teachers achieve a greater sense of relaxation, peace and control so they thrive both inside and outside the classroom. On Amazon.

Got something for these pages? Send details to with “Lit From Within” in the subject line. We lean toward new(ish) work that can be used in the classroom

Often educators’ creativity spills over into a book, blog, app or other work. We’re happy to showcase members’ talents.

Life-Changing Dreams
As a 30-year English teacher, Paul Forster, Santa Barbara Teachers Association, has found his high school students have a fascination with dreams and with beliefs and philosophies of different religions. They also have “a fascination with the future,” he says, “which is usually presented as dystopian.” In his new young adult novel Nightbook, a high schooler and his diverse group of friends develop a new technology that creates lucid and life-changing dreams.  Written from various characters’ viewpoints that challenge religious stereotypes, Nightbook is set in a tolerant future that is not bleak. On  Amazon and Amazon Kindle.

Family Stories of Courage

CTA/NEA-Retired member Raquel Ramsey has co-written Taking Flight: The Nadine Ramsey Story, about a courageous woman who helped clear the flight path for today’s female combat and commercial aviators. In October 1944, Nadine Ramsey (the author’s future sister-in-law) was 33 and flying the cutting-edge P-51 Mustang to the war in Europe. Taking Flight is the inspiring story of a girl from Depression-era Kansas who overcame tremendous challenges and defied convention to become an elite pilot — one of the few American women to fly fighter aircraft during World War II.

Raquel Ramsey taught for 24 years in Beverly Hills Unified School District. In 2016, she was co-executive producer of Never Surrender: The Ed Ramsey Story, a documentary about her late husband, who in 1942 led the final horse-mounted cavalry charge in U.S. Army history. After the fall of Bataan, Ed Ramsey became a member of the Filipino resistance, commanding over 40,000 Filipino guerrilla troops against Japan.