Reignite the Flames

“In her deeply empathetic book, Mandy Froehlich has curated some of the essential attributes for engaging educators at every level.  On nearly every page are compelling stories, practical advice, and endless inspiration for reengaging with the love of learning and teaching.”

Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of WHEN and DRIVE


Preface

I can still remember the smell of my first classroom when I walked into it. The odor could be described as somewhere amidst the orange solvent they used for cleaning, the wax on the hallway floors that was wafting in, and the musty old building. It was my favorite combination. I didn’t love every day of my job, and I didn’t love every task I was assigned, but I did love teaching. I loved teaching so much that I did everything everyone asked of me. When I was able to take on more and do it well, I was asked to do more and I did it because I knew it was good for the students even though I was tired and crabby with my own family when I got home. When people said, you’re going to get burnt out, I said, “That’s impossible. You can’t get burnt out doing something you love.” But, you can. Too much of anything is still too much. 

The person who said, “The hardest part is getting started,” never woke up one day and decided that the profession that they had considered to be their life’s calling was the same thing that was bleeding them emotionally dry. That moment for me was infinitely more difficult than getting started. When I began teaching I had energy and endorphins and youth. When I disengaged and burnt out, I had growing kids of my own, not enough caffeine, and achy bones. I swear you age at two-times the rate as a teacher. And I was so unhappy.

If you would ask me what success is, I would say it is being happy…whatever happiness means to that person. Continuing to grow and be better, yet still being content with how far you’ve come. I’d describe success as knowing you’ve made a positive difference in someone else’s life. You understand what you bring to the table while still remaining humble. Success is looking back on your life wishing you could do it all again the exact same way. And yet, being disengaged from your work or life isn’t a way to do that. Engagement is a choice. Re-engagement is work. But, I don’t see any other way to be happy and feel successful within my scope of what happiness is. I don’t see how losing your purpose can leave you with a life you’d do all over again. 

The journey of discovering my own disengagement and researching the causes has given me a much more empathetic lens towards my fellow educators who are having the same feelings and experiences possibly without even knowing it. It has made me more patient with those who have disengaged and made a target of their negativity. It has made me more aware of those who are starting to lose the light in their eyes and who have lost the magic—those who are tired and want out. It has made me reflect upon myself, my words, and my actions to understand how my own thinking impacts myself and those around me. It has made me want to support others because I feel like, at the end of the day, we all deserve and have the right to feel one of the most basic human emotions: happiness.


More reviews for Reignite the Flames

Powerful. Humbling. insightful.

Sometimes our “why” and our purpose gets clouded by the environment we live in. Reading this book was exactly what I needed. As someone who got into education for all the right reasons, I have found myself, at times, feeling disengaged and frustrated. Mandy has helped reignite my flame by making me recognize my power to overcome both my perspective and my situation. If you have ever doubted your ability to make an impact or to keep going, this book could be what you are looking for to reignite the flame that is still lit somewhere within you.

-Dave Schmittou, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, author of Bold Humility and It’s Like Riding a Bike

I love this book! It is relevant, relatable, and important. Mandy does an incredible job of weaving together personal stories and the neuroscience behind why we feel certain things. She then provides us all what we need: permission to forgive ourselves for burning out or being beat down, and shows us how we can come back from it. There is so much real-ness and relevancy here, layered on a level of legitimacy. Whether you’re fully engaged, or feeling burnt out, this book will impact you. Read it cover to cover, and then keep it close by. When you get beat down, let Mandy bring you back. 

-Jeff Gargas, COO/Co-founder, Teach Better Team, co-author of Teach Better

In this work Mandy Froehlich has curated some of the most essential attributes for engaging learners at every level and shares them with deep empathy and tremendous impact in this work. Embedded within her book are countless vignettes, readily applicable actions for educators and students, and endless inspiration for reengaging with the love of learning and teaching.

-Lindsay Portnoy, Ph.D., Cognitive Scientist, Associate Teaching Professor at Northeastern University, Author of Designed to Learn

This book came into my life when I thought it was time to leave the classroom. I was confused, lost, and heartbroken. I’d never imagined myself doing anything else. After reading “Reignite the Flames” I now have tools to center myself in what I once found passion in. It will take work, but I have the understanding and tools it will take to get my feet back on solid ground and make an informed decision on what’s next. 

-Teea Robinson, 8th Grade ELA Teacher

I do not consider myself a disengaged teacher, so when I began to read, Reignite the Flames, I didn’t think it would resonate as much as it did. I realized there were moments in my career when I experienced disengagement and found that the strategies offered here are ones which I had used unknowingly and which I can now name and implement if this ever occurs again. More importantly this book gave me a lens of empathy with which to support some of my peers who I now understand to be disengaged. Filled with research, personal anecdotes, and personal stories, this book is a must read regardless of your educational context.  

-Jennifer Casa-Todd, Teacher-Librarian and author of Social Leadia

In Reignite the Flames, Mandy Froehlich empowers educators to rekindle their passion for teaching. This book delves deep into the truths about the struggles that many educators face and gives valuable insights and strategies to help us reignite our love of education and find happiness in the profession again.

Rob Dunlop, Technology Consultant and author of Strive for Happiness in Education