The Book – POAT

The Power Of A Teacher

Remember? You Went Into Education to Make a Difference!

Dr. Sáenz’ The Power of a Teacher is the result of years of research and professional development conducted in school districts nationwide. The bottom line is that you do have tremendous power to make a difference in your role as an educator, and this book is the self-care guide designed specifically to empower educators to maximize their impact in the classroom.

Two qualities characterize teachers who teach well over the course of a lifetime, and these two qualities are true of professionals who excel in any field. The first quality is that they understand the true nature of what they do. They understand that what they do is not a job, which is a basic agreement to exchange labor for a wage. They also understand that what they do is not a career, which is a job with advancement opportunities. These teachers understand that what they do is a calling. Another way to say that is that they have aligned what they do on a day-to-day basis with their deepest value system. When these educators face the monotony of the mundane that is inherent in any profession, they remember that while they may not be particularly passionate about lesson plans or staff meetings, they remember that those activities are simply expressions of their underlying value system, and we are, by definition, passionate about our deepest values. That reframe is empowering.

The second quality is that they do not find satisfaction in their calling. That is not a typo. Rather, they find satisfaction in the totality of their life experience, and then take that satisfaction to their calling. In other words, they practice well-being; they actively steward the occupational, emotional, spiritual, financial and physical areas of their lives. When we practice well-being, we are living the most efficient, effective, and productive life we can live, which makes us much more resilient to work-related stress. On the other hand, when we do not practice well-being, we are living inefficient and ineffective versions of the rich life we deeply want to live and were created to live, and that diminished living makes us more vulnerable to work-related stress.

In The Power of a Teacher you will:


  • Learn!

    What are occupational, emotional, financial, spiritual and physical wellbeing, and what do they have to do with your role on campus?

  • Know yourself!

    Take the 50-item Teacher Wellness Inventory ™ to assess your current occupational, emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Chart your results on the five-spoke life wheel to see what kind of ride you can expect out of life. Then, use the Wellness Organizer™ to prioritize and achieve your goals.

  • Build community!

    The Power of a Teacher is loaded with discussion questions to create the kind of interaction and dialogue among you and your colleagues that will build the support and accountability you need to live and teach well.

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Areas of Wellbeing

Areas of Wellbeing

Occupational Wellbeing

The teacher who is not experiencing occupational well-being invests a substantial portion of each day’s life energy—weekends included—into an endeavor that will offer in return theft of leisure time and relational isolation. If I am that teacher, it will only be a matter of time before I develop deep resentment for my job.

If you’re overwhelmed on your campus and not experiencing occupational well-being, your hope lies in the reality that you have power to create and maintain professional relationships with your colleagues that can be a rich emotional and intellectual resource to you, and vice-versa. And that hope

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is part of the larger reality that you really do have power to find fulfillment both on and off campus.

Wellness Inventory Sample Questions: Occupational Well-being

Question True/False
  1. I am generally satisfied with my vocation as an educator.


  1. I am satisfied with the relational environment and community among my colleagues on my campus.


  1. I am happy with the balance between my work and leisure time.


Balance and Wellbeing: Living the Life of the Thriving Educator (1 hour)

Are you too busy to prepare to fully engage your students academically or behaviorally (let alone finding time to exercise and eat right)? Are you relationally isolated at work and carrying emotional baggage from experiences you’ve had on your campus or with colleagues? Are you barely able to get by financially, and, in the end, wondering why you ever decided to become a teacher or whether you want to continue in the profession?

I have good news: not only is personal balance attainable, but as you nurture it, you will find yourself maximizing your impact—both instructionally and relationally—in the classroom. One of the most loving things you can do for those depending on you is to love yourself well. Let’s explore emotional, occupational, financial, spiritual and physical wellbeing. You will leave with practical strategies to increase wellbeing in each area.

Emotional Wellbeing

The teacher who is not experiencing emotional well-being typically struggles with feeling paralyzed by difficult circumstances and/or moods that are either avoided or poorly controlled. This emotional turmoil also tends to contribute to unhealthy interpersonal interactions in both personal and professional settings. If I am that teacher, I am experiencing a life that seems stifled, unfulfilled, and unfair. And, as much as I don’t want to acknowledge it, I probably am, at some level, an emotional drain on those who depend on me.

If emotional well-being does not characterize your life, your hope lies in the reality that you have power to truly experience and express the complete, normal range of emotions in ways that are healthy and life-giving both to you and those around you. You also have power to release yourself from the emotionally toxic wells of unforgiveness and resentment that steal joy from your life on a daily basis.


Wellness Inventory Sample Questions:Emotional Well-being

Question True/False
  1. I harbor no unforgiveness in past or present personal or professional relationships.


  1. I do not use strong emotions, such as anger

    or fear, to injure others by speaking ill of them, criticizing them, attacking them, or dividing the

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  1. I stick up for myself when necessary, and I am not a “doormat.”


Financial Wellbeing

The teacher who is not experiencing financial well-being is subject to a particular stress that has been closely linked with physical illness and marital discord. If I am that teacher, I

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am vulnerable to stressors that likely will damage my health and quality of life, and ultimately undermine my ability to earn an income and sustain a stable home life.

If your financial status is not healthy, your hope lies in the reality that you have power to create a personal financial structure that keeps you from wondering whether you’ll be able to pay the light bill. You also have power to understand both the role money plays in your day-to-day life and the psychological factors

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that drive your thoughts about money and your spending habits.


Wellness Inventory Sample Questions: Financial Well-being

Question True/False
  1. My monthly income is budgeted to account for all expenditures and I am faithful to that budget.


  1. I am confident about being on track for a financially-successful retirement.


  1. In the past week, I have not experienced stress about how to manage m personal finances effectively.



Spiritual Wellbeing

The teacher who is not experiencing spiritual well-being is, to reference a parable, building a life on a sandy foundation. When the storms of personal doubt and circumstantial trials inevitably roll in, that foundation tends to give way, and life becomes anything but stable (Is there a more reliable weather forecast than the one predicting those storms in the life of a teacher?). If I am that teacher, I will experience recurring gut-checks and

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second-guessing about whether I should be teaching—whether this never-ending fight is all there is for me in life.

If you’re not experiencing spiritual well-being, your hope lies in the reality that you have the power to make life choices that are consistent with your value system. You also have the power to surround yourself with individuals who share your values, encourage you, and challenge you in honest, character-building ways.

Wellness Inventory Sample Questions: Spiritual Well-being

Question True/False
  1. I have a sense of belonging, meaning and purpose about my role as an educator.


  1. I participate regularly in activities with people who share my beliefs.


  1. I continually explore how my personal beliefs, values and priorities determine both my work ethic on campus and my professional decision making.


Physical Wellbeing


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The teacher who is not experiencing physical well-being is most at-risk for experiencing stress in the four other life areas (occupational, emotional, financial, and spiritual), since nutrition and sleep are our most basic life activities. If I am that teacher, I am locked in the negative feedback loop of feeling continually run-down, which in turn makes me increasingly less effective, which in turn makes me have to work harder to try to keep up, which in turn makes me feel continually run down, which… well, you get it.

If you’re not experiencing physical well-being, your hope lies in the reality that you have the power to

develop, over time, eating habits that will dramatically improve how you feel and function. You also have the power to invest twenty minutes of your day into physical activities and sleep routines that will restore your energy levels and support each of the other areas of well-being.

Wellness Inventory Sample Questions: Physical Well-being

Question True/False
  1. I have exercised vigorously for twenty minutes for at least four of the past seven days.


  1. I fall into the appropriate weight category for someone my height and sex.


  1. I generally get adequate and satisfying sleep, and I wake up refreshed.






“Great teaching is rarely, if ever, based on WHAT I’m going to teach or HOW I’m going to teach it. Extraordinary moments in the classroom are always based on WHY I’m teaching. With a big enough WHY, the WHAT and the HOW always seem to fall into place. Read The Power of a Teacher and allow it to rekindle the why in your heart – both you and your students deserve it.”

–Hal Bowman
20-year Teaching Veteran and Author of TEACH LIKE A ROCK STAR

“Adam is indeed a rare breed of psychologist: a refreshing—even uncanny—ability to merge science with practice, and a teaching style that’s not only insightful, but actually fun. If you’re looking for a tool to build health and unity on your campus, you just found it.”
–Chris White, Ph.D.
Director of Research, The Flippen Group
Co-author of New York Times Best Selling THE FLIP SIDE

“Beginning with his own inspiring story, Adam has masterfully collected poignant narratives capturing the power of teachers to change lives in profound and lasting ways.
But Adam knows mere stories are not enough to transform practice. Perspective, insight, and wisdom from these stories must be garnered and shared to harness the power needed
for meaningful transformation. The Power of a Teacher will warm hearts, but more importantly, it will illuminate and inform practice.”
–Trae Kendrick, Ed.D.
Former Teacher, Principal, and Current State-level Educational Leader

“Dr. Saenz is not your typical school psychologist. His powerful personal narrative and professional expertise create the ideal combination to remind us all of The Power
of a Teacher. This book will inspire you to make a difference and provide strategies to rejuvenate your own wellness. A must read for all educators!”
–Kirsten Hund
Former Teacher, Principal, and Current State-level Educational Leader

“Read The Power of a Teacher. It will reignite your passion, and remind you in no uncertain terms that changing the world one person at a time is not such a crazy idea after
–Bob Beaudine

“Our life’s mission in the first place. On those days when all of the “white noise” of the job steals your joy, sit down and spend a few minutes with this book. You’ll be back in the
race in no time.”
–Carolyn Castleberry
Television Co-host and Author of IT’S ABOUT TIME

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it is that I really am my brother’s keeper. Knowing that requires me to make a difference when I can. The Power of a Teacher is
a great reminder about the impact we can have when we take the time to care and act. I highly recommend it!
–Louis Upkins
President and CEO of Upkins and Co.

“This was awesome! It was scary how much of this information is EXACTLY what this school needs. I hope to see/hear much more, and I hope everyone’s ears were open!”
–E. C.
Teacher, Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated Independent School District

“I’ve been teaching for twenty-six years, and this was probably the best and most useful workshop I’ve been to…your presentation was the most ‘teacher friendly’ I’ve heard.
Master Teacher, Dallas Independent School District

More Teacher Reviews

“The message you are sharing is a powerful one that many people need to hear over and over again.”
J.D., Teacher, Bryan Independent School District

“Your ideas are great, and I can’t wait to implement many of them into my lesson plans this year.”
B.M., Teacher, Brownsville Independent School District

“This was an eye-opener! I vow to work on changing myself. Thanks!”

“This was a powerful message…You provide wonderful insight, personal testament, and solid illustrations…”

“This has been the most effective training I have ever attended.”

“I wish all our in-services were as helpful as this material has been. Not only will this help at school, but in all areas of my life. Thanks again.”

POAT Sample Chapter

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