In this essay, I respond to Carrie Nolan and Sarah M. Stitzlein’s article “Meaningful Hope for Teachers in a Time of High Anxiety and Low Morale” and support their argument for meaningful hope grounded in pragmatist philosophy. I agree that while hope is routinely called for in the educational literature, it is often done so in superficial and vacuous ways. Moreover, hope is often conflated with wishful thinking or naive optimism. A pragmatist vision of hope is different. It is a hope that compels us to act thoughtfully and creatively in the present so as to open up yet unimagined possibilities for the future—a hope that is generative, resourceful, engaged, and communal. To complement Nolan and Stitzlein’s vision, I argue that pragmatist hope also requires of us habits of community building and social and political activism to challenge unjust systems. Only when we act on both individual and systemic levels can we sustain the kind of pragmatist hope that is so necessary in schools.

Response to Article

Carrie Nolan and Sarah Marie Stitzlein, Meaningful Hope for Teachers in Times of High Anxiety and Low Morale