With teacher burnout and student dissatisfaction at fever pitch, this book offers a way out and forward that could transform the educational system. With humor and empathy, the author offers readers a method for reconceptualizing their interactions with students by counterbalancing top-down institutional imperatives with a renewed focus on the truly human connections that beat at the heart of education. Each chapter explores a core element of what makes humans unique-equality, intellect, humor, deceit, conflict, and even love-and examines how teachers can reforge their connections with students by recognizing and honoring that shared humanity. The book balances vision with action, detailing practical suggestions for leading with empathy and offering essential plans for transforming your classroom. It will provide frustrated optimists with strategies to loosen the restraints of the educational system so that they can blaze a new path that energizes both teacher and student.