Nat Damon

Like the captain at the helm, relational teachers allow for a change of course based on classroom conditions. 

They keep their eyes on the long horizon ahead, fixed on the marker buoy. 

They know that the route to their goal is broad and circuitous and based on human and natural elements.


...and that is why they view teaching as a human endeavor,

impossible to assess by quantitative measurements alone.


Nat Damon is a London-based writer, consultant, 25-year educator, administrator and board member. He has written three books, the first of which, Time to Teach: Time to Reach: Expert Teachers Give Voice to the Power of Relational Teaching was released in May, 2018 through Relational Schools Foundation (Cambridge, UK).

Time to Teach: Time To Reach supports the work that often gets unacknowledged in this age of data, metrics, and quantitative measurement. Nat’s book supports the idea that teacher effectiveness cannot be quantitatively measured through student test scores. Excellent teachers are defined by the power of their student relationships. Deeper and more confident learning takes place in classrooms that put a premium on those relationships. Relational teaching supports a stronger and broader approach to the teaching vocation. "Teaching is messy; the human condition is messy" (p. 191, Time to Teach: Time to Reach). This central tenet is why expert teachers feel a calling to teach. Nat’s research isolates the following six areas as central to healthy school cultures: Trust, Exploration, Authenticity, Connection, Hope and Reflection (TEACH-R).


Nat holds a B.A. in Psychology and History from Connecticut College and a M.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College.

 More about Nat:


Upcoming Events

Cape Cod Retreat

June 11—13, 2019
Deadline for Application: April 1, 2019

“In the bleak midwinter…” our thoughts drift toward the warm days of summer. Come join us on our first-ever Cape Cod Retreat for Teachers.

Let’s break free from our classroom silos and learn from each other in the new year! On June 11-13, 2019Reach Academics will hold a 3-day retreat on Cape Cod, MA. The goal of this retreat is to identify and explore the relational work that we are called to do every day in our classrooms. Yet let’s be honest…we will all be running on low fuel come June. So we’ve added in time to restore while enjoying the natural surroundings. Hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, tennis-playing, yoga/meditating, and swimming are included. Our learning brains will be fueled by lobster rolls, fried clams, and Sundae School Ice Cream. You haven’t been to school if you haven’t been to Sundae School…

Designed for teachers new, veteran, and somewhere in between, this retreat promises to launch a much-deserved summer vacation with new friendships made, experiences shared, and knowledge gained to bring back to your school in August. 

Online Summer Course

July 15 — August 2, 2019

Learning is cognitive, emotional and social. Relational teachers promote this through adhering to the six key elements: building trust, encouraging exploration, presenting authentically, establishing connection, nourishing hope and prioritizing time for reflection.

This course is being offered over the summer to be used as an academic and reflective experience. It draws its material from case studies, articles, book excerpts and video interviews with expert teachers that communicate the heart of teaching through story. Additional material is drawn from the work of Parker Palmer, Rita Pierson, Angela Duckworth, Carol Dweck and John Hattie.


Educational Philosophy

UTILIZING STUDENT TEST SCORES TO MEASURE TEACHING is like using only a thermometer to determine whether you have the flu. A thermometer may tell you something about your condition, but it isn’t designed to identify viruses, assess congestion, or evaluate levels of lethargy. We turn to other measures and the expertise of doctors for that, because that’s what it takes to get a complete and accurate picture.

I most enjoyed conducting interviews with K-12 teachers about what they actually do every day. During these interviews, I heard stories of challenge, success, frustration and humor. The most important take-away is that teaching is a relational endeavor. We teach to spirits, not merely minds. We light fires and stir up hearts. We lead through action and we connect through authenticity.


In the News

”Former Faculty Returns With Message” (Jan. 2019)


FORMER DERBY FACULTY MEMBER Nat Damon returned to campus January 11 to speak with faculty and to reflect on the significance of relationships; a lesson he learned at Derby that he has carried with him through his 25-year career in education.

Watch video/Read more

”Alumni News & Notes” (Nov. 2018)


WHEN ASKED IN AN INTERVIEW about the influence of Camp Becket on his life, Nat said, “It was definitely cabin chat, without a doubt… the ability to expose kids to open ended questions, to reflection, appreciation, and critical thinking.”

Read more

”Experience the Power of Relational Teaching” (Oct. 2018)


EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT AND BRINGS TO THE CLASSROOM a whole mix and array of powers and strengths that the relational teacher will tap into.


”The Enduring Power of Relational Teaching” (Sept. 2018)


WHEN A TEACHER MAKES A STUDENT FEEL SEEN—AND UNDERSTOOD—it can lead to incredible learning, says educational consultant Nat Damon. And that doesn’t call for grand gestures: Taking few seconds to tell a student she was great in the soccer game can be profound.

Read more

"Time to Teach: Time to Reach"
(May 2018)


NEW BOOK FOCUSES ON WHAT TEACHERS REALLY DO, and finds that great practice—and great learning—is driven by relationships.

Read more

Conversation, Communication, Teaching Podcast (Apr. 2018)

I THINK THAT THE IDEA OF SELF-TALK IS REALLY IMPORTANT, and you have to tell yourself that a different outcome is possible. And my mantra for myself was just because that's the way it has been, doesn't mean that that's the way that it has to be.


"After Parkland, Where Do We Go From Here?" (Mar. 2018)


EDUCATION WEEK HAS RARELY SEEN AN EVENT THAT HAS STIRRED READERS quite like the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Read more

“How to have a Fun and Productive Parent-Teacher Conference” (Oct. 2016)


SOME PARENTS LOOK FORWARD TO ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH TEACHERS, while others dread it. Research proves that family involvement that is linked to learning leads to bigger success at school.

Read more

L.A. Parents' Sports Freak-Out: "You Can't Cheer at an SAT Exam" (Aug. 2015)


HYSTERICAL MOMS AND DADS SCREAM FROM THE SIDELINES, hire professional coaches ($400 an hour?!) and pressure their kids as they seek the ultimate prize: "This current craze isn't about getting your child into the NBA.

Read more

Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits (Apr. 2015)


TODAY, MANY PARENTS HAVE REJECTED THE DICTATORSHIPS they resented from their own childhoods. But they overcorrected by turning into child-pleasers. Showering praise and letting kids rule the roost has actually eroded the very self-esteem parents are trying to create.

Read more


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