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After a decade of teaching at public and private schools, Joel Hammon quit. Despite being on track to earning a six-figure salary with full benefits, he couldn’t take it anymore. But he still wanted to work with young people, so he co-founded Princeton Learning Cooperative ( a center based on the North Star model. In this episode we talk about how Joel struggled with teaching, what he loved about it, what led him to quit, how he (and others like him) maintain financial security, and how he continues contributing to social change outside of public education. We also discuss the Liberated Learners network ( and Joel’s 2016 book, The Teacher Liberation Handbook. Learn more about Joel at, and don’t miss his wonderful TEDx talk.

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