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Seal It With A Smile: SELF DRIVEN RADIO
16 minutes | 8 months ago
Building Community: More WE Less ME – Episode 059
To say that quarantine has been difficult is truly an understatement; the fabric of our society has been stretched out to allow for social distancing, which just like a real fabric, if you were to stretch it out, it would become tense. And that’s really been the color, the mood, the best way I could describe these last few months; tense. Tension from not knowing, tension from learning more, tension again from NOT knowing, then tension from learning and knowing more and more. And even during the lull of a peaceful afternoon or a quiet morning, you are not fully released of that tension. It’s always present My science brain can’t help but think that mother nature is somehow after us; it wants us to stop messing with the climate. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the earth is saying; STOP MESSING WITH ME! Which I get! Its understandable! We have been toying with the earth too long, we invade spaces where humans do not normally live, and because we do not focus on preserving and instead we pillage, something is going to give! Which brings me back to that tension. It’s a new kind of tension and stress. It’s a very unique form of tiredness. And of course it is, because in our lifetimes we have never seen this kind of outbreak and pandemic! We are not used to this! However a challenge is a challenge, and we face them daily. And for those of us who live in “1st world” countries, the idea of comfort is a fallacy We are not guaranteed safety. We are not guaranteed security, we are not guaranteed comfort. Amazon, online shopping, door dash, uber… all of these companies want to make us believe that its a guarantee; they create a false sense of security and expectation in the fact that things SHOULD be easier than they are. Just like in the shows we (used) to watch more regularly, and how the main characters just “naturally” have the stuff they have, and it all seems effortless. Yet you and I struggle economically, and we know families that are in much worse shape than us, and there are also families that we know are in a much better financial position than us. But the expectation, the assumption that “well you can get there on your own”, that YOU can achieve YOUR level of comfort and YOUR definition of success that’s within YOUR grasp is an illusion. My car has been in the shop for 3 weeks now; i’ve had to uber to work (with my children) for two weeks, in the middle of a pandemic. Fortunately i’m only 5 minutes away, so the rides are short, and we sanitize after. In that time ive meet people from all over the world! Men and women who each have a unique story, some about job loss, some about supporting other family members, others who have lost their own businesses. During this carless time I’ve used grocery delivery, which is delivered by someone whom I don’t know, used uber eats, which is again delivered by someone I don’t know, and these were all prepared and picked by other people whom I don’t know. And those fruits and vegetables and meat were all produced and picked by people who work in fields and meat processing plants, whom I don’t know, and who statistically speaking are immigrants who work in difficult conditions and are underpaid. My life, especially my life these past three weeks, has been reliant and has depended upon the work and sweat of others. Without the labor of others, there’s no way I could have facilitated and managed to just get to work and keep my job and put food on my table! Much less do anything outside of that! And now my safety and my health and the health and safety of my children is reliant upon the labor and purposeful intentions of others to wear masks and keep themselves sanitized and healthy! I need people! That’s the power we have as educators; that’s the strength of our profession and calling. We Create Societies We Transform Lives We Build Community You are a neural architect. In your classroom you create the neural infrastructure of our entire society. The cognitive, the emotional, and the psychological framework of each child that will one day become an adult. And now, more than ever, we need that community. We need the SENSE of community, we need the smell, taste, touch, feel, sounds of community. It’s what made quarantine so difficult; the lack of community. More specifically, the lack of belonging. Where do I fit in society when I am not around people, when I am not physically IN society?!?!? Our society is full of ME, but it needs more WE You’re zoom meetings, your face 2 face, your hybrid classrooms are essential to this generation. Is that a massive responsibility to place on your shoulders? Absolutely; but the truth is, you need it as well, and so do I. I need my kids in my classroom, I need to interact with my students. In fact, the part I miss the most about teaching in person pre-pandemic, was the one-on-one discussions with my students. The side talks, catching up with kids on their sick cat, or how their weekend trip went, or how their art project is coming along. The smile they get when you tell them how awesome they are doing or they explain a funny event in their lives. That community, that feeling, that connection, is truly what we need most right now, for them, for us, for healing and moving forward. Build your communities; not just with your students, but with other teachers as well. Reach out to people beyond your hallway. Reach out to your admin who have the weight of the world on their shoulders right now. Reach out to new teachers to help guide them, reach out to experienced teachers to see if they need help or to listen to their advice. Smile extra to the custodial and cafeteria staff who are truly on the front lines and are keeping us all safe. Yes, the fabric of our society is stretched out, and its stretched out thin, but it doesn’t mean it needs to be broken. It can be healed, it can be nurtured, and it can be maintained by reaching out to those in our immediate circles. Everyone of us needs to reach out and we NEED to be reached out to! I also need to be checked up on just like I need to check up on someone else! This is a form of self care that you and I, that we all need. And when you do reach out, no matter where you are, or what you do, seal it with a smile 🙂
20 minutes | a year ago
Thank You For Breaking Destructive Cycles – Episode 058
Before ever stepping foot into a classroom, I went through what most teachers go through every year; summer professional development. Since this was my first year of teaching, I was shooed into a PD who’s goal was to help me become more culturally sensitive. At the time, and as a Latino, I didn’t feel this was quite necessary. After the few days of training, I did realize it was quite informative and insightful, and was better for it. The idea that “all kids are equal in my eyes” was broken down, because the reality of my students life was much different. Then came our principals final speech before school started. There was the usual praise for former and current teachers, well wishes for the upcoming year, targets and data. And then his final words as the session was nearing it’s end. He said “And thank you for helping us break poverty cycles”. All of a sudden, my brain wrinkled a bit; a new neural pathway formed in my mind. Why? Because at that moment, I did not “have a job”; I had a mission. But why was my mind so receptive to this idea? For this answer, we need a brief, but vital, history lesson. In the middle of my hiring, I was working towards my goal of home ownership. Me being me, I also came upon some interesting information regarding the FHA: The Federal Housing Administration. The FHA was created in 1934 and has since processed 40 million mortgages. While this sounds like an amazing accomplishment, between 1934 and the 1960’s, the majority of people who benefited from these mortgages were white. In fact, many of their policies were explicit in their verbiage, openly denying loans for Black American’s and mostly anyone of color. This had two very purposeful and intended effects: 1) It created the racist practice of “Redlining”, which was a way for several sections of a city to be segregated, as mortgage backers would not secure loans in certain areas, thus creating “white” communities and separate communities of color. 2) Because of this redlining practice, eventually white people began to leave the inner cities and move into the suburbs, where planned communities were being built, again using this redlining model, separating their neighborhoods from neighborhoods of black people and people of color. This meant that several sections of the inner city became concentrated with people of color where as the exterior regions of major cities started to become predominantly white. Another layer of history which must be included in this discussion is the GI Bill. After World War II, there were few jobs waiting for the millions of American men & women as they were coming back from war. In order to avoid a surge in unemployment, the GI Bill was created to help funnel those veterans into 4 year institutions, so that those returning soldiers would be able to obtain degrees which will propel them into long term prosperity while at the same time not drowning the job market. From an article on history.com: By the time the original GI Bill ended in July 1956, nearly 8 million World War II veterans had received education or training, and 4.3 million home loans worth $33 billion had been handed out. But most black veterans had been left behind. As employment, college attendance and wealth surged for whites, disparities with their black counterparts not only continued, but widened. There was, writes Katznelson, “no greater instrument for widening an already huge racial gap in postwar America than the GI Bill.” Today, a stark wealth gap between black and white Americans persists. The median income for white households in 2017 was $68,145, according to the U.S. Census. For black households, it was $40,258 Combining the racist practices of redlining by the FHA for decades, in combination with the unequal distribution of the GI Bill among the millions of American Veterans, has lead to a stark divide in wealth, achievement, and opportunity. And now let’s add to this a third layer: property taxes Because of these segregated areas in cities across the US, and because most school districts can make up to about 45% of their budget from local property taxes alone, the districts with successful and wealthy businesses see that revenue translated in their school funding, where as those in poorer areas see that lack of resources due to little or no business investment in those areas. Properly or improperly funded schools are easy to point out and plain to see. The effects of these policies are what we see in our classrooms daily. Irregardless of whether you teach in a wealthy or poorer section of your city or town. Yes, you deliver content. Yes, you are tasked with teaching. But your mission, the end goal, is much grander and more noble. The kindness & validation you show your students of color slowly breaks systemic racists systems. Because children who grow up poor do not often times feel worthy and special of more! But when you treat a child with kindness and validate their being, their person, their essence; you give them the confidence to dream and plant a seed of hope in their minds and heart. You break the psychological chains that these racist cycles of poverty and lack of opportunity have wrapped around them. You help break decades, centuries, of systemic racism and cycles. And just like my principal once told me, I now want to tell you; Thank You Thank you for breaking destructive cycles. My hope is that this has been informative and has helped you understand your critical role in the classroom; as a teacher, but also as a leader and a model for how we should treat our students of all colors. To quote the American Academy of Pediatrics on their tweet May 30, 2020 Racism is a public health issue. The AAP condemns violence, especially when perpetrated by authorities, and calls for a deep examination of how to improve the role of policing. Systemic violence requires systemic response.
21 minutes | a year ago
End Of The Year Speech – Episode 056
On my final exam, I usually have a written letter included in the final test. A little note to sum up the year. This year, for the class of 2020, I decided to not only give the final note, but to also say a few words. This year was incredibly important, not just to them, but to myself as well. I will always learn more from them, then they will ever learn from me. Below is the letter that I individually hand sign for each of my students. Thank you class of 2020!
21 minutes | a year ago
Your Presence Is Your Power and Your Purpose – Episode 057
This being teacher appreciation week, I wanted to not only wish all teachers a very HAPPY teacher appreciation week, but I also wanted to send you a message of hope and inspiration, as we are in the middle of our unprecedented time in quarantine, and for many like myself, heading into the last few weeks of the school year Like so many of you, I have had to adjust to this new type of at home learning. While many people call it home learning, or at home learning, or even online learning, I feel that these phrases and descriptions do not totally embrace what this really is: pandemic learning. The entire educational system has been disrupted like never before, and to describe it as anything less than that is truly doing us all a disservice. For some reason in education there is this tendency to minimize the bad and overemphasize the good. During these times, it does us a disservice, as so many of our teachers and students face dire life threatening circumstances. If its okay with you, let’s agree to call this what it really is; pandemic learning. Is that okay? Now that we agree to describe this for what it really is; now what? We transitioned all of our curriculum to our online platforms, we have figured out more or less our zoom capabilities, we have tried and tried again to get our “teaching” practices online and have made assignments tailored to fit our new online mediums. But now what? How do we continue on when kids don’t show up? How do we press on when not all of our students are responding to our various cries and pleas for assistance? How do we deal with unexplained death, sudden job loss, and students lack of participation or increased depression? And on the flip side; how do we deal with students who are thriving in this environment? Those students who no longer feel the societal pressures of conformity and are free to be themselves within the walls of their own personal spaces? Students who’s anxiety and mental health issues are now expressed less, and who can now truly enjoy their education and learning, and who are possibly doing even better in this new framework? The answer to each of these scenarios, or truly any of the situations that could be conceived underneath this new bell curve, is you. You are the answer to each of these situations, because YOU are the glue that is holding this all together. Let me explain. As the teacher in the classroom, you are the direct contact between the curriculum and your students. Every assessment, every assignment is done THROUGH you. You are the ambassador of the curriculum and of the lesson as well as representing each of your students and making sure that the lesson connects with the students, and vice versa. You are on the front lines with respect to learning; the person on the ground that not only watches it happen, but makes it happen as well. And please do not downplay those teachable moments that were outside of the prescribed curriculum or lesson plan; those are probably the MOST important lessons of all. Those moments when you went off topic to correct a behavior or went off on a tangent from a student asking a questions; those are moments that turn into experiences. And those experiences are what makes learning and teaching so valuable, because those experiences are a direct result of you And this is where you matter most When your students used to walk into class, their enthusiasm and their desire to learn was directly connected to their relationship with you; because as the ambassador for the lesson plan and for them, your presence is what flavored each moment, and turned it into an experience. And it was the experience of YOU that made each class what it was. And this doesn’t relate or correlate to “good days” and “bad days”. Its difficult to quantify “good” and “bad”. Because i’m sure on your worst days, the kids might have surprised you and you were able to pull off a really good learning experience. And on your best days, I am 90% sure that you walked into the classroom fully energized and ready to have your students learn, for it only to go up in smoke and your plans totally destroyed or dismissed. At the heart of what I am talking about is authenticity Your best days in your classroom were the days when you were most yourself; when you were the most authentic, the most true to who you are as a person. The days when you had nothing planned, fell behind, but managed to pull it off were probably your best days because you were fully “into” yourself and were channeling the best parts of you. The days when you had it all planned out, but nothing seemed to work, were probably not your best days because it was prescribed; it wasn’t you. And this is at the heart of what we are all missing; authentic moments. We are missing real interactions with our students, we are missing being able to feel the energy of our classroom, missing the excitement (or dread) of the day, and missing those few moments where we could catch our breath, and then jump back in. There was an aliveness, a rhythm, a heartbeat that we all experienced in the classroom. For better or worse we were ALIVE in the classroom! Sometimes we were barely hanging on before we lost our minds; but we were living, we were very much in the moment. And that authenticity, that presence is what our kids and us are missing. Because now we are reduced to a clinical screen; an artificial window. We are Rapunzel in the tower, looking out, only there’s no fresh air to breathe, and there is no where to climb down or out; at least not clear right now. Our kids must feel even more helpless, as they too are dealing with the collateral damage, with more effects to come. Be You Right now more than ever, our kids need authenticity; they need to know what is REAL. They need truth and they need YOU! They need YOU to be a present and authentic. They need you to laugh when something is funny (just like in the classroom), they need you to be real when you are feeling sad, they need you to be excited when something exciting is happening, they need you to be a PRESENCE and to be PRESENT This is a golden opportunity for you to maintain those relationships in your classroom by being true to yourself, which is what they want also! Be that example! And while I know many teachers are going through very difficult times as well (none of us are spared from this scenario) it is more important than ever to share your story with them. Of course, share what is respectful and responsible as an adult with a child, and be age appropriate, but share your thoughts and feelings as to whats going on, not only with the lesson, but with yourself as well. Your authenticity MATTERS and YOUR PRESENCE MATTERS MOST OF ALL! This is where teachers gets their true power; from their presence. The more present you are, the more authentic you are, the more your students learn. Why? Because you become not only an ambassador to the lesson, but YOU become the lesson. They learn THROUGH you and because of you, because you are real; you embody truth. And that’s something we all need, especially kids, who are themselves 100% present. Kids live NOW. They don’t plan; they are here fully 100%. They need you here with them. As we turn the corner and head down toward the end the this school year, I urge you to let your guard down, be present. If you are feeling sad, be sad and let them know; if you are feeling happy, be happy and let them know. If your students are acting goofy, be goofy with them! If your students are feeling sad, be sad with them. If only for a moment, understand them and connect with them on that level. The lesson will be learned, the tasks will be accomplished, but we have a wonderful moment for authenticity and for us all to connect on a human level, regardless of the screen or the window in which we view the world. Your Presence Is Your Power and Your Purpose Your purpose is to be YOU! This is where your power is! Your power is in your presence! And this matters because they matter; and so do you. Now, more than ever.
30 minutes | a year ago
The most important lesson I learned from a brush with Ebola – Episode 055
This is my seventh year of teaching. As I headed into my new teaching career back in 2013 (without any formal teaching experience) I was also in the midst of recovering from a job loss and recovering from a mistake I made in my marriage. Six years in therapy working on myself, my marriage, my parenting, all of it. What I did have going for me, probably the main reason why I did get a teaching position aside from my BS in chemistry and my minor in psychology, was my 8 years in beekeeping. Not only was I a beekeeper, but I worked in a honeybee laboratory studying honey bees. In addition to that, I had spent the last two years teaching beekeeping classes for a honey company in the Dallas area. My classes were up to 30 students with an age range of 8 – 89. Going into my new teaching career I was focus and committed. Not only was I going to be the best teacher I could be, I had to be the best in order to support my newly pregnant wife at the time as we were expecting our son. I also had to be the best for my almost 200 other children. Surviving the first year of teaching was exhausting; working a full time job, two part time jobs, children, and a new born. But I survived. Then October 2014 came. We had all heard about the Ebola patient being in Dallas, and we had all heard about the nurses. But what none of us in that auditorium that fall afternoon had expected to hear, was that there was a small remote possibility that one of our students family members might have come in close proximity to one of the nurses. The school superintendent that afternoon, in a dry monotone voice, went further to explain the entire school was to under go a top to bottom wipe down that night. He went further on to explain how this was occurring, not out of a necessity, but out of an abundance of caution. The silence back in our teacher conference group was sobering, but not as sobering as the quiet drive home, where my emotions were running high. Here I was, yet again, in another situation where I had failed; I had possibly brought a deadly virus to my home, infecting my family, infecting my new born son. Right when my life started to gain a positive rhythm, right when my decisions were beginning to make sense, another obstacle in the road totally sabotaging life as I know it. By the time my wife (now ex-wife) arrived home with the children, I had left all my clothes outside and wiped down almost all surfaces. Using every scientific understanding of contamination I could remember and reason, I cleaned my house from top to bottom, and explained to my wife the situation we were facing. Her acceptance was reassuring and that evening continued as normal. That night, after putting my babies to sleep, I did all I could do at that moment; read. I found all the scientific articles I could about the transmission of Ebola and created a powerpoint of the information. I even went into the biology of why hand washing was so effective, and stumbled upon Ignaz Semmelweis, the “savior of mothers”. The doctor who figured out that hand washing between treating mothers in childbirth reduced the mortality rate and increased their survivability! Surprisingly (or not surprisingly) even with his data, no one believed him until decades later after his passing. The next morning I arrived into my classroom armed with all of this information. The prevailing guidance from the top at the time was “keep things as normal as possible”. The presentation stood ready; just in case. Then my first student walked in the door. “Mr. Campos, Mr. Campos, we’re all going to die! You’re going to die, I’m going to die, my momma doesn’t love me, she dropped me off at school!” Every student after him came into my classroom, repeating the same woes, crying the same cry. That’s when I knew the powerpoint presentation had to come out. As I explained the origin of the virus, explained the mechanism of transmission, and went into the history of Mr. Semmelweis, I got into a flow. The words kept coming out and I explained everything I could with authenticity. That is, until I saw it. The it I saw was an iPhone being held by a human hand, that seemed to emanate into my classroom through a cracked door. Within a few minutes, while I continued lecturing, the rest of the human body that was attached to that human hand, in addition to another full human materialized in my classroom. Two assistant principals with two phones out, openly and unabashedly recording the events in the room. I was shocked. I was scared. My thoughts were disrupted because I was afraid I was getting in trouble, I was afraid that what I was doing (which went directly against the directives) was about to land me in some hot water. Then, in the middle of my talk and my panic, I took a pause. As I briefly paused, I looked around the room and I saw it. What I saw in that moment, as I scanned the room, was every single students eyes. Not a few; but all. Including the two adults in the front of the room. I had what is called in education circles, 100% engagement. There wasn’t a single student who’s eyes were not locked with mine. I was shocked! I was taken by complete surprise! So much so that I stumbled for a bit to find my words and continue with my lesson. But I did, students fully reassured, and then the bell rang. This happened six more times. It took me years to figure out what happened that day in my classroom; years to understand fully the message that I was sending my students. Yes, I was talking about the importance of hand-washing, CDC recommendations, and a history lesson on Mr. Semmelweis. But that wasn’t the real lesson, nor was that the true message I was sending. The real message, the actual message, the message that would change my life, the actual message I was sending my students was this: You Are Enough What I was really telling my students was that they had the ability, strength, and resources WITHIN THEMSELVES to fight a virus that killed thousands and traveled across an ocean. What I was telling them was that they had the ability to take their lives into their own hands, regardless of the circumstances that they faced. It wasn’t about hand-washing, it was about them. But the only reason I was able and capable to deliver that message to my students, was because in that moment; I was enough for me. Up to this point in my journey, I had to learn to accept what I was capable of doing. And the only reason I could accept my limitations was because I had let go of my past, let go of my failures, let go of the whatever I had done and the circumstances that resulted in those decisions, because I needed to love and accept myself as I am. And by accepting myself in that way, it freed me, giving me the ability to do everything I could to help others. Because I was enough for myself, I could let go of the past, accept myself as I am, and serve others. The circumstances that we all face right now are unprecedented; but the reason why this has become so difficult to manage is because it makes us uncomfortable. We are used to experiencing life in a certain way, and now that way no longer exists. Thus in order to see through this situation, we must become comfortable being uncomfortable. With the understanding that human behavior started this, human behavior is causing this virus to spread, and its human behavior that is going to help it to stop spread. And how can we change our behavior in order to stop this? In order to make the most impact on our friends and family? By understanding that… You Are Enough You Are Enough You Are Enough (if you say something three times you are more likely to remember it) When you understand that you are enough, it creates a clarity and transparency in your life, that allows you to not only see your limitations, but also your abilities. Once you accept yourself as you are, and understand that you are enough, suddenly your vision is filled with the things you can do, what is within your power and your reach, and the odds shift in your favor. You begin to understand what you CAN do, instead of what you can’t. And when you see that taking care of yourself, loving yourself, and valuing yourself is something you SHOULD DO; then the self-care takes off and thus your abilities to do for yourself and for others. It is my wish for you, to not only be kind to yourself, to take care of yourself, and to love yourself, but to also do things that will boost your immune system and thus your immune response. Take time to connect with people, express yourself, and take care of yourself. Be comfortable WITH YOURSELF! Unburden yourself, let go of the past, so you can see your reality and your present with the clarity that comes with that. You Are Enough
8 minutes | a year ago
Through Your Eyes – Episode 054
My grandfather was a very big fan of JFK; he was well known and well loved in Latin America (my family is from Mexico) when he became president of the United States. My mother was 12 years old when JFK was assassinated While she doesn’t exactly remember the details of the day as it happened, what she does remember is the solemn face on my grandfather as he heard the news. While she might not have understood what was going on, by the expression on her fathers face, she knew something terrible had happened. As educators, and more importantly as the adults, we sometimes overlook or underestimate how our perceptions and our thoughts, language and actions guide and dictate how our students perceive what happens in the classroom. If you are grumpy or have an attitude (because you got a flat tire, because you didn’t get your coffee, etc.) and you walk into the classroom with that attitude, it will impact and shape the way your students perceive the lesson you are trying to teach that day. Everything that happens in your classroom happens THROUGH your perspective, through your eyes. Everything that happens in your classroom is filtered THROUGH YOU! While its very easy to blame kids “attitudes” and their ‘bad behavior” as something that is outside of our control, your response to that “attitude” and “behavior” is what sets the tone for your classroom. It is within your power to dictate and set the tone of your classroom. It is within your grasp and to your benefit to create as positive of an environment as possible; otherwise your students will miss the opportunity to see the lessons and teachings you want them to learn because of a negative environment. Promoting a positive learning environment creates a safe space for kids to take risks and try; it allows them the ability to open their eyes and see the world through your perspective. This doesn’t just happen; you have to be able to willing to be honest with yourself first. You have to admit to yourself why you feel good or why you feel bad. Sometimes, that means telling your students “Hey, today, I had a flat tire, and I spilled my coffee, and its not the best day” And this is okay! And its going to be okay! This is CRITICAL to creating a safe classroom environment; because if you are willing to be honest and upfront with your students, they will trust you. And if they see you as someone who is trust worthy, they will trust the lessons that you have to teach them. They will trust you And when you are positive, your kids will be positive And if you are honest, your kids will be honest And if you push yourself to be the best version of yourself you can be So will they Positivity is contagious; everyone, from your students to your coworkers, will feed off of your positive energy And if you feel that anything is possible, then THROUGH YOUR EYES, they will also be able to see, that anything is possible for them It is because of my mothers belief in me (since the day I was born) that I am able to do what I do. And for that, I will always be grateful and thankful to my mother Gracias Mama
57 minutes | a year ago
A Conversation With My Student (And Recent High School Graduate!) – Episode 053
On this very special episode I got the opportunity to talk with a former student of mine – Mychael! Not only is Mychael a former student, a recent high school graduate, but he also achieved the very prestigious Eagle with the Boy Scouts! We sit down and discuss a wide variety of topics; everything from whether AP courses truly prepare you for college, to how I got him to make a youtube channel based on his daily dad jokes (which were really good by the way) His thoughts on how schools limit and diminish creativity for their students! The importance of allowing kids the ability to figure things out first hand, through experience! We discuss his theory on how the educational system “codes” students; what that means how how he feels it happens. Why he thinks inspiring teachers to help their students think on their own is important. The importance of teachers being themselves (and the impact that makes upon our kids development) “On a scale of 1 – 10 how influential are teachers in the lives of high school kids” “12” His advice to teachers who feel like they aren’t making an impact. “Some kids see their teachers more than their own parents” Yes, kids believe adults, and the reason WHY! Why there are some kids who come to school to AVOID a terrible situation at home! The absolute importance of teachers being themselves and how that impacts their students learning! “Being able to have teachers that are comfortable and, like, confident in expressing who they are, will show students that they can also be confident and comfortable with who they are” “Some teachers either don’t know or are to scared to build that relationship with students, and the easiest way to tackle it is start simply; how was your day?” “I think that some kids are taught that it’s not okay to be happy” This conversation blew my mind I can’t thank Mychael enough for this truly insightful conversation; I learned so much from this conversation! As one of my former students, not only did he bring incredible value to my classroom, but listening to him and his perspective can give you direct access to what works and what doesn’t work for your students! Thank you so much Mychael!
67 minutes | a year ago
Interview With The “Bunny” Teacher – Dede Rittman!!! Episode – 052
Dede Rittman is a 37-year veteran English/ Theater teacher from Pittsburgh, PA, teaching 35 years in the North Allegheny School District, where she also was Varsity Head Boys’ Golf Coach for 33 years, directed the spring musical and talent shows, and contributed to many district initiatives. She was a PA Teacher of the Year semi-finalist in 2011, the year she had to retire when her husband, Scott, was dying from stage four colon cancer. Dede’s book STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER was published in September 2014 and the book has won 8 awards! Today on the podcast, she shares so many stories about kindness, about how one small gesture can make a HUGE impact on our students, and shares her philosophy and ideas on how to build trust with your students in the classroom! We talk about the BEST thing any child had ever said to her (something that was incredibly moving and powerful), how important it is to have empathy for your kids, and how empathy actually helps you gain trust and build the relationship you have with them! We also dive into the vital words she would say on the first day of school to all of her students, what her greatest joy was in education, and one of the biggest WHY’s to building and creating these types of relationships with your students. Below are some of her incredibly wise quotes captured from our talk: We really don’t understand how many problems kids put in their backpack everyday from home… its our job as educators to help them to be able to unpack those at least while they are at school, so they can work One person really can make a huge difference Kids talk! When they have something enjoyable, they tell the other teachers. You have to be who you are You get what you give… its about trust You can get kids to do anything if they trust you, and you trust them It always comes back to… how do YOU feel? Well, how do you think THEY feel? I passed up teaching honors english for 35 years… I always kept the kids that really needed me NO ONE IS GOING TO LEARN FROM A TEACHER THEY DON’T LIKE When we are kind to others, kids see that, and it makes them be kind to others This is not brain surgery, this is simple caring about another persons feelings This was such an awesome interview and I can’t wait for you to listen! Dede gives presentations around the globe on both of her books through www.fieldtripzoom.com and www.streamblelearning.com. Dede writes a weekly blog for teacher inspiration at www.bunnyteacher.blogspot.com. GRADY GETS GLASSES, Dede’s children’s book, just came out in hardcover. The book won Best New Children’s Book 2016 from The Authors’ Zone, best second edition in 2018 from the Authors’ Zone, and a Bronze Moonbeam Award for Best Book with Merchandise in October, 2018. Dede has also won three Album of Distinction Awards from Delta Kappa Gamma in 2015 ,2017 and 2018; the prestigious I AM L.E.E. (Living Education Everyday) Award in 2016; and she was inducted into the North Allegheny Sports Hall of Fame in October of 2017. Dede works very hard on promoting her books and speaking engagements. She enjoys continuing teaching grades kindergarten to college through her books! Connect with Dede: email@example.com TWITTER- @dederittman LinkedIn –Dede Faltot Rittman Facebook- Dede Faltot Rittman and GRADY GETS GLASSES and STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP Pinterest – Rittman Publishing – Lessons Learned from the Bunny Teacher and Student Teaching Tumblr –The Bunny Teacher Instagram – GRADYGETSGLASSES and dede_rittman Book websites: STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP www.gradygetsglasses.com
20 minutes | a year ago
Why you should be thankful to be in education – Episode 051
4,000+ DOWNLOADS!!! Thank you so much for your support of the podcast! This week, I hope you enjoy the time off with your loved ones, friends, family, and fur babies! Self care and spending time with those you are close with is VITAL to your success in the classroom! During this week of thanksgiving and gratitude, I would like to offer you a fresh perspective why everyone in education should be thankful and grateful for our roles. At a time when education and educators is under tremendous pressure, I still feel strongly that we should have a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving with regards to our positions! This story will help explain why: During my first year of teaching, I worked very hard at trying not to be “that” teacher; the one who would yell at his/her students all the time. Of course, I did not succeed (I taught sophomore chemistry at this time). However, in this one particular classroom, I worked very hard at not yelling at my students. It was a conscious choice and I stuck with it. One particular day, while feeling especially defeated in the classroom, I couldn’t continue my lesson, and the will to yell at the kids was just not in me. It was at that moment when one of my students perked up and said, “no, you need to yell at us.” I was shocked. I asked her to repeat herself cause I didn’t understand if I heard her right. “That’s what teachers do. Teachers yell at us… If I was you, I would have already yelled at all these students already!” Her response was the one thing I fought so hard to avoid! It was a pivotal moment for me because I realized at that moment: I need to be better This opened up a very interesting conversation where my students openly told me I was a pushover and that I needed to be more aggressive! Much to my dismay and shock, because frankly; that’s just not my personality! That’s just not me! Regardless, the conversation took place, the lesson was not touched on at all, but my class and I had a very in-depth discussion where they openly shared their feelings and experiences about other teachers who have mistreated them, yelled at them, and how they felt that most teachers just don’t care about them as people. This prompted me to really dig in my heels with regards to my “assertiveness”. My thought at the time was; if the kids are openly telling me this is what I need to do, maybe a little it more of it wouldn’t hurt. My plan was in motion, I knew what I had to do. Fortunately, I didn’t have to be anyone I was not. The next day was a complete success; my students listened to me, they followed my lead and my lessons, there was no struggle to get anyone’s attention. And it continued every day after that. In fact, the discussions began to flow, and they would want to talk about more topics, sometimes related to the lesson, and sometimes not. Regardless, I took the time to answer their questions and sometimes used the question as way to get through a lesson, as if answering the question was a reward for their efforts (it works!) It made me realize why it is so important to be yourself; because kids need authenticity. It’s important to be yourself… because kids need authenticity! Kids are going through tremendous growth and need people who are authentic and whom they can model! The more authentic you can be, the more real, the more YOU you can be, means you are someone that they can trust, because your authenticity will shine, whether it is a lesson you are teaching or a discussion you are having, the more authentic you are, the more your students are willing to believe you, and trust you during your lessons and in your classroom. So what does this have to do with being grateful and having a sense of gratitude in the classroom? If you put your whole heart into your classroom and your craft; teaching will help you become a better person Teaching Will Help You Become A Better Person If you truly put your whole heart into your teaching, you will develop a unique self awareness that does not exist in (I don’t think) many other professions. And this self awareness is CRITICAL to your success because your STUDENTS are highly self aware, and it allows you to meet them where they are! This helps you become a better person because your students need YOU to be a better person! They need the mentorship and the guidance and someone to look up to! They need you to be your best self! So during this week, take the time to be thankful and grateful for the opportunity you have to not only make an impact, but to express your fullest potential. And while you are thankful for those opportunities, I am thankful for YOU and the impact you make on your students everyday. Because if you do have your heart in it, I know you there are little things you do for your students, that goes unnoticed or unrecognized. Because you do not do them for the recognition, but because its what your kids need, and its the right thing. And for all of those things (and the multiple other things that you do): I am thankful and grateful for you! Thank You!
17 minutes | 2 years ago
Climbing Maslow’s Ladder: PART 2 – Episode 050
!!! FIFTY EPISODES !!!! (THANK YOU SO MUCH) If you haven’t heart PART 1 of this two part series I suggest you STOP RIGHT NOW and go back and LISTEN! In part 1 I discuss how Maslow did not intend for his Hierarchy of Needs (HON) to be displayed or showcased as a Pyramid. There is actual evidence that lends itself to believe that it was created by a consulting firm in order to provide a visually appealing way to package his idea! However, if there was to be a visual, the closest visual would most likely be a ladder. Why a ladder? When one is on a ladder, you are on several rungs of the ladder at the same time, which visually represents more accurately the complexity of our needs. i.e. We will go without some basic physiological needs if we can receive or give love. As a parent or a teacher we know this all to well! What wouldn’t a parent give up for their children? But this choice to prioritize a “higher” need above a “lower” need cannot be fully expressed in the Pyramid visual representation! The Pyramid diagram does not lend itself to this type of interpretation, as the Pyramid is well defined, static, and gives the impression that like the steps on a pyramid, one must climb one rung to reach another. This is not true to the spirit of Maslow’s teachings, nor it is an accurate representation of the human condition! Human beings are much more complicated than that; and different people prioritize different needs differently. Which is why the ladder visual is much more appealing With this new understanding of how Maslow’s HON being represented as a Pyramid is not true to his original ideas, now it is really important to acknowledge the full range of our humanity, and now viewing the HON visually as a ladder is the closest to viewing a true representation of his ideas, one question remains; how? How do we go about reaching the highest need we humans have (according to Maslow) as expressing our truest potential? It boils down to our self awareness In his famous book Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goldman brought to the forefront the idea that our “emotional intelligence” is actually MORE important than our intellectual abilities. In fact, in Daniel Goldman says in his book of self-awareness: Self-awareness—recognizing a feeling as it happens —is the keystone of emotional intelligence. In education right now you hear over and over again how important it is for us to use social-emotional learning (SEL)! Its the buzzword of our current time! And what is Social Emotional Learning? It is the ability to model appropriate emotions in class, it is reflecting empathy back to our students, and it is the ability to create a safe environment for our students to learn and engage in. However, without the fully developed self-awareness of the teacher in the classroom, it is almost impossible for this type of learning environment to be fostered! If teachers walk into their classrooms, burdened by the weight of their personal and professional responsibilities, carrying with them their own personal issues, and then are expected to put on smiling brave faces for their students, and are expected to create engaging and meaningful experiences, build relationships, and somehow maintain positive professional relationships, and then go BACK to their own personal lives, and manage their own lives with empathy and kindness and a clear mind…. how can they do that, how can WE do that, without knowing who we are in every aspect of that situation? Who are we? Who are you? Who are you when your having trouble with your spouse, when your kids do not listen to you, when your students are ignoring you, when you walk down a hall and pass another teacher? Our world is so distracting; it takes so much away from us. Especially in this social media driven world; it’s almost inescapable! From the moment we wake up, our phones and the world take our attention away from us, then our loved ones, then our students and admin during our day, then back at home… its exhausting! Teachers give and give and give of themselves so much because the responsibility of teaching is actually an act of love! To teach is to love! When you teach, you give of yourself because you are trying to impart some kind of wisdom and knowledge to another human being so their lives can be better for it. Teaching is an act of love! What does this have to do with self-awareness? EVERYTHING! So many teachers feel that their ability to be effective in the classroom has to do with lessons, planning, activities, technology, etc. The majority agree that in order to be effective in the classroom, one must build relationships with your students. But how can you build and create a relationship with your students if you do not have a relationship with yourself? Or a good healthy relationship with yourself? Do you even know why you do what you do? Why you feel what you feel? Why your response to certain things is the way it is? Without a genuine sense of clarity, recognizing your own emotions, your own feelings, your own truth about you, its very difficult for anyone to build relationships with others. ESPECIALLY YOUR STUDENTS! And why is this so difficult? Why is it so difficult to build relationships with your students? Because your students are possibly the most self aware humans that ever existed in the history of human beings! My argument is that because they are growing up seeing themselves more than any other human has ever seen themselves, they are constantly catered to as far as their interests through technology and social media, they are recording their thoughts and feeling and emotions at such a young age, forever memorializing them in the ether of the internet, they have a much different way of looking at themselves and the world! Because of technology, our students and the generations to come, will all have their world catered to them in ways that never existed before. They are FULLY self-aware! They have a deep sense of themselves, who they are, what their thoughts are, so much so, that I argue this is part of the reason why we need to develop our own self awareness! Because they need us to be just as self ware as they are From our perspective as adults, childhood and adolescence seems to be a time where children are completely self involved; you might argue self absorbed. And this is true to a certain degree! After all, kids and teenagers want what they want when they want it! They are constantly testing their own theories about themselves and the world, and trying to understand their place in it. Add social media & technology to the mix, and you have this “self-absorption” amplified 100X. The problem? No one to help guide them or to help make sense of it. Or better yet, no one to understand them and help them feel that they are not alone. It is easy to write off their “self absorption” as being spoiled and selfish and “rotten” on some level. Sure! Why not cast out this younger generation before they had a chance to grow their brains and mature! So many adults see them as self absorbed. But take a minute! Take a step back! When YOU walk into the classroom, and all you think about is YOUR problems and YOUR anxieties and YOUR worries… and when YOU get upset that things aren’t falling into place… why is that any different? Self awareness is the tool that you need to develop in order for you to be effective no only in your personal life but especially in your time in the classroom. When you are in tune with yourself you develop an uncanny ability to be effective with your environment and with those in your environment The definition for self awareness used in My Self Driven Classroom Course is this: The capacity to recognize and accept your thoughts, language, and actions as your own, separate from your environment and the individuals in your environment. The capacity to recognize and accept your environment and the individuals in your environment, separate from your own thoughts, language, and actions. When you are able to simply identify your own thoughts language and actions as separate from those in your environment, and see them as separate, and accept them as separate, it changes the way you approach your students. You no longer feel the need to respond, and instead, you can engage. It develops what I call your emotional fitness and allows you the freedom to come into the classroom without the personal burdens that we sometimes carry because you have identified and acknowledge your feelings about them And this is exactly why seeing Maslow’s HON as a pyramid was fault and felt short of what he really meant; because we are all actually on a ladder. And if you have EVER been on a ladder in real life, in order to successfully navigate that ladder, you HAVE to be fully self aware! You HAVE to be fully aware of each and every step that you take on that ladder; you have to have a great sense of inner balance, a sense of where you are on the ladder, where you hands and feet are; WERE YOU ARE! Because the second you become distracted or lose concentration while you are on the ladder, you can easily fall off. You need to develop your self awareness. The more self aware you are, the better you can manage yourself and your personal business. Imagine a life where you are more in tune with what you spend your money on and don’t impulse by, where you can save time at school getting things done, and have more time for your loved ones. Imagine a time where you model this self awareness for your students, and your students begin modeling self awareness for themselves, and thus start taking control over their own learning! Imagine the mental and emotional pain you will no longer have to endure when all of your students are excited to see you and excited for the lesson you are about to bring them, that they know and feel will enhance t
21 minutes | 2 years ago
Why You Need To Climb Maslow’s Ladder For Their Bloom’s: PART 1 – Episode 049
Maslow's Before Bloom's! If you have taken even one step into the world of education, you have come across this phrase at least once. It is the quintessential phrase that is posted and talked about whenever educators wish to refer to the more humanistic facets of education. Educators love to use this phrase when talking about the tough kids or when talking about how the unmet needs of a certain section of your students population (if not all of your student population) interferes with the learning that your students all should be capable of achieving. But do we really understand Maslow's true intentions? Did Maslow's really intend for his hierarchy to be represented as a triangle, and does that triangle really help explain what Maslow wanted for us all? Let's dive into this pinnacle of educational thought and unpack what it really means to Maslow Before Bloom's The idea behind the phrase Maslow Before Bloom's comes from the Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow was a humanist, in that his work and he believed in the potential of humans and that all humans strive to reach their their potential. This perspective was key in his development of his Hierarchy of Needs, which states that there are several "basic" needs that all humans must meet in order to achieve the next highest level. The most prolific image of this has been the triangle showcasing the most basic needs (food, water, sleep, sex, homeostasis, and excretion, essentially physiological needs) and as you go up the triangle and fulfill these needs, the needs become more uniquely human (safety, love/belonging, esteem) until you reach the peak of self-actualization; as achieving the fullest use of one's talents and interests. Being your best self, expressing your fullest potential. While steeped in humanistic potential, in education, the triangle is more readily used to explain the "bad" behavior in kids; namely those who suffer from having their most basic needs not met. It is almost as if the triangle is sometimes used to oppress kids who's struggle is of no fault of their own (remember, these are kids!) It has also been used as a way to explain WHY some kids are possibly incapable of achieving higher forms of learning, since their basic needs are not being met, the triangle says they cannot ascend higher (or so the generalized idea goes). What has recently come to light is the idea that perhaps Maslow never intended for his Hierarchy of Needs to be represented as a triangle! In a paper published this year, it was revealed that Maslow did not represent his Hierarchy of Needs as a triangle in any of his publications. In fact, someone else adapted his HON into a triangle, which Maslow went along with and did not dispute (there are a number of theories as to why). So what's wrong with the triangle concept? The triangle gives the false impression that in order to reach a higher need, one must have their basic needs met, which is not the case. How many teenagers (yourself in your teenage years included) could skip a meal or go without sleep if it meant spending time with a love interest? The rigidity of the triangle makes it seem like the Hierarchy is unmovable and does not account for the reality that as a human being, we all have different needs that are met at different times, and what is a need for some might not be a need for others. How many adults feel like they cannot function without their morning cup of coffee? This is a prime example of having a basic need met before one can go about and achieve higher levels of functioning. Then there are some people who are "morning people" and can get up and begin interacting with other humans without the need for coffee. They have different needs which are met in different ways. I don't need a cup of coffee to get me going (although it REALLY helps) Another issue with the triangle representing the HON is that the triangle is static; meaning the triangle shapes gives the impression that the...
17 minutes | 2 years ago
Why you need to recognize effort and how to do it! – Episode 048
Don't you really love the effort that your students put into the classroom? Don't you really love the effort that your spouse or significant other puts into your relationship? It's an awesome feeling when your love sends you the unsolicited note, or the spontaneous affection. Parents, how much do we love it when our own kids go above what they normal do and clean their rooms without us yelling? We value and love effort. This is true because we when we DON'T put in effort, we notice it and feel it. When you DON'T stick to your diet, when you DON'T get up when you are supposed to, you end up paying for your lack of effort. Yes, the immediate pay off is immediately gratifying (the extra 3 minutes in bed and the double chocolate donut) but you will pay for that lack of effort down the line, someway, somehow. We need to capture our students effort in our classroom. For some of our students, what they do is effortless. The bell curve is very real and we will always have those students to whom things come "easy" to them. But this does not free you from challenging them! On the contrary, they have different needs that must be met, and effort for them looks differently. On the other side of the bell curve, we need to capture the effort of those who's performance is considered "low" or for those kids who are getting by. So in essence, it is not necessarily effort in general that we need to capture, but we must capture and REWARD effort immediately when it happens. Sometimes just seeing someone put in effort, sometimes just recognizing a students for the effort they are putting in at that moment, is a reward in itself. We NEED to see their effort and we need to pay attention to those efforts. Especially at the beginning of the year! A safe space is created in your classroom when you fully use the power of your self awareness (this is one of the principles of my course The Self Driven Classroom) and when you are looking for effort and recognize it immediately and reward that effort when it happens, you are sending the appropriate feedback to your students by saying: I SEE YOU, I RECOGNIZE YOUR EFFORT, I WILL REWARD YOU FOR IT. When that one student who was quiet for weeks all of a sudden raises his hand, RECOGNIZE THE EFFORT!!! Children, especially children, want instant gratification! More importantly, they want to know that they are doing the right thing, at the moment they are doing it. The feedback you send them when you acknowledge their efforts is critical and essential! A high five, a pat on the back, or a shoulder rub are great ways to recognize their efforts. Even you pointing a finger at them with a smile or a fist bump in the air, can give them the feedback that YOU SEE THEM! The best part about you recognizing effort in your classroom; you are sending feedback to the entire classroom. You are sending the message to all the other students that you recognize effort, you look for it, you value it, and you will reward it. This gets kids very excited and motivated for wanting to put into the class that effort! Soon, kids begin to battle over which one can get the answer first! Some effort is quiet. For some students effort is completing one assignment. For others, its finally putting their name on their paper. For others, effort is showing up to class. Effort is effort is effort. We can be cynical about this, but the most valuable thing we can do for our students is acknowledge effort in all its various forms. For that one student who finally came to class on time; give them the high five, the pat on the back, the shoulder rub, the recognition! Effort is effort is effort. You want to recognize all the various levels of effort in your classroom because those various levels will grow. One day they show up to class on time, the next day they show up with a pencil, and the next time they show up on time with a pencil and complete their work! Effort is rewarded in our society!
82 minutes | 2 years ago
Interview With Alania Freeman – Episode 047
Welcome to Self Driven Radio! This is an INCREDIBLE interview with FullBright Scholar, Teacher, Creator, Writer, & Performer Alaina Freeman! Not only is she the Writer & Performer of the one woman play, The MisEducation Of Ms. Freeman which you can check out October 9, 2019 in NYC, but she is a talented individual who has a passion for life that touches everything she does! Her approach to the classroom is one that focuses solely on what's best for her kids (and trust me, they are HER KIDS!) and pushing herself to be the best person she can be; not only for herself, but for those around her. I can't wait for you to listen and to get inspired by this amazing woman! Some of the topics covered: We unpack the year in teaching that changed her life forever and inspired her to create her play We talk about the fear in education (because it exists) The beautiful and amazing lessons that teaching special ed students taught her The Soul Thing that can make any child succeed The constant fight that teachers in the classroom struggle with to keep kids from giving up on themselves The importance of investing herself as an educator The value of being yourself 24/7, in and (ESPECIALLY) out of the classroom Why its so important to push yourself to the "edge"... so you don't get used to the monotony The BIGGEST fear we all have in life... The importance of having a vision which enables you to see opportunity... for yourself and your students... The importance of legacy as a teacher... Some GREAT Quotes And Takeaways From This Interview! The one thing about special ed kids is that they were true to themselves. I really learn a lot from the children that I teach I loved the kids, I just hated teaching Schools are run off of fear... and mediocracy is rewarded Teaching is a lot of your doing it right and your doing it wrong, but its not right or wrong, it's a process His work was perfect for him When I go with my friends who don't work with children... they are a little dull... they forgot the gift of discovery... they take my energy and give my life! They needed this other thing... this soul thing... The kids in my room are creators... they would literally create the day in my room We are so scared going inside of ourselves... We don't want to work... Someone talking in a meeting... is present... You really essentially have all you need... everything else is a blessing... I don't want to feel ok... I want to feel spectacular... or else I would be doing them a disservice... I'm never asking them to do something that I won't do CHECK OUT HER SHOW IN NYC OCTOBER 9, 2019!!
64 minutes | 2 years ago
5 Steps To Make Your Summer Truly Your Summer with Kendra Smalley – Episode 046
On this very special episode of the Self Driven Classroom, AMAZING and TALENTED KENDRA SMALLEY joins Self Driven Radio! She is a Love Driven Action Coach with her own practice She is the CEO of the Life Coach Training Institute She is the founder of Hype Kidz Nation (for inner city youth) She is a friend and a fellow public school educator who works with kids that have severe behavioral issues On this episode we tackle three dynamic topics: What is the GENIUS that every "difficult" student with severe behavioral issues taps into? What do all kids REALLY want? What are the 5 STEPS You need to take To Make YOUR Summer Truly YOURS! FOLLOW THE 5 STEPS! If you are an educator in any capacity, you NEED to follow the 5 steps this summer to refuel and recharge yourself! Self care and self love is VITAL to your personal and professional success! If you do not love yourself and show yourself love, you will not be able to pour that into others! So make sure you take good care of yourself during your break this summer, and makes sure you follow the 5 STEPS that the Love Driven Action Coach KENDRA SMALLEY shares with us in this DYNAMIC EPISODE! Get your pencil & paper ready & GET THE DOWNLOADABLE CALENDAR BELOW! CLICK THIS LINK NOW FOR CALENDAR
104 minutes | 2 years ago
Interview With Kyle From Yoga With Kyle! – Episode 045
How to we manifest peace? Amazing interview with Kyle from Yoga With Kyle! Like so many teachers, Kyle is multi-talented: Recording Artist, Author, Certified Yoga Teacher! Kyle she's an amazing person who has found incredible peace through her yoga practice and teaching kids and families yoga! Through her life's journey, she has learned about acceptance, self awareness, and about the potential within each one of us and herself! Great teachers are not always in a school building! I invite you to enjoy this AMAZING interview that goes deep into how loving and taking care of ourselves can help us become better teachers for others. Some amazing take aways and subjects we cover in this interview: “The problem is with that rigidity in the body comes rigidity in the mind” How taking five deep breaths can change your own mindset and those around The importance of listening to children How to become more present? “Yoga is a gentle discipline… life long… “ “Always be a student to yourself” “Being your best and be your best advocate is your first step” Why are we so afraid of being us? Appreciating the intelligence of understanding our emotions “The mistake we make is to not be in the moment and come from fear… it’s not really fair to the child” “Be selfish in taking care of you” “People don’t know how to reach for help” “Put your own oxygen mask on” Redefining adulthood To learn more about Kyle check out the links below: YOGA Twitter: @mykai Instagram: @yogawithkyle Yoga Retreats: https://www.mbsretreat.com Kai Elle (music) Instagram: @musicbykyle_ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClNzU6Yu_KXSBL7JVNfc4fw Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/18Ws5KDRHc9RY3fltPbkei Children's Book: The Quiet Clam https://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Clam-Kyle-Lardner/dp/0999257374/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+quiet+clam&qid=1557290963&s=books&sr=1-1-catcorr
27 minutes | 2 years ago
The top 5 lessons from 10X conference that teachers can use – Episode 044
The 10X business conference is held once a year by Grant Cardone; a real estate investor turned internet star. Attendance was calculated to be 34,000 for the three day event in Miami where famous entrepreneurs and up and coming ones were allowed to share their stories of ups and downs on a massive and impressive 5million dollar stage. It was an amazing event that I am still processing and unpacking. As someone who is starting an online business, I found it highly inspirational and it has helped me focus on how I can best serve YOU; my fellow teachers. The following is my top 5 take aways from the conference that are directly applicable to the classroom. When your in a room full of millionaires and successful people; you want to pay attention and see what can translate into your classroom and into your own personal life as well. These are my top 5 take aways from the event: Our world is changing faster than we realize technology, youtube, access to information is easier Failure is a necessary step towards success failure story after failure story Execution is everything if you are not executing on your ideas, your not going anywhere Relationships and connections are more important than ever before in a world where everyone is trying to get your attention, relationships and connections are becoming more and more valuable Mentors, mentorship, and modeling successful behavior is critical to the success of all of us be a mentor to your students, and look for mentors for yourself
19 minutes | 2 years ago
We Are All In This Together – Episode 043
I have a very important message that I need to you to understand. One that is echoed in a very impassioned quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Its something that I have held onto since the first time I stepped into my classroom; something I must remind myself from time to time. And when you hear this ONE thing, I want you to envision this idea as an integral part of the way you approach your classroom. In fact, ANYTHING I talk about in this podcast or anywhere in the Seal It With A Smile universe, is content that is designed for you to digest and USE in your classroom. Not because I think it's a good idea; but because it works! All of my students, both in the classroom and those that have gone through my online course, The Self Driven Classroom: The Queen Bee, use the methodologies, ideas, strategies and mentality that I speak about in these podcasts... not because they are "nice" or "ideal"; but because they WORK! The ONE thing I want you to walk away from with this podcast: We are all in this together Here is the quote from Martin Luther King Jr. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured. "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution" Commencement Address for Oberlin College By Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr June 1965, Oberlin Ohio Growing up as a child in the 1980's, I saw movies and media that told me teachers were "other". They were boring, know it all people who didn't care about me or my well being. I was taught by teachers that were like this; but I was also privileged to be around teachers who actually cared about me, who looked after me, and who took the time and the energy to guide me in the right directions. They saw in me something and encouraged me to move forward. I bring those thoughts into my classroom daily. You need your kids. Your kids need you. I am constantly surprised by anyone who calls themselves an "educator" who easily casts our a child. Who uses their fear to predict the outcome of any child, no matter the age or their situation. Great stories start with conflict. And you and your students are in it together. In fact, YOU put obstacles in their path, that you expect them to overcome, in a small amount of time, sometimes on their own. You call it teaching. You PURPOSEFULLY present NEW information to them, which causes anxiety, panic, stress, and cognitive dissonance; a gaping chasm in their psychology. Then you FILL that chasm with understanding... your students work it out, get to a point of understanding... then you hit them AGAIN! Its kinda like you digging a hole for them, telling them they need to jump into the hole, then you jumping out of that hole, and showing them how they can get out... and once most of them are out of the hole... you do it AGAIN! If you are a great teacher; you are in the hole with them, working with them one on one, and getting as dirty as they are. Ineffective teachers; post "how to dig out of the hole" pictures on the board, and then complain when they aren't getting out fast enough. You need them. They need you. No matter what grade level they are in, these kids will eventually participate in our society. They will eventually pay taxes, work, have children... live life! If you aren't doing everything you can to make sure they are successful, you are only hurting YOURSELF! If you aren't brining your best everyday, or challenging yourself to be better today then you were yesterday... you are doing a disservice to the people around you, your loved ones, and your students.
17 minutes | 2 years ago
Fail Better – Episode 042
I have a hard time using the word fail. It’s not my favorite word to use and I am convinced that the way you speak affects the way you think and your actions. Therefore it’s a word that I avoid using in my classroom and in my personal life. Unfortunately, everyone I know loves to use the word fail. In my classroom my students constantly talk about failing classes, epic fails; fail, fail. The word itself has taken a life of its own. There’s not a day that goes by in my classroom, where we are either in the middle of an interactive laboratory or are reviewing content, where a student risks embarrassment, goes out on a limb and with nervous anticipation says what they believe is the right answer; only to get it wrong. My natural instinct is to look them straight in the eye, smile, and tell them how that’s a really good answer, and how it was very close to the real answer and please let me explain what the real answer is. No matter how big my smile can be, no matter how wonderful I can project the tone of my voice, inevitably, somebody says fail. It may not be the word itself; at some point the sense of failure lingers inside the room. I feel that my attempts at combating failure, has failed. I have failed to stop failure from occurring in my classroom. It is without a doubt a blemish in my career and in my heart. As a child, my mother always believed in me. My mother, with her 40-year-old child, continues to tell me how much she believes in me. She is without a doubt one of my biggest supporters. Whether it was dressing up as Frosty the Snowman in fourth grade trying to remember my steps and lines, or as the president of my HOSA club who forgot to order the pizzas for our Friday school fundraiser (and had to apologize to every single person in our school for not having any pizza), she continues to hold her ground, and continues to believe in me That believe in me has carried me over in some very dark times, both professionally and personally. I value her words more and more each day as they continue to fuel me and inspired me to become a better version of myself today than I was yesterday. Which is why as much as I hate to accept failure, I must accept it. As much as I despise the word and how it feels when those consonants and vowels come out of my mouth, I must except the fact that we live in a society the points out highlights and emphasizes failure. I must sadly accept the fact, that I failed to remove failure from the language of my classroom. Here’s what I can do... I can fail better You see, there is a sycophantic morose obsession in our society when it comes to failure. People are almost excited when someone that seems at the top of their game, fails. It's been said that when we hold people up to a pedestal, like the way we hold our heroes, we hold them to a much higher standard than we hold ourselves. And we love to see them fall... It means they were human... After all... The classroom is no different; there is always going to be the "smart kids", “the dumb kids", “the poor kids", “the rich kids", etc... Whatever category you, our students, or anybody else can fit them into, these categories were not designed by children, rather they are absorbed by children because of the adults around them. Prejudice, stereotypes, and pre-conceived notions of people are all learned by children and taught by adults And if failure is the great equalizer in the classroom; if failure somehow helps wipe the slate clean in the minds of our studnets, helping see everybody in the classroom as equals... And if failure helps bring down those who we feel are above us, as our tabloids filled with scandal seem to point out, then let us try a new approach to failure Let’s fail better Let’s shoot for failure on a different level. Let us embrace failure as being epic; true epic failure. Failure so grand, so magnificent, so wonderful,
27 minutes | 2 years ago
A Sense Of Gratitude (Volume II) – Episode 041
What does gratitude mean in education? It starts with something that happened to my during my second year of teaching. If you survived the cut throat, desperation and hopelessness that is the first year of teaching (which is all about survival); then the second year is MAGIC! You are more engaged with who you are, what you are capable of doing, what the hell you are supposed to be doing, and how to best serve your students. Relationships, for me, were something that I wanted to work on. I was comfortable in my classroom, I was comfortable walking the halls of my building and with others in my department. And it's not to say that I had a major issue building relationships with my students, but rather, I knew there was a deeper more meaningful way to build my relationships with my students. Depending on who you talk to, this is not common talk in the teachers lounge. Many teachers are out the door at 3:15pm along WITH the students. Many teachers can't stand kids, and I'm embarrassed to admit that on several occasions, when teachers would talk badly about students, I didn't speak up when I should have. You would be surprised by how many teachers don't like kids, much less helping them, and even less wanting to build meaningful relationships with them. For many, the time we spend in the classroom is more than they bargained for. I wasn't quite sure how to do it, but I knew there was something else I could be doing. Something that involved more than superficial talk. I felt stuck. And then there was Joel. My afternoons usually consisted of sweaty stinky football players and failing students coming after school to make up grades. My afternoon tutorials were afternoons that smelled of desperation. Having one on one time with any student is fun, especially when I get to dive into molecular shapes, calculating grams per mol, or any other fun chemistry/science themes. When Joel would come after school (because he needed to make up work, due to his family problems), it was different. Joel and I would sit and talk about the cars his uncle and him were rebuilding and fixing up. After all the stinky kids went off, we would talk about his alcoholic father's issues. About how grateful he felt for his uncle stepping in and playing a fatherly role, and for teaching him about auto body repairs; which he loved. It was great to see his eyes open wide and glisten whenever he talked about popping out doors, or mastering bondo. It was fun for me to just listen to him and to hear him get excited and passionate about doing something he saw himself doing for the rest of his life. His future was very clear to him. One afternoon, Joel waited until the room cleared out to tell me some interesting news; he made $16,000 selling three cars he fixed. And he wanted my opinion as to what he should do with the money. I was floored. Not only because of the fact that he saw me as someone who could counsel him in this regard, but because I understood that my relationship with him and my role was not defined by the title on my contract. I suggested that he open up a Roth IRA. A week later, he thanked me, and told me how the bank manger wanted to shake his hand for making such a wise investment at such a young age. Joel now has two shops and is doing fantastic. The Friday before my very first day of school teaching, my principal spoke to the entire staff during a very hectic last Friday before the first day. With all of the teachers filling in the cramped cafeteria, legs nervously twitching, and after a monotonous and boring explanation of testing results from the year before, which being a new teacher, made no sense to me, my principal said some words that have haunted me ever since. He thanked all of us for what we do, for what we will do during the school year. And he thanked us for breaking poverty cycles. Whenever you find yourself this year, caught in a difficult situation with a student,
13 minutes | 2 years ago
REST – Episode 040
With the holiday season upon us, we finish one thing to only pick up another. We go though everything that we need to in order to finish the year/semester off right, only to pick up all of the responsibilities required to complete during this holiday “break”. In the melee of everything, what we should be focusing on, is rest. We need to rest. You need to rest. I need to rest. I respect you enough to not give you explicit instructions on HOW to rest, or what that rest must entail. Fact is, we all rest in various ways, and it’s up to you to figure out what brings you peace, what refills your empty cup, and what helps keep you in harmony. It is a common misconception from those outside the educational sphere to think that the amount of time we have off more than compensates for our time. They couldn’t be more wrong. We don’t have jobs; we have a calling. A mission. We do NOT exhange time for money; we GIVE time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, emotions, money, etc and we pour it into the lives of others. We GIVE far more than we receive. Which is what high performers do; we share in the spoils of that investment with the rest of society. And more importantly, our return on investment will always be unknown and beyond the walls of our classroom. And it will touch countless lives beyond the souls in our rooms. This is why you need to rest. Rest within yourself. You cannot give from an empty cup; you cannot replenish that which cannot be renewed. Renew yourself, refill your cup during your time off. Practice and model the self care that so many students do not practice, but desperately need. I give you full permission to rest in the knowledge that you do not only deserve this time, you have earned it, and you need it, not only so that you can continue to give to others... Most important of all; because you are you. There’s no one else like you. You are worthy. You are enough. rest.
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