Note to Teachers: Summer Vacation and The Three Legged Stool …

With summer vacation upon us, it’s so important that we all take time to refresh, rejuvenate, and rejoice in preparation for 2018-2019 during the upcoming weeks. By doing so, especially, celebrating success and thoroughly embracing the wonderful moments from this past year, we set ourselves up for a remarkable year ahead.

The power of belief, specifically, highlighting perception from a positive – gratitude lens, is not just another Fortune Cookie wish, or something your Grandma may have said over and over; it’s science-based, research-guided, but proven everyday by ordinary people doing remarkable things.  Positive thinking, through appreciation, makes a difference:
Moving forward, when you are at a place where you are ready to begin a vision for next year, consider the Three Legged Stool: Relationship, Relevance, and Resilience.
Within all SEL [Social Emotional Learning] programs, texts, and curriculum guides, the notion of “relationship” rings truth as the golden principle of teaching.  Its something we all are capable of doing, for most of us entered this profession due to the relationships we experienced through our own school experience. Or we believed in the idea that we can make a difference through connecting with our students.  It’s within our wheelhouse to do so.  And we really don’t need a text book to tell us how to do this.  However, it helps to add new tools to an already established toolkit.
Further more, relevance directly relates to the most current neuro-science for meaning is at the core of learning; we cannot rely on “because I told you so” or “this will be on the test” as the means to create connection.  Learning truly has to be at an authentic level of relevance – meaning for our students.  The Twentieth Century tool kit, highlighting “compliance”, “fear”, and the social pressure to “be good” doesn’t apply anymore. So we are called upon once again, to draw upon the core reasons why we got into this business as the foundation for our instructional decision making: create meaning.  For anything else is an expression of wasted time; and that’s not how we see ourselves as teachers: We make a difference; we don’t make time.  Check this out for inspiration:  We all have moments where we are Mr Wright …
Finally, as change moves at lightening speed, so does life: The intentions behind the SEL movement is to provide our students with core resilience skills to assure each is able to deal with the ups and downs of life; and discover the true nature of themselves in this process.  Self-awareness and self actualization provide the foundation for us all to move forward.  As a result, we are called upon to draw upon our own resilience resources for learning is most profound not by what we say, but what we do.  Our students are watching every move we make for they so deeply want to connect with us; for belonging is wired within the human condition.  And within our own framework, most of us are inspired by the opportunity to make a difference.
With this in mind, take care of yourself this summer.  Nurture yourself so you can nurture others in the Fall. Consider the following:

Taking Care of Oneself is Not Selfish: Building Resilience is a Life Skill Requirement For Us All

Are you ready for the never-ending evolution of life which is quicker, faster, deeper, more complex, engaging, and messy than ever before?   You should be … for we are all living in this remarkable period of time.  And it won’t simply just go away or return to a memory which is long, lost, and gone. Continue Reading

True Education Reform is an Inside Job

One of things I get to do in my work is to support teachers and principaIs directly when behavior issues rise to the surface.  Whether serving as an Education Advocate / Consultant or as a district Behavior Specialist, I am expected to know what I am talking about. And by doing so, I generally tendContinue Reading

What If Every Class Was Based Upon The Gifted Education Model?

Imagine a school, where each classroom was based upon the belief that “every child is gifted”.  This does make a difference.  For what we believe is often what we see! There have been numerous studies related to teacher’s expectations and student performance; many of which replicate the research from the 1960’s conducted by Rosenthal; whenContinue Reading

Relationship, Relevance, and Resilience: When the Honeymoon is Over!

Honeymoon: A period of unusual harmony especially following the establishment of a new relationship … With each new school year, there is an established “honeymoon” period; where the students [as well as teachers] appear to be on their best behavior due to the notion of a fresh start.  In many cases, this period lasts fourContinue Reading

Relationship, Relevance, and Resilience: The New Three Rs!

Sometimes we forget what it was like being a child, and specifically, being a student.  For most of us, we barely remember what the day to day experience was like and most often, we have no clue what we learned in school. But we NEVER forget the teacher who made a difference in our lives.Continue Reading

Back to School Tip: Wear a Smile, Not New Clothes!

As we cycle through routines from year to year; for many parents, August is Back to School season with all of it’s rituals including new clothes, new supplies, and other essentials.  This year, I highly recommend experiencing new thoughts, new emotions, and overall, a fresh attitude when considering the upcoming school year.  How about seeing theContinue Reading

“Least Restrictive Setting” and How It is Misused 42 Years Later …

In 1975, federal law was passed protecting the rights of students with disabilities and PL 94-172 has been the guiding light ever since.  Parents, educators, and advocates have been on this vigilant path for 42 years and continue to work toward providing opportunities for students identified with disabilities and other conditions which impact their lives.Continue Reading

Down the Homestretch: Lessons from the Kentucky Derby; It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish!

I always associate the homestretch of the school year with the Kentucky Derby for both come at the same time; early May.  Taking this metaphor further, it’s not about how you start the school year, nor the Derby, it’s more about how you finish.  And in light of students with executive function gaps, ADD/ADHD, orContinue Reading

Being Present “Here and Now” Instead of Preparing for the Future Then, There, and Everywhere!

“Being Present …” “Staying in the moment …” “Keeping calm ….” “Being in the here and now.”   Likely, these Yoga-like phrases are familiar to you.  They are helpful when we need mental reminders leading to a form of relaxation and stress reduction.  However, in my thirty-plus years working in the school environment, I don’t recallContinue Reading

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