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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

woman flying

“Look upon the world as you would upon a bubble” said the Buddha in the Way of Truth, “look upon it as a mirage.”  

In a good dream, I am flying. Soaring high and free. In a not-so-good dream, my flight is wrought with struggle. I go up and down, my arms flailing. It's the inevitable pull of gravity. In a nightmare, I am paralyzed and stuck entirely.

In education we are so serious, so grounded all the time. We don’t tolerate lightheartedness either. Perhaps it’s because we think effectiveness is serious business.

DISCIPLINE. ACHIEVEMENT. ADVANCEMENT.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Authentic teaching is magical balance. A good teacher knows how to reveal the essence of our existence so that we are moved to compassion, so that we respond with kindness and humanity even in the face of adversity, so that we are aware of the beautiful now, while our eyes are wide open to the potential of tomorrow.

How do we find this magical balance and inspire students in an age of uncertainty? This has been an intense year for all of us. I wonder a lot about the long-term impact of world events on our individual and collective well-being. How will social, political and environmental upheaval influence how we approach teaching for the future?

My work with teachers this week gave me joy but also concern. I was reminded how vulnerable teachers are in our collective struggle, loss and disappointment. I admire how teachers continue to find humor in any situation and courageously inject honesty at unexpected moments.

I met a kind teacher who does outstanding work. Sadly, she faces an overcrowded class of special education students every day without any support in the classroom. This is not unusual. Still, I get impatient. I want to embolden teachers like her to advocate for themselves, to challenge the conditions of their schools and classrooms, to believe in the possibility of a balanced, healthy life and professional working conditions.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

I had a conversation with my oldest son last night. He and his family live in Denver, so we chat or FaceTime every Sunday. The conversation turned to sharing our thoughts about recent, sad events going on in our country and elsewhere in the world. He lamented that besides being advocates and trying to make our feelings known, it seemed sometimes we have very little impact. But, he continued, he felt the very best he could do was to raise his sons to be loving, to care about other people, to do the right thing, and to respect women. “Mom,” he said, “You taught me those things.” (sigh)

Before I had children, I thought having a girl might be easier, given the fact that I had been an only child. I was a girl and I had a basic understanding of the game plan and the obstacles. But, listening to my friends who had daughters made me wonder if, in today’s society, I was ready to take on all that comes along with raising a girl… the rape culture, the princess culture, struggles with body image- Oh my!

princess2

Well, I ended up having three boys and, as it turns out, raising children of either gender is challenging. Boys deal with different kinds of pressures and have to live up to different expectations.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

sad child

Living in a neglectful home can have devastating effects on a child. The way he is treated, responded to, or ignored provides a strong undercurrent of messages that become part of his identity. He will lack self-confidence, self-esteem, and a basic understanding of himself.

What this child has learned will follow him throughout his life, affecting his relationships with others, his ability to make good choices, and even his capacity to function on a day to day basis.

Furthermore, if he has children of his own, there is a good chance they will be treated as he was, because it is all he knows.

These are the things he has learned so well from those who he expected would love him:

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

mental health 141

I hope everyone knows the above quote.  If not, you need to stop reading this and Netflix this movie!

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, and everyone you’ve worked with has done it.  At some point, you’ve taken a day off, but you didn’t use a vacation day, you weren’t sick, and you did things just for yourself with it. Shopped. Went out to eat. Got a massage or had a spa day. Watched a movie. Saw a baseball game. Binge-watched a series. Slept in. You get the idea. The phrase “mental-health day” has circulated in the workplace for years, yet many shy away from saying that’s what they’re taking.

NBC Nightly News recently aired a story about an employee who emailed her boss saying she was taking a mental-health day. Her boss replied supporting her.

While the summer is a great time to recharge and relax, we need to be doing this during the school year as well. We need to eat right, exercise, and partake in wellness. We all need mental-health days. Don’t shy away from it; be proud of it.

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