Category: Episodes List

Why All Teachers Should Make at Least 90k/year: Emotional Labor – Episode 029

Why All Teachers Should Make at Least 90k/year: Emotional Labor – Episode 029

Emotional labor is an invisible but powerful force that is felt but unseen to the inexperienced eye. It’s why moms are so good at making you feel better without applying medicine, and why it doesn’t bother you that you scraped your knee with dad, because you had such a great time (which mom cleaned and put a bandaid on, and dad just rinsed with water)

More often that not, emotional labor at home and at work is done by women.

That is, the labor that most men do not think about; keeping the peace at home, making sure the kids don’t get upset because there’s no more ice cream, calling to get multiple quotes, planning the office holiday party, baby shower, and remembering everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, food allergies, previous report card grades, resolving conflict, and why you shouldn’t talk about dogs in front of your neighbor, who just lost his puppy.

But when it comes to the classroom… Teachers, Coaches, Admin, Support Staff, Male and Female… We all perform Emotional Labor

As a Teacher, Emotional Labor is the majority of the work we actually perform in the classroom. It’s the silent lifting of spirits, when our students feel down. It is the pushing of pencils, when the little hands wrapped around them do not move.

Its the exhausting last minute push,

the pat on the back that you don’t want to give but you can’t not give,

and you know you need to give,

because that one child has not had enough pats, to motivate him or herself, forward.

This is not to negate, or ignore, that our students, our kids, emotionally labor intensive work, because they do! However, if we are to look at our students as Emotional Labor-ers… as in, those who are ready to perform this type of work; we have a serious staffing problem.

Uninspired, unmotivated, depressed, hungry, tired and afraid is what sometimes walks into our classrooms and sits down in our prearranged chairs. This happens daily, to many of our students. Not because of what happens at home or in their personal life, but because of the Labor that a teacher did NOT perform, in preparation for their students.

The Emotional Labor we put into our classrooms begins before the first bell has rung; it is our motivation for teaching, our emotional and psychological fitness that we walk into with every morning. It is a fitness that we need to maintain consistently, especially when our students become emotionally “heavy”.

This is the framework required for student success; the one that the teacher works at, every minute, of every day.

It is the smile our students see in the morning, and the smile they see when they leave our presence; the smile that seals the positive experience we shared together.

It is the repetitive “lifting” of our students spirits when they seem lost and confused. Of psychologically holding their hand through a dangerous equation or a fear inducing stanza. Removing the fog of confusion as to why a word is spelled that way, and clearing the cluttered mess in the minds of those, who’s past experiences have such a tight grip on their psyche, that is prevents them from moving forward.

It is the understanding that instead of being another stumbling block, another barrier; you are there to serve your students; serve their mind and help them grow into the people that they wish to become.

Which leads to expectations of our students.

We want from our students…

We see compliance and “listening” as an expectation. We want them to listen to us! We want them to comply, to remember… to give us our own form or version of a “reward”

We feel that it is sometimes a reflection upon us! When in reality, their response to us is just that; their response. They are human beings, creatures with a heart and a mind and a unique soul. There is no nine month assembly line that people pop out of and are “wired” to perform or act in a specific way. If humans are not created like that, then our expectations of our students should be the same. As a teacher, the only expectation we should have of our students, is to learn, and to grow.

Teaching is a selfless act; it is one of the truest acts of love one can ever bestow. It is selfless because you leave the other person better than when you have left them. It is purposeful, and it does not require the other person to give back to you, not right then, not now, not in the future, not ever.

There should not be an expectation from our students. The only expectation from our students is that they learn, that they grow, and that during that valuable time in which we spend with each other, that we both walk away better, more enlightened, more enriched, because we added value to each others lives. That the experience was meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling.

The person we should have the highest expectations of; ourselves.

The person we should consistently check, recheck, and evaluate; ourselves.

The person who is (literally) creating neural pathways of cognitive, emotional, and psychological growth in our children, through a safe and nurturing framework (classroom experience), where the brains of the next generation are being built; us

We, the Teachers, are Brain Builders

And in building these brains, we are creating the emotional, psychological, and cognitive framework of our society, and of our world.

This is not work that should be left to the idle hand, to the uninspired, or to the uncaring. This is not the work of someone who “likes summer off”. This is a labor of love. A selfless love.

And that is why Teachers should make 90,000 a year; because you wouldn’t let your child’s leg be operated on, by someone who has not devoted their life to serving others and was compensated adequately for their labor.

Someone who was able to live free of economic hardship, unburdened, and was thus able to provide the best care possible.

Why should your child’s heart, mind, and soul, be any cheaper?

Ep 28: The Conversation – PART III

Ep 28: The Conversation – PART III

In this 3rd part of The Conversation Series, I wrap up what I believe is the conversation we should be having right now regarding education. Recent tragedies have shed a new light upon the fact that the educational system is failing our students. We can no longer sit back and wait for lawmakers, researchers, or other stakeholders to address these issues.

In Part I, I talk about the classroom itself and the new role of the classroom, in a world where information is freely available and easily accessible. 

In Part II, I talk about our students and how they are facing serious life altering stressors, to which they have very little control over. No matter what the difficulty, every child should be seen as an opportunity for growth.

Part III is about the Teachers.

WE, The Teachers, are THE most powerful agents of change in the educational system, in the building, and in our classrooms. Yes, our calling is to help our students succeed, advance, learn, and grow. However, as the teacher in the classroom, that spends an significant amount of time with them, face to face; any improvements in their learning and growth happens through us.

THIS is the hardest lesson to understand and accept because learning involves defeat.

Learning is a process.

Learning involves screwing up and getting things wrong. Some of the greatest lessons we will learn in our lives will come from agonizing and painful failures. As a teacher and the adult in the room, we are judge and jury to the beautiful little humans before us. Everyday we find another example in which there are no set guidelines and no manual in which we can reliably depend on.

At a cost of $2.2 BILLION dollars a year in the US teachers are leaving the profession due to high stress, poor working conditions, “bad kids”, poor support, low wages, etc. 40 – 50% of new teachers leave after five years. In other words; defeat.

The emotional and psychological work that is performed by teachers on a daily basis is hardly talked about, much less recognized. Yet it is the most important in the classroom, and creates the most positive impact for our students. There isn’t a state assessment, or an ipad, or a worksheet, or a powerpoint that will significantly impact the lives of our students. It is, and will always be, the teacher.

So if teachers want less stress, better working conditions, “better kids” more support, higher wages, and not look for other work after 5 years, what needs to change isn’t a system; its us.

Teachers, yup, you. Don’t look away, i’m talking to you!

If we want this to change, we have to change. The first thing we need to change; our mindset.

Everyday, I need you… Wait.

Everyday, the world needs you to say or read the following:

“Today I will build the emotional, psychological, and educational foundation of our society. I will learn and grow with my students and fellow teachers and create the human infrastructure in which we all live and thrive in.”

Everyday.

Everyday, I need you to believe this. Not because its BS, but because its true. And if you don’t walk into your classroom, and own it, no one else will.

You are important

You are valuable

You are needed

You are critical to the success of our society and our species.

And if you walk into your classroom, everyday, and believe this with all of your heart and mind, your language and actions will follow

And when your thoughts, language, and actions are congruent (as in, they are in line with each other)

You are unstoppable.

You are a force to be reckoned with.

And when your fellow teachers are all congruent with each other, and your building is congruent with each other, and our society is congruent with each other… that’s a tidal wave of change.

The hardest lesson to learn and accept is the one we need the most. Recite this mantra, believe it, and watch the magic of the human sprit contaminate your students, as you become the rockstar I know you can be, and your students want you to be:

“Today I will build the emotional, psychological, and educational foundation of our society. I will learn and grow with my students and fellow teachers and create the human infrastructure in which we all live and thrive in, sealing every interaction with my students, with my smile”

Ep 27: The Conversation – PART TWO

Ep 27: The Conversation – PART TWO

In part two of the conversation, we discuss our students and take a macroscopic snapshot of where they are and what they are going through.

They are facing different pressures than before, and because of that, our students have different needs

There is no sense in trying to judge the merits of these needs; it is more important to identify, adjust, and meet their needs as much as we can

At the end of the day, it is most important that we see each child, every student, as an opportunity.

An opportunity for growth.

 

 

 

Ep 26: The Conversation – Part 1

Ep 26: The Conversation – Part 1

The role of the classroom, and school, has changed dramatically in our society.

What is the NEW role of the classroom, and the school, in our NEW reality, and in the future?

Before information was so freely accessible, the school house was one of the very few places one could have access to information (someone had to teach you to read before you could access the knowledge in books!). Information was power; and access to information was limited.

Those days are gone.

With the swipe of a finger, our students have access to every single piece of information that we teach in the classroom. The knowledge we wish to share with them is free and accessible.

The school and the classroom as places of learning are irrelevant. Those days are over.

Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to students. And the political debate over what constitutes safety continues… But has anyone cared to ask what makes our students safe? What does a “safe” school mean for them?

A safe school, for them, means that they are receiving messages of AGENCY, SAFETY, AND CARE

AGENCY – “I WILL DO”  When your students feel supported, they can achieve anything.

SAFETY – “I CAN DO” This isn’t just shutting the door and armored guards. Do our students feel safe to be themselves? Do our students feel safe to raise their hands in class?

CARE – “I CAN DO AND WILL DO FOR MYSELF” Do our students feel loved? Do they feel cared for and looked after? Every child deserves to be loved.

THIS is the NEW role of the classroom, of school as a system. School no longer is a place of learning, it is now a place of GROWING. A place where teachers and administrators focus on the person FIRST and all of the students receive messages of AGENCY, SAFETY, AND CARE.

Our schools are more important than ever, and their importance will continue to rise. WE must ensure that our students are loved, supported, and feel safe to be the best version of themselves that they can be. 50 million children go through the public education system every year; students of diverse backgrounds who come together to grow.

When our children grow together and are supported and loved; we all win. The education system is a place where the emotional and psychological infrastructure of our society is built.

Let’s grow.

 

Random Acts of Kindness – Episode 025

Random Acts of Kindness – Episode 025

This is Random Acts of Kindness Week!

I hope you take it upon yourself to be kind to yourself FIRST…

But also to be kind to your fellow TEACHERS!

And most important, showing and modeling kindness towards and for your STUDENTS!

 

It is the most important lesson you could ever TEACH!

A Safe Haven – Episode 024

A Safe Haven – Episode 024

There was a picture I recently saw showing a real life cowboy

The Manliest of Men

His physical exterior (I would imagine) matched his mental and emotional interior

No doubt that man was a man or resilience and strength.

We want our kids to be resilient, to be tough, to be “tough enough”

We feel that our experiences made us who we are today, the trials and tribulations, so if our kids go through those same trials and tribulations, then they will build the resilience and inner strength that we want for them and that we wish (and think) we have for ourselves

But the world has changed

The mental and emotional strength that was required came, to a degree, comes from the physical demands of their lifestyles. They developed their inner strength through hard physical work

And those days are gone

The majority of society does not participate in the physical labor that was once required.  However the mental toughness and the emotional inner strength that was needed to live a physically demanding lifestyle is still needed.

So how can we help our youth? How can we help build up a generation of children, who have the mental stamina and emotional inner strength to battle the harsh reality of the world?

Through kindness and acceptance.

We, the adults, must model the inner strength that we want our children to have

WE, the adults, must show the capacity that we have, to absorb the slings and arrows that the youth of today has do deal with, whether its pressures on social media, deal with anxiety and stress.

WE must show them, and model for them, that whatever they throw our way, we can take. And by accepting them, faults and all, we show them kindness

 

That kindness is the nourishing ground from which courage comes from

 

And when our students and our children find adults who model kindness, and who makes them feel accepted, that protects them from the anxiety, the fear, the depression, the constant thoughts, the emotional and mental thunderstorms that comes down on them. Whether it was self imposed or not.

Just like the cowboys of days gone past, who endured all kinds of conditions and environments, to make sure they got their jobs done. So should we, the adults, make sure that not matter what kind of storm our kids bring down upon us, we must model the inner strength to persevere and to thrive, and to rise above.

Because your kids, your students, are always watching you. And they are learning if you accept them, if you validate them, and if you have the inner strength that they are seeking for themselves.

 

They are looking for the hero within themselves, through your eyes… and the safe heaven to find themselves

A Win Is A Win – Episode 023

A Win Is A Win – Episode 023

Courage Through Kindness

How many of us have encountered a student who has been “given” so many chances, that at some point you decide in your mind and in your heart that you have done enough…

So you quit on that student.

I have encountered these students… one in particular. And as I stood at that precipice, looking down at this student because “here we are again”; where others would walk away, I did not quit.

I pressed on.

In pressing on, I showed my student that I would not give up on him, and that I cared about him.

In pressing on, I modeled for my student the perseverance that I wished he would have, to stop his self-defeating behavior.

Turns out; he had more perseverance and grit than I imagined.

He didn’t know it and others didn’t care to uncover it.

A big question today is; how do we make our kids “tougher” and develop and grow kids with “Grit” in order to survive the world?

When the REAL question we should be asking ourselves is; how can adults be less mean, less aggressive, and less crappy?

The secret to raising “tough” kids? The hidden key to raising a generation of resilient children? The cryptic code to unlocking GRIT in our kids?

Kindness

When you provide the emotional and psychological nourishment that your students needs, through kindness… Courage begins to develop within our students.

The courage to face fears, anxieties, real world problems, and themselves.

When their inner courage begins to shine through, and you see them through kind eyes, you will begin to understand who they are.

Who they are is a conglomeration of different experiences; losses and wins.

Not your wins

Theirs

Kindness is a filter, which when used, allows you to see the truth about someone.

When you apply kindness… you can see their wins

And A Win, Is A Win

JC

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Learning Is An Organic Experience – Episode 022

Learning Is An Organic Experience – Episode 022

When you travel to a new place, it always “feels” as if your voyage, your travel, takes a very long time.  Why?

Since you are traveling to a new destination, one that you have never been before, you are observing everything around you. Your senses are hightened, and because of your awareness of this new place, your brain is trying to retain as much information as possible.

Your brain is now working overtime; it is absorbing massive amounts of new information

This new information has to be reorganized in a way that makes sense to us, and this takes time

So our feeling, our PERCEPTION of time is thrown off, not because time has changed, but because of our EXPERIENCE of our new surroundings causes our brains to process new information SLOWER… which causes us to experience our newness in a SLOWER, more detailed, way.

This is why when you travel to a new destination, it feels like it is taking LONGER

This is why you remember so much about the first time you met someone of significance and importance to you

This is why accidents and traumatic events leave such vivid memories; because your sense and your brain are ACTIVELY recording and retaining as much information as possible.

 

And this is also why, the return drive or flight home seems so quick; because your brain remembers everything going back. It doesn’t spend as much time trying to observe because it has already seen, so in order to be more efficient, it ignores or allows the familiar to not be retained

This is why, people whom you see on a regular basis, you might tend to overlook.

But what does this mean for the classroom

 

It means that learning, is an organic experience.

 

It means that learning, happens.

 

It is a part of being a human being, it is part of the human experience. We are wired to learn, to observe, or retain information, to process our surroundings and to process new experiences fully.

 

So is learning truly is an organic experience; then why do so many of our students have so many problems learning? Why is it that you have to repeat yourself sometimes over and over again, or why is it that some subjects seem completley out of reach.

 

Barring medical conditions, or a diagnosis that specifically states that one of your students will have some difficulty, if the learning is not happening, it is because the conditions, the ENVIRONMENT is not condusive towards allowing the learning to happen.

 

What could affect this learning environment?

 

  • Biology: maslow hierarcy, safety, food, shelter, love
  • External forces: societal pressures (peer pressure, friends) and parental stressors.

 

As the teacher in the classroom, it is up to us to create an environemnt in which the organic learning experience HAPPENS as it should.

 

If we believe that learnign happens naturally, organically, then that means that we need to provide the appropriate conditions for this natrual even to happen.

 

In our classrooms we need to provide: Agency, Safety, Care

      • agency
        • “I will do…”
      • safety
        • “I can do…”
      • care
        • “I can and will do for myself”
          • This comes from an emotionally and psychologically supportive teacher
          • This is not BS; but rather engrained and deeply rooted in collaborating with your students.
        • And if very effective
        • “I can and will do for myself and others…”

If YOU can create this environment through KINDNESS… then your students will develop the courage to be the best version of themselves… because someone important in their lives, gave them a gift of a special and sacred place, where they could be the best version of themselves.

Courage Through Kindness

Go Off On A Tangent! – Episode 021

Go Off On A Tangent! – Episode 021

I was able to connect with my students in a way that was outside of what was norm

I was able to educate them on something that may not have been the normal topic, but it added value to their lives. They saw it as valuable, and because of that, we had a very engaging conversation where they were asking good questions, and they were learning

I was able to develop trust. And if they were trusting me in this particular area, then they would trust me in other areas, like chemistry.

What we were actually doing was having fun and playing with a concept!

It was learning, maybe not what was prescribed for that particular day, but It was learning none the less.

Learning is organic; it happens because human being are constantly learning about the world around them, and we are inquisitive creatures. Sometimes, it’s nice to go off on tangents, to follow a path that has not been traveled before in your classroom

 

Make time for these mental adventures; you will learn a lot about yourself, but also about your students.

 

  1. Keep it professional
  2. Keep it as topic related as possible
  3. Try to tie it into things they are already learning or have learned in your classroom.

 

These tangents reinvigorate your classroom. And more importantly, they allow your students to gain trust.

If they trust you on a tangent, they will trust you in your classroom.

🙂