Tag: maturity

We Are All In This Together – Episode 043

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.

Your students NEED you to be in that hole with them; they need you to bring your best. You NEED them to bring their best to your classroom.

There is no THEY; there is only US.

In life, there is no THEM; there is only WE.

What you learn in this podcast will make you feel uncomfortable; I am creating cognitive dissonance in your mind for a reason. Its time for US, all of US, to elevate our profession and serve a new kind of learning experience for our students, and for ourselves.

The ONE thing I want you to walk away from with this podcast:

We are all in this together

Reach out to your students; reach out to your fellow teachers, to those who are across the hall and across the building. Understand that WE are all tied together. And if you do wrong by a child, you do wrong by all of us.

We are all in this together


No matter where you go

What you do

Who you meet

At the end of every lesson,

Every classroom

Every experience…

Make sure you Seal It…

With A Smile


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Learning To Be Vulnerable – Episode 004

Learning To Be Vulnerable – Episode 004

This weeks episode was inspired by two different situations: the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and a podcast from the show Invisibilia  (click on the link below to listen to the podcast)

NPR: Invisibilia – The New Norm

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of people from across the country and in Houston have been responding to the needs of the people who have been heavily impacted by Harvey. From a furniture store owner who opened his store as a shelter, to a preacher who (for some) hesitated or reluctantly opened his doors to those in need. The idea of vulnerability is a sensitive topic and how we respond to those who are vulnerable can have a massive impact.

Ursa (latin for bear) is a oil rig platform 130 miles south east of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico. It was not only the deepest offshore oil well in the world (at the time of its completion) but its $1.45 billion dollar price tag was something never accomplished before. If Ursa was to be successful, the people who would live and work on the Ursa would need to learn how to confront their fears and become vulnerable. In other words; they had to deal with their feelings.

As one of the Shell leaders would discover, it would be critical to the operation of the platform that the men get in touch with their own feelings. In such a complicated and dangerous work environment, the success of the Ursa and the safety of everyone on board relied heavily on the ability of the men to communicate efficiently and effectively. Communication and awareness are a matter of life and death in a 24/7 work environment such as this. It is because of this need, that the workers would need to not allow their pride, their idea of manliness, their notion of failure or their perception of weakness to interfere with their work. The lives on the platform, and their own lives, depended on their ability to not let fear get in the way. Which lead me to think about our students, who are the most vulnerable people in our classrooms.

Do we allow our children to be vulnerable? Do we support our students in communicating their feelings, their fears, their anxieties? Do we create in our classroom an environment where our students feel safe about expressing themselves and the things that they need?

And if they do, are we responsive to their needs?

Our students face many challenges and many of them find it difficult to express needs and to be vulnerable in the classroom. The fear of becoming ostracized, made fun of, laughed at, or pegged in a particular way can have a permanent and lasting effect and can create a learning environment where learning is curved at best; completely unreachable at worst.

It is no surprise then that an article by the Harvard Business Review found that after 15 years of applying these practices, that the company accident rate declined by 84% while productivity, efficiency, and reliability increased beyond any previous company benchmark.

How much more productive could our students be in the classroom if we created an environment where we can learn to be vulnerable? How much more efficient could the natural organic learning process become if we supported in each of our classrooms an ecosystem where all of the players shared and interacted with each other in a way that allowed each participant to express who they truly are. To be themselves; their true authentic selves.

With 50 million children going through our public education system every year, how much of an impact could our classrooms have on our society if we focused on learning to be vulnerable in a safe environment… and if you, the leader, the gatekeeper, created that safe environment every day and sealed every lesson, every experience… with a smile.