Tag: Seal It With a smile

Want To Save Education? Stop Making It All About The Kids – Episode 039

Want To Save Education? Stop Making It All About The Kids – Episode 039

It took me a few years of teaching in the classroom to discover EXACTLY how to save our educational system. One day, I had an epiphany; an Ah-HA moment that changed my life.

Stop making it all about the kids.

As a parent, the best thing I can do for my children is to take care of myself and bring the best version of myself to them on a daily basis. Unconditional love and acceptance flow from a person who knows how to love themselves first.
That’s not what we bring to our classroom daily.
The classroom is filled instead with fearful adults who are afraid of their own students.
Nothing can grow properly planted in fear.
It’s time to flip education from the inside out.
It’s time for a seismic shift in our beliefs as to what is acceptable and what is possible.
Its time for our focus to shift toward the adults in the room; teachers.
Teachers are the most important person in the classroom; not the students.
It’s time to stop treating teachers as teachers. It’s time to acknowledge who they really are and what they really do.
Teachers are brain builders; they build the brains of every human being in our society. They, literally, make connections within
the minds of children, that shape and form future humans.
Teachers are neural architects; they help shape the minds that will inhabit our society.
Teachers have an ENORMOUS responsibility and charge. When successful they brain build with love in their hearts; because they have love within themselves. A successful teacher takes care of themselves and brings to the classroom the BEST version of themselves everyday.
Successful teachers are Queen Bees
Successful teachers MODEL self care, unconditional love, and acceptance.
Successful teachers are successful adults; they know they are enough
We need Queen Bees
That is my mission.
Interview with Hannah from Syllabiblog.com – Episode 038

Interview with Hannah from Syllabiblog.com – Episode 038

I had an AMAZING interview with Hannah from Syllabiblog

In addition to her full time position as a teacher who teachers future teachers on HOW to teach; she maintains her blog and a highly active Instagram Account where she posts about a modern day educators life.

This interview is a breath of fresh air, as Hannah openly discusses the personal and professional issues she dealt with as a first year teacher (trust me, its not what you think). She dives into what motivates her to lead others into our profession, and why self care is so important.

No matter where you are in your teaching career, this interview is a MUST! There are so many take aways to unpack, I highly encourage you to take a listen! Listed below are some great quotes:

“I think a big part of my job is setting an example of what I hope our future teachers should be like”

On what are some important things to tell your students…

“Tell your kids, Yeah I made a Mistake! Its fine.”

When it comes to how she started out teaching… she didn’t (at first) want to be a teacher!

“Oh God No! I didn’t want to do that at all, but that’s ok!”

On her teaching now…

“I just sit there and I think, “I get to do this everyday”. What a blessing!”


Make sure to follow her on Instagram and keep up with her posts on her website and blog!



Why school doesn’t matter – Episode 037

Why school doesn’t matter – Episode 037

Let me tell you a story about Matthew;

Matthew is what you would probably imagine as a “trouble maker”; whatever that person is in your mind, he is that kid.

Not only that, Matthew is smart. It has been my experience that for the most part, on average, most of my trouble makers are usually of high intelligence. These are kids rub many people the wrong way for a number of reasons. Most adults would rather not deal with these kids, so they get shuffled along. They are not challenged to be better; they are forced to conform. And for a highly intelligent kid like Matthew; this doesn’t make sense.  Why should I have to “pretend” to like going to school, pretend to be interested in any of these subjects, when Matthew already has a plan for the rest of his life; a plan which doesn’t involve school.  When other kids are seeing their education as a vehicle that will propel them to the life they hope to have, there are many kids like Matthew who for them, the educational system has been a burden that has been more interested in their hair style, their clothing choices, and shut the door on them when it wasn’t their fault they were late.  This is the conversation I had with Matthew which lead to this one question; why should school matter to me, when I never mattered to anyone at school?


He’s right.


School doesn’t matter to many kids. It’s not a valuable institution to them for a number of reasons. We could generalize these kids and go through the blame game; socioeconomic conditions, bad parenting, poverty, culture, drugs, gangs, cell phones, etc. We could also blame them directly; a generation of disrespect, lack of humility, lack of hard work and labor, unapologetic and spoiled rotten. But that doesn’t remedy an important point in the argument that Matthew makes; why did he not matter to anyone at school? Why did this child spend 13 years in an educational system, and not once, not ONCE, did he feel he mattered to someone?

One of the seven truths that you will learn when you take the Seal It With A Smile course is that the emotional reality of a person IS their reality. When you wake up in a good mood, that good mood lasts. When your in a bad mood, typically that bad mood will ALSO have staying power. If your in a positive feeling, you see opportunity. If you’re in a negative feeling, the walls feel like they are falling down over you. And when your a kid; you lack the cognitive functioning and maturity and experience to understand what’s going on. And when your a kid, not feeling loved or important or even thought of, has a huge impact.

If adults have a hard time dealing with their own emotions, can you imagine how our kids must feel?

OR the better question is; do you feel like they are YOUR kids?

Everyone needs love.

Everyone needs to feel loved. It is part of our development; we are wired to receive it and give it. We are wired to comprehend what that is, and we know when we are sometimes more aware of when we DON’T have it, than when we do. For that reason, Matthew is correct; why should he care when no one cared about him? That is his reality, after 13 years of being in the educational system. No one cared.

School doesn’t matter to Matthew. But he matters to me. And since we started this year, I have made it of high importance to me that he knows he matters to me. How do I do that? I listen to him. I do not judge him or his opinions or thoughts. I accept him exactly as he is. I follow all of the systems I created in the Seal It With A Smile course, and most important of all; I care enough to do this.

The other day Matthew told me he was really trying hard this year; his last year of high school. He’s felt more motivated than ever to not skip school, to not fall asleep in class, and to actually do his work.


Because he wants to join the military. He sees the benefits of serving and he sees himself being in the Marines for life. Everything about that life excites him, and his recruiter has been rallying him to sign. He’s signing up when he turns 18 in a few months.

How do I know this? Because I listened to him. And I feel honored that the kid that no one would pay attention to and felt like he didn’t matter, wants to serve and protect you and me. The kid that everyone ignored, wants to do something he’s proud of.

Matthew is right; school doesn’t matter to him.


But Matthew matters to me.

The U niverse – Episode 035

The U niverse – Episode 035

A new school year is a new beginning; teaching is one of the few professions where you not only get to start a new, but you also get better the longer you practice.

It is a calling that refines you through its process.

This weeks podcast touches on that process; the process that went into creating the moment where you meet your students, and your students meet you.

Episode 034 – Special Guest Jake Widmann (Author and Coach)

Episode 034 – Special Guest Jake Widmann (Author and Coach)

Great teachers are not JUST found in a classroom…

I am extremely excited about my interview with Jake Widmann… Author of the book (SEPT 2018) Up: Lessons of Adversity, Hitting Bottom, and Choosing A Life That Matters

Some of our main topics:

  • how he was “that kid” in our classroom… the one that drives you nuts! Jakes gives us some amazing insight into why “that kid” likes to push buttons…
  • the ifonlys and how they are actually a form of interference, or static, that gets in the way of us seeing our true selves and how we put ourselves in the difficult positions we find ourselves…
  • Jake defines self awareness in a way that is not only understandable, but extremely practical…
  • what self care means and why its so important that we, who serve others, take care of ourselves…
  • his favorite quote and how that applies to creating the teaching environment that best supports us and nurtures us!

Great teachers are not JUST found in a classroom…

Enjoy this awesome interview!


IG: sologood.co   AND    jakewidmann

FB: Jake Widmann



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.




Why I Need To Smile – Episode 017

Why I Need To Smile – Episode 017

Why I Need To Smile – Episode 017

It has occurred to me that I must explain my own personal WHY as to WHY it is important for ME to Seal It With A Smile.

Its important because this was not the norm for me growing up.

My father always carried a sullen angry face around… it was his default face. In fact, there are only a handful of times that I can remember when I saw him smile, or I heard him laugh.

And when I come home, after a day of giving all of myself to my students and my classroom, needless to say I feel completely spent. I have a tendency of expecting warm hugs and smiles greeeting me at my door, but that is not the case.

When it comes to a family; there’s usually a fire that needs to be out out, somewhere… And that fire usually occurs the second I walk into  the door… with my angry face 😠

How can I expect a positive outcome to any situation when my facial expression, the first thing that people see, is angry.

I need to Smile more… just like the rest of the world does as well.

There is another reason; we need to model appropriste behavior. We need to show our kids, our students, to be congruent;

Congruency = when your thoughts, language, and actions are in line and are in support of one another.

When you mean what you say, and say what you mean.

When you bring honor to your life; and to those whom you love.

When was the last time you learned from someone who had an angry face?

When was the last time you WANTED to learn from someone who looked mad?

Even if you need to “fake it” till you make it… Do it… because being an adult means taking your responsibilities seriously, and understanding how important it is for YOU to model the behavior you wish to see in the classroom.

If we want our students to step up to the plate, take on the challenges we place before them… we must do the same….

If we want our students to display outstanding behavior and discipline… we must do the same…

And if we want our students to have fun and smile… we must do the same… even on the days when we don’t feel like doing it…

Every day

Every interaction

Every lesson

Every student

Sealed… with your smile 😀

The Giraffes In Your Classroom – Episode 016

The Giraffes In Your Classroom – Episode 016

The Giraffes In Your Classroom – Episode 016

My wife and I were having a conservation. I’m sure your familiar with this one; the one where you both feel like you are not being heard and you both are not listening to each other.

Solution: See your other half as a Giraffe.

Do you know a giraffe? Ever own one? Spent a significant amount of time with one? Chances are the answer is no. Or not really.

Which means that, chances are, you will show a strange and unfamiliar creature more respect when you stand back in awe of its magnificence, and enjoy what it could be capable of doing. Because you are too unfamiliar with it’s potential.

Thats what you have in your classroom; beautiful magnificent Giraffes.

Giraffes that are full of potential, full of promise, and can only be seen in the environment and in the moment that you observe them in. You are not seeing their full potential. Which means imposing your “ideas” on them is counterintuitive to what we should be doing.

If your thoughts, language, and actions do not add value to your students of your classroom OR you do not gain any value… then it’s not worth doing. Period.

there is no such thing as a C student; only a C mentality and fueled by adults.

Adults are the biggest threat to childhood.


See your students as Giraffes; enjoy them, have fun, and marvel at the for the unique creatures that they are at THIS moment in time. Add value to the time you have together, show them the kindness that they need and deserve, so they have the courage, to BECOME who they are meant to me…

not who we limit them to become…

and make sure every lesson, every interaction, every relationship… is sealed with your smile 😁

(UPDATED) The Humble Thread In The Cape – Episode 015

(UPDATED) The Humble Thread In The Cape – Episode 015

(UPDATED) The Humble Thread In The Cape – Episode 015

During this week of Thanksgiving, most of us will be resting and relaxing and hopefully enjoying some time off with family, friends, our animal friends, and loved ones. During this time of reflection, we can also reflect on our lives and find humility within us. But how can we do that? How can we be humble?

Being humble comes from understanding your power; your ability to destroy, to harm, to cause injury and pain, to cause a sense of defeat and humiliation, to cause shame and embarrassment.

This quote from Haim Ginott speaks to the power we have in the classroom.

The difference between a super hero and a super villain comes down to a choice. Both are almost equal in size, strength, and power. It is the choices they make on a daily basis, how they use their unique abilities, that makes them heroic and supermodels of behavior and moral authorities.

When you understand the power you have on a daily basis to hurt and to cause pain… and you choose to do good.. then you will develop humility and the ability to be humble.

Be humble, be a servant, know your strengths; be the hero of your own story.

When you look into your students eyes, they see themselves though your eyes, and they see that so much is possible and that they are capable of so much. If they see you as the hero in your own life, they will search through your eyes, the hero within themselves.

At the end of the day, at the end of the school year, each of us leaves behind a legacy.

You will forever be their first grade, second grade, science, history, English or math teacher. You will forever be their coach or band director.  You will leave an emotional fingerprint surrounding their experience in your class and in your specific content area, forever.

So my question to you is; what is your legacy going to be? What is your story going to be because when it’s all over that’s what you will be: threads in their cape. Your lasting emotional legacy will forever be apart of the threads of their cape.

Each one of us deserves to be the hero of our own story.  Will the threads you weave into their cape them help them soar or hold them back?

The Story of 17 x 24 – Episode 014

The Story of 17 x 24 – Episode 014

Clear your mind….

I want to take you back about 60 or so years, back to the early 1950’s in rural West Texas. Take you to a warm hot day in August; dry mountain air in a small one horse town. Exactly the kind of town you would imagine when you think of a one horse town in your mind. These types of towns continue to exist, they are full of tight knit communities where people know each other not on superficial level, but because they live life together. Most of these rural agricultural towns are at the mercy of weather patterns, supply and demand from large cities which to many seem foreign and threatening. Their shared experiences, both high and low, contribute to a combined and agreed upon awareness and understanding that defines their world view.

Now imagine in our one horse town there existed a middle school, attended by the boys and girls of the town, who are all growing up together, all have the same familiar chores, and responsibilities at home. It would be entirely possible that the teachers in this particular school would be some of, if not the only, college educated people in this small community.

Many of the children in the school are attending at a cost. In the case of middle school children, they are at an age where they are mentally able to grasp responsibility and the importance of hard work. Not only that, but the cost of attending he school, will at some point be recouped by the education and knowledge that they are gaining at the school. In essence, it’s a trade off that many rural parents are hoping will pay off for them, when their children return to the farm, and continue in its operation, maybe even bringing their newly acquired knowledge in implementing it to make the farm more efficient and profitable.

And what if you found a love for numbers. What if you found a love for numbers, and calculating. What if you would help your mother in her country kitchen by making sure her measurements were accurate and were more mesmerized by the measuring cups than the texture of the batter. What if you had a secret desire, hidden in your Heart, growing with your experience, to escape your rural confines; not in an effort to run away, but towards the coziness of a university campus, where bright educated minds can finally answer questions about life and the universe that you are too afraid to ask. Not because of some fear of rejection, but because you know that your physical geography limits your access to these special intellectual people. People who you know in your heart you would get along with, and could spend hours and hours listening to, because their thoughts would be so fascinating and amazing. And so you dream of knowing these answers, dream of finding yourself in a place that’s mentally stimulating and can offer you the answers to the questions that you wish you had.

Your access to this information is due to forces out of your control, so what you end up doing is settling in your mind for the information you have access to at your school. Understanding that at some point you might be able to arrive at a university, having confidence in your abilities and in your developing skills.

And on the first day of school, as a middle schooler, you enter your Algebra class eager to learn, ready to grow, understanding that your mind will be challenged and your want to learn will be fulfilled. You sit nervously in your chair, not only because it’s the first time you will meet your teacher but your also nervously anxious about seeing your friends, about any new kids that might have shown up, which in a very small town is a very big deal. So your anxious, your nervous, your excited…. Truly eager to learn because you feel that your old enough to get to the “real” education you’ve been waiting for. No more kid stuff.. your older, your wiser, and your ready. Your ready to learn and to grow.

Your teacher, a male, walks into your classroom. He looks knowledgeable. He looks and sounds wise and serious. He lays the scope of the land, and it’s all word and no play. He’s serious about what he’s teaching and he’s serious about his methods and his discipline plan. While the other kids might be dreading this kind of teacher, secretly, it’s a comfort to you. It’s a comfort to you because maybe this is the class where the boys won’t cause any more distrCtions. Maybe this will be the class where your really going to get all of the answers. There’s a comfort in his disciplinarian attitude, which you respect.

Day one, day two, day three goes past, and while there are some distractions, your chugging along, interested, fascinated, paying attention to the lesson (even if it is Review) but your going along with it. And it’s wonderful because your more confident in your abilities, your proud of yourself for knowing what you know, and not asking for help. Day four comes and your eager to prove yourself on the quiz he announced two days prior. Desk cleared, sharpened pencil in your hand, your ready to go. Your teachers lack of empathy and disciplined affect don’t faze you so much, not because it’s not intimidating, but because life is hard; your family has taught you that well. His scowled face, which never smiles, doesn’t affect you so much, so there’s no reason for you not to smile at him when he walks up to your desk and hands you your Quiz, straight faced.

It doesn’t seem appropriate for you to smile, even though your bursting at the seams because you know you will get a 100 on this quiz. So as you hold back your smile, you also can’t, hold back your smile. You finally make eye contact with him; he pauses in front of you, his face unresponsive. Then, as he places the quiz on your desk, he says in a calm and controlled tone,

”I’m not sure why you’re trying so hard, your going to end up pregnant in a kitchen regardless”

Steady, deep, and methodical boot sounds fill the silence left behind.

“It’s a waste of time to teach a girl anything” “it’s a waste of my time to invest in any girl” “they should keep girls out of school, so we can focus on more serious items”

This story is still happening today. We are not immune to the ideas of others. That is a 2×2 situation that we are all subject to. Let me explain….

When we are children the idea of counting to 10 seems extremely difficult. But as time passes or abilities increased to the point where we can count to 100. And then at some point we can go beyond that and understand multiplication and understand the vision and at some point we can calculate 2×2. This becomes almost 2nd nature to us because we learn it so early in our development and it becomes such a common sense equation that at some point it is just a known fact about the world. We simply understand this to be true and relying on it; we can regurgitate the fact in a second. In fact there might of been a point in time where you either made fun of someone for forgetting this fact or you were the subject of someone making fun of you for not knowing this fact. Whatever the case maybe we take this as fact we absorb it and it becomes easily accessible something quick to bring up that is useful information for us. This not only happens with facts but it also happens with people and our perceptions of people and the world around us.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a best-selling book published in 2011 by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics laureate Daniel Kahneman

In the book’s first section, Kahneman describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts:

System 1: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, subconscious. Examples (in order of complexity) of things system 1 can do:
* see that an object is at a greater distance than another
* localize the source of a specific sound
* solve 2+2=?
* read a text on a billboard
* drive a car on an empty road

System 2: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious. Examples of things system 2 can do:
* point your attention towards someone at a loud party
* look out for the woman with the grey hair
* dig into your memory to recognize a sound
* determine the appropriateness of a behavior in a social setting
* give someone your phone number
* park into a tight parking space
* determine the price/quality ratio of two washing machines

The System 1 vs. System 2 debate dives into the reasoning or lack thereof for human decision making.

Overconfidence is a major issue.

Kahneman introduces the concept he labels “What You See Is All There Is” (WYSIATI). This theory states that when the mind makes decisions, it deals primarily with Known Knowns, phenomena it has already observed.

In the case of the teacher who already made up in his mind that we were not going to do anything productive with our lives with the knowledge we had of math. (*And I do want to add that this is not in anyway shape or form to say that women who choose to have that lifestyle are in any way less than other people because raising children and maintaining A positive home life is extremely important and it’s a very tough job and I praise women that make that decision. But there is a big difference between consciously making that decision and having someone else’s opinions of you dictate that decision for you or limit your thinking to believing that all you can do or all you’re capable of doing is that.)

Reasoning rarely considers Known Unknowns, phenomena that it knows to be relevant but about which it has no information. Unknown unknowns in this situation would be our interest in math, our desire to succeed. The teacher our eagerness and showed an awareness of the fact that we were putting in our efforts but he didn’t know how or where that came from. He didn’t even care to know where that drive was coming from and no information was looked for by him in order for him to figure out if this was a passion or if he was in the interest of ours doesn’t even matter to him. He was aware of this but never took the time to probe further.

Finally some people’s reasoning appears oblivious to the possibility of Unknown Unknowns; unknown phenomena of unknown relevance.
He explains that humans fail to take into account complexity and that their understanding of the world consists of a small and necessarily un-representative set of observations. Furthermore, the mind generally does not account for the role of chance and therefore falsely assumes that a future event will mirror a past event.

Teachers do this all the time. We will consistently without fail put that annoying kid in the corner because we know exactly how he’s going to act we don’t want to put up with that we don’t want to deal with it we don’t want to mess with that and that kid is going to go there. That teacher knew based on his observations that we were going to end up pregnant and in the kitchen that in our lives we were not going to be anything more than a set of expectations that

What You See Is All There Is (WYSIATI)

What we see in our students as “bad”or unwanted or undesirable is really influenced by the limitations of their parents. Children are not poor; their parents are. Children are not badly behaved; that was taught and modeled. If we are to truly make a difference in the lives of our children, we need to stop seeing them as 2 x 2… and instead start seeing them as 17 x 24

You will stop to figure out 17 x 24
You will take the time to get that right
You will focus your energy and attention to solving that problem
You will pull in external resources to solve that
You will work hard to get that right
You will own that… understand it, maybe even re read it
You will not simply ignore that equation if it comes across your path.

And you shouldn’t… because you expect that from others….. you expect your assistant primpicals, your admin, your superiors to understand you. You expect your spouses and significant others to understand you. And you expect those people whom you have a deep vested interest in to take the time to underhand you because you are worthy of that time and effort and expense. Aren’t you?

Guess who else is worthy of that… every single child in your classroom…. Every single child in your classroom…. All of them….

Every child is 17 x 24… because so are you…


BE KIND…. so your students have the space to be COURAGEOUS!

And make sure every lesson, every interaction, eveything you do, is Sealed With Your Smile! 🙂