Take TWO Minutes

June 25th, 2019

Eric Jensen writes, “Some of the smartest things teachers can do are the simplest.” In a culture where we tend to over complicate, this is a fabulous reminder.

When I am working with teachers, staff, and administrators the statement I hear over and over again is, “there is not enough time.” And I get it!  Planning, learning standards, constant additions of a new curriculum, new apps, new resources, preparing students for testing and all while managing the diversity of students and balancing demands of personal and professional life. There is a lot going on. 

So I understand when I am introducing the benefits of breath, movement, and mindfulness that the first response is often, “and how am I going to fit that into my day?” And my answer is, “taking 2 to 5 minutes at the beginning of any lesson plan to breathe and move, prepares students for learning, increases student focus, and decreases behavior challenges that arise during teaching time.”

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Emotional Intelligence: Practicing the Art of Compassion

May 16th, 2019

“Let our hearts be stretched out in compassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

It is not always easy to love, to forgive, and to find compassion for our families and loved ones.  And it is even harder to love, to forgive, and to find compassion for our enemies.

Our enemies, it seems a harsh word. The dictionary defines an enemy as someone who is actively opposed or hostile towards us, someone we have verified as adverse or threatening, a challenger, a competitor, a rival, or our nemesis.  How often have you used these words to describe a friend with whom you had a falling out, an ex-partner or spouse, a family member you are no longer speaking to, a colleague who you avoid in the hallway, or who beat you to a promotion?  We often make these individuals our enemies. We spin scenarios in our brains of what we would like to say to them; if they would just apologize or understand why what they did was wrong, then we could get along again.  We avoid, we spin, we stay angry, we blame, we play the victim – and in all of these cases we fail to grow, we get into a rut, we hold onto an anchor that keeps us rooted in one place, we waste time, and we create internal pain and darkness.

Can We LEARN Compassion?

Yes. We can integrate practices into our lives that cultivate love, forgiveness, and compassion and teach us to be more aware of delivering these qualities under challenging situations.

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Facing Change. Be the Change.

April 30th, 2019

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”

Charles Darwin

When I am in the rooms leading workshops the first question I ask is, “What are your current most pressing challenges?” And almost every participant will point to the rapidly changing environment in our schools and classrooms and the resulting feeling of overwhelm and ineffectiveness.

Our classrooms have changed. Our students have changed.  We recognize the need to focus on wellness and mental health. We understand the importance of social-emotional learning and cultivating emotional intelligence in our students.  We have an ever-increasing awareness of the effects of trauma and poverty on learning.  We learn new technologies and innovations to deliver into our schools and classrooms.

How Are We Doing It Differently?

However, a piece I believe is underemphasized and under-implemented is cultivating, in our teachers and school leadership, the personal and cultural-wide tools needed to manage this exponential tide of change best.   We can bring to the table a myriad of strategies, tools, lesson plans, and policies – but if we are not providing our teachers, staff and school leaders with support tools and a culture that embraces change, implementation falls flat.

How can we empower educators to embrace change and to feel confident in the face of today’s current challenges?  

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