Af-fect (verb)

  • have an effect on; make a difference to
  • touch the feelings of someone; move emotionally

AffectiveLiving is an outlet for my life’s thesis:

Use scientific research and education to positively affect individuals’ perspectives, passions, and perseverance.

My work is rooted in the importance of social emotional learning, empathy, and human thriving.  Throughout my decade of experience as a high school teacher, educational trainer, writer, and speaker, I’ve always been committed to creating authentic dialogue, stirring thoughts, and providing a liaison between psychological research and teaching.

If you want to know more about my background and work, check out the Speaking & Workshops page.  If you want to connect, visit the Contact Chase page.  Or, if you just want to grab a beer or a coffee and talk life, learning, and thriving, look me up the next time you’re near Kalamazoo (yep, it’s a real place).


Chase Mielke


100 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Mr. Mielke,
    I am an ECED educator and an instructor at Kent State University and the University of Akron. I teach a broad range of course, ranging from Child and Adolescent Development to Resource Management for Individuals and Families.

    I left public education when my daughter was born…it was supposed to be temporary. But, much to my surprise, Northeast Ohio is not interested in re-hiring an experienced classroom teacher with their Master’s degree. I’m an undesirable in the field that I spent nine years of college training in and 9 years teaching for. I’m not bitter.

    Actually, the past six years I spent six years working several part time jobs in the teaching field and I’ve watched the realm of teaching young children change so drastically, that I decided I wasn’t meant to stay there…I was to go back to college and teach those that WILL be teaching the future young children of our country.

    As I write this, I’m creating final exams for more than 100 nineteen, twenty, and twenty-one year olds studying Child Development and Education. I do not take this responsibility lightly. After reading your blog writing “What Students Really Need to Hear”, I’ve decided to take it to heart. It’s not hard to do so, your words ring so true in my ears!

    I’d like to share your writing with my students. I’d like to share your writing with my fellow colleagues. I’d like to share your letter in general. With your permission, I’d like to photo copy it and distribute it with your name and website of course for representation. May I please do so?

    Thank you very much,
    Angela J. Kovach

    FCS University of Akron
    HDFS Kent State University

    1. I am inspired by your own story. I think there is no greater cause than teaching future teachers, who will work to change thousands of lives.

      I am honored that the words ring true for you. I would be even more honored by your sharing this document with anyone who could use it. Thank you 🙂

      1. This is so very powerful! Thank you for putting into words what keeps me up at night. I call ‘them’ the ‘3:33’s’ – at 3:33 am every morning, I am jolted out of a deep restful sleep with a stream of racing thoughts, many similar to the ones you mention. The positive of this, is that it shows we still care, no matter what. Thank you for your powerful words and for letting us share this with like-minded souls.


      2. Chase, get out of my head! I say the same things to my Principles of Accounting students everyday and it gets bewildering sometimes that they don’t seem to care about learning “life” skills to help overcome the challenges they will face in the near future. I would like to copy and distribute to my students as well.

      3. I work at Ohio State with students in a diversity scholarship program. Your words are inspiring and I would like to share them with my students. Do you travel to speak to different groups of students? Thanks!
        Toni Ramirez
        Office of Diversity and Inclusion
        The Ohio State University

      4. I’m happy to hear you found relevance in these words 🙂 I actually do travel to connect with students and teachers — anything from keynotes to breakouts to casual class visits. Email me if you’d like to talk more 🙂

    2. Thank-you for sharing this and allowing others to share .I second Angela on asking you if I may share as I was moved to tears by your writing, so thank-you. This is exactly what all of our kids need to hear. I am a 3rd generation public education teacher who has been teaching for almost 27 years.

  2. I am a retired teacher and it probably wasn’t until my last year in the classroom that I told my students the truth. I love this. It too rings true for me and I will share it with others. Thank you.

  3. Hello Mr. Mielke,
    Thank you for this post. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. My oldest son is in college and need to read this badly. He has always been one that have low self-esteem and always doubted his abilities. The sad part is, he’s a brilliant kid – always the deep thinker. I hope he reads this and use it every time he feels like quitting. Thank you.

  4. Hi Mr. Mielke:
    Very impressive piece of literature on Motivation for our youth! Mind blowing, indeed! Well thought and well presented! Eloquent! I am not a teacher but many times I go to schools and try to inspire our youth, the leaders of tomorrow. Now I have something to follow, of course with your permission. Hats off to you! You are the Dale Carnegie of today. With warmest regards,

  5. Mr. Mielke,

    I am a registered nurse that teaches advanced nursing to high school seniors in the genesee county area. I hope that it would be ok for me to print this off and share with my students. I am forever telling them that I will do everything in my power to help them succeed but I do not think they believe me. I tell them that I will give them 110% but they must contribute to their future as well. Thank for sharing such beautiful and inspirational thoughts! May God bless you in all of your endeavors!

    Amy L. Corcoran, RN

  6. I am a currently a college student-stressed but not yet depressed-and I found this piece to be extremely motivating. Thank you for reminding me of the Truth.
    This inspires me to keep working hard and striving for progress.

  7. Your post about “What Students Really Need to Hear” took everything I have been struggling to convey to my students and summed it up perfectly: resilience. Your words are inspiring and rejuvenating. Thank you for reminding me of why I am in this business of molding minds and making a difference. May I share your blog with my students…with your credit of course?

      1. I agree with Krista! You wrote all that I feel and think and would love to share with my students, giving you credit, of course…hoping that one day they will truly understand why we are really teachers….for them!!

  8. Dear Mr. Mielke,
    I am an adjunct professor at several colleges and would very much like to give your article to my students (with credit to you, of course). May I have your permission to do so?
    Thank you very much,
    Barry Chametzky, Ph.D.
    @BarryCh209 (Twitter)

    1. Dear Mr. Mielke – I just finished reading this inspiring and emotional letter to your students – wow! Is all I can say at this time 🙂 it really hit home with me and made a lot of sense. Im a nursing clinical teaching for different schools and after reading this letter, Im definitely changing my approach to how I teach my students – yes, we need more teachers like you and all of us who have posted, to care and show our students – future adults – how to care not only for themselves but for others as well. Thank you!

      Brenda Lynch, RN, BScN
      Clinical educator/instructor

  9. I used this with my 8th graders today and it led to a very powerful discussion. I learned a lot about how they view teachers and school. Your words are so true. Thank you for sharing and for allowing them to be shared again with students. You made a difference to some 8th Graders in Central California today 🙂

  10. We, too, are bringing your words to our Advocacy classes. Your honest & direct tone is particularly relevant to our school, which was created as an alternative to the traditional high school settings in this area – our kids crave the real talk & genuine care that will keep them coming back for all of the life lessons we offer.

    It is refreshing and hopeful to hear other teachers promoting this tough yet loving outlook during a time of mindboggling and ultimately disheartening focus on numbers instead of human lives.

    Thank you.

    (If ever you find yourself in/near Camas, Washington, please stop by Hayes Freedom HS!)


  11. I had a rather trying day today with one of my favorite, yet most challenging students. I came home and stumbled upon your “What Students Really Need to Hear” post and I just have to say, it made my day. You have completely encompassed the worry and ache that my heart has felt today. Thank you.

  12. After teaching Special Education in the public schools for over 22 years, I had to retire following an injury. I am now starting to work independently as a consultant. Your words are true. So many of our students, especially those with learning differences, give up on themselves. The schools fail these teens — I’d get an 8th grader who reads at 1st grade level and the building’s lowest library book would be at 4th grade. The message? These kids didn’t count. They would work hard all year long with me to identify when they got stuck, and then be brave enough to ask for help. Their reward? Take 8th grade level tests with NO help, just because they were in 8th grade. Our systems need to change.
    I would like your permission to share your article with fellow educators, parents, advocates, and consultants in my area. Thank you.

    1. @ Gail. I am not so sure it is a specific school building or a districts failure but rather the entire system of centralized at the state level education fails these kids.

      My dyslexic husband who qualified and received special education services all the way through HS graduation in 1986 as an adult (today) reads on a 4th to 5th grade reading level. Our middle son who was born in 2002, and was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2010, does not qualify for an IEP or any special education services.

      Our son was finally given very minimal interventions (tier 1 mostly) and only when I complained and clamored for them did he get tier 2 interventions in 3rd and part of 4th grade. Despite having 2 years of pre-school, tons of reading and support at home, Sylvan, Orton-Gillingham tutors, Kumon, paid for by his parents every year starting in 1st grade (I literally spent thousands a year he was still lagging behind peers, like almost a year behind!) I was told ‘dyslexia’ is NOT a learning disability and that State of MI would only qualify him for special education services once he was almost 2 years behind grade level. Other credible but ALARMING statistics told me that once he reached that point where he was 2 years behind grade level that he may never catch up! So let me get this straight… I’m supposed to let my son fall so far behind that he may never catch up to get the services he needs? Hmmmm okayyyyy!

      I’m not an educator (trained or by profession) but I am a parent and I know a heck of a lot about motivation, dragging your kid any place they can and will get help, paying for it with my own $, being an educator of my own kid, learning about my own child and how they learn and doing everything in my power to help them learn or get them help. I know a lot about teaching my child to learn to help himself. I know a lot about keeping him pumped up enough so he never got so low to feel like all his hard work to get mediocre grades is not worth it and it would be easier to give up, easier on his ego if he DID NOT TRY but failed (rather than trying exponentially harder than many peers but still failing). I know all about heart break of studying so hard until his brain might explode and getting a D plus. But I also know that every single teacher – despite the STATE and system’s failure to classify him correctly and let them help him more, that every single teacher has worked their tail off to reach him and give him re-dos to ensure he is learning. Then averaging the lower initial grade earned with the higher redo grade so he earns mostly B’s and C’s. With very little exception (his 3rd grade year comes to mind what a monster, soul crusher she was!) a teacher has never failed him, I have never failed him. So who has failed him? The ‘system’ has failed him. The failure to let local schools have more freedom and get students the services they need and the FAILURE TO FUND these services at the state level has utterly failed him. This is why state of Michigan has Educations Week’s ‘9th worse K to 12 public education’ ranking in the US.

      6 years of this and I am exhausted already. 7 more to go. I want to give up – can I hardly blame my son if he wants to give up. A little help would be nice. The school has done the best they can so far with the limited respources alloted to them from Lansing and heck they figure I am made of money and they know I am going to move mountians to support my kid so their resources are better spent on kids just as learing differnet or disadvantaged than my son- but WITHOUT the extra support. I get it. Can’t say I agree with it but I get it. They are not in control Lansing is and Lansing is starving them. So what do you do when faced with limited resources, give the limited you do have to only worse off kids until the resources are gone. That is where many of these kids you see in 8th grade are being failed.

      Thinking about middle school for fall of 2014 gives me fits of panic at times….. Will he get the attention, the teaching and the people who care about him like he did in elementary? Will he get the flexibility and the understanding of what he needs despite any FORMAL IEP or 504 plan? (yes he qualifies for a 504 plan but we were denied one because he does not door poorly enough in school -again because of his great teachers being flexible, his and his parents extra efforts). If he does not get a formal plan what happens when he taking the ACT or SAT and he needs 10 times longer to read something before he comprehends it? Congratulations Michigan….. our son is destined for community college despite his, his parents and his elementary teachers super human efforts. Even though he has above average IQ because we can not get an FORMAL IEP or 504 plan which would get him accommodations in Middle and High School and then give him accommodation for taking the ACT etc.

  13. Chase…Your “What Students Really Need to Hear” is so incredibly point-on! Thank you for stating so profoundly what it is to be a genuine teacher. I have always loved my kids, and I have always put them first and foremost. Many times I felt I was alone…the “Odd duck” as many of my colleagues placed curriculum above all. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone.
    Jim McGuigan

  14. You have infiltrated my lesson plan for tomorrow… thank you for your words! I will be asking my students to respond with a open letter to teachers.

  15. Thank you for being part of the charging cavalry for education. Your eloquent words (especially in your post “What Students Really Need to Hear”) are the sword and shield that educators and students need for success.

  16. Chase, I’m posting this in my room and around my room. It’s late in the year when some kids are giving up and as teachers, sometimes we begin to give up on them too… This letter hit me at the right time. I’m pushing through… Picking up my pencil…etc. and getting the job done!
    I’ve added a small challenge at the bottom of your note to the students asking them to sign their names as an accountability piece. I’m hoping I’ll get many names on the sheet from your inspiring positive words of wisdom! Glad there are people like you in this field of inspiring youth!!

  17. Your “What Students Really Need to Hear” is getting lots of circulation through social media, and deservedly so. It’s a clean, refreshing message that is very timely and timeless. As this is read by many and growing in readership, I am writing to bring your attention to the missing word “I” in the last sentence of the fourth paragraph. By all means delete this comment; I couldn’t find a personal email to send this to.

  18. Hello Chase,

    I teach high school English and would love to share your thoughts with students who have not yet made the U-turn they need to make in order to pass my class or finish well. May I please share your message with them? I would like to post it for them to read and respond to on our Edmodo class page. Or I could make copies to distribute, whichever you prefer. Either way, I believe my students will profit from your wake-up call.

    Dalene Parker

  19. Your words rang true to me even as a med student. It’s easy to complain, and reframing each day as an opportunity for character development is both helpful and necessary. I’m also interested to hear more on your Positive Psychology program– I think that would be so helpful at all stages of education. Is there any way I can learn more? Thanks for your wonderful post!

      1. I would also love to access your Positive Psychology resources. Where might I find your email address?

  20. As a current 10th grader, all of these posts involving us, students in the classroom really spoke to me about my teachers and myself within my classes. Thank you.

  21. Stumbled on your post (a FB share) What students really need to hear. Loved it! It made me feel less silly about the fact that I frequently tell my gr10 and 11s that we, the teachers, and even their “crazy” parents care about them and want what’s best for them. I would love to share this with my students!

  22. Mr. Mielke, I am a high school senior. These words were exactly what I needed to hear, especially today of all days. Self-pity and laziness are so easy to fall into when nearing the end of high school, and I won’t lie: I’ve definitely had my fair share of senioritis. Your words just made me want to conquer the world. Thank you. This was amazing and if you’ll allow it, I would love to share this with my teachers.

    1. I’m so glad that these words had meaning to you at the right time. Isn’t senioritis addicting!? I’d be happy for you to share it with your teachers. Best of luck in finishing the school year and I hope you cue up your passions in life beyond the #2 pencils 🙂

  23. I am a Journalism professor at Central Michigan University. All my Basic Photography students and my Introduction to Journalism students will get a copy of your blog entry.
    Thank you for putting it so eloquently. I started a blog entry a few days ago and will continue to write it.
    The more we express our thoughts and ideas, the sooner we realize how valuable it is to do so.
    The time to speak from our hearts is now!
    Thank you for stepping up to the plate.

  24. Not only does your article ring so true for teachers to their students, but it is also so applicable to the parent/child relationship. As a mom, I simply loved reading it. So now I just have to move to Michigan so my son can have you as a teacher!

  25. Hello ! Thank you for writing and giving a voice to what so many teachers struggle to say to “our kids.” May I share with my students and my fellow social studies teachers in Fort Collins, Colorado?

  26. Chase,

    My colleagues and I really love your post, “What Students Really Need to Hear.” I’d like to use it in my classroom next week and have the kids do a Socratic seminar discussion with it. Do you mind if I use it or an excerpt from it? I promise to give credit to you and your blog. 🙂


  27. I am a high school English teacher and would love to give a copy of this to my students! Maybe this will be a wake up call to them.

  28. They are not “my” kids. They are their parents’ kids. And those lessons need to be emphasized at home far more than in the few hours per day they are in our classrooms.

  29. Hey, I’m current a commerce university student working on a website to inspire & motivate students as well as include key topics in the real world related to business. I read some great stories here, and wanted to ask if i could share those on my site, and link them back to yours?

  30. Chase, 47 years ago, I had a teacher like you. He wasn’t the only good teacher, of course. But he was certainly one of the few great ones. I still count myself fortunate, and proud, to have known him, if only for that year.
    I guess, a while back, you encountered a great teacher or two, too.
    Lucky us!

    And… very lucky: your students!
    You rock! Keep chipping away at it all. I know you’re making an incredible difference.

  31. Hello Chase,

    I’m am a middle school teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Thank you for your words. At the end of the day it is comforting to read the thoughts of someone who also feels the conflicting emotions that arise when teaching young students. May I share/post some of your thoughts with my own students and colleagues? These would be hard copies rather than an electronic post. I like to kick it old school.

  32. The school system in Australia is a joke. We need more specialised Gymnasiums based on the old German model, and more discipline – Also more expulsions. Constructivism, based on the writings of the tediously pedantic Paulo Freire are at best pedagogical magic talk, and at worst (and in reality) dumbing down students.

    Here is some sound advice from Stanley Hauerwas:

    “As a way to challenge such a [liberal] view of freedom, I start my classes by telling my students that I do not teach in a manner that is meant to help them make up their own minds. Instead, I tell them that I do not believe they have minds worth making up until they have been trained by me. I realize such a statement is deeply offensive to students since it exhibits a complete lack of pedagogic sensitivities. Yet I cannot imagine any teacher who is serious who would allow students to make up their own minds.”

  33. Hi I was wondering if I could ask you questions about being a teacher? I’m beginning to think about future careers and am interested in elementary teaching.

  34. 29 years in, and I am still passionate about teaching! I have seen it all, and every year, it seems to get worse in terms of student and parental interest in their education. Day after day, I remind my students how fortunate they are to be here, getting the education they receive. I tell them it’s ok to struggle, but not ok not to at least make an effort! Love your message!!!! Our kids need to hear it! Thank you!

  35. Chase,
    I, like so many others, find your post insightful and well-put. I would like your permission to print it and copy it to share with my students. They are seventh graders who will benefit from your message. I used to teach high school, so can relate to your worries about your students’ futures. There is still time to get your act together when you’re twelve!
    Thank you.

  36. Hi Chase,

    I am an academic advisor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. I’d love to share your posts with my students and other staff in my office. I couldn’t have said better than your “WHAT STUDENTS REALLY NEED TO HEAR” and in my opinion it rings true for higher education students as well!

    Please let me know if I have your permission!

    Bernard Ryu

  37. Mr. Mielke,
    I love the posts! I am an instructor at Washington State University teaching pre-service teachers. I would like to have permission to share your insightful posts to my students and fellow faculty. What you say is so true.

    Jim Johnson

  38. Hello!

    I”m studying to be a language arts teacher, and I must say that you’re an inspiration. You’re so incredibly dedicated to your students, and it shows in your passionate posts. Thank you, sir.

    Jay S.

  39. Thank you for this wonderful piece of writing. I am asking permission to reblog this on my blog, I am going to make my two high school teens read this. It’s so true and perfectly written!

  40. I am a middle school social worker and my principal sent this to me via email. Wow it was powerful, and it is what I try to share with the students everyday. I too would like to read this to my girls group and share with students who feel like giving up. So awesome what you do thanks!

  41. I have posted this discussion on my face book site (Bob :Hubba Jubba” Moss). Education endeavors at all levels will begin to reclaim accolades of the past as soon as school administrators finally realize the need to add life style training, overcoming adversity strategy. If you view this post in time, I invite you to tune in on my brief presentation tomorrow (May 6, 2014) on “Steps Towards Greater Enthusiasm,” on studio E at 10:30am EST.

  42. Reading “What Students Really Need To Hear” in our AP English Language class to learn about logos, ethos, and pathos. Great article! I absolutely love the writing style and I think a broader range of students should read this and be motivated not to quit… it would be very applicable to their lives 🙂 Overall I agree with the article and if basically explains what I believe in as well!

  43. I absolutely love your “What Students Need to Hear” post. When I am having a tough time with a student I take a look at at (or your other posts like “Kill-Joy”) and it brings me back to what is important.

    My question for you (and other experienced heart-on-my-sleeve teachers out there) is: how do you cope with the mean, judgement-filled replies from students when you try to enlighten them about what we are trying to do and how much we work we put in to do it? While I am good at taking well-structured feedback from my students and incorporating it into my classroom (i.e. “I learn better with hands-on stuff. Can we do more labs?”), I have a very hard time separating my emotions when those comments are not necessarily pointed toward improvement for me or them (i.e. “this class is boring”). As much as I can I try to delve deeper into what is going on with the students who have these comments in order to shed some light on what they really mean, but sometimes those conversations never take place. There are also the times when there is absolutely no way to take away something constructive from the comment as it was intentionally blurted out to be hurtful because for whatever reason they are unhappy with you.

    I have only been teaching for three years and have a lot of growing to do both as a person and as an educator, but do you have any advice on how to: 1) not let these kinds of comments from students entirely question my abilities and future as a teacher, and 2) take away something meaningful from each of these interactions? I know that this is just the nature of working with people and that I really may not be cut out for teaching if I can’t remove my emotions from these kinds of interactions, but I was hoping some advice would help me become a better, stronger teacher and person.

    1. So sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner! Just getting caught up on emails after running a training in Nashville. I would be honored to have the post re-printed 🙂

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