No one ever told me -- ever knew -- that being a teacher today might require me to kill an active shooter. To triage a suicidal student. To teach amidst a pandemic. Yet this is what we are asked to do.
Seventy high schoolers I’ve never met are either staring at me or pretending I don’t exist. I’ve come 750 miles from my home in Kalamazoo to spend a day teaching this eclectic group of freshmen and sophomores, who struggle with school. I have just 6 hours to build rapport with them, to shift their thinking, and … Continue reading 4 Power Moves for Building Rapport
There's no question that today's young adults are feeling intense levels of stress. 31% of all teens report feeling overwhelmed, depressed or sad as a result of stress 36% of teens report fatigue or feeling tired 23% report skipping a meal due to stress 2x as many students report their stress is getting worse compared … Continue reading Stepping Off Our Stress Box
It's hard not to feel like our society needs more empathy – more shared connection rather than polarized disconnection. What if we approached teaching empathy the way we teach literacy?
"My friend told me I should talk to you. I'm really struggling and I didn't know who else to talk to..." Frequently, students come to my room, starting conversations like this. Some of them I have in class. Some I've never met. I work with them after school or during their lunch, listening to their … Continue reading Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us
My wife once pulled a human tooth from her pocket. For a split-second, I thought she was a serial killer who finally let her evidence slip (I watch too much t.v., I know). Then I remembered that: a.) she was a 2nd grade teacher and b.) she often helps students pull their loose teeth.While she felt … Continue reading Stop Hoarding Emotions: Become a Goodness Curator Instead
If you work with teenagers (or parent one) you've probably heard of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why, a series based on Jay Asher's book of the same title. It's that show everyone seems to be talking about. The gist, if you haven't seen the series or read the book, is this: A teenager, Hannah Baker, takes … Continue reading Essential Questions for 13 Reasons Why
I love 5% of the “reply all” emails I get at school. Wait . . . I hate 100% of the “reply all” emails I get at school. I only love the 5% of reply alls that get hijacked by my smart ass colleagues who turn them into jokes. Take the day we got notice … Continue reading The 9 Types of People Ruining Your School Email
You haven't felt emotion until you have seen a parent cry. Some of you are going to a dark place in your mind, thinking about that condescending jerk from conferences, crying in shame. Although that would definitely engage emotion, that's not the kind of crying I'm referencing. I'm talking about tears of pride and connection … Continue reading 6 Ways to Grow Gratitude
A second grader made me cringe the other day. I visited my wife's class and a girl was showing the class her pictures from a recent soccer tournament. Someone asked how her team did. Her response? “We got second place. BUT, we actually should have gotten first because the other team cheated and the refs … Continue reading Stop the Blame Game: Teaching Students to Take Ownership