4 Power Moves for Building Rapport

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

Stepping Off Our Stress Box

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

One Happiness Practice You Need to Try…Now

My dad is a stoic man, hardened by a blue collar upbringing. Thirty-plus years of working construction made his hands and his personality calloused and sinewy. He's prone to show joy after a few drinks and anger after minor annoyances. I've seen him cry twice. The first time, he took a baseball straight to the … Continue reading One Happiness Practice You Need to Try…Now

Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us

"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

Stop Hoarding Emotions: Become a Goodness Curator Instead

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

Grit Ladders: A Simple Strategy to Fuel Motivation

I celebrate D-minuses. I celebrate class averages that are just barely above passing. Sometimes I even celebrate a kid just turning in a paper. Not because I have low standards. D-minus is not my end goal. A group of kids barely scraping by in their education is far from my definition of satisfactory teaching. I celebrate … Continue reading Grit Ladders: A Simple Strategy to Fuel Motivation

The Cost of Our College Obsession

American education has a faith problem.  No, I’m not talking about the debates about religion and to what extent it influences schools.  I’m talking about the blind, unquestioning faith we have to the god of educational purpose: College. American education is obsessed with college as the answer to all our woes.  College will fix our … Continue reading The Cost of Our College Obsession