Ann Hlabangana-Clay is an instructional coach for in a K-7 school in Williamston, Delaware. After 26 years of consulting, teaching, presenting, tutoring and coaching PreK through 12th graders & adults across the U.S. and around the world, she still absolutely loves what she does! Ann has taught and led in Pennsylvania and Delaware, in public and private schools, in high need/high risk areas as well as gifted and talented students. In addition, she has taught in a TAM setting, a SAM setting, and taught a pre-college English course at a local community college. The legacy she leaves as an educational consultant and podcast host, is building capacity and resiliency within, one client and one podcast listener at a time. previously taught K-6th. She is the podcast host of Coaching You Through All Things Education.
Tell me about a time you came out of the trenches: Not that many years, ago people in education weren’t focused on the whole child. People were very focused on data & testing: student achievement. Not addressing SEL, physical nature students have when approaching an assessment. She’s tried to advocate for students who need a voice, give them an opportunity to show their strengths, even now for older students. What she got out of it was that this was important & valuable. A number of students and families were grateful for the advocacy for them, now SEL is popular. Would go back to college. She did a lot of different extra curricular, art and psychology. Ann needed to balance, not get overwhelmed. People were against what she was trying to bring to the table in terms of SEL and growth of the whole child. She thinks it was so easy to calculate test data but not emotional growth. Test scores are better funded. Pandemic has helped us to reevaluate approach to and prep of students for testing, taking into account anxiety.
You rebranded your firm in Feb. 2020, tell me what that entailed? It was different type of consulting, it was more about Tier 1 instruction, very evaluative. Not as much as for educators who were struggling. It was for people who were doing well, wanted to do better. Tier 1-Tier 2 instruction. The mindset was “this is how it should be every day”. Focus wasn’t “let’s prepare for a specific evaluation”. Now during the pandemic, people are dealing with more than classroom management. “I don’t know what I’m doing is coming out a lot”. A lot of people were swinging by the seat of their pants. People felt like they were running out of ideas of how to engage students. Other piece of helping teachers was social-emo learning. Biggest rebranding was that people need information, articles, know what to do. She reached out to creators people who create webinars, like Teacher Pay Teachers. She has a webinar platform, you pay for the link. She works with districts to bring out of the box. They need help with tech tools. Whole child education. Districts want to learn to infuse SEL into each content area. Private schools have more autonomy, more time is infused into their PD. Affluent districts tend to use resources and built SEL opportunities into the schedule.
What’s one thing in particular that districts you serve need? SEL both student and adult SEL. How to utilize social media for educators effectively, and how to contact parents effectively. Particularly in Delaware it’s policy in the state, trickle down effects. We in education don’t do collaborating enough. We’ve been too competitive, in terms of who’s doing something awesome. It’s a work in progress.
Tell me about your podcast+ what is your specific theme, what type of guests do you have on? Started in Aug, was another offshoot of rebranding. It’s a broad title, ending last of edupreneur series. Next series is mental health & wellness. The healing has to happen. She’d like to have students on eventually. She will have on guests about anti- racism, how all this impacts our mental health. The podcasting world is perfect for “PD at your fingertips”; you can do a multitude of activities while listening. Listeners want to learn something, growth mindset, out of the box thinking. The podcast can be downloaded at Anchor, iHeart Radio, Apple, Spotify. The Pod.link is a great way to get to the podcast and choose which app to get that from.
Personal experience story working in both private & public school settings: Ann started out working in private school, then went to and urban public setting. Her daughter needed a smaller setting. She put her in private school so she taught there 9 years. Then came back into urban public school setting made choice because she’d learned so much. Her point is she’s had the top of the line and children who struggle the most. Message she wants to get across is that she is still in touch with some of the students because of the relationship she built with kids. She wanted to bring back what she’d learned. Out-of-box ways to create same lesson. How do we create engagement for students? Bottom line is, everyone should get the same. It’s not the material, it’s what’s your infusing. Educators are facilitators, it doesn’t matter where you go. If standards are the same, how am I going to convey it so my students will be thinkers and not just doers. It’s about relationships we built, former students know we’re invested in them.
Key quotes: “Think outside the box, whatever that is for you”. The status quo is the status quo. “What can you do personally, professionally, etc. that will be different?” Think of students who have invented, dream of things that don’t currently exist. We’ve never been here before (in a pandemic), yet we’re learning how to thrive and build resiliency through all this.
Find Ann online via her Website: https://www.acunlimited.org/ email her: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Ann on Twitter: @ https://twitter.com/AnnHC_Champ4All LinkedIn: @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlabanganaclay/
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Xh4VSGNcfR0