The Out of the Trenches
Episode 10: Phyllis Fagell
Phyllis Fagell has worked in both public and private schools with students in grades K-12. She currently works full time as the school counselor for Sheridan School in Washington, D.C. and provides therapy to children, teens and adults in private practice.
Phyllis is the author of “Middle School Matters” and a journalist. She’s a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, focusing on counseling, parenting and education, writes the Career Confidential weekly advice column for PDK, Intl. for educators, and “The Meaningful Middle” column for AMLE (Association of Middle Level Educators). She also has written for Psychology Today, Working Mother, Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Your Teen, and her ideas have been shared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune, among many other outlets.
Key quotes from the episode: “The more you expose yourself to fears the more capable you are at assuming those risks.” “We’re all in this to turn out good people. We have to be authentic, be ourselves, we have to own what we’re good at and can contribute to”.
Episode 11: Diana Graber
Diana Graber is a digital literacy educator, advocate and author of Raising Humans in a Digital World, a tool for educators and parents in helping kids build healthy relationships with technology. Her Cyber Civics program has been adopted by schools in 40 U.S. states and many other countries. Founder of the CyberWise website, which is a huge resource for parents on digital literacy. She lives in Southern California.
She’s been teaching Cyber Civics almost 10 years in 6th + 7th grade. The final level of the program is media literacy and analyzing digital media (for 8th-9th graders). Her curriculum was designed to be taught online. It contains activities parents could do with students at home.
Key quotes: “We want to be humans in a digital world, empathy, kindness are developed offline.” “We need to give kids time to develop skills online and offline.”
You can find Diana online at www.dianagraber.com Her curriculum can be found at: www.cybercivics.com Her website with resources for parents is found at : www.cyberwise.org Watch this episode on Youtube at https://youtu.be/vyko5lLCDZE
Episode 12: Jessica Holloway
Jessica Holloway is an instructional coach, ASCD 2019 Emerging Leader and STEM policy/leadership fellow for her local Chattanooga Public Education Association. She and her family live in the Chattanooga area.
What got you involved with ASCD? She wanted to be involved, but it’s been an unusual experience without conferences due to COVID-19. Her cohort didn’t get the full Emerging Leader experience with in-person conferences.
What led you to become an instructional coach? She taught 8 years as middle school Language Arts teacher. Her first role having a coach was while in a teaching role. That coach taught 1 class and was her collaborate partner. It is powerful having a coach, you get immediate feedback. She loves to learn, and learns alongside her teachers. She loves the power of collaboration, growing within your school building. The seed was planted for her. She wanted to move into the role in order to help teachers. She’s been an instructional coach role for 7 years in the same school. The school transformed from a traditional to a STEM school (spring 2020). Jessica is a professional development seeker, she wanted to grow, learn and have growth conversations with colleagues. Her husband was in army, so she’s taught in different districts, some were at high military enrollment school. Active deployment- she was teaching students whose parents were deployed and learned a lot about compassion. She had students who lost parents. She has learned a lot about compassionate conversations. She learned to be a partner with parents. High performing teachers need someone to help them move forward as well as the lower performing teachers.
One day she decided to join a Twitter chat, after lurking on Twitter for a while. She connected with more and more people. It broadened her realm of building educational resources.
Jessica stresses the importance of building relationships. With new teachers, she’s started saying “Tell me about your day” instead of “how are you doing?”. That way they will be willing to share struggles. Take off the mask. We’ve all been there. Just tap into resources, can have those conversations and find it’s normal to have a bad day. It’s OK to “fail forward”. If you never take a risk, there’s no reward in the growth. Relationships with people will keep you grounded. Things we can learn about education in general during COVID-19 can be best practices that we can carry forward. We find out things that work.
The thing that ties all her experiences together is relationships.
Key Quotes: “Work smarter, not harder.” “Value the importance of learning to connect, then connect to learn.” “Every interaction is an opportunity to build a meaningful relationship.” “Every relationship you have is an opportunity to grow and learn alongside someone else.” “Go out and find the ones who will rekindle your joy in education.”
View this episode on YouTube at https://youtu.be/lE8NX6WpHbs
Follow Jessica on Twitter @holloywayreader
Episode #13: Nicole Biscotti
Nicole Biscotti is an educator who believes that everyone should have access to a quality education that connects them with their purpose. She seeks to bridge understanding, spark conversations, and inspire through her writing. Nicole is an upcoming #EduMatch Author and CoFounder of @the_edu_table She leads global Twitter chats- #ADHDGlobalConvo #ADHD. She and her family live in Yuma, AZ. She is currently a Spanish Teacher in a public high school. She is also a certified Translator & Interpreter.
Tell me about a time when you were in the trenches and managed to crawl out: She was a terrible student, came from a broken home. Didn’t become a teacher until age 38. Always had a love of education. Similar issues to students she works with today. Not a linear path to education. Was interpreter since 1998. Nicole really believes in education. It connects people with their purpose. Kids with ADHD has many barriers to education. Now with race we’re learning that there’s a lot to dismantle and learn. Distance learning was a challenge. Everything going on has reconnected her to her “why”. Her “why” was she felt education was important. She felt teaching was worthwhile. She was all in for this. After all this, it came full-circle. Her “why” is to connect people with their purpose.
Her niche has been teaching heritage learners “kitchen Spanish”. They don’t learn higher level vocab at home. She’s Puerto Rican- kids in AZ are Mexican. She offers the kids her own NY/PR perspective. With heritage learners she’s been able to teach them about the larger culture they belong to. The kids are teaching her about Mexico. She’s taking kids’ knowledge of Spanish in order to have something they can become confident in using. She pushes for the kids to be in heritage class. They’re confident making presentations in a professional setting. She teaches them all about different cultures in all of Mexico and learning about regional accents.
Tell me about your experience working with students w/ ADHD and how you started your Twitter chat: She didn’t know anything prior about ADHD in her gen-ed prep. Her son- youngest has ADHD. Quite a learning experience- she knew nothing about ADHD as a new teacher. Gen-ed teacher programs aren’t preparing teachers enough for that. She was ignorant as an educator, lots of people don’t have personal experience with someone who has ADHD. Many answers to the puzzle of learning about ADHD. She writes from parent perspective. She collaborated w/ other educators to provide tools. She believes from lesson standpoint- if we meet ADHD student’s needs, we can accommodate for all. Giving choice that sometimes other educators have provided. In her upcoming book, she talks about how behavior is communication. Sometimes teachers don’t get that. A lot of gen-ed teachers don’t think they should have to deal with it. Has realized that corporal punishment doesn’t always work- they can’t control it always. Behaviors could be because of overstimulation. Nicole’s first book will be teacher-facing. Book will be out late fall/early 2021. It is based on journals. 2nd book is for parents. She learned a lot from special ed teachers where she worked, however we’re largely still working in silos.
Tell me a little about #EduTable– it’s a place to better reach parents and teachers to collaborate. It’s a place to have laid-back conversations with parents.
Key Quote: “I believe education can bridge people to their purpose”.
Episode 14: Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson is an Author, Speaker, Secondary School Principal and District Assessment Coordinator in Wisconsin. She was named the 2014 WI Elementary Principal of the Year, and is the co-Author of The coach approach and Balance Like a Pirate, and co-moderator of #PrincipalPLN. She taught and worked as an instructional coach and assistant principal in Arizona, earning her master’s degree at Arizona State University. She has been in education for 18 years and is starting her 13th year in her current school. Jessica is also an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Viterbo University. She has launched a #balanceLAP challenge on Twitter.
On this episode, Jessica talks about the feeling of burn out and how she realized she needed to change things in her own life. She thought another job was the answer, but what she realized is what she can change is within herself.
Quote to remember: ““Self care isn’t selfish”. “Being healthy and taking care of yourself puts you in a better place to be able to serve your students and family”.
You can follow Jessica on Twitter as @PrincipalJ or contact her at jessica[at]principalj.net.
Watch this episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/F6Z6zq4FbmY
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