Monthly Archives: May 2015

Get Mesmerized by the Elderly

BLOG elderly

I am a volunteer for Compassionate Care Hospice®. My dad was under their care in his last days and when I was contacted by them to see if I’d be willing to volunteer for them, I said yes without hesitation. The care that Compassionate Care Hospice® provided for my dad was phenomenal so saying yes was my way of giving back to them. Now, after serving 6 patients, I guess you could say those 6 lovely ladies have given back to me tenfold.

Five of my patients have passed away. Those 5 elderly were non-verbal and non-mobile. A few were in wheelchairs but it wouldn’t have mattered if we stayed still or moved around. They just enjoyed being read to, having their hands held, listening to hymns, and having scriptures read to them. One of my patients was an ‘emergency’ as her days were limited. She lasted over a week; which was a surprise to her daughters and to me.

My patient that I am presently serving is 98 years young, and she is my first to be able to carry on a conversation. What a joy it has been to listen to her share stories. She has some dementia, however, her long term memory is still intact. Today I learned that she was a one-room country school house teacher, and our conversation was so delightful. 🙂

Here is a glimpse of her blast to the past. My charming patient shared that she had received 6 months of teacher training from someone at the school she would be teaching at. She taught eight grades. While teaching she lived with a family who lived nearby. For the most part, all of the kids walked to school. This one-room country school house teacher had to get the fire going when she arrived in the morning. The work day was from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for her and her students. She enjoyed reading and writing, but loved all subjects that she taught. The kids all brought their own sack lunch and they had about 15 minutes to eat it. Then they had recess for 30 minutes. The boys loved to play baseball, and she would play baseball with them…in her long dress.

What an enjoyable conversation it was. I look forward to next week to learn more about her days teaching in the old one-room country school house. If you think about it…any information that I learn will depend solely on the questions I ask her. Oh my…what pressure. 🙂 And, oh my, what a pleasure. ~Wendy

Visiting with the elderly is like the water show at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Tennessee — mesmerizing. These seniors are a captivating fountain of knowledge just waiting to be tapped. We encourage you to visit with them; and please visit them often. We guarantee it will be worth your time.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

The Sheer Enchantment of Discovery

BLOG discovery

What do sea shells,, and lightbulbs have in common? Discovery! The sheer enchantment of a 3-year old discovering seashells at the ocean; the happiness of a father discovering how to use to share his video of his child’s first-time discovery; and the excitement of a teacher when their students have those light bulb moments and at last discoveries that they finally “get it.” All lovely illustrations of discovery.

A dad recently discovered while on vacation in Florida. is an app that can be downloaded to your phone or computer. It is a platform in which you can share pictures or videos, and not only tell your story in a creative way, but also elicit emotional responses from the viewer. Take a look at the video below of a 3-year old discovering seashells, and a five-month old discovering that she can put the pacifier in her mouth by herself—sheer enchantment. When the dad shared the video with the grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa shed a few happy tears. The video certainly triggered some deep emotions from them. 🙂

When teachers are asked what some of the best rewards of teaching are, one response that is always shared is “one of the best joys of teaching is when our students have ‘light bulb’ moments.” Sheer enjoyment; and a main objective of teaching.

One way teachers can create more lightbulb moments is to be passionate about their teaching. If the teacher is passionate and excited about the lesson, the students will be too! In his book Teach Like a PIRATE, author Dave Burgess tells teachers that in order to “ascend to levels of greatness, you have to be on fire with passion and enthusiasm.” Dave’s wife, Shelley Burgess, created this awesome picture as a reminder for all teachers to stay passionate.

BLOG enthusiasm

As summer approaches and the end of the school year is near, go out and discovery new things. Find new ways to add excitement to your lessons for next year, download, and capture special family discoveries. Most importantly, simply enjoy each day’s new discoveries.

Please share some of your new discoveries with us in the comments below.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

How to Deal with Difficult People

BLOG Difficult Peeps

Conflict—a scary word. Many people don’t like conflict. Some like to stir the pot and thrive on conflict. Most of us know that conflict is inevitable; it happens because of individual differences. We all handle conflict in different ways because we all have different personalities.

Personality style can play a huge role in how we deal with conflict. According to the presenter today at the seminar titled: Dealing with Difficult People, there are four different personalities that exist:

The Relators: These people are loyal, the glue, the cheerleaders. They generally do not like conflict so may be considered indecisive and wishy-washy. They avoid conflict at all costs (this would be Wendy. 🙂 ).

The Thinkers: These folks are analytical, detailed, and love a good chart. They can be stubborn, negative, inflexible, and don’t do well with change.

The Socializer: These individuals are the jokester, the life of the party, people oriented, a delight to have around. They tend to wear their emotions on their sleeve and can come across as egotistical and know-it-alls.

The Director: These persons are risk takers, efficient, confident, and they get things done. They are inclined to intimidate, micromanage, alienate people, and use force rather than cooperation.

So what do we do if conflict arises? The leader of the seminar shared three ways we can handle conflict:

  1. Ignore and forget it
  2. Strive to improve the relationship
  3. End the relationship

If we choose number two and believe the relationship is worth salvaging, here are two simple tips that will assist with influencing behavior:

Fine Tune Your Listening Ears: How well a person can listen does not equal how well a person does listen. Develop a desire and willingness to listen, and evaluate what you hear. “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” `Ralph Nichols.

Tune into Body Language: Pay attention to the signals you are sending by the body language you display. The way you position your body tells others how interested you are in what they have to say. Diffuse anger with body language by respecting personal space, speaking calmly, and making eye contact. “You can observe a lot by watching.” `Yogi Berra

Hurting people hurt others so if a conflict arises between you and someone else, keep their personality type in mind, try to understand so they are understood. And lastly, remember the acronym QTIPQuit Taking It Personally. It’s not about you…

Conflict is natural. The key is how we handle it; how we control our emotions. Our signature line says it all…stay calm everyone.

Please share in the comments how YOU handle conflict.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Take Time to Stop and Admire the Tulips

BLOG tulips

And so it happens… each year about this time we find ourselves faced with the bittersweet time of school and life – graduation. Where has the time gone? It can’t be happening yet again – like a re-run episode of your favorite show. “Our kids” are growing up and spreading their wings to fly away from the SMSU nest.

As the clocks speed up, sometimes we forget to look around us and be patient. We found ourselves walking past these tulips the other day – and thankfully, we paused to capture their beauty when we eyed their vibrant colors. We looked at each other and thought – we need to pause a moment longer and just be. That, of course, also caused us to think – our next blog will be … 🙂

Words to remember as the final weeks of youth fly by and commencement signifies the closing of a chapter and the start of another…

Stop & Admire: Life will continue to speed up so it is important to take time to simply stop and be. Admire the tulips and anything pleasing to the eye.

Listen & Learn: There is so much information and social media surrounding us that we sometimes forget to listen to our colleagues, our neighbors, our friends. Put down that device and intently listen…you may learn a thing or two.

Breathe & Relax: When faced with stressful times in life, take some deep breaths and this will help you relax.

Stretch: Take a moment to step away from it all. Stretch our the stress and go for a walk. We know that movement helps us fire on all cylinders better – so get up and move. 

Feel: It is okay to enjoy life and being with others. Express your emotions. Feel good about being you and what you can do today.

Laugh: It is the best medicine after all so take time to laugh and smile. People want to be around happy people. We will live longer with laughter. Doctors’ orders. 🙂

Remember: Aim to focus on your purpose by remembering why you started the journey. It is the journey and not the destination after all. Take time to admire the tulips.

We recently discovered that we will never “graduate” and each year feel the stress, pain, sweat, and tears right alongside of our students who became teacher candidates and are now teachers. With that struggle, we have also felt their joy and success, and eagerly anticipate their time to change the world. No small task, but they are up to the challenge. Go out and be the change you want to see. Believe you can. Believe in yourself.

In closing – this poem by an amazing yet unknown author provides us with the inspiration so appropriate for this blog and this point in life.

Believe in yourself and in your dream though impossible things may seem.
Someday, somehow you will get through to the goal you have in view.
Mountains fall and seas divide before the one who in his/her stride takes a hard road day by day sweeping obstacles away.

Believe in yourself and in your plan.
Say not – I cannot – but I can.
The prizes of life we fail to win because we doubt the power within.

Believe! …and take time to admire the tulips.

Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

How to Survive Elementary Clinical

What happens when 49 teacher candidates take over an entire elementary school for two full days? Exhaustion sets in on the very first day, and many ‘ah ha’ moments happen. 🙂

BLOG clinical survivors

When we asked our teacher candidates to write their ‘ah ha’ moments from their two-day experience, below are comments a few of them had to share:

Kelsey & Bridgette – “Technology does fail, and amazed at how much second graders cry.”

Lydia – “Students who were so naughty the first day, were so good the second day.”

Justin – “When a kid hugged me at the end of the two days and I didn’t think he liked me.”

Jessica – “How tired you can be at the end of the day. I was pretty worn out.”

Dani – “Attention getters work.”

Gina – “Don’t ask the students questions like ‘do you want to do another one’ because they will all say no.”

Sarah – “Sometimes you think of good ideas on the spot.”

Mallory – “How many times students ask to go to the bathroom.”

Melissa – “Very important to follow through on promises made because the students will remember.”

These same teacher candidates also offered some advice for next year’s junior teacher candidates on how they, too, can survive their clinical experience and have it go smoothly:

Tanya – “Prepare, prepare, prepare! Plan ahead and collaborate with your partner on the lesson plans.”

Carly – “Set a timeline of everything that needs to be done and stick to it so you aren’t so stressed.”

Kassidy – “Make sure students know what is expected of them and follow through on discipline.”

Billy – “Make sure you have extra activities for each lesson.”

Kelsey – “Start early! Don’t put things off until the last minute.”

Hanna – “Work, work, work!”

Ashly – “Have many 5-minute fillers planned.”

Kelli – “Don’t stress out. Everything works out.” 🙂

We applaud you, elementary clinical survivors! Congratulations on a job well-done!

A few words of wisdom for survival for every teacher candidate out there – or any teacher or any parent or well… just anybody…

1 – Check your zipper.

2- Match your shoes. This means try not to leave the house with two different shoes on… trying to match it to the outfit is out of the question here.

3- Buttons, ties, closures, or any type – check them. Did we already mention zippers?

4- Drink water.

5- Sleep.

6- Don’t forget to eat.

7- Turn that frown upside down. No matter what happens – the rainbow is on its way.

8- Laugh at yourself.

9-Enjoy it.

10- Remember you are shaping the future – no small task … so thank you!

  BLOG Survive

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.