Monthly Archives: August 2017

Be Yourself

BLOG 8.30.17 Be Yourself

So a week done and already into the next… time sure flies when you are having fun!  That’s what school is for us. Let’s be honest – not every day is a joyride, but life can be a rollercoaster and some days are like that – and most days are fun if we let them be.  Just as we preach to our teacher candidates to be reflective practitioners, we must be, too.  So now that we are cruising into week two and beyond, what are some take-aways that we can offer as we continue to move forward along this semester of life.  There is just so much that we want to share… where do we begin?  We begin by being who we are – who we are meant to be.

Words of advice for this new school year – be authentic. Be real. Be yourself. Aim to be the best that you can be. But be you. Be the best you that you can be.  In this fast pace world filled with fake news and drama, we owe it to ourselves and each other to experience today together and celebrate our unique and diverse selves. We aren’t all the same, and that’s beautiful.  I’m no good at being you, and you are no good at being me. If we can model this as teachers, administrators, staff, coaches, and parents, our kids will be better off – and so will we. If we can be honest with ourselves and each other, we can build relationships and not walls in our classrooms, our schools, our homes, our world. What a surreal thought. What a sweet thought. It may be idealistic, but why not be? That’s who we are – and we are trying to be the best “we” that we can be.  With a new year we can hope again and try again.  We can pick each other apart where we faltered last year or we can pick each other up.  We can shake off failures and strive for victories again.  We can model this for our learners and challenge them to do the same.  We do this by starting to be who we are and who we are meant to be – you and me.

A new song out by Seth Alley, Be Yourself, has some great thoughts for us as we start this new year and build and renew our relationships starting with ourselves.

I want to be great, but I ain’t cause I fake what I make.  Yeah – I think that it’s time for a change.  Stop waiting on the world for help. Stop worrying about everyone else. Be yourself.

There is no one else you can be so stop trying to be. Be yourself – be your best you.

Stay Calm & Be Yourself!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 


We Are Helping Others Learn What We Love

Blog class of 2021

We love teaching and learning. That’s what we do! It’s a big part of who we are!

I was reminded of this the other day while listening to Sheltered Reality Drumline perform in South Dakota.

This group of young drummers wowed us with their entertaining abilities on the drums. And boy oh boy do they enjoy entertaining. However, the mission of Sheltered Reality® is to “engage and motivate their audiences to make positive changes in themselves and the world.” Sheltered Reality’s® main message the other day was three-fold:

  • Take a chance
  • Never give up
  • Believe in yourself

YES! For our aspiring educators who will begin their classes today, this message is for you too!!!

Take a chance…you will be challenged by us, your education professors, to take several chances throughout your teacher prep program. Embrace these challenges. Go for the gusto. Take risks. Shoot for the stars. Take a chance on this new endeavor.

Never give up…there will be days you will want to throw in the towel during your time at SMSU. Questions? Ask! Concerns? Share! Please know you are not alone. More importantly, know many have felt this way. BUT…they have stuck it out and have gone on to be successful, outstanding teachers!  Never give up, teacher candidates. You will make it.

Believe in yourself…focus on trying. Leave your “I can’t do this” mentality in the dorm or apartment or wherever you reside. Develop the mindset of “I CAN do this.” Will you make mistakes? Of course. We all do. Learn from those and move on. So…kick your ‘stinkin thinkin’ to the curb!

Sheltered Reality® involves the audience during their show. I happen to be one of the audience members who was chosen to go on stage and drum for the first time ever…in front of a lot of people. 😮 I took a chance! I never gave up! I believed in myself! And guess what???

Yes, I messed up a few times!! Okay…many times. Who cares! I had the time of my life! 🙂

Blog drum me

The Sheltered Reality’s® lead drummer ended their performance with this one last powerful statement: “We are helping others learn what we love.”

Exactly! That’s what we are doing too!!! We are helping YOU learn to do what WE love—teaching!

Have the time of your life this year as you prepare to become the most successful, outstanding teachers you can possibly be. We are excited for the new year, and we hope you share our excitement.

Show us YOUR teacher super powers by taking a chance, never giving up, and believing in yourselves. You got this!!

Stay Calm & Help Others Learn!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 


What is EMSP? Collaboration and Solidarity of Aspiring Educators

Blog EMSP LeAnne_Me

Professor LeAnne Syring and I will be co-advisors for the Education Minnesota Student Program (EMSP) at SMSU beginning this fall. I have been the advisor of this esteemed group of future educators for quite a few years. Last spring when I asked LeAnne if she would be willing to co-advise with me she graciously accepted and then said, “You are starting to phase out, aren’t you?”

Yes, LeAnne. Yes, I am. With retirement just around the corner, it is time to have someone join me on this adventure. Thanks a big bunch of roses for being willing to take this journey with me! 🙂

We attended the first ever EMSP Advisor’s meeting in Brooklyn Park, MN, and below are a few of the highlights of that meeting…

  • EMSP is headed for a name change. At the Student Leadership Conference held July 2017 in Boston, MA, the EMSP members expressed their wishes…they do not want to be called students. They are asking that the S in EMSP be changed to aspiring educators. We will find out in April 2018 what the final decision will be.
  • The Student Leadership Conference will be held June 30th – July 5th, 2018 in Minneapolis, MN. This is great news for all of us! Less travel!!
  • Education Minnesota offers many professional development opportunities for the university aspiring educators. There are seven modules which can be presented at chapter meetings or during education courses. These modules are 1. Member Promotion, 2. Collective Bargaining, 3. Organizing, 4. Member Rights, 5, Why Politics?, 6. Education Issues, and 7, Professionalism. In addition to the modules, a few other professional development options offered are Degrees Not Debt, Teacher Licensing, Energize Yourself, Use of Social Media, and Student Bullying. All education professors may use these PD services.
  • The Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) is now called the Professional Educators Licensing Standards Board (PELSB). Our governor will be appointing new members to this board. You may go to the Secretary of State’s webpage to see the names of all those who have applied thus far.

Blog EMSP Good bye BOT

  • New teacher licensures that are projected to begin July 2018 are Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4, Short-call substitute license, Long-call substituted license, and Life-time substitute license. According to the gal presenting, Minnesota has been considered a powerhouse in teacher licensure. Sadly, she stated this is beginning to change because of this new rule making on licensing. We were told we will be kept posted on this.

Blog EMSP Tiered Teaching

  • Education Minnesota will be leading the state’s educators in a movement to live equitably and practice equity literacy. It’s time for all of us to work together to take down the fence that hinders.

Blog EMSP Equality

A fun surprise was at lunch when we were blessed to see a few of our kids…our SMSU EMSP officers. Thanks ladies and to ALL officers, for all the hard work you do for our EMSP Chapter.

EMSP…collaboration and solidarity of aspiring educators. Here’s to a great year! 🙂

Blog EMSP Group

Stay Calm & Aspire On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 



The Waiting Game: Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up!  We need to be on time.  The game is about to start! What game you may be asking? The waiting game that is.  You know… the one in life that we all play together.  We are on the same team – us v. time.  We get going to where we need to be… and wait to leave, and wait to arrive, and wait to start the game, the appointment, the … (you can fill in the blank) – life.

Here are some very common examples of waiting:

Waiting for a high school summer league basketball game to start…

Waiting at the mall…

Wait dancing is a common practice is it not? 🙂

Dr. Wendy waiting for her PT appointment and waiting to feel better while her grandson is waiting for her…

Fathers and sons bonding while waiting for doc appointments…

Kids waiting for an oil change…

Brother waiting for his bro at the dentist…

BLOG 8.1.17 Waiting12

Traffic waiting…

Check-in waiting…
BLOG 8.1.17 Waiting22

Ferris wheel waiting…

Are we there
yet waiting…

We wait on average an hour a day for the next thing in life to happen.  That doesn’t seem like a big deal until we do the math… something like 5 to 6 years of our lives – waiting.
Waiting can be challenging and try our patience – especially when we are in a hurry to get on with what is next in life.  In our world of instant gratification, waiting can upset us and drive us to become mad – out of our ordinarily calm demeanor.  Who you and me? Maybe. What’s important to remember is that good things come to those who wait.  Right?  Don’t be miserable while waiting for life.  A good attitude and perspective can make all the difference.  Enjoy the wait.  What are you waiting for?

What do you do while you wait?

Stay Calm & Wait!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.