Monthly Archives: February 2018

Everything I Need to Know I Learned on Sabbatical

Amazing how quickly time flies by… just wow! This was a year ago already – my experience serving as a teacher for English learners. Today, I was privileged to be part of the Reading in the Content Areas classes, and share about culturally responsive teaching with the K-12 and secondary teacher candidates and about my sabbatical experience.  Joining me today were two EL experts from our community with years of experience working with English learners and integrating Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) into their teaching.  Culturally Relevant Pedagogy is another term for Culturally Responsive Teaching. CRP can be defined as… “A pedagogy that crosses disciplines and cultures to engage learners while respecting their cultural integrity. It accommodates the dynamic mix of race, ethnicity, class, gender, region, religion, and family that contributes to every student’s cultural identity. The foundation for this approach lies in theories of intrinsic motivation” (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995, para 2).

Today was a wonderful opportunity to engage in dialog around CRT with our future teachers, who – no pressure – are responsible for changing the world one learner at a time. Best of luck to all – and enjoy! Life is short – so share it with others.

Wlodkowski, R.J., & Ginsberg, M.B. (1995). A framework for culturally responsive teaching. Educational Leadership, 53(1), 17-21.


You may have heard the phrase… “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten.” It was true… until my sabbatical. What is a sabbatical you may be asking? It is a time to reflect, a time to renew, a time to reenergize, and a time to start fresh…
Some spend time during sabbatical researching, writing books, focusing on different work, and/or relaxing on location. It provides an opportunity to try something new and to stretch professionally in ways that have been imagined during stressful days…or unimagined. My imagination originally directed me toward writing a book and relaxing. At least that was what I imagined when my sabbatical seemed far off. As my sabbatical began approaching my imagination had a new image in mind, which would require an intense amount of time, energy, and emotion. You see my sabbatical experience took on a life of its own in a PK-2…

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The Delivery of your Message Matters!

Blog words power

Mentor Teacher: What did you think of your lesson?

Student teacher: It didn’t go as well as I wanted.

Mentor Teacher: Yes, it WAS disappointing.

From that message on, the student teacher didn’t believe in himself as a future teacher. He questioned all his skills and abilities.

Professor: What would you change in your presentation? This audience is going out and a new audience is coming in. What will you tweak, change, take out, fix?

Teacher candidates: We wouldn’t look at our note cards as much.

Professor: Remember Q-TIP, ladies. This stands for “quit taking it personally.” All suggestions shared from your peers are to help ALL of us in this room to grow professionally.

Peers…what is one thing this group could improve on?

Peers: Your attire! Our field-experience mentor teachers would NEVER let us dress like that!

Unfortunately, the two teary-eyed teacher candidates took it personally.

Our verbal messages have the power to build up or knock down…all depending on our delivery methods.

I often express to our teacher candidates that delivery is almost more important than the words we choose when teaching. HOW we present our messages matter. Gestures, volume, tone, attitude, facial expressions, eye contact…body language. The mechanics of the delivery matter.

I read a story the other day of a gal who wanted to go into ministry. Her ‘friend’ encouraged her and told her she would be awesome at ministry. This friend told the gal she had the passion. She had the knowledge. She had the drive. She would be phenomenal at ministry. And then…the friend dropped the bomb that collapsed the gal’s spirit. “But first you should lose some weight because that is what others will see first.”

That last destructive sentence kept the gal from ministry for 17 years. Such a devastating outcome.

In the above scenarios, the friend and the peers and the mentor teacher did not intentionally mean to hurt anyone, their messages and words were misinterpreted.

Teachers and teacher candidates…we have great power. The power is in our words. In our messages. With this great power comes great responsibility.

Let’s be superheroes by being conscientious of the messages we are sending to our students. It is all in our delivery. Let us deliver messages that pack a positive punch! 🙂

Blog power of words

Stay Calm & Remember Delivery Matters!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.