Tag Archives: #survival

Perspective: The Lens We Choose

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Is the glass half full or half empty? Is the day partly sunny or partly cloudy? Maybe your answer depends on the day or circumstances… Did you get your list accomplished or did that driver just cut you off? Too often “life happens,” and we have to deal with the hand that is dealt. Do we learn from our experiences – both accomplishments and defeats, and continue to move forward or do we let our experiences define what is possible or impossible and give up?

We listened today to our colleague and friend speak at the Legacy Foundation Luncheon. This extraordinarily strong woman shared about her experience of losing her son almost eight years ago. In her grief, she wrote her book titled No Ordinary Son, which was written to share her story with others; with all of us to help us experience how wickedly brutal grief can be and what we can choose to do with it. Our table was sharing napkins to wipe away our tears because we weren’t prepared with Kleenexes. Then, we had to reapply our make-up once we returned to our offices. In the end, our colleague received a standing ovation and applause that was filled with love and emotion!

In her short 40 minutes of sharing her incredible journey with us, these five points struck a chord in our hearts. Below we share our interpretation of them:

Grief is cruel: Everyone experiences grief differently. It can be the green monster that haunts us to shreds. Anger can imprison us. Grief can come and go, and we can’t be sure when it will hit us hardest or again and again. Lean on loved ones; we don’t have to do this alone.

Do something: When a loss occurs, sometimes people tend to not say or do anything because of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Doing nothing seems to be better than doing something that is wrong. She gently reminded us that doing nothing is way worse than doing something that is wrong. She thought people didn’t care when they chose the do nothing route. Do something for others who have experienced loss. Do not worry if it is wrong or right. Do it anyway!

Happiness is a choice: People sometimes wait their whole life to be happy. We make the choice to be happy. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “A person will be about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” Our colleague encouraged all of us to choose happiness each and every day.

Time DOES NOT heal all wounds: Time does not take away the pain of losing someone we love. However, there is hope in knowing that we can and will survive a tragedy. The loved one continues to live on with us. We can be better people when we remember them and live for today.

Family is the foundation to survival: She not only lost her son, she also lost her family and the way it used to be. She lost her parents because she used to go to them for reassurance in life and she no longer felt like she could. She lost her Best Friend who used to listen to her and love her and never leave her. Today, she knows family is what helped her heal. Her family members walked by her side and never left her. And that Best Friend…He never did leave her side, in fact He carried her through her darkest days.

Next time you are speaking with a friend in a coffee shop, in your classroom with your students, or in a line near a stranger, remember the lens you choose to use can make all the difference in your perspective. Thank you, Tanya McCoss-Yerigan, for sharing your story with us and reminding us that happiness is attainable even in the worst of times.

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

Top 10 Teacher Traits by Our Top Teacher Candidates

Blog ED Majors

SMSU Teacher Candidates are EDU Rock Stars.  We get to know our students from the time they arrive on campus in the fall of their freshman year until that final year they make their way across the stage to accept their diploma. Wow!! What a difference in maturity level as these young teacher candidates travel through their teacher prep program. It is inspiring to see their growth—both personally and professionally.

During their freshman year, our education majors are required to take an Introduction to Education course. At the beginning of this course, they are asked to list the top ten teacher traits they believe are the most significant traits to own as a teacher. These freshmen base their answers on those teachers they just left behind in high school or from their elementary days.

Now that these same students are currently teacher candidates and juniors here at SMSU, and have hopefully gleaned a thing or two from us wise ol’ profs, we posed this same question to some of them. Their answers demonstrate to us that they have indeed grown both personally and professionally since that day way back in Intro to Ed. This makes our hearts burst with joy!

Like David Letterman shares his top ten on the Late Show, below we share with you our top ten teacher traits by our top teacher candidates:

10. Prepared – Our teacher candidates are taught over and over and over again that if they fail to plan they plan to fail! In his book, Teach Like A Champion, Doug Lemov wrote “champion teachers excel at planning.”

9. CompassionateDictionary.com defines compassion as “a feeling of sympathy to alleviate suffering.” This verifies what we tell our teacher candidates—“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” ~Anonymous

8. Creative – Being creative is one of the four C’s in the 21st Century Learning Skills. Not only is it imperative for our teacher candidates to be creative but the ability to teach their students to be creative is also a big deal.

7. Flexible – Snow days, field placement changes, and even an unexpected broken leg are all reasons our future teachers are learning to be flexible. Curve balls are thrown at them all the time so as they learn to be flexible, they learn to bend without breaking. No pun intended!

6. Patient – Patience is a choice, and because we are professionals, we are expected to make smart choices at all times. When issues cause us frustration, irritation, or pain, we must remind ourselves that we have the choice to stay calm and be patient. The top teacher candidates are perfecting their skill of being patient with students and each other.

5. Respectful – If we give respect, we get respect. Respecting others is a key ingredient when building rapport with students. We have respected our top teacher candidates thoughts and opinions and in return they have respected ours.

4. Leadership – Future teachers must be leaders in their classrooms. Becoming reflective practitioners to self-assess their teaching, influencing their students by the instructional techniques they choose, and completing action research projects are just a few ways our top teacher candidates learn to lead.

3. Organized – “Organization is the key to effectiveness” states Harry Wong in his book First Days of School. Organization is important whether teachers are novice teachers or seasoned teachers. Our teacher candidates learn the importance of organization during the many hours of field experiences they are required to finish along with their rigorous junior methods year.

2. Passionate – We can all agree that passion is contagious. Passion will make lessons more engaging which will elevate student achievement. In his book, Teach Like a PIRATE, Dave Burgess writes that ‘passion is like an intoxicating drug but without the dangers and side effects. Once you get the taste of it, you’ll always want to come back for more.”

Drum roll please—The number one teacher trait that our teacher candidates believe to be the most significant is…

1. Communication – In this era of emailing, texting, Instagram, and Snapchat, we were delighted to read that our teacher candidates still believe in communication and its importance. Communication is one of the substantial 21st Century Learning Skills so we are pleased that they chose this as their number one trait.

Hang on for the time of your life, future teachers. Teaching is THE best profession on Earth! Commit each school day to your students. After all, those children are the reason you are there. Without them, you wouldn’t have a job. Apply your top ten teacher traits in a positive manner and you will become a top-notch teacher! We wish you all the best!!

Blog SMSU ED Majors

Stay Calm & Be Top Notch!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.