We Need to Talk About these Overlooked Educational Trends with Bridget Hamre

We Need to Talk About these Overlooked Educational Trends with Bridget Hamre
Impacting the Classroom
We Need to Talk About these Overlooked Educational Trends with Bridget Hamre

Apr 02 2024 | 00:43:59

Episode April 02, 2024 00:43:59

Hosted By

Marnetta Larrimer

Show Notes

Welcome to a new season of Impacting the Classroom. In today’s season opener, we're joined by Bridget Hamre, Teachstone CEO and CLASS author, who sheds light on how educators can enrich their teaching practices to foster whole student development.   

Throughout this episode, we will uncover the critical yet often overlooked connection between a student's emotional well-being and their learning achievements, the role of professional development in bridging the gap between theory and practice, and the importance of nurturing teacher empowerment for creating independent learners.  

Topics Discussed in This Episode  

[00:00:00] Introduction 

[00:01:42] What we should be talking about in addition to EdTech 

[00:03:18] Why we don’t talk about students’ mental health as much as we should  

[00:06:16] Why educators can’t wait for system reform to come  

[00:11:33] Whether professional development correlates with student achievement 

[00:15:18] The goals of professional development and giving teachers what they need 

[00:18:13] What Bridget is hopeful about 

[00:19:52] How to spend limited dollars on professional development 

[00:25:55] Why accountability systems are important and what they should account for. 

[00:31:36] The problem with standardized testing 

[00:33:50] The things tests don’t evaluate  

[00:36:24] The issue of teacher well-being   


 Marnetta Larrimer 

Bridget Hamre 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Marnetta: Hello, listeners. It's me, Marnetta Larrimer, host here at Impacting the Classroom. As always, we like to kick off our conversation by asking, what's impacting the classroom? We are beyond excited to be back for our fourth season, and we couldn't think of a better way to open the conversation than with our very own Teachstone CEO and CLASS author, Bridget Hamre. This season, we are excited to dive deeper into the success stories of programs that have implemented CLASS, trends that are impacting the classroom, and what to keep an eye on. Recently, Bridget published an op-ed in The 74 highlighting overlooked but important trends in education. She is joining us today to dive deeper into what might not be getting enough attention in the world of education. Bridget, welcome. Bridget: I'm so glad to be here, but I'm more excited, actually, to listen to the rest of the season because sometimes when we talk about our work, we say it's better because of you being our partners doing this work. I'm so excited to learn more from our partners, but I'm also happy to have this conversation with you today. Marnetta: I couldn't think of a better partner to kick this season off. One of the things that you highlighted in the article is that there's often a gap between what's grabbing the attention in the media and what we really need to focus on to ensure better outcomes for students. What I see trending when I go up my phone or if I'm looking at the TV is usually around AI and how people are using it as well as some of the newest EdTech solutions. Are you suggesting that we shouldn't be talking about these areas? Bridget: No, not at all. We would be silly to ignore the fact that AI is going to radically change education. It's just the case. There's a lot of smart people thinking about exactly what that's going to look like. Myself, I'm fascinated by the thought of what AI can do to make classrooms more effective. There was actually this great op-ed in The New York Times the other day about how we're moving from a knowledge economy to a relationship economy, that the knowledge—still important—is going to be less important because of the things that AI can do, but our humanity, our relationships, and the way we interact are not going to go away. As we think about a classroom and the role of teachers, I hope that our work becomes even more important. But I don't want to talk about that today because it is important. Let's have that conversation down the road. There are also, to your point, so many other things that sometimes get missed because of all the fascination with AI and other EdTech solutions. Marnetta: Most definitely. When I thought about it and I was seeing the things, I was just thinking about streamlining some of those more administrative tasks so that I could spend more time with the things that are important, the students in the classroom. But again, that's a whole another conversation that we could spend a whole another hour on. If we're not going to talk about that, what aren't we talking about that we need to be talking about? Bridget: As a mother—I know you're also a mother—I certainly care a lot about how my kids are doing these days. Do I want them to learn? Absolutely. I have two nine-year-olds and a 17-year-old. But I am deeply concerned about their mental health. Not them specifically but children's mental health. What's interesting is there's plenty of conversation about students' mental health and the role that's playing. At least in my observation, it kind of ends at that conversation of it being a problem. When you get to the solution side of the work, meaning, what are schools talking about in terms of professional development and curriculum, it's not a part of the equation. Often, they're saying, that's not my job. Somebody else, come in here and deal with that problem. That's just a real issue because we know that it's not like children compartmentalize and leave their mental health issues at the door of the school. They're bringing those into the classroom each and every day with them. Schools really need to think seriously about what they're doing to support children's mental health. I'll give you just one example. My son is at a local high school here. The number of fights that were happening at the school escalated so much. There was so much stress at the school. The principal actually became overwhelmed, and he quit. The school closed for two days to deal with the problem, and then they actually closed the third day because the teachers refused to come back for good measure because they were feeling so stressed and didn't feel like they had the support to deal with it. Even if you just care about students' learning outcomes, we really do have to care about mental health because kids aren't going to show up and get all of the good things we have to offer if we're not paying attention to that side of the equation. Marnetta: That's a really great example. You're right, and I understand. When I think about COVID, I feel like I always have to bring that up because it's still such a relevant part of the landscape and the outcomes that we are dealing with. I remember my youngest was in high school. That was a very important time in his developmental journey to become isolated and things like that. I say all that to say we encountered some problems. It did impact the mental health of him returning, and his educators were not equipped to support him in that capacity. We had to find other resources, which also created this thing for him. The stigma with his cohort, what they're thinking, and things like that impacted his relationships. It was a struggle to get through that year. Definitely, it is not a siloed thing. Mental health is part of the whole experience in supporting children, so I completely agree with what you're saying. Bridget: Actually, we've seen absentee rates. Though they've gotten a little bit better, they're still much higher than they were pre-pandemic. To your point, the impact of the pandemic isn't over, and though those absenteeism aren't probably all about mental health, I think a lot of it is. Again, even my own child has said, I need a certain number of mental health days in any given year to be able just to deal with the stress of being a teenager, et cetera. On the positive side, we may not be talking about it a lot, but there are a lot of people thinking about this. Some really exciting work is happening. Some of it is about system transformation. There are a lot of people who are recognizing that our schools are not really well designed for the students of today and the kind of outcomes that we're trying to support today. My younger kids are nine. Twins are about to jump into middle school here in Charlottesville. At the age of nine, jumping into middle school where suddenly they have lots of different teachers and have six times as many kids as at their elementary school, I'm not sure how well that school is designed to really support the social and emotional wellbeing of my kids. There's great work happening around system redesign. What do we need to rethink? But also, that can be overwhelming. I have many friends who are teachers who are not going to wait for that system reform to come. But I think it is helpful just to remember there's something each and every one of us educators can do any day to just see a child who is struggling and take that extra moment to demonstrate care, and concern, and someone who can listen. I would just encourage all educators who are feeling overwhelmed to see that problem to recognize (a) I can't solve all the problems. It can't be all my responsibility, but what is one thing and one student whom I can make a difference with? We all know and have heard the stories about the students who say it was that one teacher, that once athletic coach, or that one who literally changed my life. I think there is real power, especially because most teachers really do care and see the whole kid. They're not just seeing their reading outcomes or math outcomes. It's really just encouraging them to lean into who they are as people. It's one of the key things we can do. Marnetta: Yeah, because that's the most impactful, those relationships. My children really thrived with teachers they connected with and who they felt genuinely cared about. Even as we're training, and I'm sitting in an OBS training, a primer training, or an ISET training that we deliver here, if we ask adults about their experiences as children and a teacher-memory, they all have these wonderful stories. They're about relationships, connecting, individualization, and all of those things that we know make for great learning. Bridget: Absolutely. Big reform should come ahead around mental health and wellbeing, but also let's not stop and let's take those moments today in our busy lives to remember and see those kids who need us for sure. Marnetta: That was good. I love that. I feel like I can also talk about that for a really long time. Bridget: Probably, AI is not going to come in and solve that problem right away. Let's just be clear. I know there's AI mental health and all that, but people need people. Marnetta: They do. Because even with how great AI is and their ability to go on that journey, understand that child, and maybe even provide one-on-one scaffolding, but the human nature of, yes, I loved math in the time that you assessed me, but now I'm not. I'm into something else. They're not built at this time to really understand how the human condition is and how we shift and move. Bridget: Absolutely. I always remember back very early in the pandemic, I had a good friend who's a middle school teacher and he gave this example that has stuck with me for so long. He said one of the challenges he was facing was all his kids had their cameras off. He said, it used to be when I gave a challenging task, I would see my students just look over at each other to say, wait, do you understand that? Do you have this? That was gone. Technology can't replace those subtle ways in which we interact with each other and see each other. That's a place and a space that we as humans are going to be responsible for, thankfully, for quite a long time. Marnetta: I agree. AI takes away the other stuff. Attention. This is why I'm here. This is what I came for. Bridget: Exactly. If AI could do my laundry, then I'd be super happy. I don't see that happening in the near future. Marnetta: I also noticed that you mentioned in the article that there was little evidence to suggest that professional development actually correlates with student achievement. I'm just building on what we talked about with teacher preparedness. Bridget: At the end of the day, teachers need what students need and what we all need, which is they need to be able to connect, engage, and feel inspired by their opportunities to learn. Sadly, they rarely feel any of those things in PD, at least that's what they tell us, and for good reason. I won't name this teacher, but my girls came home the other day and told me—we had a teacher work day recently—oh yeah, our teacher X told us that they were going to call in sick, that they always call in sick on PD days because they're completely useless. I just love that this teacher felt so strongly about that that they shared it with the students. But I get it because this is a highly experienced, highly effective teacher. With a well-meaning administration, who I'm sure is working very hard to create meaningful opportunities for professional development, we just make it really hard. What's sad is we know it works. There's plenty of evidence that effective professional development is individualized to the needs based on data. It is something that people are actually interested in learning. It isn't just abstract knowledge, but it's something that is practical that they can do tomorrow in the classroom. It's not sit-and-get one day, but it is actually followed up in some meaningful system of learning, applying, et cetera. We know that works. I say that. You've done and taught PD. Does that align with your understanding of what works? Marnetta: Absolutely. You're right, there are gaps to that. Oftentimes, those PDs and one-offs really are performative instead of being practical and practice-focused so that it can translate into work in the classroom. Bridget: What have you seen? What are the barriers that you see? We all know that's what works, but you work with lots of folks in the field. What do you see is making it hard for them to do that? Marnetta: That's a big question, Bridget. I think from a system space, there is so much going on and so many things that they're having to do and account for, but there are also budgetary restrictions and things like that. Also, a lot of administrators are out of tune with what's actually happening in the classroom. There's what we think that you need to know and what's actually happening in the classroom that I need this support in. There's this disconnect in knowing what educators need in order to move forward and really be impactful with the students that they're caring for. There's that. There's also too much all at once and not a real check-in to see did you understand. Do you know how to move this forward? What questions do you have? And—I could just keep on going—lack of thinking about different learning styles. Not everybody's going to learn if you're sitting and talking at me for this three-hour block of time. There are other modalities and ways in which people learn, and just adapting to and leaning into those strategies would also be helpful. Sometimes you have a really great PD, but you're not reaching me where I'm at because this is not how I learn. I'll be the one doodling on a piece of paper waiting for the [...]. Bridget: I think you hit on so many of the things that I certainly see. You talked first about focus. There are so many things going on. We do observe that folks are trying to hit it all. We want to do our science of reading stuff, our SEL stuff, and our CLASS stuff, and it just becomes additive. We rarely force ourselves to say less is more. I read this great book, and they talked about the best example ever of less is more is the people who are trying to get toddlers to ride a bike, and they just kept adding to it. They added more wheels and added that thing where you can push your toddler. And then somebody had the brilliant idea to start taking things away. They took away the pedals and the drive chain and suddenly had a balanced bike. A one-and-a-half-year-old can ride a bike and actually better prepares them. That mentality of reduction is just not in our mindset, and I think that's a really big piece of it. I was with a bunch of colleagues at Teach for America yesterday and we were having this conversation like, there are so many things that all teachers could benefit from, but choose one that's really important. Focus on that with enough intensity so that you start to see change, and then you can move on to something else. But that brings us to the other point, we don't have great data about whether things are working or not. It becomes like a checkbox. We did this PD, so we were successful as opposed to saying PD is actually not the goal. Practice change is the goal, but we rarely are focused on that. For good reasons, to your third point about resources, time, and money. Those are just lacking right now of all the workforce challenges. Even teachers who used to have some PD time are getting that pulled away because they just have to be in the classroom more because there aren't enough teachers. All of those things are real challenges. I would just highlight one other as I'll bring my academic hat into this. Over the course of my career, I've gotten millions of dollars to study PD. But frankly, the research to practice is just kind of broken. We have these evidence-based programs, and they're really hard to scale. It's really hard to get things to work in the real world. We have to really rethink how we're designing and studying professional development in a much more real-world context so that we actually are able to bring things to a larger scale that work. Marnetta: Is there anything that you're hopeful about? Bridget: Ultimately, it comes back to partnerships and relationships. One of the things I'm excited about, we do have an evidence-based coaching model here at Teachstone, my teaching partner. Frankly, it has been hard to scale. We've done it in some places, but it doesn't always “work”. I say work in quotes because it works and demonstrates impact, but it's hard sometimes to get it to take off for lots of reasons. We're doing work with the Urban Assembly which is in New York City. A good friend and colleague of mine, Dave Adams, who has fallen in love with CLASS and my teaching partner are really invested in saying, what will it take to make it work? It's less, about does it work? He said this yesterday, actually. I believe it works. The question is how can we partner to make sure that it works here? That requires us at Teachstone and any purveyor of a solution to be really flexible and think about how we might need to change to best meet the needs of the communities that we're working with without losing the secret sauce that's sitting in it. I'm certainly hopeful. Honestly, one other thing that I'm hopeful about is there are lots of examples of teachers taking ownership of this for themselves. Teachers have so much expertise and sometimes, as an organization and as a field, we think we have to convey some kind of knowledge to them versus empowering them with the time and the resources they need to drive their own learning. Marnetta: If an organization or system has limited dollars around professional development, what should they spend it on? What would you advise? Bridget: Now you're pushing back on my focus. First, what does their data say? Hopefully, they have some evidence from either their student outcome data or observational data around things that system-wide they're struggling with—not that some teachers are good with it, some teachers aren't. That is certainly key, but if I had to choose one thing, I recently posted this on LinkedIn. In our world, we talk about regard for student perspectives or regard for adolescent perspectives. It's this idea that we want to support our children's autonomy and give them more opportunities for independence to really listen to their voice and go with the flow of their ideas and thinking. I would say very few teachers have been taught to teach that way. It's something that almost every teacher who learns about it takes something away that they can apply in the classroom. This idea of autonomy and the capabilities that are sitting in our students is just something that I would say almost every teacher could probably use a little more focus on. What about you, Marnetta? You spent lots of time observing classrooms. What would you focus PD on? Marnetta: I love what you just said. I just want to say that adult-adult interaction is a parallel process. The relationships aren't just for the classroom. It's also in those adult interactions and relationships, but that's all I was hearing. I was just like, oh my gosh, the parallel. It's just speaking so loudly because it's the same thing. Bridget: In all the thousands of classrooms you've watched, what would be one thing that you think system-wide teachers could use some additional support in? Marnetta: If I was thinking system-wide, it really comes down to what you said. What is the data saying? Unfortunately, not everyone has adopted CLASS, which is really unfortunate. Bridget: That would just solve all the world's problems. Marnetta: I think that's where it sits. The biggest piece when I observed classrooms or when I was working as a professor is getting educators to understand that in order to teach math, language, or anything, it really comes down to how the child feels in their relationship with you. I can have a doctorate and know all the things, but if that child or even an adult doesn't think I'm there for them or care about them, it doesn't mean anything. They don't hear any of it. Nothing happens. There's no transfer of knowledge. That's what I have to say about that. Bridget: What's interesting too is I always tell this story about the development of CLASS. When we were developing the secondary version of CLASS, we were doing it with very esteemed partners and colleagues at the University of Virginia School of Education who are amazing, but they're people who are trained to be math educators or English language arts educators. This whole framework around interactions was new to them, but this particular dimension—regard for adolescent perspectives—they were not fans. In fact, one of them said, I’ll get you to score CLASS on a 1–7 scale. The high point is a four for this one. This idea that we can give our students too much autonomy and if we give them too much voice and choice, we're going to lose control, that's a real fear of individual teachers and of systems that is a real blocker to some progress. I know my teenager would feel strongly about that particular idea. Marnetta: I have so many stories. If there's expected expertise of working with scissors and being able to use scissors at age four, why do they not have these opportunities to grow into that and use them so that they can master them? That lack of access and expecting children to master skills in a very unrealistic period of time is just about control. We just have to let go of some of that and actually understand that when children feel like this is their space, they have autonomy, they can do things, they can grow, and they can experiment. That's actually better, and it makes your job easier because you have less things to do. Bridget: But to go back, this is not a topic of headlines today in our paper. It's hard for teachers to have the place and the space to actually make time for focusing on those kinds of things when they're being drilled around all of the other things and demands that are placed upon them. Marnetta: So much stuff. Again, another great discussion. I love the challenge. Bridget: It's always hard. We can sit here and have this conversation. It's like being in that leader seat, which I know you have been. It's a whole different set of challenges. Easy to talk about but much harder to do in reality for sure. Marnetta: Definitely. What I love about this work is the intent that we have in staying grounded. Even though I'm no longer in a classroom, there's just a real push to make sure that we stay grounded and understand how to support the field in a way that makes a difference. I'm not trying to get a raise, but that's what I love about working here. Bridget: I'm glad you feel that way. Marnetta: Let's shift into accountability systems. Bridget: Oh, boy, what a good topic. Marnetta: Why are they important? What should they account for? Bridget: To start just where you left off and to the name of this podcast, Impacting the Classroom, I would just start there. Accountability systems have to be designed to actually touch the classroom. Frankly, often they're designed in ways that nothing that happens in the accountability system is either measuring or changing anything that children actually experience. That idea of thinking from the top about how am I going to hold this system accountable for something that actually will lead to better outcomes for kids, as a centering principle, there's that. This came up in my conversation with a bunch of super smart people in this conversation with Teach for America yesterday. In many places and spaces, accountability has now gotten a bad name. It is a word we don't talk about. Teacher evaluation came and went. Student assessments are a mess, and lots of people think they shouldn't happen. I get that for sure. At the same time, I think at base, our students, children, and adolescents deserve to be in classrooms that can help them thrive. That just seems like a baseline. If we're going to give tax dollars to systems, I think some measure of accountability is incredibly important. It's not necessarily popular, so people feel free to disagree. But then it ultimately comes down to how you actually design the accountability system to do what we said to not just be a set of rules or a set of checkboxes but to truly, meaningfully change what's happening in the classroom. In our experience, there are a few things that make a difference. Number one is just choosing things to hold people accountable for that actually matter. In the early childhood space, there are just great examples of that. For a long time, we were holding systems accountable for things like the level of mulch, which is important from a health and safety perspective, so I'm not saying it's not important but is probably not going to change children's learning and development. Focusing on things that matter first and foremost is important. And then designing a system so that it isn't just about providing a set of numbers that get you money, which often these things end up being, but can you design the system so that the measures that are being used for accountability are also useful for improvement? We've seen success in this space is accountability systems where people really are using CLASS or other measures to provide meaningful feedback to individual teachers and programs. They're really bought into it, not just as something that is being done to them but something that they're doing because they know that it's important and it's going to deliver the kinds of outcomes that they all ultimately care about. Focusing on what matters, designing for improvement, and then there's a third, too, which is just setting systems up for success. At TFA, they were talking about the ecosystem of support that their core members have to be able to be successful. If that's not in place and they are left alone on an island, and then we expect them to reach some incredible level of teaching quality, that's just not reasonable. That's not going to happen. Making sure that systems and individuals within systems who have some level of accountability have the support that they need to be able to reach those goals is also critically important. Marnetta: I love that. I'm sure our listeners will find that very, very helpful. Teach for America has been a wonderful partner. I love that you're still having those really thoughtful conversations. Bridget: We learn so much from our partners. I just love sitting and listening. Frankly, some of it's exciting, some of the stuff that's going well, but also some of the things that are a real challenge. I'll give you one. It's something we've talked about a lot, especially in the broader K-12 space. When we talk about relationships and interactions, we buy in. There are many folks who are like, what's all this soft stuff? I care about instruction. And then we're like, no, we measure instruction. We care about instruction too. And then they read through CLASS, and they're like, no, not that kind of instruction, I mean real instruction. That was one of the challenges we spent a lot of time talking about. Let's just interrogate that a little bit. Of course, we care about instruction, of course, we measure instruction, but let's think about how much it matters. A good curriculum is important, but that's just a box unless teachers know how to use it, how to provide feedback, and how to get kids to think. That's not an easy sell to folks who have been trained about one vision and about what instruction is, which is highly content-focused. Marnetta: It is content-focused because thinking about the broader space, kindergarten through 12, I know at certain ages I did not want to teach because of standardized testing and really just having to prepare and spend your working hours getting children ready for this test. Let's talk about it. You kind of alluded to it a little bit. What is the problem with standardized testing? What doesn't it capture? Bridget: To go back to accountability, I'm not a there-should-be-no-tests kind of person because I think we do need information. The question is how good are those assessments? Are they really measuring what matters? How equitable are those assessments in really assessing the skills across the broad spectrum of our population? We, frankly, have ways to go on all of those fronts in terms of what we measure. This is not going to be news to anyone here in the conversation we've had, but very few systems measure the kinds of skills we've been talking about. Students' abilities to relate, regulate their behavior, think, and communicate to each other, people say those things matter, but then we don't communicate that they matter because we're not assessing them. We're not the whole what-get-measured-get-done. If we don't measure them, does that say they don't matter? With that said, there are lots of folks who are focused on this. I think there is going to be a shift. I just saw in the news yesterday that California included some of the social-emotional learning competencies into their state standards. Other states have done that, so that's huge. There's really interesting work happening on how you assess those skills, especially for younger students. It's a little easier for older students. You can have students fill out surveys as an example, and there's great work happening in that space. But with young kids, Marnetta, how might you assess relationship skills in a four-year-old or a five-year-old? Marnetta: That's a really good question. Let me go back into my classroom. Cooperating with others in the classroom, being able to share materials, playing in the block center with another child, having a dispute and being able to articulate what is wrong, and working through a solution, lots of different ways that you can do through just existing and interacting in the classroom with students. Bridget: It's true because it's very hard to compartmentalize those into like, take this five-minute assessment and we're going to tell whether you have relationship skills or not. But there's a challenge to that because people, especially for more summative assessments, have a hard time relying on just teacher observations. Are they reliable? Are they equitable? There is a desire sometimes to think, can we directly assess these skills? Again, I think there's some progress in that space. There's fun stuff about whether young kids can pick up on social cues from faces. There's this fun task that I always forget the name of. It's HTKS—head, toes, knees, shoulders—which basically test kids' self-regulation. Can you stop and do the opposite thing that I'm telling you to do? The Gates Foundation is actually funding a bunch of research in this space because we can't fault systems for not measuring these things when we don't have good ways to measure them. I'm optimistic in this particular space in part because all of our business leaders—even a leader here at Teachstone, I would say this—the skills that we've been talking about, relationships, communication, and thinking are the skills that matter in today's workforce. They're going to keep mattering more. Science has been telling this for a long time, but I think as the business community weighs in, these kinds of skills are going to get more and more attention. Marnetta: I love it. One of the things that you said that just tickled me pink on the inside was that these tests don't evaluate critical thinking, creativity, and artistic ability. There are so many other things that cannot be measured in so many of these assessments that are out. Bridget: Especially the diversity of the way the kids think is another space where we have to get smarter (ourselves included) about how we truly represent the different ways kids may express their knowledge, expertise, and thinking. Marnetta: How they learn. Bridget: We at Teachstone do all those kinds of assessments, the DiSC, et cetera. Learning more about who you are as a leader helps you see how people demonstrate these skills in very different ways. Lots to learn in that space for sure. Marnetta: Time always goes by so fast. Is there anything else we aren't talking about that you want to talk about? Bridget: One thing, again, this maybe is getting some press on the problem side but less on the solution side. It’s just teacher stress and teacher well-being. It is getting pressed mostly because of the workforce shortages. People are like, we better pay attention because teachers are dropping out, but I hope that we care about it from a humanity perspective. Caring about people's mental health is core to any job. If educators aren't feeling good, if they aren't feeling like they have the mental capacity to do the incredibly hard work that they do every day, then none of this other stuff that we've talked about is going to make a difference. It’s like that example that I always give about—when you're in an airplane, the airplane's crashing, and you as a parent have to give yourself the oxygen first. When are we going to realize that it's educators? There's this great intervention that was developed by a friend of mine, Tish Jennings, called CARE. It's based on mindfulness, and it teaches teachers mindfulness. There's great evidence that it impacts both class interactions as well as student outcomes. What I love about it is when I've talked to teachers who've gone through it, they said something like this; it is the first professional development I've ever had which is just about me. It's not about my teaching, it's not about some assessment, it's about me. That message, that caring about you as a person, is important frankly just because it's important. But it's also important because of the idea that it's foundational to everything else. It's just one we all (ourselves included) probably need to learn more. Let's make sure to give the care, support, time, resources, and money to the educators that they deserve. Marnetta: You're right. You cannot pour from an empty cup which is what so many of our educators do. They so much care before themselves. They're a mother in all that comes through their door or whatever. The reason why it's also important is because how I move, how I act, how I'm feeling, and how I react to things is modeling that for the children in my class. Whether directly or indirectly, they are learning through those processes. If I have everything that I need, then I'm able to do what I need to do in a way that models positive things for the children in my space. Bridget: I was just going to share a moment of truth here. My children got me a present for Christmas. They got me many presents, but this was one. It's the Deck of Calm. They said, Mom, this is for those moments when you're feeling stressed. I was like, that's a little bit of a message that maybe I need to do some of my meditation a little bit more because if they're seeing it, then probably I have some work to do. Marnetta: But on the positive side, you have created such an open, honest relationship that they were able to tell you about it. Bridget: Thanks for that positive spin, Marnetta. I appreciate you. Marnetta: They didn't just suffer in silence and talk about it on closed doors. They just said, hey, mom, gift. Bridget: They did it in such a kind way. It wasn't like, Mom, stop yelling at us. It was, Mom, you might benefit from some of these moments of calm. Marnetta: I love that nice collaborative supportive environment you have at your house. Bridget: Yeah, I don't come in class, [...] in certain times of life, but yes. I try. Marnetta: Believe it or not, we are like almost at time. Before we head out, do you have any final thoughts for our listeners? Bridget: There's what we started with and what we ended with. What we ended with was to take a moment of care for yourself. Don't forget that. It's so critical to all of us. I'm going to take that advice to myself and get out for a walk. And where we started, which was, to pay attention to one person who you know needs you and just do that little thing that they're going to see. If we could all spend a little more time paying it forward like that, I feel like life would at least be a little easier. It's not going to solve the world's problems, but it'll certainly have an impact. Marnetta: I'm going to add another layer. I would love to see that interaction, that one person, and that one child be a child that you don't normally interact with. Change that life because we lean into the comfortable and the familiar, that outgoing child. Bridget: The people who like us and the people who make us comfortable. Marnetta: I was a feisty child, believe it or not. When I look back at my school days, I know which teachers were not very excited about my energy in the class. It has nothing to do with me. It's just that my personality does not match theirs. That's really isolating because you want this thing and that connection. As a child, you don't know what the problem is. As an adult, I know. I'm like, oh, I get it. But I didn't know that as a child. So stretch yourself and get uncomfortable, so that way you guys can build that comfortability together. Bridget: I love it. I will just end with this. There's a middle school that I heard about that puts pictures of every single kid in the middle school in their teacher lounge. For a week, they had teachers put a little sticker anytime they had a positive interaction with one of the students. At the end of the week, they gathered and looked at all the students who didn't have any stickers. The next week, they all made commitments to getting out and touching those kids. Marnetta: Talk about accountability. Bridget: Yes, I love it. That's accountability. Marnetta: All right, we're at time. This is going to be an amazing season. Thank you so much, Bridget Hamre, for kicking us off. Bridget: Thank you, Marnetta. Great to see you. Marnetta: You, too. Listeners, we hope you enjoyed today's conversation and are ready to follow along for another great season. You can find today's episode and transcript on our website, teachstone.com/podcast. We'd love to know what you think. Please let us know by dropping us a like and a comment on Apple Podcasts or whatever your favorite podcast platform may be. Have a hot topic you want to discuss or recommend? Did an episode have an impact for you or your organization you want to share, or you just want to say hello, Marnetta? Send us an email at [email protected]. This will help us to continue to create great content that is just for you. As always, behind great leading and teaching are powerful interactions. Let's build that culture together.

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