Lessons For My Daughters was originally intended as an empowerment workshop for young women and girls, but when I was approached by my fellow colleauge and long time friend to host a professional development workshop on the topic of social emotional growth I could not pass on the opportunity. Lori McLoughlin, fellow speech-language pathologist and Brooklyn College alumni is a supervisor for School District 22 in Brooklyn within the New York City Deparment of Education. Overseeing over 85 speech teachers, it was truly an honor to be invited to host the event. It is a blessing every day to be able to reach our future through the children I engage with and this was a wonderful way for me to have an even greater influence. To speak to a group of educators was a new experience for me that proved to be valuable to both myself and the audience. I received such positive feedback from teachers and administration alike.
For a few hours we put ourselves in the position of our students. At times we need to be reminded that there is no separation between educator and child, we are all human on a journey, and learning always occurs both ways. It is also good to remember that life does not exist in a bubble. The children we service have lives outside of school that they bring with them each time they step into our therapy sessions. Be relatable and share. As speech language-pathologists, we have the unique opportunity to connect with our students in a more intimate way due to the small student to teacher ratio.
Throughout the day we learned to recognize how conflicts and obstacles can be easily resolved simply by focusing on what actually happened as separate from the ideas we create about these situations that are often times entirely made up! The importance of realizing our feelings are our own and therefore controlled by you, put teachers in a state of empowerment that they will gladly pass on to their students. Staying present and being mindful are also great strategies we discussed to bring awareness and attention to what is occuring in the now moment, allowing our students to have an increased focus on the task at hand. Wrapping the afternoon up with a meditation leading us all through a lush autumn forest allowed for an energized and peaceful way to continue on with the rest of the day.
We all have the power to affect change, in fact you do so every day but it is how and what you change that is up to you!
Photo: Andries Hudde Junior High School - Brooklyn, New York