This year I have had the opportunity to provide professional development in Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. I have worked with teachers, guidance counselors, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, social workers, school psychologists, paraprofessionals, and principals. What I have experienced this year has convinced me wholeheartedly that the opportunity to make a positive change in our schools and for our kids is ripe, and that educators are hungry, in fact, desperate, for these changes to happen now.
I initially started doing the professional development because I found that the success I had been having helping parents was sometimes thwarted by the lack of tools and education teachers had, to help kids who struggle with ADHD. What I found was that the challenges teachers faced went way beyond just appropriately supporting this distinct group of children.
Spend a day in a classroom, and you will see that teachers are doing amazing work given the constant bombardment of conflicting needs and expectations. No large corporation would be able to thrive under similar circumstances. More and more teachers are asked to be behaviorist and interventionist in addition to teaching math, science, social studies, and language arts; a job they were not trained to do. The push down of curriculum, the pressure of testing, and the unintended negative consequences of computers in the classrooms has left everyone’s heads spinning. The level of stress and pressure that students and educators are under is palpable. As a result, teachers have less time to appropriately teach, leaving many children emotionally impaired and underperforming.
For the sake of our children, and for the sake of our society that will be run by these future adults, something has to change! The good news is, this change does not have to create a financial burden, nor does it need to take more than a few short years. As I say each time I conduct a training, I know how to build a better school, and perhaps one day someone will say “Ok Cindy, let’s do it.” We already have the dedicated people who have the knowledge and willingness to make the necessary changes. And the beauty is that these changes are essentially free of political and religious bias. They simply involve incorporating what we already know about reducing stress, recognizing individual learning differences without judgment, and teaching communication and self-management skills. Without incorporating social-emotional learning back into the classroom, no amount of technology or high-end curriculum design will matter. Kids are becoming too stressed and overwhelmed to learn, and we are destroying excellent, caring teachers and any hope of encouraging future adults to pursue this noble profession.
This July, I will be doing a three-hour workshop for Administrators and Principals across Long Island. I welcome the opportunity to provide this training elsewhere as well. The time is now – for the sake of our children and our families.
Here are the links to the workshops on Long Island:
July 17th, Nassau BOCES
And for information on bringing my professional development to your district, click here.