Welcome to the Counter Narrative Podcast, a show designed to change the way we talk, and think, about education. By sharing stories of successes and triumphs, we aim to challenge the dominant narrative that often negatively portrays our disenfranchised populations.
I’m your host, Charles Williams. An urban educator for more than 15 years, a current school principal in Chicago, an educational consultant, an equity advocate, and the co-host of Inside The Principal’s Office.
Let’s get started.
Hey listener, are you a principal in Illinois? If so, I hope that you’re planning to be in attendance at this year’s Illinois Principal Association Conference in Peoria from October 24th through the 26th. With keynotes by Gerry Brooks and Luis Cruz and tons of informational sessions from educators all over the state, including yours truly, it is a can’t miss event. And you know what, I will be recording a series of Principal Ponderings live from the event. So, if you’re going to be there and you want to connect, just let me know. Okay, let’s get into today’s episode.
In this episode, I reconnect with Jennifer Haston-Maciejewski, who works at Greenfield Central High School as an alternative placement teacher and behavior specialist/coach. She is also a trained yoga, mindfulness, and meditation instructor; and is a contributing author in several books. Jennifer sits as the vice president on the board of directors for the Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully. She is a nature therapy practitioner and is currently converting an old school bus into a tiny home on wheels for herself and her family of 6 to travel in during the summer.
During our conversation, Jennifer reflected on her past as one of “those students.” You know the ones. The ones who are never absent and always question the rules. She pointed out that we, as adults, need to know the why behind rules and so do our students because it needs to make sense. We continued by exploring some of the current trends in education and cautioned about developing learned helplessness. Yes, we need to love on our students, and we need to trauma informed. But we also need to ensure that all of their needs are being met. Jennifer pushes educators a little further when she challenges that many of us reflect on the easy questions. That we post and share the good in our professions but are we spending time reflecting on the tough questions … the ones that will really push us outside of our comfort zones.
Ready to be challenged by one of those students? Then let’s go.
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