Tag Archives: education

Change is Good

If it wasn’t for a dramatic, earth shattering change I probably wouldn’t have a career in education.

I worked in the real estate industry for 18 years until the housing bubble burst and I was laid off. After I got over the soul crushing blow that I was just an expense that needed to be cut and after checking all the pens in the house for ink, I started looking for a job. I wanted something that was stable and had meaning. I wanted to make a difference in my work. I focused my search efforts on education, healthcare and sports. Sports didn’t have a lot of meaning but I thought it would be fun, which at the time passed as a good substitute for meaning.

I guess you know how this story ends, I got a job with MCCCD and eventually made my way to GCC. I am thankful now for the catalyst that forced change in my life and brought me to where I am today. I am honored to be part of making a difference in the world through the work we do. I am proud to say that I have a career in education.

This week’s prompt was to share a song that represents your career in education. Justin Timberlake’s “Don’t Slack” is an upbeat, dance around the room song that celebrates change and achieving your potential. Although my path to a career in education was not necessarily upbeat, the change it made in my life and the opportunity it gives me to achieve my potential is a dance around the room feeling. One of the scary things about change is not knowing if you’re making the right move or if you’ll be successful. In the video, the final scene has a sign in the background that reads “You’re Doing a Great Job.” Thank you for the encouragement JT!


The keys to student success!

The New Nursing Student 

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

A recipe for success:

Set your long term goals to a year of completion 2023-2024.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add:

1 c. positive attitude: This may at times be on backorder, but if you search you will find it. 

1 tsp teamwork: Success tastes the same achieved all alone or in tandem with your peers.

1 TBSP motivation: Remembering why you are here and your dreams helps!

1 c. time management: An essential item in the nursing school/life process. Measure accurately!

1 oz of hope

Stir until well blended. Cover and set in a warm place allowing for Success to rise for 2 years. Bake and serve at pinning. Enjoy!

The new Graduate Nurse

Dr. Mary Resler

Congratulations! As a new graduate nurse you have successfully completed a nursing program and have completed your NCLEX exam. This may seem like the end of the road for education but it is not. Nurses are lifelong learners! Success is keeping current on evidence based practices. Success is participating in policy change. Success is improving your patient outcomes. Success is maintaining your license. Success looks different as a lifelong learner then it does for a nursing student. 

Many new graduate nurses measure success by completing a difficult patient assignment. They measure success by the years they have worked. They measure success by working on a specialty unit. They measure success by catching a medication error. They measure success by favorable patient satisfaction scores. True success as a lifelong learner or new graduate nurse is to never be complacent in your knowledge. Always push yourself to learn by asking questions and continuing in your education. Knowledge is of no use if you do not use it. 

The new Nurse Educator

Dr. Grace Paul

Students have jumped over hoops, taken several exams, sacrificed participating in several occasions, and spent several hours pondering and even working in a hospital environment to know if this is indeed what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They know what their career goal is, and now they are in our classrooms. 

HCC Henderson Association of Nursing Students - Home | Facebook

Once they are in our classroom, they are our responsibility. While there may be several factors connected to student success like age, gender, previous experiences, GPA, etc, these are all non-modifiable factors that we as educators, can do nothing about. What we have in our hands to help these students succeed are the modifiable factors – factors that we as educators can help make a difference in these students’ lives, and allow our students to be successful in their chosen careers. 

There are several modifiable factors that we can use to our advantage for student success. One such factor is responsiveness.  Responsiveness is responding to a student. This can be in the classroom during class. A slight nod, a smile, a positive gesture, direct eye contact or a positive note sent to the student are all ways by which the student feels safe and positive about themselves. Smiling eases the students and makes it easier for students to come forward with questions and be communicative. 

Cartoon boy with positive attitude N28 free image download

As the new nurse educator figures out how things work in the new environment, the curriculum, and the work culture, students are usually quick to recognize that the instructor is new. But the timely response, open communication, a smiling and respectful attitude, and humor in the classroom, makes a huge difference as to how the students accept and respond to the instructor. 

The responsiveness of the instructor makes the students feel loved and cared for, knowing that they are the priority for the instructor. Keep the classroom space non-judgmental, which helps students to focus on the learning. This creates a trusting relationship between the students and the teacher, contributing immensely to the success of the class as a whole and the individual student. 

Responsiveness is also important when corrections have to be made. When a student makes a mistake, and when the mistake is recognized and acknowledged,  use the situation as a learning opportunity. Do not make it punitive. If the student does not learn from the mistake, then it is an opportunity lost. It is important for the educator to provide resources to correct the mistake. 

Corequisite remediation showing signs of success in NC - EducationNC

Another important tool for responsiveness is remediation. Remediation is a powerful tool when it comes to improving test results. It is helpful for the instructor and the student to go through the test, and look for a pattern, and to understand the reasoning behind the right and wrong answers. It is helpful for the student to bring another student to these meetings, as students tend to learn better from their peers rather than from the instructor. 

To summarize, student success is a commitment from the student as well as the educator. There are modifiable and non-modifiable factors when it comes to student success. Responsiveness is one such tool that will help to promote trust, and therefore a positive relationship, which  will help promote student success. 


Embracing Diversity

The New Nursing Student 

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

As we always discuss the first day of nursing school, your first responsibility is to know yourself! Recognize your biases and leave them at the door. If you can’t acknowledge each person for their unique self, other career options are available. You need to treat every person as if they are your most adored member of your family and care for them as you would wish them to be cared for. None of us will be a diversity expert or culturally competent across all cultures, but we all have the capacity to be sensitive to each individual and their needs.

My name is Diversity (a poem)

Dr. Grace Paul

My Name is Diversity

I come in various forms

I come in various shapes

With unique physical attributes

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

My gender is male, female, either, neither or fluid

I am a gay, lesbian, straight, bi, pan, or asexual

I am a veteran, differently abled, young or old

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

I come from one race, or a mixture of races

My ethnicity is varied, from any part of the world

Native to the land, or an immigrant

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

My culture, my food, my customs

My religion, my language, my rituals

Rich, poor, lower, middle, or upper class

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

Take the time to know me

I am awesome and beautiful

Just the way I am

With uniqueness abound!

Talk to me, listen to me

Look at me, and include me

Respect me for what I am

Because, I am who I am!

I may look and sound different to you

But we can learn from each other

I am not a statistic

To represent diversity

Or inclusion

But an individual no matter

With so much to offer

I matter! Accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

When you accept me for who I am

There is empathy in the world

Prejudices are removed

There is more tolerance

And therefore, less violence

Accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

There is peace, love and understanding

Inspiration, Motivation and Hope

Better decision making all around

A better world for all of us

Do accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

I am understood

I am valued

I am cherished

I am embraced


I am ubiquitous

Because I am who I am!

And my name is Diversity!


Can We Live Without Risks?

A statement someone made recently jumped out at me. They said they rarely take risks. I was amazed. I consider myself a very careful person, but I often feel like my risks are the challenges I take on. Of course, I’m not talking about doing anything like this!

Perhaps it’s the definition of the word risk [enter student’s clichéd discovery of dictionary definition to make written assignment longer]. Wink

I see risk as a transition and an opportunity. Now, if the risk doesn’t have that element, I won’t do it. In some ways, we all take risks every day. There are certain risks I simply won’t consider, the consequences are just too costly.

Professionally, I was always taught to say ‘yes,’ if you want to work. People want to know that you will say ‘yes,’ when they ask. It saves time for those hiring. That’s a musician’s point of view. It’s the way you keep getting more opportunities – or, for those who prefer less formal constructs – How you get more gigs. Regrets, yes, certainly. I said ‘no’ to a really good opportunity, which was a risk, because I was just getting married (hence, already in the midst of a transition) and didn’t want to spend my honeymoon thinking about the project and risking the beginnings of our marriage… I’ll always think about where that job might have led. But see, once again, I keep going back to the positive-negative balance of risks.

And I’ll admit to some positive/negative possibilities. I’ve walked into a classroom and spoken completely ‘off the cuff,’ which is definitely a risk. It’s not that I hadn’t thought about it. I had. I know my subject deeply. Some of those have been my most inspired lectures, but occasionally, they have not. It’s a risk.

How about classroom management? I had a student who sat in the front row of class and never took a note. (This is a room that is set up as a lecture/recital hall, so down in front is noticeable.) In fact, he came in without anything – no books, no notebook, no pen/pencil or computer. Nothing. An instructor would assume he didn’t come prepared for class. And we’ve all had those students who obviously weren’t. Did I mention this was a long lecture format? The class was two hours and twenty minutes long. Should I say anything to him? He wasn’t disruptive, and he did well in the subject. One day he came in with a Rubik’s cube. I saw it, but chose not to say anything. As the lecture was finishing I just happened to look over at him. He subtly showed me his work by merely opening his hand. It was finished, and it was perfect. He hadn’t been disruptive to anyone, he didn’t show anyone else, I hadn’t been interrupted by what he was doing, but it allowed him to concentrate on what we were talking about. A risk, and a reward.

Deeper Risks

I could stop there, because it would be a great place to end – but I’m going to “risk” it and go heavy. As I mentioned earlier, we take risks every day. Driving, flying, walking down a set of stairs, saying something that you wish you hadn’t. I never discuss politics. I’ve gotten to where I rarely offer comments – especially to the entire world on any of those fronts.

But I’m going to include the world community and the risks people are facing today because we need to be talking about this in our classrooms. These are the ultimate risks because they are about basic human needs. This is not something that is happening somewhere else. It will ultimately affect us here. I was just reading an article about the fact that many Russians are also leaving their homeland, just as many Ukrainians are – except those who choose to fight. There is a general surge of people trying to survive with some semblance of their lives intact. In the article, the author referred to a family’s current residence, a shared room with three mattresses on the floor. The people had a roof, they had mattresses, a floor, running water, and they still had some money. They had been well-to-do so such living conditions would not have been acceptable in their previous life, but under the circumstances they knew they were lucky. They calculated the risk and felt they’d come out ahead considering the cost.

I first saw evidence of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s in Sweden. I ended up working with two Russian musicians as part of a Swedish quartet. There were interesting cultural flare-ups that surprised me. But like other recent mass emigrations, everyone was, and had been, fleeing for their lives. It’s amazing what we are willing to risk when we feel that we have little left to lose or too much to lose – our lives or our children’s lives.

In Estonia, ten years after the last Russian troops slowly left, I moved there, and in my research I learned more of Stalin’s ’round up’ of people. Sometimes there were lists, sometimes just numbers. ‘Take this number of people. I don’t care who.’ They disappeared or went to gulags. Often, no one ever knew whether they were killed outright or just never seen again. How can you live with that threat? I was part of an interview team to determine whether a young Estonian man would study in the U.S. when he talked about the importance of the NATO alliance to his country. I knew about NATO. It also meant, in couched terms, the U.S., from where funding came for this prestigious scholarship. I occasionally thought about NATO – but not to the extent that this young man understood it because the Estonians had few defenses against the Russians on their shared border. We, as Americans, have the luxury of a different point of view.

Before I sign off, I want to mention that moving people, their craft, their professions, their influences, and their cultures affects everything. It affects the arts, music, the humanities, science, technology, engineering, people, and even education. Would you stay or would you go? Ultimately, when we talk about risks, these are the most critical risks to discuss. I truly believe as educators everything we do counts, but we are also lucky that we can talk about risks that are so relatively ordinary when others face risks that are so tremendously devastating.


To be an exceptional Nurse: Growth as a mindset

The New Nursing Student 🌳

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

As a student begins their new journey in nursing school there is a mindset that, if adopted, can garner student success and that is the ‘bloom where you are planted’ philosophy. This landscape called nursing school provides soil that is rich, fertile, and just begging for a new seedling to take root. The difference between that seedling bearing fruit and just existing is growth. 

🌳Growth, such a positive word, but one that also comes with a set of growing pains. Perhaps before nursing school classroom success took minimal effort, was a solo mission, and came with the reinforcement of an “A” to validate your contributions…what could be painful about that? Nothing at all! However, you are now in a new environment, one where the conditions are unfamiliar and success now comes with hours of practice, intentional effort, potential setbacks, and opportunities to receive constructive feedback that may not feel as good as that “A”. However, you persevere and realize that when you lean on those around you in a give and take dichotomy, your growth is less of a struggle.🌳

🌳Wherever you are in the nursing program right now, I ask you to take a moment and reflect upon your personal growth. Where are you now compared to that first day of nursing school? The end of the first semester? Whenever you feel doubt in yourself or your growth think about the following…

The New Graduate Nurse🌳

Dr. Mary Resler

As a new graduate nurse the career field is broad. It is like a blank canvas that only you as a nurse have the power to control the end products. In order to get there a lot of growth takes place. Growth in the profession can be positive and challenging at the same time.

One of my favorite quotes is “there is no growth in comfort and, there is no comfort in growth.“ 

If we are not growing then we are standing still. 

As a nurse you must be prepared for lifelong education. As evidence-based practice continues and new medical advances take place the nurse must continue to educate themselves to be the best for their patients. Many new graduate nurses feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when they pass the nursing program and the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Although the education piece may have been accomplished, the learning and growing – is just a beginning.

The New Nurse Educator🌳

Dr. Grace Paul

🌳All great students are not great test takers, and all great nurses were not great test takers. Likewise, all great bedside nurses are not necessarily the best educators! I started out as a community health nurse in India. The Vellore Christian Medical College and Hospital Nursing College has adopted quite a few villages around, and community health nurses worked alongside the government workers for the area. As a community health nurse, I was responsible for one village of about roughly 1000 people. As the College of Nursing Community Health Nurse (CONCH), among my many responsibilities, I also had 2-4 students assigned to me for their community health experience.   🌳

I still remember my first two students who were assigned to me. I was feeling awkward inside, since I was myself new in the role of a community health nurse, and then to have to be a role model to these two students! I was scared that I might say something wrong! Just like when I was a student, I used to have nightmares that I had slept through my alarm, and the student had arrived and was searching for me, and that I lost all the assignments that were submitted to me! Students rarely realize that as a new instructor, we are quite vulnerable too. But for the most part, we try to put on a brave face, because we don’t want to lose our credibility! We want the students to have a good experience! I, of course, grew out of those nightmares in a few months. 

Positive Growth Quotes. QuotesGram

🌳As a novice educator, there are so many qualities that need to be cared for, tended to, and developed. With the pandemic, all of us have evolved and grown to the extent that even we did not think we were capable of! That is what humans do, we rise to the occasion, when we are challenged. And so, it is good to keep ourselves  challenged, so that we can learn new things, keep our mind active, and although we may grow older, we can still be relevant when younger generations of students come to us.

 🌳As  an educator, we need to be relevant, and current, and learn the ways our students learn, so that we can be effective in our role as educators! We have to continually reflect on our own teaching philosophies, build on creating a trusting relationship with students, where students are able to think critically, and feel free to ask questions. Teaching a student to think critically is a skill that educators must develop. Every student learns differently, and as educators, we must meet them at their level. The pandemic has taught us the importance of self care, and this goes both ways. Just as food and rest are necessary for our physical bodies, positive thoughts, reflection or meditation are necessary for our souls!🌳

Best Growth Quotes | Readershook

Community Roots

Giving up the life of the road (or the airplane) is partly how I ended up at GCC. I’ve been a long-time traveler. Although I was born in Arizona where my father finished his structural engineering degree at the University of Arizona, my parents and I moved within eight months to Minnesota. A few years later we moved to Colorado. I lived in so many different places in Colorado, depending on the university I was attending or the degree I was seeking in Denver and Boulder, that my mother finally started using pencil to update my address in her address book. My roots are scattered because of this constant moving.

Two years before we moved to Arizona, my husband, son, and I went to Estonia for a year while I taught as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Academy of Music and Theater in Tallinn. Everyone told us it was not the “going on” a Fulbright that would be hard, but “returning from” our year away. They were right. We had changed and the only way to live with that change was to change our surroundings. We moved.

My husband, son, and I had been living in Arizona for about a year, and I’d spent most of that year working and traveling as a Composer or Producer-in-Residence back and forth to Minnesota, as well as to Rome, Beijing, Toronto, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Atlanta – well you get the idea. My long travels ended when I came home and was greeted by my nine-year-old son, who was just waking up, when he said, “Mommy, are you really here or am I just dreaming?” Ach! It was a knife in my heart! He had never mentioned that he missed me and certainly not this much! I decided if I did travel it would only be for short trips and only occasionally from then on.

Before you ask, “What kind of a mother are you?” you need to know that my son is autistic and has always been very accepting of me going away; with a kind of “bye, see ya” sort of attitude. He loves to be alone, and it’s difficult, sometimes, to accept that. To give you an example, my husband and I went on a business trip back in 2018 (yes, he’s a musician, too), and left our son at home with the dog (by this time he had graduated from high school with honors and was capable of being alone – but it was an experiment because we would be further away – so we had support people at the ready if he needed someone). When we returned my husband kept coming back in from the garage before he left for work to make sure our son was okay with him leaving, and asked him so, and our son, who has a great sense of humor, said, “Less talking, more leaving!” From that response, although ten years later, we knew he didn’t miss us that much while we’d been gone.

Jumping back ten years, I applied to teach at GCC. The first word I think of when I remember my first days at GCC is “friendly.” I found everyone friendly and helpful. The two communities that first welcomed me were the Music Department (aka Performing Arts) and CTLE.

Before this, I’d been teaching for twelve years, after my doctorate, at two private institutions (three, if you count my alma mater – which is public) in Minnesota, so I knew my way around lots of subjects, but I knew there was a program called Blackboard, among others, but no one would teach me about it. Over the years, I had also been offered five full-time positions in Minnesota, strictly a phone call – “we’d love to have you come work for us,” but my health was not good when I was offered a few of them, and the other, which I would have loved to take, was offered just as I was receiving my Fulbright. I couldn’t take the job knowing I wouldn’t be there that next year. Also, and you’ve heard this from others if you haven’t said it yourself, the winters were about eight months long and I just couldn’t take that kind of cold anymore. I was looking to take my roots somewhere warmer although I had not planned it to be this warm.

The Music Faculty shared their syllabi, what needed to be in a syllabi technically, how to find my courses, and helped me get up to speed within a few days! I hardly knew what had hit me, but I really enjoyed the people I met. They have become friends and some of the best people I’ve worked with. I’ve missed seeing them during the pandemic at meetings and performances. We recently met in person for the first time in two years and my heart sang for hours afterwards, having been able to see so many friends again. It is truly an anomaly to have this many good people together in one department – and that includes the whole Performing Arts Department as well.

I discovered the other GCC community shortly after I started when I signed up to learn how to teach online. No one had asked me to learn this, but I saw this as a possible future — need I say more? That introduced me to Karen Russo and CTLE. For several years I took everything that CTLE offered, free seminars on teaching and best practices, free offerings on other online programs for use in online courses, district workshops, designing courses for E-readers, and master classes on being a better educator. I’ve gotten to know almost everyone in the department, and I’ve met other equally friendly and helpful educators as the department expanded.

I now have been teaching exclusively online for a little more than 10 years, and love it. I still take a workshop here or there, although mostly on Zoom or Google lately. CTLE has patiently answered questions and solved problems for me. I have learned more from them about successful teaching than I had ever known and I am thankful for it. I applaud CTLE for what they have offered through the years so I could become a better teacher of music. The Music Department and CTLE has allowed me to put down some strong roots in this community.

The women and men from the Women's International Congress, International Alliance for Women in Music Beijing, China 2008
The Great Wall of China with the International Alliance for Women in Music 2008

Lifelong Search ….

Almost Losing My Heart

Whenever I saw a piano (as a child) I felt compelled to play it. I attribute this to my birthday because it fell just after the kindergarten cutoff for enrollment by two hours, and resulted in piano lessons for a year. When I did start kindergarten a year later our class shared many miscellaneous items in Show and Tell, (one involved a large coconut which I carried ten blocks with two skinned knees – the frustration of dropping and falling over and over, and the excitement of wanting to show it to my classmates… I still remember).

I am told that one afternoon our kindergarten teacher was called out of the room. As you know, teachers rarely leave the classroom because chaos often ensues. With a bit of trepidation she returned to find the entire class quietly huddled around the piano where I was sharing some of the pieces that I had learned. I wasn’t showing off, just simply showing them things I had learned, much as teachers did for me for many years to follow.

I have memories of many teachers who made a difference. It wouldn’t be fair to single out one because I was lucky to have had so many. Everyone talks about good teachers that make a difference. They never talk about the lousy ones, but I had a crop of those, too. By that time I was much older, an accomplished pianist after decades of lessons, but now ignored primarily because I dared to try to write music instead of just play music. That also taught me a lot as a teacher. It taught me never to pre-judge a student by assuming that they didn’t have anything to offer because of the notion that only certain people can write music or learn about music. It sounds almost impossible today. People lose jobs over that. I almost lost my heart over it.

No, I didn’t teach at that school, although I did create a course at one of its sister institutions, a course in Marketing the Arts, which I taught for several semesters – much to my professors’ chagrin. I persevered in the program, and, as luck would have it, became a music critic at a major metropolitan newspaper and ended up reviewing every professor I had and their music writing. (Unlike them, I was kind). I graduated and changed schools.

At this new school I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never did. I expected the same treatment. My music was representational which was not in vogue. What I found instead was that the faculty and students accepted me and my music. Interestingly enough, I rarely play piano anymore except to compose. My many days of performing in order to be an accepted musician were now only as an accepted composer – I made a point of it. I taught theory classes, which is what most composers teach while finishing their terminal degree. I wrote articles and produced concerts. I reviewed concerts at another major metropolitan newspaper from time to time. But I now never introduced myself as a pianist, which was where I found my heart. I now only refer to myself as a composer, where I found it again.

It took losing my heart to find it again and it means too much to me to let it go. I love teaching music and teaching about being a musician. I love teaching about the creative process and I love the enthusiasm of my students, learning about or hearing music for the first time. That is where my heart takes me.


A BIG Mistake that Parents Make About Paying for College

As a College Financial Educator, I’ve become familiar with several mistakes that students, and their families, make when paying for college. And one that concerns me is when parents prioritize college over building their own retirement fund.  I get it, parents love their kids. But here’s the thing, there are loans for college, no one’s going to give you a loan for your retirement. I also get that your kids are headed to college before you’re retiring, but your money needs time to grow. For every 10 years that you hold off investing, you’ll need to double the amount of money that you invest to

Inspired by Educated by Tara Westover

Over Spring Break I finished reading Educated by Tara Westover. The memoir is about a young woman’s journey from her religious family to higher education. The book has several themes. There are areas that focus on identity, family, faith, education, etc. The book really resonated with me for several reasons, but the area that really resonated with me the most was the power of education in the author’s life and how it helped her to evaluate who she was and discover the woman that she is today.  Her ability to go through this process is really due to her education inside and outside of the classroom.

A huge part of my identity revolves around education. Just like the author, I was able to discover who I am and who I wanted to be in life. My parents encouraged all of their children to get an education, they believed that they were the keys to success. I thrust myself into my studies and quite a few of the lessons I learned came from inside  and outside of the classroom. As educators, we must never forget the impact the classroom has on not only our students and their profession but also who they are as an individual. The author learned a lot about herself inside and outside of school. Here are some things I learned about myself from my educational experiences:

I didn’t want to be a lawyer when I grew up. For the longest time I wanted to be a lawyer. We did a mock trial in high school and I realized, THIS IS NOT FOR ME. I played the lawyer and I choked. My heart was not in it. My heart is in teaching.

Hard work and belief go a long way. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I was not the best speech and debate competitor in college. I lacked confidence and some key skills. Over time I decided to up my work ethic and to really believe that I could do it. The end result, I have some championships under my belt and I’m proud of that accomplishment.

I’m a nerd and I’m proud of it. I love school, reading, studying, and watching and engaging in nerdy things like Game of Thrones. I have reaped many benefits and rewards from my nerdiness. I even include it in my lessons in the classroom.

Prayer and Coffee. Ever since high school, people have mentioned to me how they can’t believe how I get through the crazy business of life. I tell them that I get through it with a whole lot of prayer and a whole lot of coffee. Both came from my family. I grew up in a religious home and everything revolved around prayer. The coffee came from my mom, she loves it, I picked up the habit my senior year of high school and I have not let it go. Prayer and coffee are my lifeline. =>)

Life will hand you some serious lemons, make the best batch of lemonade you can, and drink a giant big gulp cup of it in front of life. I’ve drunk several big gulp cups of lemonade in front of life. I’ve done my best to make the best lemonade from some sour lemons in life. I’ve had uncertainty and struggles with school, work, and health, but I’m thankful that lemonade has come from that. I’m grateful.

The lessons learned are only a small portion of the things that have shaped me. All of the lessons learned, just like the author in Educated, have contributed to who I am today, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.




The Reimagine Project Dares to Lead

Dare-to-Lead-Cover-Facebook (1)I am proud. I am proud of the leadership of GCC faculty and staff. Over the past few months I have seen faculty and staff courageously offer their thoughts and opinions of how to improve our district, campus, and our classrooms. The work of GCC faculty and staff have resulted in committees being created, campus calls to action, panel discussions, task force, etc. I wish I had the time and space to call everyone’s attention to several things that represent the sheer amount of tenacity, passion, and courage on our campus. I only have the time and the space to focus on one thing, so I will focus on the Reimagine Project.

The Reimagine Project is a project that centrally focuses on encouraging faculty to reimagine their classrooms with high impact classroom strategies. I am one of the individuals responsible for teaching our cohorts a specific strategy and assisting them with implementation in the classroom. The program was launched this academic year. The purpose of the project is to encourage faculty to try these strategies so that we can create the best learning environments that we possibly can for our students.

The Reimagine Project is daring to lead because they are addressing an important question from Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead, which is: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? Brown proposes doing it through vulnerability, values, trust, and learning to rise. Participants have to be vulnerable, which means being open to the process and trying new things in the classroom that they have never tried before. The program also encompasses all of GCC’s values which includes learning and quality. Participants also have to trust themselves and trust the facilitators guiding them through the experience. Finally, participants have to learn how to rise because they may experience failure along the way, and failure is not completely negative, it’s actually a lesson in disguise.

Shout out to to Jennifer Lane and Meghan Kennedy for creating the nuts and bolts of the program. Shout out to the institution for the support. Shout out to the participants who are engaged in the program. Shout out to the leads for guiding the participants through the strategy. I dare everyone to follow in their footsteps and dare to lead in the places and spaces of their profession. If you are already Daring to Lead, I encourage you to keep leading in this way, because you are having impact in the work that you do.