Have you ever had a time in your life where it feels like everything is falling in to place in an extraordinary way?
I am right in the middle of it! When I do get this feeling it usually involves a number of passions intersecting: teaching, photography, parenting, mental health. Right now, for me, four names keep cropping up: Tyler Durman, Ross Greene, Brene Brown, and Su-Ling Goh.
On Monday, Edmonton Public School Board had a professional development day and our catchment brought back Tyler Durman to speak. I first heard Tyler’s name when my principal gave me his book, Counterintuitive, to read last year. At that time, I ended up writing my annual Let’s Talk Day blog post, Seize the Awkward, where I talked about Tyler’s book and my take-aways for parenting, teaching and mental health, in general.
On Monday morning, Tyler talked more about stories and how stories “allow your brain to build simplified models of reality.” If you are on this blog it is likely because you know about my passion for storytelling photography. Just last week I presented Making Learning Visible: Photographing and Co-Creating Learning Stories at Teacher’s Convention and then completely coincidentally my Voluntography post got picked up by Global TV and I was on the Health Matters spot with Su-Ling Goh on Tuesday night! The link is in the caption below.
But back to Tyler…Monday afternoon a small group of us got to monopolize him and spend more time discussing teaching, leadership roles and building on our strengths. I was completely nerding out and, yes, I asked if we could take a picture together!
Tyler’s approach to working with kids fits seamlessly with what I have been learning about from Ross Greene. I had listened to Dr. Greene’s book, Raising Human Beings, a few years ago and I just saw him speak at Teacher’s Convention. With the support of our school’s Inclusive Learning Behaviour Consultant, I have been learning more about implementing Dr. Greene’s model of supporting students (and my own kids) with their unsolved problems.
Tyler’s session also had me thinking more about the personal work I am doing with a couple of girlfriends around Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead. Most recently, I have been clarifying my values. The values that define me. The values that are who I am at my best. The values that are a filter I use to make hard decisions. After a fair bit of soul searching, I decided on courage and connection. I’m still figuring out what it means, but they feel right.
One of the reasons that connection stands out to me is because of what Brene wrote about reaching out.
One of the most important benefits of reaching out to others is learning that the experiences that make us feel the most alone are actually universal. Regardless of who we are, how we were raised, or what we believe, all of us fight hidden, silent battles against not being good enough and not belonging enough.
When we find the courage to share our experiences and the compassion to hear other tell their stories, we force shame out of hiding and end the silence.
This is why I talk so much. Brene just says it better than I can.
Again, back to Tyler…thank you. I truly appreciate your time. Your stories and your way of looking at kids inspires me. I love the storytelling idea your shared of knowing your first line and your last line, but not scripting the middle of your story.
I hope our paths cross again.