There is only hope in community.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt comfortable writing. Computers used to be tools for work and entertainment, but now looking into a screen literally nauseates me, scrolling on my phone nauseates me. I feel it on the floor of my stomach, rolling around and roaring like hunger.

Today’s learning:

I went to the inaugural event for Inheritance, a project from The Atlantic Monthly with the aim of amplifying and honoring Black history and Black stories. We’ve lost so many stories, which is why the ultra conservative right can make up so many stories about what Black people want, what Black people experience, what Black people deserve.

I learned that Anna Deavere Smith attended a pwi (primarily White institution) college (Beaver College at the time, now Arcadia University) where she was one of very few Black students. Of what I learned in the presentation, that is what really stuck. She was there when MLK, Jr. was murdered, and it wasn’t until that time that that Black women there began to see themselves as a group, the self-named “Beaver College Blacks.” They got some stuff changed at that school. Learn more: Here’s the article.

from artEquity’s For the Love of Justice Campaign

I’m thinking about what allyship looks like when only the-one-to-be-allied-with feels pain. I’m thinking about what allyship looks like when everyone is feeling pain, but different kinds of pain about different things. I’m thinking about what it means to be alone in pain.

I think, and I think, and I think, and then nausea. I realize that the nausea is emotion: helplessness, loneliness, overwhelm, and I have to lie down for a bit. I realize that I’m alone, that I’m thinking too much instead of feeling and working through my emotions in community, and that THIS is the problem.

When I ignore my feelings and get stuck in my brain, I’m hiding myself from myself. I end up wearing “the mask” that Paul Lawrence Dunbar reminds us “grins and lies.” The mask can be protective when we wear it at work, as Jodi Ann Burey points out in her TEDx Talk: “Why You Should NOT Bring Your Authentic Self to Work,” but when we wear it at home, by ourselves, we risk our lives.

I must remember to take my mask off sometimes and just allow myself to hurt, to rage, to do nothing sometimes. I’m drawn to Saundra Dalton-Smith’s ideas about the 7 Types of Rest in her TEDx Talk: “The Real Reason Why We Are Tired and What to Do About It. Sometimes, I just need to turn off my brain, write in my journal, sit in silence or listen to my space heater. I need ALL of the types of rest right now.

According to what little I know of Internal Family Systems theory, we are each one of us a community of selves. All of those selves need a chance to speak with each other, need to listen to each other, need to support and learn from each other, and need to learn when to let each other go. I’m talking to my internal selves and realizing that The Answer To Racism does not need to and cannot come from just me alone. It’s to big a monster to tackle.

I need to occasionally take off the mask of systems-changer, of world disrupter, and spend some time just being Nkomo: teacher/college counselor/group therapist in training. One thing at a time!

Day by day, my stomach is feeling a little better. Time for lunch.

Tips for leading online workshops without making everyone want to cuss you out (pt. 2)

Last week, I went to a 6-hour (!!) racial equity training workshop through Race Forward, an organization that, according to its website, “brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity.” I arrived 10 minutes late to that training right after having left another masterfully moderated, two-hour racial equity training for my school led by Altagracia Montilla, Chief Equity Officer at the Center for Supportive Schools.

Despite being absolutely zoomed out, I went to the level one training at Race Forward and left the 6 hours of training (after 2 previous hours of training) feeling absolutely invigorated and refreshed. I am the proof: it is possible to lead folx through 9 straight hours of zoom without your participants running screaming through the streets (with a mask on)! You just have to be strategic.

  1. Please make the space feel both comfortable and refreshing.

I can’t believe it, but it still appears to be true: there are still folx out there who insist on leading the saddest, most interminable chalk-and-talk meetings in the world. They are really eager to make boring workshops online feel exactly the same as boring IRL workshops, with nasty coffee, stale, soggy sandwiches, and really repetitive and tentative side conversations. Except they want to import that deeply uncomfortable feeling into your home. Don’t do this anymore!

Instead, try to re-create the loveliest, most wonderful in-person meeting experience you remember from the pre-covid days. Perhaps that meeting was a dinner party, or a wedding, or a movie date with a few buddies. Know what those things tend to have in common? Music! Relaxing, or invigorating; silly, or welcoming, or calming. Feel free to do all the normal meeting stuff, but add in a little more comfort.

Wouldn’t it be nice to log into a zoom and hear the peppy, yet calming, bass intro to Lovely Day by (the late) Bill Withers?

“Just one look at you / And I know it’s gonna be / A lovely day” — Me, when I look at my zoom screen and see a video playing this Bill Withers song.

Rule of thumb: play the music at about 30% of the volume that feels right. It’s louder for the participants than it is for you, if you are using the sharing your computer sound. And check in with participants to find a volume where they can hear the music and hear the voices of the facilitators without strain.

2. Turn the lights off. Metaphorically.

About *cough cough* years ago, when I was 27 years old, living on my own (and not in a dorm) for the first time, I threw my first party. Everyone arrived about an hour late, which I expected–except for a couple of friends from upstate, who didn’t know that parties in NYC DO NOT start on time–and I was excited for an evening of relaxation and fun jabber. But 1.5 hours into the actual party, there was still awkwardness in the air, even though everyone had a beverage, the music was great, and the finger food was really tasty. A friend pulled me aside, and told me the problem: “It’s too bright in here,” he said. “People won’t dance or talk to strangers if it feels like they’re on the subway.” And he was right. Moments after I loosened several light bulbs in my overhead fan (this was several months before I installed dimmers), I could see shoulders relaxing, and conversation getting interesting.

Online meeting shouldn’t feel like a party at a 27-year-old’s house, BUT they should be something that every participant has a chance to ease into. Usually, when you go to an IRL meeting, you have time to prepare yourself mentally for what will happen while you travel there. Maybe you get a moment or two in the elevator, or you head into the bathroom and look in to mirror, or you listen to an audiobook in your car. But you get to arrive there. This is not the case in Zoom. At least not for everyone, especially if your zoom is during the work day. You could have folx popping over to your zoom from a meeting that ended 5 minutes before, or they could have just been frantically searching all their emails to find the one right zoom ink among the thousands of zoom links so many of us receive daily.

Would you rather arrive to a meeting to see 10-100 faces staring at you, or to something lower stakes? I particularly enjoy nature scenes or a welcoming padlet full of the positive greetings of attendees for the few 5-10 minutes of a meeting, while everyone trickles in. Then you can start your meeting. Imagine clicking your zoom link and seeing this loveliness, along with greetings for you in the chat box. Relaxation. Welcome. Stress avoided.

3. Breaks.

Generally, Zoom fatigue sets in after about 1.5 hours. That doesn’t mean that your meeting has to be 1.5 hours, however. Rather, it means that you need to have a substantial break from the screen about every hour. And substantial doesn’t mean 5 minutes. It means 15 minutes away from the screen. There are lots of ways to handle the down time. My favorite way is to pick a good Spotify playlist, let folks know what time to come back, and screenshare a timer or youtube countdown like the one below (beware the alarm though; it’s really annoying):

Okay. That’s enough for installment 2. There is so much more to say. But there’s always more to say, and it’s time for my rest.

How I Failed to Avoid Thinking About September This Week

Me typing or zooming as my cat keeps me company.
  1. I’ve been thinking a lot this week about NYCDOE school reopening plans. While my mind still haven’t gotten my mind around the fact that there is a lethal, airborne illness that could kill me, I am very aware that my family, my students, and their families are susceptible. So does this mean we should all be remote? What, then, of the families who need someone to look after their kids while parents work? What, then of ELL students? Or of students with special needs? Should we all go back to school (part-time at most)? What about the fact that NYC public school buildings are old, and that even during bull markets when NYC is flush with cash, our public school buildings have poorly functioning bathrooms with no soap? And many of our students attend classes in rooms without windows? How will we fix these issues while broke and understaffed, if we can’t do it in the “best” of times?
  2. I’ve attended so many zoom workshops/webinars/meetings this week. Here are the ones I attended:
  3. There are also quite a few that I meant to attend but didn’t have the capacity for on that day:
  4. I have so much to say about all of these events, including the ones I could not attend, but for now, just know that my brain is breaking open with all of the knowledge I’m currently accumulating. More to be shared soon!

Corona Teaching – Month 2

So, it’s been a while, and a lot has changed. I’m no longer teaching 8th grade, for one. Instead, I’m teaching 7th grade. And now, instead of being the SpEd Teacher and the English teacher, I’m now the Humanities teacher, and I have a lovely co-teacher, who mostly pulls kids out and helps with one-on-one work and building beautiful relationships with the kids, and a para who officially only works with one child in the class but occasionally lectures everyone when the students are behaving poorly.

Or rather, that was the way things were a couple of months ago, before all of this Corona mess began. I really should have been keeping up with this blog the whole time, but I didn’t because frankly, I was burned out.

This year has been a difficult year. Not only was this particular seventh grade class incredibly creative, interested, and social, but they were INCREDIBLY creative, INCREDIBLY interested (but not really in the content, unfortunately), and INCREDIBLY, UNCEASINGLY social. And often mean to one another. And sometimes to me. I was burned out and tired everyday. I was frustrated a lot, too.

But that was all pre-COVID-19. Now, all has changed.

First, rumors of a virus started going global, and right in the middle of sickness season. I was very proud of myself because I was right in the middle of a mass hysteria unit, and got to relate everything we read about in the news to “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” and the “War of the Worlds” broadcast. “Are we overreacting to this news of Coronavirus?” I asked my kids, hoping that I was being provocative enough that they would stop talking for a moment and engage with school. For once, they seemed moderately engaged!

In those last two weeks of school, as NYC teachers and parents petitioned Mayor DeBlasio to close schools, a microcosm of what would soon be happening in the outside world was already happening at school. Non-Asian kids were jokingly accusing perfectly healthy Asian kids of having Coronavirus (as a joke, but things go really quickly from joke to threat in middle school, sometimes even within one spoken sentence). Then students started accusing everyone who was wearing a mask of having Coronavirus, and then, finally, schools went remote. Then standardized tests were cancelled, then shelter-in-place, then city-wide mask requirements.

At first, I was frankly glad of the rest. January to March are the burnout months, when the weather is cold, everyone is stressed out about upcoming standardized tests, flu season is wrecking everyone, the chlidren begin to smell, teachers stop getting enough sleep, and summer feels years away. Students start getting irritable, which makes teachers irritable, which makes students even MORE irrritiable, which makes parents angry, which makes admin frustrated, and everyone just spews anger, irritation, and frustration at each other until allergy season, when the students start taking allergy medication and sleep in class. It’s a tough time.

So this year, I got to skip all that. But with standardized testing gone, I realized that I’d lost my way. Without the pressure of having to force kids to make arguments, and with the added pressure of looking for ways to engage students’ minds without traumatizing them (this is ALWAYS my aim, but it’s much easier for a kid to feel traumatized in the midst of a pandemic), I had to take a  good, hard look at what my teaching had become: uninspiring. I’d been trained into this.

I was interested in my content but not inspired, my kids were occasionally interested in it but never inspired, and I’m not sure I did a good job of selling the usefulness of the skills I was teaching.

After 16 years of teaching secondary school–11 in high-poverty settings–I realized that I’d lost my way. For years, I’d been wondering where the great ideas I’d had as a new teacher had gone, and I realized that my strict adherence to the Common Core (though, a lot less strict than many other teachers) had more or less destroyed my creativity as a teacher. I’m not against Common Core, not a bit, but in my desire to fully master that sort of teaching, I eliminated the other, creativity-sparking kind.

I had to re-learn what it is one can teach a student when the ultimate goal isn’t necessarily an essay or a multiple-choice test designed to confuse and trick you. Over the next few entries, I’m going to bring anyone who is reading this along on the journey I’ve taken to rediscover my teaching love while in quarantine.

I’m still mid journey, but you’re welcome to come along!

7 Ways to Build Stronger Relationships with Students

It’s one thing to philosophize about students in the summer; the fall is when the pedagogical rubber hits the road.

I’ve mentioned that I want to strengthen my relationships with students this year. Why? Because as the late Dr. Rita Pierson said, “students don’t learn from teachers they don’t like.” And I want my students to learn. A LOT.

So, this year, I’m aiming to be a teacher students like. And no, not in a buddy-buddy way, but in a way that students know I have their best interests at heart.

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
Start small. Lots of small gestures add up to big feelings for kids.

I’ve attempted to foster relationships, so far, in several ways:

1. I’m teaching a low-stakes computer science class through Exploring Computer Science. There is no regents exam connected to the course, there is no homework in the course, and students drive most of the classwork. It’s fun and curiosity driven. It engages the kids. They learn in spite of themselves. The course isn’t even called “computer science.” It’s called “Solving Problems with Creativity, Art, and Technology.” We call it CAT Class, for short.

2. I’m trying to bring more fun into classes I co-teach. I wear silly hats, wigs, cat ears (ahem, CAT class), and try to incorporate games and interesting current events. This is an approach I’ve stolen from Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a Pirate methodology.

 

A picture of the author wearing a pirate hat and wig.
I look just like Christopher Columbus. This is a very serious picture.

3. I’m always on the lookout for free or PAID opportunities and contests for students at my school. Even the more ornery ones know that I’m the teacher who will help them out. Opportunities I’ve helped students get since June: paid summer experience with the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, writing opportunities with Teen Reviewers and Critics Program, Internship with Metropolitan Museum of the Arts. I’m pretty sure that at least two more students will get into BAM’s Dancing into the Future program, as well.

4. I’m interviewing SpEd students about their goals and future plans so I have a lot I can write meaningful IEPs. Not only does it make the IEP easier to write, but the kids like answering questions about themselves. I’ve been using this survey because it has questions about their horse riding and car racing experiences that make my inner city students giggle. Curiously, I’ve learned that quite a few of my kids go bowling on a regular basis.

5. In one-on-one conversations, I’m giving advice less and listening and asking questions more. This is something I’m doing in my life, in general, inspired by The Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols.

6. I’m being nice to myself. This is an important one. I used to beat up on myself a lot for not being better at lots of things. And when I felt frustrated at myself, the emotion spilled over onto my kids. Teens are living, emotion-sensing machines, and they know when you are feeling bad. Of course, they assume it’s about them and get defensive. So it’s important to try to feel good.

 

The author's hand with a cat sleeping on it.
Having a cat who will lay on my arm whenever he wants helps me feel good. Sorta. Not so much when I want to type, but otherwise…

7. I’m learning every thing I can about being emotionally supportive. I’m researching schools and youth organizations with Restorative Justice practices. In fact, I’m leading an affinity/research group on restorative justice that you are welcome to join if you are in NYC. Sign up here (public school teachers in NYC will be paid per session!): Sign up for The Restorative Justice Affinity Group.

 

 

 

Our Students Need More Time to Reflect and Prepare

It’s been a spell, and for that I apologize. I’ve been busy trying to get back into the grind of being IN BED at 10 p.m., up at 5:30 a.m. (because I am slow in the morning and need time to get my wits about me).

This year I have the best schedule EVER. I have a first period class three days a week teaching the Exploring Computer Science curriculum, which is fun. Five days per week, I have second period OFF to PLAN. Then five days per week, I co-teach two classes. Then lunch. Then advisory two days per week. Then co-teaching two more classes, then done! Or, well, done TEACHING. Still have to grade, eat, meditate, etc.

 

graphic showing all the different things to consider in managing time
There are so many aspects to time management. Perhaps we just need to allow ourselves more time.

Having breaks throughout the day does wonders for my state of mind. Frequent breaks give me time to get my materials together and to get my head right for the next task I have to do.

I have to wonder if many breaks during the day would help our students, as well. How many of them go from room to room having forgotten their books, their pens or pencils, some paper to write on, or a trip to the bathroom? So many.

A picture of a bomb
When a student comes to class without the right materials or frame of mind, they are a ticking frustration bomb.

Unlike a lot of teachers, I’m not organized by nature. It’s something I have to work on a lot. I have learned all my organizational systems from books. Except one: I give myself lots of time to complete tasks. Remember what I said about getting up at 5:30 a.m.? I don’t actually leave my house until around 7 a.m. I only need 20 minutes to get ready, but I always think of something else to do in the morning. Maybe I want to spend extra time with my cat.

Cat sitting on open laptop
Okay, so maybe he DEMANDS that I play with him in the morning.

Maybe the weather report didn’t quite match the weather outside, and I need to come back in and get a warmer coat or lighter sweater. Maybe my mom (yes, this happens) decides to call at an inopportune hour. Maybe NPR plays a song that I MUST SHAZAM IMMEDIATELY.

How can we provide students with more time to think in class? How can we change the school day to allow for real reflection and not just academic channel-flipping every few minutes? Yes, I’m a special education teacher, but this isn’t just a special education accommodation. I think a lot of students need more time to think.

How to Make Worksheets POP! Part II

I recently wrote How to Make a Worksheet POP!, a super-simple primer on how to make beautiful worksheets for your classes.

Recently, I found two other tools that I think will further strengthen your worksheet design. At the end of the post, you’ll get to see a “before” and an “after.”

1. Canva

Canva Landing Page
Canva Landing Page

Canva is a FREE, easy-to-use design program for making worksheets, posters, or invites. Maybe you’re not so familiar with MS Word. Maybe you’re just tired of the MS Word look and fonts.

Canva isn’t a miracle. You may need to do a lot of tweaking to get the look you want, but it’s a great starting point.

 

2. Hemingway App

Screenshot of Hemingway App LandingPage
Screenshot of Hemingway App LandingPage

I don’t know about you, but I’m out of writing practice. I like Hemingway App because I can use it for writing worksheets, grant applications, cover letters–lots of  stuff. It’s like having a second set of eyes that make sure I write clearly.

The app doesn’t write FOR YOU; it color codes your writing so you can see what you should consider rewriting.

Unfortunately, this app isn’t free. It’s $6.99 for the desktop/laptop version, which is a multi-computer license. But! It’s worth it if you struggle with having too much jargon in your worksheets. It’s also worth it if, like me, you struggle with using too many asides.

 

Fun Fact: The app isn’t perfectly named; actual writing by Hemingway doesn’t always score well! This is no biggie, since common sense understanding of Hemingway’s writing style is based on many untruths.

 

If you’re a writing nerd, here’s a great article about the app from The New Yorker that explains why Hemingway doesn’t “write like Hemingway.”

Those who favor more of a Joseph McElroy approach to writing will just find this app annoying.

Name drop moment: I took a class with Prof. McElroy, and he is a sweet man with a first-rate mind and a love of writing and reading. His writing takes lots of concentration to read, though. He enjoys complex ideas and long, long sentences. Word nerd.

Feeling awesome moment: I used HTML to design part of this page. Thanks, Codeacademy!

See “Before” and “After” after the jump.

Continue reading “How to Make Worksheets POP! Part II”

5 Ways to Bring Career Education into Your Classroom

When I was a high school student, I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Why? Because I liked to write in my

A picture of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye
I wanted to be just as rich as J.D. Salinger, but much less world avoidant.

journal, I got a kick out of writing and reading poetry (in English and in Spanish in the style of Lorca, thankyouverymuch), I enjoyed writing letters (remember those?) to friends and to (gasp!) prisoners, I had fun writing (admittedly terrible) essays for English and History classes, and because I thought it was a great way to become wealthy and famous when I was older.

No one told me that I could publish a book if I put my mind to it but that I was unlikely to grow rich from it. Frankly, I’m not sure that I would have appreciated it very much if someone had shared that important wisdom with me. I was too young to hear it (though hear it I did, in a wonderful book by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird that I read when I was 23), and it didn’t really matter anyway. Because my belief that I could and would become the most wealthy of professional writers pushed me to try very hard in my English classes in high school, college, and for a few beloved years after college when I still pursued a writing career. I was encouraged at every turn to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. I was encouraged to write for the school newspaper, for the school literary magazine, for the alumni magazine, to visiting poets.

For students who have IEPs and who may or may not pursue college education because of (unfortunately) long-term self-esteem and resilience damage from lots of school failure, such encouragement in the job skills that are also academic skills is SO important. Here are some ways to use students’ desires for future occupations (even very unlikely ones) to help them engage in academic work:

1. Ask them what they want to do for a living, and if they have an IEP, incorporate that desire into both their transition plan and in all of their yearly goals. For instance, if little Jessica wants to be a professional singer when she grows up, make sure to mention in her math goal something about the importance of understanding fractions for reading musical notations and understanding rhythm to help her pursue her goal of become a musician.

2. Whenever possible, connect what you are doing in class to the occupation that the student is interested in clearly and directly. Don’t just show dance videos that are interesting in your study of a piece of literature on dance, but specifically say to the students, “Hey, I know some of you want to be professional dancers. Here are some dances that you might not know the names of and that you might consider learning a little bit about for your future careers.” Or something less awkwardly worded than that, haha.

Encouragement in the job skills that are also academic skills is SO important for students who have struggled a lot in school.

3. If you know someone in the industry your student is interested in, see if you can connect the two of them via email or phone or Voxer or Skype (with parental permission, of course) or Twitter. Make sure to have the person talk (or write) to the student about how academics connects directly to the occupation SEVERAL TIMES. And if you don’t know someone in that industry, meet someone using the power of the internet. Often times a nice letter from a high school kid will get a response from a professor, an author, a (not incredibly famous) singer, a government official. Reach out! And ask parents/guardians to help you reach out, too!

4. Set up a work study opportunity or internship for the student or help them actually apply for jobs after school or during the summer. I teach in Brooklyn, NY, so there are loads and loads of free and paid opportunities for students to pursue all sorts of interests. I like to let students know about opportunities I hear about through the weekly school announcements.

Youth Rules! DoJ screenshot
Youth Rules! is a Dept. of Labor initiative to get young workers informed about laws and expectations for working teens. http://www.youthrules.dol.gov/index.htm

 

5. For kids who really aren’t on track to graduate, try to get them involved in a career training program so that they have something in pocket if it turns out that coming back for a fifth or sixth year of high school is too stressful or embarrassing. Here in NYC, there are plenty of job training programs for kids from low-income families. Then there is also Job Corps, which is a federally funded program.

And that’s all she wrote! What other suggestions do you have to get school-wary teens engaged with academics? Let me know in the comments so I can steal your ideas and give my students all the tools they need to take over the world mwa ha ha ha ha!

The Most Important Part of Teaching Is…

I’m 38 years old (ssssh), and I’m a little heavier than I was at age 28. I’ve known my doctor for a long time, and for years I’ve been going to see him every summer for my annual checkup. I know he’s a competent doctor. I know he cares for my well being. But this year, I’ve been dragging my heels. Can you guess why (hint: it’s in the first sentence)?

Because last summer, when I went to see him, he commented on me gaining weight, told me that I should hurry up and have a child because menopause comes as early as 40 for some women, and then asked if I’m engaged to anyone. (The answer is no.)

A picture of Captain Kirk from Star Trek, being mean.
Oh, Captain Kirk, you can be so cruel.

He was joking around, but it sounded a whole lot like, “You are a failure.” And this, despite my knowledge that he’s a great doctor for me, he sees me at a moment’s notice if I’m really ill, and he genuinely cares for my well-being.

But choosing to not engage with my doctor this summer isn’t about logic; it’s about emotions. It’s about me wanting to avoid possible negative emotions. The funny thing is that if he knew I felt this way, he probably wouldn’t have said those things. How was he supposed to know that those are hot button issues for me? I don’t actually look overweight, and I actually enjoy my lovely, child-free life in many ways. Despite all appearances to the contrary, unfortunately, what he said really hurt.

Of course, students are the same way. If you speak sternly to a students on Monday, he will walk in Tuesday with that bad interaction at the top of his mind. And either he’ll act super sweet because of it, or he’ll tune you out. He may avoid or skip your class. Your job, as an educator of CHILDREN, is to let that kid know that yesterday was yesterday, and today is today. Your job is also to let your student know that even when you make a social mistake (and let’s face it, sometimes teachers make mistakes!), it’s not from a dark place in your heart.

I know this is easier said than done. That’s why I’m really excited to see a rebranding being touted by the folks over at the National Center for Learning Disabilities called Understood. Apparently the new site will have some new, innovative features to help families manage learning disabilities that can make schooling difficult. Here’s the part that really interests me, though:

Through Your Child’s Eyes: Experience the world as your child does. Simply select your child’s issue and grade. From there you’ll be guided through a simulation of what it’s like for a child with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD or executive functioning issues.”

I’m SO EXCITED for this feature. If the Through Your Child’s Eyes feature works as well as it could, it could open up teachers’ and parents’ eyes to the understanding that despite the way things seem to be, sometimes the things we say to students and others we care for can hurt them deeply. Empathy is the way of the future (and the past, and of all time).

reference.com definition of Empathy
Empathy makes the Special Education world go ’round.

And that’s a message for you too, DOCTOR!