This week, the resignation letter of a special education teacher in Florida has gone viral online. Through my friends and relatives who are teachers, and eventually others who read the letter and were moved to share it, I’ve seen it many times in my social network feeds in the last few days. Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D., decided to resign her teaching post after giving birth and realizing that she felt a sense of dread thinking about her new daughter attending the schools in which she teachers. In her letter, she writes: Continue reading Wendy Bradshaw’s Resignation: In the Absence of Competence Support
Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a national holiday designated to honor those who have served in the military and particularly those who lost their lives in service. I believe that an important part of honoring people who join the military service is providing them with the necessary care and support when they return home. Too often, returning veterans struggle with both physical injuries and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have physical, emotional, and cognitive effects, are increasingly common too among veterans returning from combat. Unfortunately not all veterans receive the care they need for a variety of reasons.
This Memorial Day, consider making a donation to one of these non-profit organizations that works to provide health care services to veterans:
In 2014, instead of making a single New Year’s Resolution, I decided to focus on doing one really awesome thing every quarter. I wanted a way to be more mindful about making adventurous and brave choices all year long, and I wanted a resolution that could offer me fun, learning, and great memories. Here’s the list of awesome things that I was able to do this year: Continue reading 2014: Looking Back on the Year of Awesome
That’s a joke–obviously my readership is much more robust than that. Obviously.
In all seriousness, whether you spend today opening gifts by a tree or just enjoying a day off, I hope this time of year brings some closure to the year past and a sense of hope and optimism for the year to come. Have a great week!
Thanksgiving is a good time to pause and reflect on your situation, whatever it is. I hope you have some blessings in your life to be thankful for. If you’re like most people, you probably also have some heartaches and disappointments. This time of reflection can be an opportunity to make plans for a brighter future. After all, there’s no reason to restrict resolutions to the new year.
A few things I urge you to do this Thanksgiving day: Continue reading Happy Thanksgiving!
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I see this prayer as describing the essential difference between Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, two leading but sometimes contradictory theories of helping people change negative thought patterns. Continue reading Psychology and the Serenity Prayer
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the same principles I valued back then for teaching are the same ones I emphasize today in thinking about coaching people to improve their health and happiness. Basically, I want to help people learn a set of skills that they can apply to the challenges they face in a way that helps them achieve meaningful goals. It’s sort of nice to see that these ideas have been percolating in my consciousness for a long time, and that in a different way than I’d planned, I’m living the dream.
Here’s the teaching philosophy (unedited, though I added some emphasis where things particularly caught my eye). Continue reading My Teaching Philosophy (and how I guess I never change!)
I’ve written about authenticity, or owning your quirks and individual differences and living into them, as a way to be happier. It’s true: Being true to yourself is a fast track to feeling happier both today and in the long-term. So why can it be so hard?
The fact is that expressing quirks or doing what you like when it’s different from what everyone else likes can sometimes be isolating or difficult. It takes strength to maintain authenticity when others are encouraging you in other directions. I’ve pulled together ten quotes that I think are helpful reminders to be true to yourself when times get tough. I hope you find mine helpful. What quotes keep you feeling good about being you? Continue reading Ten Inspirational Quotes About Being Authentically You
I really like what I do, so I don’t spend a lot of time regretting my educational and professional choices. That said, there are two major things I wish I’d done earlier in my career that I think would make me more successful (read: effective) today:
- Spent a semester or summer abroad. I’ve always loved languages, and have dabbled in several. For a while in graduate school, I even neared fluency in Spanish, being able to read full-on novels in a reasonable time span. But because I never spent an extended period of time relying on and experimenting with a language, I didn’t cement my knowledge. Not only does being multilingual open direct opportunities to work in other cultures, it also makes your cognitive structure more flexible and enhances creativity.
- Learned to program a website or a mobile app. Computer science was still a bit outside of the mainstream when I was in college so I never ventured into a class. I did teach myself some basic HTML (so I could have a rockin’ homepage with pics of my cats and my ear piercings), and that small skill is actually still useful today. I feel like I’d be a much more effective program designer if I were able to do at least some of the coding myself, if only to experiment with possibilities and communicate with software developers in more informed terms. I’m not even sure the programming language matters as much as developing some basic proficiency with technology.
Fortunately it’s not too late to pursue these skills, although it’s harder now than it would have been when I was a full-time student. I’m not sure I’ll ever have an opportunity to spend an extended period of time in another country speaking the language, given my full-time job and my full-time employed spouse. That doesn’t mean I can’t consume media in other languages, talk to native speakers, and travel. I’ve also really enjoyed using Duolingo to refresh basic grammar and vocabulary knowledge and to begin working on new languages.
Ditto on learning to program–given that I don’t seem to have natural talents in the area, it would be great if I could just add a class to my courseload, but nowadays I don’t have a courseload. I’ve been flirting with online educational tools to try to bridge the gap, although I haven’t found quite the right one for me yet. I tend to get frustrated when I’m not good at something and so most of my autodidactic attempts at programming end with frustration. Any suggestions of tools I could use to learn more programming would be much appreciated.