Hale Welcome back to love sweating tears ingredients for transformative campus leadership. Today we have Tina been on the podcast. Tina is an incredible speaker and author. She provides PD in person and virtually on all things related to teaching multilingual learners. We go real deep in this podcast kind of past just basic pedagogy when you're teaching multilingual learners, and into some of the deeper kind of relational side of teaching someone that comes from a different background than you do, whether that's culturally or language, or even when we're talking about different belief systems, about how to listen really well how administrators can listen can be fully present, without kind of absorbing some of the trauma that they're hearing. She provides a lot of really great practical tools every time she'd be talking. And I'd have in my head to think, Okay, can you give me an example, she would just naturally do it. She's an incredible presenter, and just such a great rich resource, I cannot wait for you guys to get into this episode. So let's dive in to Tina bean. It's so great to chat with you today and get to know more about what you're doing and why you're so excited for it. But I really like to start with our guests kind of hearing about their school experiences, because that informs how we come to do this work and education and our past experiences are so important. And I don't know, I'm telling our story. And I love to hear people's stories. So tell me a little bit about what school was like for you, and what kind of student were you were and what your relationship with education was advocate.
Okay, so yeah, I grew up in a very small and rural part of Texas, it's incredibly isolated. So it's 90 miles to the closest interstate. And even that, yeah, even then you're still in a pretty isolated part of where West and Central Texas meet. So people are divided over whether it's West Texas, Central Texas, but it's about as like two and a half hours north of Austin. So growing up out there, I had a really stable education. And I went to school with the same kids from kindergarten through graduation. And it was a small to a school, which for out of state people, you know, there were 400 people in the high school and 80 kids in my class, and it was one of the bigger schools in the county. So my experience was, you know, I was a big fish in a little pond, and the school was incredibly easy and validating for me, and I had some success with URL. So I had a place to belong, you know, where my need to argue was validated. So, right, there weren't a lot of places and a lot of platforms for, you know, people to do what I was doing. And so, in my household, that was a really valuable activity. We did a lot of, there was a lot of banter, there was a lot of literacy. But I come from a blue collar family. And so most of my family worked in the oil field, and my dad was, he climbed polls, and you know, it was all writer and so, but also, there was a lot of literacy and a lot of language. And so school was easy for me, and also really engaging for me socially, not so successful when you like diagrams, and it's just for fun, that does not, in fact, bring all the boys to the yard. So it was pretty easy to keep my focus on college and you know, being the first person in my family to get to go. And yeah, so school was was a place where I have found a lot of my identity, but there was a very specific type of identity that you could have and you ascribe to certain values. So there wasn't a lot of diversity of experience. It wasn't any diversity of experience, or really much genetic diversity, you could very easily accidentally go to prom with your cousin. So in that sense, I didn't grow up with a lot of discord because I didn't grow up with a lot of opportunity to see different lifestyles or you know, different religions or different perspectives. Right. And so in my family, we really value that. But we also didn't experience on a day to day basis what happens when people from different groups come together. And so that leads us kind of into education and what I do now, which is really helping people from different backgrounds have a successful educational experience when maybe they don't have the same religious beliefs or the same, you know, experience or lived experience or linguistic experience. Yeah,
I love it so much being from El Paso. On the border, it's such a mishmash of cultures of Mexico and Texas and New Mexico and indigenous tribes and all of that and excites me so much that there are people out there sharing those skills with folks that didn't have the chance to come by it as a child or didn't develop those. I can't wait to talk. But I want to know how you came to this kind of work. Like, clearly you didn't set out from high school with that. So what what happened in your life that led you to this area?
Yeah, so um, well, it was a couple of things, a huge part of it is, I owe most of my success. Like, if I were to win a major award, the person I would need to, to like if they had, you know, Anime Awards for people who worked in multilingual learner professional development, like, if that was the thing, then the first person I would have to thank would be honestly Carmen Sandiego. Because that PBS show, where in the world is Carmen Sandiego, was the first time I learned about geography, you know, and the first time that I learned about like, the you could travel the world, and I just, I wanted to be her. So mostly, my whole career is me just trying to be Carmen Sandiego, when I grow up. So that was it was that. And then I had one high school classmate, you know, we all started kindergarten together, like I was saying, and then by high school, I had one person who became my partner in Spanish class. And I found out that she actually spoke Spanish at home, but didn't let the rest of us know, right, because that was something that she was not proud of. And it wasn't something that would have been celebrated in our community at all. And so it was learning that there was access in my community that I didn't know about, you know, what I mean? Like I could have, if I, if I known, you know, Maggie well enough to, for her to confide in me earlier, you know, I could have been more involved with her family and culture, like I missed out on opportunity. And I was surprised that she wasn't celebrating it, you know, it was like, Dude, you are like Carmen Sandiego already, like it is going to be so much easier for you than it is for me. And so, thinking about her, and just how brilliant she was, and the fact that she wasn't just like, screaming from the rooftops about this, you know, superpower that she had, when all I wanted was that skill. That was a big part of it, of how I ended up in this role. And then just all of my experiences and other countries and, you know, meeting people from all over the world, they've all been like, as cool or cooler than my relatives, you know, and so. So, and I've, I've had the opportunity, having grown up in a rural environment, and then living in an urban environment, you know, just living a completely different life than the one I was raised in. I've known great people, and in all the different circumstances and all the different places. And I've seen that, like, my beliefs have changed, but my values haven't changed, right. And so part of what got me into this work was I value education, and I was going to do a one woman Teach for America. Before I went to law school, you know, I was going to be a bilingual teacher, emergency certified. This was 20 years ago now. But I was going to do one year of teaching, and then go to law school, and then work in education from that area. So educational law. But then I realized there was just so much more I could do, practically, you know, staying in the system and trying to fix it from the inside. Plus, I met amazing bilingual teacher colleagues who were just a ton of fun. And I was like, why would I throw over these awesome people to go hang out with people in law school who are not going to be nearly as awesome as my current colleagues? Right. So there was a lot that went into, yeah, how I ended up here.
Okay, so did you study that in college? You went to college and studied? No, no,
not at all. I was. No, I studied International, like international studies with a focus on Latin American economies. So I was into Yeah, Latin American economics was really fascinating to me. So I spent time in Costa Rica and a little time in Nicaragua, while I was still in college, and then thought, again, one woman, teacher, America while I figure out what I want to be when I grow up, right, so I got hired at a job fair. So I know a lot of administrators are concerned now because they have a lot of teachers who are alternatively certified or not certified at all. And so they're coming in with, you know, zero training or experience. And one of the first things I like to tell them as I was one of those teachers, like I had not seen a lesson plan, I had not observed a teacher and my certification program didn't start until after school started. So all of my knowledge came from teaching Vacation Bible School and having younger cousins was like, you know, that's all I knew. So, I ended up being a pretty decent As a teacher, and as much as I prefer professional development of teachers to having my own actual classroom, and I know this is more of my skill set, I still think the same way and behave a lot of the same ways as I did as a beginning teacher. And so, you know, just a little bit of professional development goes a long way. When it comes to preparing teachers for, you know, for the classroom, and when I as an outside person come in, honestly, I never can tell who went through a certification program and who didn't, you know, when I go to teachers classrooms, a lot of times I'll hear oh, yeah, that teacher actually, six months ago, she was working at Bath and Bodyworks Yeah, we don't, we don't really know. But she's awesome. You know, and then you'll have people who are like, my great grandmother founded the education system in this state and her you know, and, and they're using the same methodology as their great grandmother, you know, and you're like, Man, I really need you, you have all the pedigree, but that doesn't translate to instruction in your room. So that is something that I'm really passionate about is not judging teachers based on their experience, but do give them some grace for those who have not had the opportunity to study, you know, the zone of proximal development and may not know about the gradual release model, you know, but that there is a lot that goes into teaching that is still so much an art that can't be learned in the classroom, but just has to be learned through experience or through, you know, hopefully responsive professional development, that would be great. Yeah,
hopefully, we're trying to make it happen. Um, so talk to me, what, what was the process, like when you realized that you really kind of find your your niche in teaching teachers in that instructional development in the coaching? Like, you're in the classroom, you're enjoying that? And then at some point, you branch out into PD, what was that journey? Like for you? Yeah,
so on my campus, I was a classroom teacher, right when they first started having campus based instructional support. So we call it an academic specialist or an instructional specialist. And the rule was, for ours, it was just for bilingual teachers. So you had to be bilingual, you certified and you had to have a master's degree. And I had just finished my master's that semester. And there were only two of us on our campus who had this qualification. And my principal was very adamant about not letting anybody from the outside and because he was doing a lot of things that were not kosher. And so he was going to hire from someone on his campus. And so really, he came down to me and one other person. And so that is just one of those things where I was in the right place at the right time. And just full of so much enthusiasm and energy that he was like, Oh, bless her heart, like, she's not gonna know any better, you know what I mean? So it's honestly a testament to the other candidate that he chose me. So, because he just thought, you know, I'm sure he thought that he could just, well, for example, in our first instructional meeting that I was in with the other assistant principals and the other instructional specialists, I went in with my notepad, all my ideas, you know, here's what I think we should do. And after the meeting, one of the assistant principals pulled me aside and she said, he doesn't actually like for anyone to speak in those meetings, like he's required to have them, but we're not actually and I'm telling you all this, because this man has since surrendered his certificate. So I'm I'm not, you know, I'm not harming anyone's career. So all of that to say, coming out of the classroom was a very rude awakening, but very informative, and definitely taught me about the power that administrators have in terms of the tone on their campus and, and the contribution that people make, because, you know, they were brilliant, they were all other women. So I will say there were brilliant women sitting around the table, you know, for brilliant women with master's degrees and ideas and decades of experience, and nobody was speaking because the principal didn't value that on that campus. And you know, so that was my first experience. But pretty quickly, I was able to do professional development for the whole district through the bilingual ESL department, so providing support for our bilingual teachers for like necessary updates that we do every year or initial training on best practices for language acquisition. And while I was doing that, I developed a relationship with a company that we use to provide professional development at the time and then ended up working with them part time and then just really fell into loving professional development on a hopefully eventually global scale right now just you know, domestic US scale. But really love to see different systems and different campuses and the way that different states do things. Yeah, has been amazing.
Hmm, I love that. I like to ask my guests this question and it's kind of a hardware to answer but as you've been in this space for a while, what changes? Have you seen that actually give you hope that make you think, okay, we can move this train in a positive direction? What things are you excited that make you marvel at what can come at the possibilities rather than just I think we spend a lot of time either afraid or worried or concerned with rightfully so. But what have you seen change that makes you excited?
I've seen an evolution. And I'll say this, like for the entire country, not specific to Texas, but an evolution and just how we think about multilingual learners and what it means for a student to have more than one language happening in their brain and in their home. And we've started to talk about that in different ways. And so that is really hopeful, in that gives me hope. And I've also noticed that we're doing more to prepare teachers in terms of, we'll see a lot in the next year or two here, specifically in Texas, because I'm also Texas based, I'm in the Dallas Fort Worth area. And so we'll see more and more support for getting teachers certified to be bilingual and ESL teachers and really preparing us to serve and our students to exist in a in a system that we cannot predict at all what it's going to be like. So I'm optimistic about that. I'm also optimistic because I think more and more people are catching on to the work that needs to be done around just having conversation and just listening in general. And so all of that kind of ties together and listening to what your students need listening to what your teachers need, and supporting them, as we deal with, you know, changes constantly in how we deliver instruction, and you know, to whom it's delivered. Yeah,
while we're here, kind of on this topic of English language learners, what what do you feel like you would love to see administrators do differently or do better to support their ELLs on campus to support their ELL staff,
I think the biggest thing that we can do to support students and staff who are impacted on a day to day basis by the challenges of not being fully proficient in the language of school that's happening and not having access to just a lifetime of knowledge about like, what the PSAT is and what it means and why we do you know, all these things that we take for granted, just about how school works, are, it's all new information for a student who's coming in from a different country. And then you have a completely different set of challenges when you're dealing with students who are exposed to a multitude of language and culture, experiences that don't necessarily correlate to an academic language experience. So what I mean is a kid who's growing up, maybe he was growing up here, but their parents grew up somewhere else. And they are exposed to a multitude of culture and language, but they're not taking advanced calculus in Farsi, they're just hearing it at home, right? But it's still a part of who they are, how do we get that kid to bring that to school, I'm really optimistic about how principals are being more open to and just as a culture, how we're being more open to kids bringing our whole selves to school, I'm still really optimistic about that. So as an administrator, I think that one of the most important things is to listen, and to listen actively knowing the most of what people are going to tell you. You can't do much about like when a teacher comes to you, and they're frustrated, because they're newcomer isn't going to be successful on the common district wide assessment that you're giving in a week. And the teacher knows that on their data, it's going to show three kids, we're definitely not going to pass this because they just got here three weeks ago, right. And they speak, you know, French, like a French version of French Creole that you don't have anybody else to speak. And you're still trying to figure out if they could, you know, maybe right and calculus, but I also I don't know yet. So, in that situation, that teacher is going to come to you and as a principal, you can't fix it. But you can acknowledge that, that's tough for you and for the kid and I see you I see the kid and we're all going to get there eventually. So being able to listen to your teachers knowing that you probably can't fix the problem if you can. That's amazing. Because then you get to feel like Oprah and it's great for everybody that dopamine is real for everybody in that situation. But even if you can't, if you can listen actively, like you are present and people can tell on a fundamental level if you're present or not. If you can really listen and not start to think about what you were on your way to do before this teacher stopped you. You know, that makes a huge difference and know that it most of the time that people are going to give you space to talk. And they're going to give you the floor and are going to probably validate whatever you say, because there you've got a power imbalance here, you often have a situation where the person who is you know that you're talking to maybe coming from a different culture, a different background where they don't necessarily have equal footing and conversation with the person who's in charge. And so they're going to defer to you not even intentionally, subconsciously, it's going to be really hard for you not to do all the talking in your conversations. So being intentional about making space and waiting way longer than you think you should, so that somebody else has a chance to respond before you speak, is really huge.
You do a lot of that work, right of teaching listening and listening skills. Let's talk like when you say listening, what does that look like? How does that how does someone know if they're really listening? So what I bring to
this area is a lot of passion and a lot of lived experience. Because when I was growing up, you know, we were always taught a couple of things about arguing, and one was you can't respond physically to the verbal, so you can never end, you can never escalate an argument into the physical component. So you always have to keep fighting with your words, like if it started with words, it's got to end with words. And you've got to control your own emotions so that you don't get so involve that you're having such a heightened response that you can't hear what the other person is saying. So listening requires that you are in a place internally where you can receive information. And what I've learned through my work is most of the time people don't realize when they are not in that state and just how much time they spend, not being able to take in what they're hearing. And so when you're talking about an administrator who's constantly receiving information, and every piece of information you receive, the person who's giving it to you, expects you to retain it, and usually take action on it. What we know about the brain, and I am not a neurologist, or neuroscientists, I would point you to the work of Dr. Judy Willis for this. She's a neuroscientist turned educator. And so are neurologist turned educator, I'm sorry, I don't even know which like brain genius doctor, it is, whatever. If somebody just brings up the brain person, Dr. Judy Willis, she does a lot around. What happens when the amygdala is highly active is you cannot retain information. And so anything that triggers a response in you, that feels threatening, and we can feel threatened by the most ridiculous things. Like I'm one of those people who really struggles to respond to emails, like it's like I, I'm just scared of them, I find them very intimidating. So responding to an email really stresses me out. And I will have a physical response to that, right. That's real dumb. Like, that's not that email is not actually a threat to me. But I have to be aware that I'm having an emotional response. So when it comes to listening, really noticing, like, what's my heart rate doing? How am I breathing right now? Am I tense? And, you know, you've probably got some teachers on your campus, who, when you see them coming down the hall, like your body just kind of tightens because you're like, Oh, God, they want something and I can't, you know, it's so hard to listen to that person, because we start to have that emotional response. So I would say, Yeah, monitor yourself. And notice, are you able to stay present, even if you know, you can't fix it, if you can't, you know, handle what they're telling you. Like, if you can just be present. And listen, that's a huge part of it. It's also not listening, if you're just waiting to say your part, you know, and you're just waiting for them to stop talking. That's, that's not listening. So you have to be seeking to understand, you know, just trying to understand where the person is coming from not trying to fix it, not trying to change it, just trying to understand like, especially if they're real, real wrong, like how did they get there? Because they're probably not the only person who has that belief, or that thought, so where did they? Where did they, you know, kind of branch off from your thinking, like, Where was that separation? And what do we need to do about that?
Those are all really good. Do you ever talk about like specific methodologies or scripts to use when someone has recognized I'm not very good at listening? What can I do to be a better listener for my staff? Oh, yeah,
that's a great question. Um, I also bring a lot of lived experience with this as somebody who has done couples counseling at the end of two very, not super successful marriages, but very successful divorce. pieces that came as a result of doing a lot of couples counseling. And the biggest thing both times was parenting back to or saying back to your partner what you think they said, like what you heard from what they said, and then giving yourself time to like marvel at how very different those couple of things are. So at the point that you realize, I didn't really hear, I don't think I heard what they said, do them the courtesy of trying to say back what you think you heard, because that also helps the other person to say like, wait a minute, I'm what I'm hearing what I think I'm hearing you say is, so what I like to say is what I think I'm hearing you say is or if I don't want to blow it, I'll just don't want to give away that I haven't heard I'll say, tell me more about that. And hope that while they're telling me more about it, I can figure out what it is they're talking about during that time. So tell me more about that is a great one. Why you just need a second? Because people are always willing to tell you more about that. And if Yeah, again. So what I'm hearing you say is tell me more about that. And what I'm hearing you say is,
I love it. I love it so much. Um, let's, let's talk emotional agility. You talk about this a lot. And I want to kind of really understand when you say emotional agility, what that means and why it's important.
Yes. So we and we, we have in the notes will we have like that list of the things that I was recommending, like that book or whatever that I suggested. Okay. So that's where this comes from. So Susan, and I want to make sure I get her last name, right? Do you have that pulled up,
I do want
to make sure that I credit her properly.
I must have scrolled past it. Where's whereas it? Susan Davis. Okay, so Susan,
David, I'm newly obsessed with her. So she does a lot of work around emotional agility, and the idea of things are gonna happen, especially in the classroom, especially, you know, on campus, on a day to day basis, things are gonna happen, that are going to trigger an emotional response. And in that moment, we need to be able to overcome that response and get back to what it is we were doing. Right. So if I'm in a meta conference table, you know, sort of sitting around the table with a bunch of people having a really intense meeting about, maybe we're going to change our, you know, bilingual or ESL framework, you know, we're going to change how we, how we do this form of instruction, people are going to have really deep rooted ideas about the best methodology here and the best resources and the best people. And it's going to be central to their identity, and it's going to, it's going to be something that is a high stakes conversation, right? We can't get emotionally, so overwhelmed that we can't focus on this problem. Because if we start to make it, if it starts to get personal, I'm gonna get to a place where the person across from me might say something, that's a great idea. But because they're advocating for a different position than I am, I might discount it and just say, No, I don't, whatever that person says is wrong. But then my friend says that I'm like, That's brilliant, we should all let's put it on a t shirt, let's go. Just being aware that you have those emotional responses that are not accurate, necessarily. And even if they are, they're not helpful. So in her work, it's a lot about not judging yourself, but just being aware of what's happening. And getting back to a place where you can stay in that active listening. And in that, you know, solutions based mindset of, we've got to implement this, you know, we've got to move forward. How do we do that in a way that honors people's feelings, but we don't get sidetracked. So most of my work centers around social studies classrooms specifically. So teachers who are trying to grapple with really, really deep, intense, nuanced topics. And sometimes kids have never had these conversations before. And they've never seen this model before. Where we have just a an exchange of ideas that isn't really even intended to change anybody's mind. But just to explore the thought process. That can be really scary. It doesn't sound scary, but there are a lot of reasons why. And we don't have to go into the you know, the layers of why. Just neurologically that's really threatening for your brain to consider all these different ideas is really scary. And what that means is, again, we get back to a very active amygdala, which means we're not retaining information, which means the teacher taught an amazing lesson over a standard that was exactly aligned to how the administrator told them to write their objectives and had four different forms of interaction and Three different responsive questions and two sentence stems and one exit ticket. And nobody remembers the content for the test. Right? Because we got emotionally involved, and we couldn't retain information. So most of my work is around structuring those interactions, and delivering content in a way that the brain stays open to receiving and retaining information. And the great thing about that is ideology or whatever, even your politics, they don't really have a place in how the brain retains information, like it's, the kids gonna remember it or they're not. And so there's a lot that we know about how we structure that experience that makes for just a better society and makes for kids who get along better and fewer office referrals, and, you know, fewer kids dropping out and less, you know, just general truancy. But at the end of the day, it's also just really about how the brain works and retains information and the after effects, the downstream effects are great. But the reality is, if we don't implement these practices, and we don't approach it this way, kids don't retain information. And if they don't retain information, and then we haven't achieved our objective,
yeah. Oh. So as our audience is listening to that, and thinking, I want my teachers to have that skill, that's something that we need to do a better job of implementing on my campus. The next question is, how, what's the first step? How can administrators support their staff and taking this idea and understanding into instruction with them?
So the coolest thing about professional development, when it comes to being an administrator is you have so many opportunities to provide professional development to your staff, every time that you pull them together for a faculty meeting, or you pull them together for crisis training, or blood borne pathogens course or whatever, anytime, right? Anytime that you are one on one with your staff, you have the chance to model the things that I'm talking about by requiring them to participate in structured conversations or requiring them to, you know, engage in a structured writing activity that they first have to hear somebody else's perspective and repeat that perspective back before they write it down. And then we're going to randomly call on somebody and they're going to share out with their partner said, building in those layers of accountable listening, within your own practice, it makes it a lot easier for you to expect it of your students, because you're modeling it, you're leading by example. So that's my favorite way is to have them continue to use those same strategies that are, you know, in my book, or in my training and their same, you know, professional development that they're giving throughout the year, makes a lot easier to hold your teachers to that standard, and gives you a chance to put your own spin on it. So yeah, definitely model that. And also, for administrators, I really encourage them to not try to keep up a veneer of perfection. Like if they could see my face right now they could see that I had absolutely no effort put toward a veneer of perfection today. Because if you act like you are perfect, and try to maintain that standard, then the people around you feel that same pressure. And then they don't feel like they can make a mistake. They don't feel like they can admit when something isn't working or when they're exhausted. So try to listen actively and be honest about the times that you fall short. For sure. We've
had some conversations about teachers developing skills to teach kids with different backgrounds. So as we talk to administrators, what are some skills that admins can use when they're leading a team of people that come from different backgrounds.
So a few things you can do are open yourself up to a diversity of experiences, try to get involved when things are coming through your town and depending on how rural you are, you may have to go pretty far. Like as somebody who grew up 90 miles from the nearest escalator, I know sometimes it's tough to get, you know, a cultural experience, but at least now you got the internet. So that's really exciting. Right? And most places have, you know, some good food, diversity of food is really, really important. You need to put yourself into situations where you constantly feel not all the time but I mean regularly when I say constantly, I mean, you know regularly put yourself in a situation where you have the least amount of knowledge or the least comfort in the room. So for example, last week I took a women's jujitsu class. It was as 10 for me do not recommend. But what was amazing about it was while the instructor was telling us what to do, I couldn't replicate her movements, even though she was doing it so clearly and like telling me exactly where to put my hand and exactly what to do, because I was so overwhelmed with the different outfit, and I'm not wearing shoes, and this woman just put her foot next to my face, and I'm supposed to choke her. Like, I'm just uncomfortable with everything that's happening right now. Just, I couldn't get past the situation to do the most basic of tasks like to grab the left side of this woman's whatever with my left hand, I couldn't do it. And I'm a pretty intelligent person, I feel like on a day to day basis, and just to be rendered, totally incorrect, I was completely incapacitated, just by the change of scenery, just because I was the person in the room who knew the least, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I'll take that with me, you know, when I go back to another campus, and I see kids who are adjusting to a new system, or not experiencing success over a long period of time, and getting frustrated, I can connect with that and have more empathy, having lived experience. So we need a diversity of experiences like that. So women's jujitsu, try that. I also really recommend making sure that the people around you represent a diverse lived experience and you know, diverse perspectives, and that they feel comfortable expressing that to you. Because again, if you are expecting perfection from yourself all the time that people won't bring their full selves to you, and be honest. And make sure those people have space to talk. And you will be amazed at how how long people will wait. If there's somebody in the group who hasn't spoken yet, who members of the group perceived as having more status than them. So for example, let's say we're all sitting around a conference table, and it's you and it's me and a couple of other awesome people from responsive learning, who I all want to hang out with now that I listened to your first episode, so I could get you just in case you had like some weird segment where like, and now we're going to see or whatever. No, sir. Yeah, yeah. So can I name five? Anyway, whatever. Um, so as I was listening to you to their experience, and you know, where responsive learning came from? It really I'm sorry, now I'm just thinking about the vegetables that start with see what wasn't even telling you.
I'm the person in the room that has the right Okay, so the status people.
Imagine we're all sitting around a conference table, right? So it's those three guys, it's you, it's me, it's a principal, and it's a classroom teacher, that classroom teacher will let there be silence for a full 25 seconds probably before they speak, because they're going to assume erroneously so that they have the least amount of status at the table. So that principal or somebody is going to have to invite them into the conversation. And I see this so often when I'm observing or helping with PLCs, or planning, that it's so hard for me to make enough space for the people who need to be talking to actually get a chance to speak. And the people that we need to hear from the most actually have space, it's really hard to make that space for them.
Yeah. Interesting. That's so good to finish
depends on where you're from, like, there was some recent research out about it. And I heard this from the researcher herself. She was talking about how when she was doing her interviews, she was noticing she was thinking these particular people from one geographical region, I don't know where it was, these particular people, they really don't want to share, you know, they're really reluctant to share. And she went back and listened to her her tapes and realized that her people she was from specifically she was from Long Island, her people only allow, let's say, three seconds between the last person talking to the next person talking. And then this other group, when she observed them without her interplay with them, you know, when she observed them without being a part of it. They last six seconds, they allow six seconds of silence before the next person talks just to make sure the other person the first person has finished. Right? So their allowance window of maybe you haven't finished her thought is twice as long as the other group. And so her perception of, you know, their social interaction was completely skewed by her own experience, and we can never be fully aware of those blind spots. So we just have to be curious and asking ourselves, like, I'm noticing that, you know, when I'm with this particular group, I'm talking a lot more what why is that happening? Let me think about how that how I might be able to adjust, you know, how they're responding to me and how I'm responding to them to make more space. Because, again, the person we're talking about in this situation, who we need to hear from the most is usually the last one to think I need to get my perspective out there. Right,
yeah. Or are so used to being ignored and not listen to that they just don't even bother. Like if you You know, right,
exactly, or that it's an issue also of it seems impertinent or disrespectful or insubordinate, or all these words that are not good words for your professional setting, you know, and so, and there are a lot of us, you know, sometimes we're the first one to have a seat at that table, like, as a first person who went to college. In my family, I think a lot about like that first new T new student orientation day, you know, when my parents and I were like, what is happening? You know, I mean, I'm from a tiny town in Central Texas, and I went to a&m, so it's not like it was a big culture shock, you know what I mean? Everybody was like me, and sounded like me, and I wasn't the only kid who moved to college using a livestock trailer. There like that. But it's still a completely different world. And it's still a huge shock to your system. And I think a lot of times, we don't give enough credit to the toll that takes on just your cognitive processes, and why it takes years for students to acquire, you know, language, even while they are incredibly competent and intelligent, and maybe have had a great, you know, experience educationally in maybe more than one language, they're not able to access all of that while they're adjusting to your new setting. Or if they're experiencing multiple languages their whole life, but they haven't necessarily developed strong academic skills in any language. And they're dealing with other challenges as well, you know, that, that inform how they participate in the classroom experience. So one thing administrators can do is work really hard to find ways for students to be involved and belong to your school system, that don't correlate directly to academic classroom performance. So there's a lot of gatekeeping, that happens around AP classes and honors courses and opportunities and, you know, extracurricular opportunities and ways for kids to show their thinking in ways that are not language based. So not reading and not writing. A lot of those opportunities are reserved for kids who have demonstrated their ability to read and write at whatever assessment we're using at that moment. Which then turns a lot of kids off from school who could, you know, really be contributing to your campus and bringing honor and recognition in ways that are not necessarily easy to see on, you know, test results, but still increase the value of the experience that all of your staff and students are having. And those aren't necessarily going to happen in the content classroom. So where are those other opportunities, so like, make sure that like, you're taking really good care of your ag teacher, because you got a kid out there who might be a really awesome welder. I come from a long line of welders. So like, I'm particularly passionate about, you know, anything vocational, where kids can show other skills outside of the classroom, while they're still acquiring vocabulary and language and all that stuff.
Yeah, I love that. Another thing that we talked about when learning to really listen, is the ability to listen without absorbing. So can we talk about that a little bit and why that skill is so essential for administrators? Yeah,
so that we need to clarify the difference there between absorbing, we want to absorb the content of people's message, we don't necessarily need to absorb the emotion of their message. And so in my role, I often get to have one on one conversations with people who are in really high stress situations, either as an administrator or an instructional leader. And I'm spending almost all of my time in those conversations talking about how are you taking care of yourself, because I am terrified for all of them with the amount of just emotional, I don't even know what to call it, but just the waves of those feelings, they come into you in some way. Like you, you know, if people are constantly giving you their challenges and their problems and their frustrations, they feel better when they walk away because you're holding part of it now, like they had 100% of it before. And now maybe they still have 75 but 25% of it is well at least the principal knows you know now at least I told somebody and so you're holding 25% of whatever they had and how do you set that down so that you can still live your life and still show up you know, for for your kids in your you know, on your campus and any humans in your day to day life, you know, personal life. So one of the things is to know the science behind why we do what we do when it comes to like sleep for example. So if you miss out on Have a good night's sleep, and you don't get enough of a certain part of your sleep cycle, you cannot retain information. So it doesn't matter if you have a great binder, that's perfectly coded for every meeting, you're going to go to that week, if you're so exhausted that you can't retain information. So you have to be the best version of yourself that you can be in order to do this job. So self care, as they call it, or whatever, is not optional, because just based on how the brain works, you cannot retain information when you're in this, you know, completely sleep deprived or emotionally overwhelmed state. So for me, that's how I give myself permission to spend an entire afternoon just trying only letting myself watch terrible 80s movies, because I grew up not seeing any of those, you know, I grew up in a pretty controlled environment. And so yesterday, I watched St. Almost fire it, there is very problematic. Let me just tell you, there's so much in that movie, that is not okay. So yeah, I watched Roadhouse a couple of weeks ago, that was yeah, that was a good time. Footloose was like a documentary about my hometown. So I didn't need that. Yeah, all of that to say you have to, you have to step away, you have to take time for yourself, because you cannot do this job if you don't. And so when somebody is coming to you with something that is problematic, or that is overwhelming, because our teachers are dealing with just an overwhelming amount of overwhelming trauma, on an overwhelming scale, an overwhelming amount of you know, it's just overwhelming. So they're going to come to you in that state, you have to receive their message without receiving their feeling, right. And so it's almost like you can have a visual. And I know that sounds terrible, but you can have a visual of just, you're putting up a, like a bubble around yourself, or you're putting up, you're raising up a screen in front of yourself, that doesn't block the information, but it does block the emotion. And so you can't let that emotion in. So you got to find a way to hear what they're saying without feeling it deep in your core. And then there are a few things you can do after that to keep it from really internalizing inside, if you like some people writing about it helps them get it out some people doing something visible pretty quickly after they've heard something dramatic. So like going for a quick walk around the building. To reset your system can help. Whatever works for you physically, that requires you to be present, where you can't still be on your phone. So for example, like walking on the treadmill, while you're watching something, that's not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about doing a exercise class, or going for a bike ride or something where you have to be physically present, that also really helps you not internalize it too much and get to work some of that stuff out without overthinking it. But just be aware also of yourself, like, when you're driving to work, are you getting more tense? You're getting nervous? Do you have like a pit in your stomach about like, Oh, what am I going to encounter? If I'm already in that state of fear, before I even get to the building, I'm not going to be in a place, you know, to lead this campus. So how can I get myself into a state of I can handle whatever these people are going to bring to me because I know that at the end of the day, I can regulate my own emotions again, and be okay and not have to seek outside substances or unhealthy coping mechanisms, because that's a real concern for administrators as well, is dealing with these things in unhealthy ways. So we can't deal with it by, you know, eating our feelings all the time, because then we end up you know, being unhealthy in that way. And you know, so there's a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms we want to stay away from.
I love it so much, Tina, I feel like we could talk for another two hours, and I would still have more questions. I love your ability to hear my questions and tell me a story that I'll remember and come back to the question and answer it with practical tools. This is like a dream conversation for me. But we're just about out of time now. So before we go ahead and close as our audience is listening to this and processing it, and wanting more, what are some resources that you would point them to if they would like to hear more of this kind of thing?
Well, do you mean like if they want to hear more from me personally, like where do you find me at?
Absolutely. At both, okay. Yes, absolutely. Both. Yeah, so
we want to go back to Susan David's work around emotional agility because that's new. That's, that's hot off the presses. And it's really great for or for classroom implementation, even though it's not directed at education. I think there's just so many practical implications for us. So definitely her work on emotional agility. You can find me on my own website. I'm at Tina bean.org. So yeah,
it's B II will have a link to that in our show notes also. Yeah.
And then, yeah, I really just recommend finding anything that speaks to you, that you feel like helps you in terms of developing your skills as a listener, or developing your skills and emotional regulation within yourself, I think is a great way to start. So that physical activity you've been thinking about doing or you know, I really encourage people to pursue that.
You also shared a little bit with me about grace and optimism for yourself. Can you leave us with just kind of your thoughts on that topic?
I would love to. So yeah, like, yeah, thanks for showing up to do this job. Like, it's crazy, that you have invested your time and your energy and just devoted yourself to this pursuit when there are so many challenges and obstacles is testament to your own optimism as an administrator. So I'm just grateful for people who continue to engage with things like podcasts like this, and who are trying to grow and enthusiasm on their own campus or in their, you know, in their own life and their own walk for multilingual learners and for just all the kids on your campus. So the good news is, we know that what I'm talking about works, that, that listening to other people, leads to just a better experience for all of us, and that kids can do incredible things when we have both high standards and high support for them to achieve great things. And so the good news about all this is when it works, it really works. And yeah, it just leaves us all having a better human experience. And so I'm just really optimistic about the future when I think about educators and administrators like we're talking about today.
Tina, thank you so much for joining me. And for this conversation. It was so wonderful. Thanks, friends. Well, folks, there you have it, Tina been thank you so much for joining me for chatting about all of the work that you're doing. It was so great hearing all about your background and your history and how that affects what you're doing today. And being from a bustle that is a naturally bilingual city, it's just so wonderful to meet someone that's working in that field, to bring tools and resources to help people genuinely and authentically connect in a way that is real and truthful and helps kind of get through some of those conflicts that arise when we just don't know how to communicate well, across cultures or across language barriers. So thank you so much. I will provide links to all of the resources that Tina mentioned in that episode. So as always, if you heard something that you want a little bit more information about, you can find it in our show notes. Again, as always, big thanks to Irwin saalbach for doing all of the production and audio engineering for this podcast to make it sound crisp and clean in your ears, things to a lot of noise at steel consulting for doing our graphic and branding design work for this podcast. And as always, once again, this whole podcast is a labor of love for the folks at responsive learning. Thank you guys so much for being here. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai