Evan Whitehead: Equity, SEL, and Educator Wellness

Who is Evan Whitehead?

EVAN WHITEHEAD is a school district administrator, national consultant for the Aha Process, and an advocate for equity, mental health, mindfulness, and the UN sustainable development goals in education.

Questions, Topics, and YouTube Timestamps

  • 2:56 – How are you doing these days, and what has the COVID crisis looked like for you so far?
  • 7:35 – As we continue to move through this crisis, how can we respond and care best for students? It’s story time! Please share with us about a low moment or an experience of adversity that you’ve faced in your teaching or education career, and describe how you overcame it.
  • 17:31 – Share about your work with Aha Process. What is their mission and vision?
  • 21:58 – Do you see state-mandated broadband and wifi for every household in the future as a result of the current crisis?
  • 24:05 – How can education play a role in terms of changing some of the systemic and cultural inequities that we continue to see in society today?
  • 30:55 – How are you looking to grow professionally and improve your practice right now? Can you share about a specific professional goal or project that you’re currently working on?
  • 36:10 – Outside of education, what’s another area of learning for you? What is it that ignites your passions outside of the classroom and brings you alive as a human being? Tell us why this area interests you and why you enjoy it.
  • 37:21 – Share about one app, personal habit, or productivity hack that contributes to your success.

Voices and Resources That Spark Evan’s Thinking

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Song Track Credits

  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*
  • Roots of Legend by Density & Time
  • Jane Fonda by The Grand Affair*
  • *tracks courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

Listen to This Episode on YouTube

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Five Latina Superintendents: Building Equity During Times of Crisis

In this edition of the Roundtable, host Tim Cavey connects with five Latina superintendents who are providing bold leadership to school districts in California (and now Texas). We discussed wins during the pandemic, International Women’s Day, gender equity in education leadership, solutions to pandemic problems, self-care strategies, sources of inspiration, and more.

Select any of the timestamps listed below to jump to specific portions of the discussion. ⬇️

Questions and Timestamps from This Conversation

  • 0:24 – Who are you and what is your current CONTEXT in education?
  • 1:57 – Let’s honor your communities. What is one thing that you’re especially proud of in YOUR DISTRICT?
  • 10:27 – This week we celebrated Int’l WOMEN’S Day. What does it mean to see more women in places of leadership in education, and what work still needs to be done?
  • 21:48 – It’s been often repeated that COVID-19 has magnified the systemic INEQUITIES in education. How do you see your role in building EQUITY for all learners across your communities?
  • 34:44 – What is one other CHALLENGE that you’ve had to wrestle with this year? Tell us about your learning in this area.
  • 37:51 – We all know that the so-called WORK-LIFE BALANCE is a myth – especially during this year of additional challenge. What are some practices that you live by that keep your fire burning week after week?
  • 51:02 – Who are the voices and influences that INSPIRE you on a daily or weekly basis?
  • 55:23 – How can we CONNECT with you and support your work?

Follow These Education Leaders on Twitter

Listen to the Audio-Only Podcast Episode on Spotify

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific/11:00 a.m. Eastern. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

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Teacher Wellness and Self-Care: How to Avoid Burnout and Rekindle Your Fire

Is self-care possible during a pandemic? Can we actually do better than aim for survival? In this edition of the Roundtable, Tim Cavey hosts a rich conversation around teacher wellness and self-care. Guests included Lindsay Titus, Dan Tricarico, and Dori Katsionis.

Questions That Guided Our Conversation

  • 14:50​ – What are some practical self-care strategies that you can share for that teacher who has zero margin and feels close to burnout?
  • 15:19​ – Dan Tricarico recommends the 5 Ss: Stillness, Silence, Space, Subtraction, and Slowing Down. These are always free and always available!
  • 17:04​ – Lindsay Titus talks about the mindset of self-care: it’s about defining what it looks like for YOU, your needs, and your identity. Lindsay points to the 4 As: Awareness (of self, environment), Acceptance (of where I’m at), Acknowledgment, and Action (move toward alignment).
  • 24:01​ – Dori Katsionis points toward the 3 Ms: Movement, Mindset, and Meditation. Getting outside is huge.
  • 29:26​ – Every yes requires a no. What are some things that pandemic educators can be saying NO to right now?
  • 42:30​ – Who are the voices and influences that inspire you in the areas of teacher wellness and self-care?
  • 51:39​ – What are the projects you are passionate about right now? How can we connect with you?

Connect with These Inspiring Educators on Instagram

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Twitch at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

Connect with the Teachers on Fire Podcast on Social Media

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Episode 85 – Andrew Milne

85 - Andrew Milne.png

Meet Andrew Milne

ANDY MILNE is a charismatic PE educator who has hopped the pond from London to Chicago! He’s also a speaker, blogger, and was named 2017 Health Ed Teacher of the Year. 

Today, he’s thrilled to serve at his dream school, a high school located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with 4,000 students spread out over two campuses. It’s Andy’s sixth school and his 23rd year of teaching, and he finally feels like he’s found his sweet spot.

He serves on a fantastic team of 36 PE and dance teachers, with three former national Teachers of the Year and several former state Teachers of the Year. His students are motivated to succeed in every area of studies, and Andy enjoys the support of visionary administrators who cultivate a culture of yes and encourage positive risk-taking on the part of their teachers.

Leaving the Profession

Seven years into his career and at his second teaching position, Andy started to feel jaded. He was seeing things he wasn’t happy with, a mentor had moved away, he was overlooked for a promotion, and he was starting to lose some of his fire.

Eventually, he decided to leave education and take a job in a completely different industry. Once there, however, he quickly started to realize that education was his truest passion and highest calling. He returned to education after about 18 months away, and he’s never looked back.

How to Bring More Energy, Creativity, and Empathy Into Your Practice

When it comes to bringing energy to the classroom, Andy turns to a book called The Kinesthetic Classroom. Get kids moving, because movement is engagement. Remember to send more oxygen to our students’ brains by prompting them to physically move around the room whenever possible, he advises. Another favorite activity is sending students on a walk & talk, which can be a powerful exercise in reflection and reinforcement of learning.

When he thinks of creativity, he urges educators to see the world through the lens of their classroom. Model your passions for your learners whenever possible. When students start to see the world through your lens, you’ve helped them reimagine their world and increase awareness of the opportunities for learning around them.

On building a culture of empathy in our classrooms, Andy says we need to listen to our learners – REALLY listen to them. When we care about our learners not as students for a time but as human beings preparing for life, we’re giving them the armor and weapons that they will need to take on all the challenges and decisions they will face in the years to come.

Mobile Devices and Wellness

Andy works in a school with a 1:1 iPad policy, but devices don’t need to be used in every setting and learning activity. We need to model and support the sort of mindful device management that recognizes times when devices are not helpful. As educators, we also need to include students in self-reflective processes and activities that help them to analyze their own digital habits and adjust accordingly.

Parents can and should actively support their children with device management as well. Sometimes, this might look like parking all devices in main living areas overnight or turning the household wifi off at a given time every evening.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education

Andy is energized by the conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion that only seem to be gaining steam on Twitter and in other professional circles. Hashtags like #EduColor, #CleartheAir, and #HipHopEd have offered a steady stream of provocative questions, ideas to consider, books to check out, and educators to follow.

A Professional Project on the Go

Andy is currently developing a walking curriculum. He is passionate about all facets of walking: stress relief, pacing, breathing, heart rate, blue minds theory, and engagement with nature. He’s been reading Born to Walk (by Dan Rubenstein) and other titles by authors who are shining light on the connections between walking outdoors and cognitive activity.

Becoming

Everything Andy does is about BECOMING. He’s becoming a better husband, a better father, and a better person. That’s his passion: becoming better in every part of his life, little by little.

A Timeless Productivity Hack

Andy read Dr. Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, and it’s completely revolutionized his view of sleep. It’s the no. 1 life hack! Sleep has to be a non-negotiable for us as professionals and for our learners as well.

His ideal sleep quota is eight hours a night, although he admits that doesn’t always happen. His alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m. every morning, so he tries to get to bed by 9 each night. He keeps devices out of the room, makes sure the temperature is cool, and draws the blinds tight to make his bedroom as dark as possible.

Voices and Resources that Shape His Practice and Inspire His Thinking

Over on Twitter, Andy recommends following @MrPranPatel, who has been boldly leading conversations around diversity and equity in education in the UK.

Two of Andy’s favorite edtech tools are Canva, a powerful design creation tool, and Calm, one of the best meditation and mindfulness apps available today. Teachers are entitled to a free account on Calm! Check out this link to learn more.

Andy’s two book picks are Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown and White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.

If you’re looking for some interesting history content to complement the Teachers on Fire podcast, Andy suggests checking out The Chernobyl Podcast, an HBO special. In it, the producers take a close look at all of the events surrounding the world’s most famous nuclear meltdown.

Andy’s not really a YouTube subscribing type, but he’s sure thankful that YouTube satisfies his need for 80s soul music. On Netflix, a fun series that takes him back to his homeland is Turn Up Charlie. Check it out!

We sign off on this conversation, and Andy lets us know the best places to connect with him online. See below for links and details.

Connect with Andy:

Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire podcast on your mobile device.

iTunes | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Follow the Teachers on Fire podcast on social media.

Song Track Credits

Listen on YouTube and subscribe to the Teachers on Fire channel.