Teacher Leaders and Self-Compassion

This week's topics include educators as community leaders, classroom lighting, and how to live a good life.

Teacher Leaders and Self-Compassion
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


TGIF Teacher Gadgets and Gifts
Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day. Here are some teacher-approved gifts and gadgets that will bring smiles in and out of the classroom.

Happy Friday!

Winter is coming.

Just kidding. This winter has been the mildest I can remember while living in northern Wisconsin. I often dream of snow days, as they have become a reliable source of replenishing my energy reserves, like an old friend.

I’m going to try something new within the next few days. You’ll get an extra email from me consisting of inspiration, affirmation, and a wellness resource. I hope you like it. I promise the email will be short.

Here are three things that I’ve been pondering this past week.


It can be a little scary to ask students for feedback, but sometimes, they come up with the best suggestions. It’s a relationship builder and provides another avenue for personal growth.


We must never underestimate the importance of reading when learning new things. Reading and writing provide a backstage pass to opportunities and personal growth. It's the perfect calming anecdote to a fast-paced world.


It's a fortunate person who has good friends. The value of these friends increases with each year.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Educators as community leaders.
  • Impacts of classroom lighting.
  • How to live the good life.

The News

Here are some articles and resouces that grabbed my attention.

  • Teacher Leaders - In a world filled with uncertainty and challenges, leaders who create safe spaces for collaboration can drive innovation in education. By valuing diverse ideas and promoting change, leaders empower teachers and students to excel and adapt to unique opportunities and needs, ultimately positively impacting our schools and communities. “We must start seeing our educators as our community leaders, which they already are in many ways.”
  • The Right Light - “Classroom lighting does affect cognition, and it is proven in terms of academic achievement, attention rates, working speed, productivity and accuracy among other reported effects. LED lighting appears to be the most suitable to improve psychological and cognitive processes in the classroom.” Natural light is even better than LED lights. Blue-enriched white light has been shown to reduce restlessness and aggressive behavior.
  • Self-Compassion - “Parents worry about teaching their kids to be empathetic, ethical, hard working, and creative. Science suggests they should probably spend more time thinking about whether they're kind to themselves.” This is also good for teachers to understand. You can help kids build their self-compassion by talking to them like you want them to talk to themselves, modeling it, and providing instructions on how to deal with their feelings. Practicing self-compassion helps kids counteract stress and keep depression at bay.
  • Educational Technology - Figjam is an online collaborative whiteboard similar to Jamboard. I put together a resource for educators interested in trying it out.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Life Transformation - Take a nap. Adopt a puppy. Create an outdoor kitchen. Here are 100 tiny changes that can transform your life.
  • Connections - “There is growing evidence that simple, everyday changes to our lives can alter our brains - and we all have the power to control that to some extent, a process known as neuroplasticity.” It’s possible to rewire your brain in as little as six weeks.
  • Hard Times - Find inspiration from older Americans on how to live the good life. I’m grateful for their earned wisdom.


"A flower earns its honor in the dirt." — Matshona Dhliwayo

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Mysterious Ways by U2

Favorite Things

  • Summer Camp - YMCA Camp Jorn - One of my favorite places. Every kid can benefit from outdoor, unplugged experiences like this. Here are some chapters from my camp story. I currently serve on the board of directors. This time of year marks the kick-off of the Strong Kids Campaign. Here is more information if you'd like to support Camp Jorn's mission.
  • Game - Bandle - Guess the song while the fewest instruments are playing.
  • Gadget - Kickbands* - Chair bands for fidgety feet.

Trust Me, I'm a Teacher Shirt

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