Hedreich Nichols

September 2022

Five Ways To Elevate Your Practice This School Year

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Sometimes, it’s the little things. And as you know, SmallBites is always about the high impact little things. Below are 5 ways you can elevate your practice this year.

  1. Know your state and district laws. “ban crt” and “don’t say gay” type legislations are in over 500 jurisdictions in the country. UCLA’s interactive map and corresponding resources will help you keep abreast of the latest laws that may directly influence what you can and cannot include in the teaching and learning loop on your campus. Knowing the laws, as well as your district’s stance can help you navigate the complexities of teaching truth in America in the 2020s. If you are at the district level, consider what your legal and administrative response will be and let teachers know in advance what kind of support they can expect.
  2. Integrate diverse narratives. After finding out what laws are, do your best to push your students’ critical thinking by challenging them to research lesser known stories and narratives. Here is a month of SmallBites Episodes and resources to help you plan and research diverse narratives; and shape conversations around diversity and equity.
  3. Teaching on a homogenous campus? Not possible! Sameness has more to do with culture, zip codes and melanin. Here is an article that is worth the read. In short, diversity matters–and it’s all around us.
  4. Inclusivity is the opposite of judgment. Just let that sit. 
  5. Reduce your consumption of incendiary media. Fight the algorithms by broadening your searches and reading articles from a variety of sources. If you’re in the classroom, teach your students to do the same. If you are at the district level, consider making media literacy a campus initiative and start an awareness campaign of the types of words and articles that make us mad and divide us. Awareness is the start, consuming less is the goal.

Teaching is harder than it’s ever been and the plates of educators are overflowing. Still, we all want to be better. Let me know how this podcast episode helps you and feel free to DM me on Twitter or IG to ask any lingering questions you might have.

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SmallBites: Hispanic Heritage(s) Month(s)

As you know, if you’ve listened often, I am not a big fan of relegating cultural literacy to certain months of the year. However, since most campuses are highlighting Latinx communities this month, I do hope you’ll represent the diversity of the cultures on your campuses. This week, please refer to my most recent Edutopia article for great information on how to respectfully give voice to diverse Hispanic communities throughout the month, throughout the year. 

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BTS Edition: Losses, Gatekeeping and Selfcare

Queen Elizabeth, 9/11 and Mourning

As I thought about the pomp and circumstance surrounding the death of the Queen, the national remembrance of 9/11 and how we, as a country, grieve, it occurred to me that our losses are ranked. And those rankings reinforce our caste system, our gatekeeping. Why, for example, are flags lowered for government officials and foreign dignitaries? Are those losses more profound than the losses suffered by “regular” citizens?

If we accept grief rankings, where else might we be reinforcing structures that do not honor and value people equitably? How do those systems and structures subtly influence the way we approach building classroom and campus culture?

What Is Normal Anyway?

What kinds of inherent structures of honor are in place on your campus? Who do “norms” honor and center? Are there “norms” that can be rethought? Let these questions guide your reflections this week. And to support you in being a reflective practitioner, listen to Angela Watson of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club in her powerful interview with Jennifer Gonzales. Being rested, balanced and regulated is THE best thing you can do to propagate a positive, supportive campus culture. Setting strong work-life boundaries is key.

Finally, if you feel grief over the loss of the Queen, at the thought of 9/11 or at any other world impacting event; be true to your feelings. We feel what we feel, and that’s ok. If others feel those losses less acutely, that’s ok too.  Reflection and acceptance are perfectly balanced, leaving no room for judgment. 

Happy Back to School, see you next week with more SmallBites.

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