Teaching from the Inside Out

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Valerie Lewis is an EDUPRENEUR, technology fanatic, a forever learner, and a DISRUPTOR of normalcy within education!  Connect with her on Twitter at @iamvlewis.

We all have that ” ITch” from within that drives us, makes us, consumes us, tickles us and incessantly strums louder than our heartbeat could ever drum. This abstract thing we can’t put our hand on pushes us beyond our usual self and in some cases causes us to step aside, around and outside of our normal selves. Each day is a given chance to challenge ourselves to be greater than the day before. When I rise in the morning and before going to bed at night I look in the mirror (or in reality lay in bed while gazing at the TV ) I want to be able to say to myself “Self…YOU did that!”

The power of ME is one that can’t be contended. This power is unmatched BUT infectious. It’s OH so lethal that it causes those that long to be unbothered, apathetic, and indifferent to take notice.  Pardon me a moment for those that want to call it arrogance but let me rub my CONFIDENCE in your face just a little bit more. I’m not talking about taking a glance at the physical ME. NO NO! I want the ME that forces an inspection into the depths of themselves because they have been so long buried under layers of skin, bones, organs, muscles, tissue and STUFF.

EMOTIONAL STUFF, EGOTISTICAL & HAUGHTY STUFF, HATEFUL & SPITEFUL STUFF, COWARDLY and SILENCED STUFF, INHIBITED & INSECURE STUFF, and STUFF STUFFthat just can’t be easily erased away STUFF!

This type of contagion can be the breaking and changing point within a mere soul that will eventually connect to many other lives. I intentionally and purposefully teach fom the inside out because my kids need to know that I am human, real and relatable. Though stern and strict at times they must always know that I have their best interest at the heart of every moment we share together in our learning space. The goals I set for myself are good for me but I also need to help them blaze their own trails toSUCCESS and HAPPINESS.

I once had a student say to me “Mrs. Lewis…you are always doing the most and act like we’re going to change the world.” Though it pierced me a bit to think that he was doubting his own ability (and that of his peers) to do just that; I quickly recovered and realized he was surely being infected with the venom of my PASSION. He recognized he was getting the ITch and in many ways wanted to deny or reject the process or metamorphosis. He was battling with the idea that he actually may want to try to change the world and be successful at it. There would surely be an OUT-BREAK!  This would be a shedding of normalcy and a true TRANSFORMATION in thinking for all of us.

Despite the fact that we change clothes, hairdos and outwardly things; our inner beings should dominate and shine through all the layers of STUFF! What a great day it will always be when we  facilitate and assist our students to discover the GOOD & GREAT longing to be unveiled from within. Let’s continue to plant and water the learning seed simply by teaching from the inside out.

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My New Summer Love

Summertime is made of all things nice: cookouts, swimming and tanning poolside, chilled watermelon, lemonade, family, friends, concert series, good books, sandy beaches, festivals and PROFESSIONAL DVELOPMENT! Hmmmm? < insert Scooby-Doo voice here>. Unfortunately, the ipod and playlists will not include Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Summertime anthem! 

Here we are mid-August and on the 2nd week of school and I am asking myself “where in the world did the time go?” I made plans to clean out closets, empty out the garage that is harboring God knows what, and taking care of those home projects that the school year holds me hostage from flirting and dancing with. I guess you can tell that my summer went by too quick and I did not get to the many things I had hoped to accomplish. This is true but an unexpected surprise made this summer feel like the Bruno Mars and Mark Brunson collaboration…TOO HOT!!!

I had an affair and cheated on my husband and 3 kids with a large group of strangers. It was more than just a one night stand—- BUT don’t judge me! In fact, this group gave me a new lease on my professional career. Where did your mind take you? SMH! Things that I wanted to learn about and even things I didn’t know I needed or wanted to know were “gifted” to me. They massaged my mind and electrified everything within me. For certain each day and every night I was summoned by the 3 chirps in notification form to come to the fold for more mind stimulations and I….. DID…. NOT…. REFUSE!! I longed for more of this good good loving and to top it off–it didn’t cost me a dime. Usually all things come to an end but this relationship seems to be going 1,000,000 miles fast!

The rush and the thrill of this new found love causes me to keep tight grips on it. I’m holding on tight and have this baby in the palm of my hand. That’s right…I’ve got it in the bag. The exchange is so deep that I am propelled to new dimensions. I don’t even need gravity to keep me on my feet because My VoxSquad (in my Ice Cube- Straight Out of Compton voice) now holds me down.

I have learned more this summer about the things that matter to me. I have had professional development my way. It’s been individualized and personalized. The “sit and gets” are for the birds and the “you’ve been trained” in a manilla folder of printouts or death by powerpoints should never resurface.

Voxer is Twitter on steroids! Subtract the 140 character limitations or inability to hear or read tone and Voxer is where it is at. You feel connected to the voice on the other side of this walkie-talkie app. These strangers have upgraded to accountability partners, friends, and sometimes feel like family. The affair we’ve had has blossomed into a relationship of several months now so I feel comfortable disclosing some names. SatChat, Teacher VoxLine, PoCEdTech, EduMatch, Hack Learning, Admin2B, DocVox, TeacherPreneur, and Google Education Certification Support all have my back and best interest at heart! No hidden agendas…just great people wanting to share their knowledge and to help in whatever way they know how. The names are too many to send individual shout-outs. I could never forgive myself by playing “favorites.” This thing has my mind so crazy that I’ve gone so far as to have more of them in a multitude of ways that I upgraded to a Pro account/user. Though summer has sadly ended before I could cross most things off my list but I am glad to announce that this sizzling affair will continue to run its course into Fall, Winter, Spring..and of course..next Summer!

More specifics on Voxer and how you too can get in on some dirty dancing will be part of a future post!