Guest Post by Melody McAllister
The first time I heard Kim Bearden speak was when I went back into teaching in 2015 and she was the keynote for my district’s Welcome Back Convocation. That was five years ago! But I’ll never forget how I felt like she was talking right to me, even though we were in a packed auditorium with as many educators as a small city! Later that year, my principal took a few teachers and myself to The Ron Clark Academy where Kim Bearden is the Co-Founder, Executive Director, ELA Teacher, and mentor for the school’s students and all the teachers who visit for a life-changing professional development opportunity! I was able to meet her in person before I became “slide certified” and she even signed her book Crash Course to me with a message that I mattered. She is such a geunine person, I left feeling ready to make positive changes.
So yeah…I’m a big fan! haha! I’ve since read all three of her books and gotten to meet her again on my bookchat a few months ago!
Getting Slide Certified is Going to Have to Wait
Up until this week, RCA has been teaching their students remotely, so they aren’t offering their normal open-house PD to educators all over the world. However, Kim Bearden is offering a course on Creating a Climate & Culture For Success, that I was able to take, and I wanted to share this with the teachers in the Alice Keeler Teacher Tech Community, too!
A Mindset for Powerful Communication
We can’t do our jobs as educators well without also running into tough conversations with co-workers, our bosses, parents, and especially our students. Often times these difficult conversations can get so out of control from natural emotional responses, we find ourselves in a worse situation without any healthy resoultions. Kim Bearden’s ability to help us work through these kinds of confrontations with a mindset based on wisdom and understanding is the most valuable part of the course she offers. She shows us how to slow down and come at these challenging exchanges in a thoughtful way that respects boundaries for ourselves and for others. I truly believe this is an important skill that most of us do not know how to navigate through very well or naturally. After taking her course, I can see how school communities can grow stronger together through them or an individual can feel more empowered and ready to face whatever difficult situation is coming. She’s an amazing story teller, but her stories are real, and these stories sound like the stories we’ve all encountered as educators.
With her persmission, I am sharing one of the workbook pages of her course! This is not a course of preaching, it’s full of self-reflection because that’s where all change starts, first in us, then with positive changes, it can blossom around us.
The Best PD
There are so many trainings we have to attend that should be an email, but this is not one of them. Whether virutal or face-to-face teaching, the climate and culture of a school can make or break the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Kim Bearden’s course can help a school community, or an individual, look inside and reflect on the hows and whys of communication breakdowns, starting on the individual level before looking at the whole community. If you feel like you are alone amidst a crowd of other educators, if you want to have better communication with parents, or if you are an administrator and you find it hard to relate with your staff, she’s got some practical wisdom to share. The things she offers can help reshape our mindsets and are things we can implement immediately. (For myself, being itentional in how I praised my kids/students was something I began immediately.) And once again, I felt like she was speaking right to me! Kim is not years out of the school system and out of touch with what educators are facing right now. Everything we are facing, she is too!
Teacher Tech, you’re amazing! I am in awe of the way we have helped each other through this past year. I hope you find yourself encouraged and ready to feel more empowered, and whether you are on cloud nine or or have a cloud above your head, you will find encouragement and help in our community. Thank you for all you do!
About The Author
Melody McAllister is a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. She and her family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019. McAllister is 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year and author of the I’m Sorry Story, a children’s book about taking responsibility for mistakes and making sincere apologies. She is also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing. McAllister has spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and writes about her journey in her blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com.