Here are some of my thoughts on my experiences*:
THE JANE SCHAFFER WRITING PROGRAM LEADERSHIP MASTERMIND RETREAT (July 10th, Ventura, California)
This workshop was especially meaningful to me because I was hired by Jane Schaffer, renowned educator and originator of The Jane Schaffer Writing Program. She was my friend as well as my mentor. I always say that Jane took an inexperienced and scattered newbie, and turned him into a teacher. Since Jane’s retirement, Dr. Deborah Louis has been continuing Jane’s awesome work and was kind enough to ask me to share my message with her handful of elite trainers at their yearly retreat. Not only was I lucky enough to give a workshop in a beachfront private residence in Ventura County, California, but the camaraderie was such that we all joined in on a few a capella choruses of America’s “Ventura Highway,” which was winding itself through that part of California just minutes from the event. It was also during this workshop that I improvised the line “Intuition Never Screams,” which not only eventually became a blog post you can read here, but is now a critical part of the Zen Teacher workshop.
THE LEARNING CENTER OF NORTH TEXAS
(August 10th, Dallas/Fort Worth)
I’m not a traveler, but I’m learning. So to fly to Texas was a life experience for me and wouldn’t have been possible unless Brenda Cavin Grizzle and Lloyd Day of The Learning Center of North Texas hadn’t had such amazing faith in me and the Zen Teacher message. One thing I learned during my experience reminding Texas teachers about the importance of Self-Care as they readied themselves for a brand new school year was that there is, in fact, enough content and activities to do a three-hour workshop. It was also the first time I focused exclusively on teaching my newly developed, 7-Step Blueprint for creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the classroom.
THE LEARNING COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL KEYNOTE ADDRESS
(August 30, 2016)
It was in New Jersey in 2015 that I gave the first Zen Teacher workshop at the EdScape 2015 conference and realized I had underestimated the need for self-care for teachers. So it was so rewarding that this was also the destination for my very first keynote address to a group of New Jersey educators who were also preparing themselves to re-enter the classroom for the 2016-2017 school year. The venue was beautiful, the people were exceptionally friendly and receptive, and I was humbled to be able to be the keynote speaker for a large number of the local charter schools represented at this event. My sincere thanks go to Colin Hogan for his great kindness and faith. I was also able to sneak into New York City for a few hours and spent some time in Greenwich Village and visited a little venue called The Bitter End, where many of my favorite folk, rock, and comedy artists from the 60s began their careers**, just as I began a new phase of my career on this same coast almost a year ago.
One common thread I noticed throughout these three workshops was that each of the organizers in charge were, in fact, visionary educational leaders who recognized the need to take care of teachers and to value their health and well-being. Imagine if EVERY state, district, site, and admin team felt the same.
What would education, learning, and our students’ endgame look like then? TZT
If you are interested in a Zen Teacher workshop or keynote address for your site or event, please contact Shelley Burgess for my rates at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also available to create videos for your school events, host Google Hangouts or Skype sessions, or share content and activities through various other methods. Just ask!
*And yes, that is the same blazer in all the pictures. (I figure if it worked for Steve Jobs. . . )
**Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Allen; Peter, Paul, and Mary; Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Flip Wilson, and thousands more. Even just standing outside was a quasi-spiritual experience for me.