Holistic Educators and Resilient Teachers - Online

Welcome to our Online HEART Group page. Any material posted here is confidential and is not to be shared with non-group members.

The Holistic Educator - Fall 2016

We seek to support and learn from each other through community. We aim to have this be a community that focuses on the human challenges of the classroom, and addresses the whole teacher and the whole student. We strive to have it be more than a discussion group, but one that provides personal support and inspiration to its members, as well as personal and professional practices to improve our effectiveness. 

Register for the 2nd International Holistic Teaching and Learning Conference

Preparation for Our June 19th Meeting

My first online course, "Teaching Mastery: The Hero’s Journey," has just closed out for this school year. It exceeded all my expectations and I'll be offering it again (revised and even better) this coming September. Space is limited so reserve your spot now. Starting date TBD. 

 Learn more here: http://www.petereilly.org/online-course

We've arrived at the end of our meetings for this school year and I hope that you've found our time together worthwhile. I found it to be a great experience and learned a great deal from you.

It's so obvious that each of you is doing your best for the children in your care, either directly in your classrooms and schools, or indirectly by preparing a new generation of holistic and resilient teachers. What impresses me most is how dedicated, open, and committed you are. I know from experience that your work can be all-consuming, and putting aside an hour a month for your own learning is not an easy task. But it's good to remember that, "...becoming a Master Teacher is really about becoming a Master Learner."

I chose a video from Leadership Mastery: Self-Reflection, my new online leadership course, as a centerpiece for our last conversation of the year.


It has four profound messages delivered in a little over two minutes:

1. As leaders (and that includes teacher leaders) our power comes from our ability to make other people powerful. 

2. Our jobs as leaders is to awaken possibility in other people.

3. We can tell if we're successful by noticing if their eyes are shiny.

4. If they aren't shiny we get to ask ourselves the question, "Who am I being that my teams eyes aren't shining?

Here's a look back at some of the work we did this year:

  • October - We created a personal Trust Audit:

  • How well do you trust your students? (1-10) 

  • How well are you trusted by your students? (1-10) How can you ground this assessment?


  • How well do you trust your administrators and school leaders?

  • How well are you trusted by them? (1-10) How can you ground this assessment?


  • Self Deception - Where am I deceiving myself? (ex. I tell myself, “I’m not going to have that difficult conversation because the student won’t change their behavior anyway.” But the real underlying reason I’m avoiding the conversation is because I’m afraid of how the other person will react.)


  • Rationalization - Where am I rationalizing my behavior? (ex. I don’t take time to get to know my students (or colleagues) and I make excuses (rationalize) for it. I say to myself, “I’m extremely busy and can’t help it.”)


  • Procrastination - What things that need to get done am I putting off?

**NOTE: The entire audit is available in the October notes.

NovemberWe developed a daily, pre-teaching, Flight Check.

These are practices that are helpful in preparing ourselves (like the batter) for the rigors and challenges that a difficult student or a class can present. Thank you all for your thoughtful contributions.

1. Each morning write or state our purpose or commitment.

Stating our purpose helps us keep our calling from becoming a simply a job. We can even write it as a declaration: For example, "I'm a commitment to using my gifts: writing, speaking, and teaching to support the hearts of teachers and through them the students in their care.") Being a commitment is different than "having" a commitment. 

2. Write an intention each day that is aligned with our purpose and commitment. 

3. Take a moment to notice our mood and emotions.

What are we feeling? Our mood influences everything we do. Are we feeling anxious, frustrated, resigned, angry, curious, excited, etc.? Is the mood one that we feel will make us more or less effective? Sometimes we'll need to step back and remind ourselves of the "bigger" picture, the larger narrative. Doing so can shift our mood to a more effective state.

4. Before each day begins engage in a brief meditation to set the tone.

One minute meditations throughout the day are also very powerful.

**NOTE: The entire Flight Check is available in the November notes.

February - We discussed Group Agreements in the context of creating trust and empowering students.

March - We created a Student Empowerment Checklist:

1. Work with students to create a Group Agreement (Rules and Roles)

2. Create opportunities for students to use their voice, speak, or teach others. Build their sense of Agency in the world.

3. Create authentic choices for students. (Sit in desks or floor for this lesson. What groups do you think would work? What topics in this lesson would you like to target?)

4. Create opportunities for Peer Review of student work.

5. Provide opportunities for independent research and exploration.

6. Find ways to give students classroom responsibility.

7. Find ways to help build a sense of accountability. (For example, leading parent - teacher conferences. "I need to get better at this and spend more time on that."

8. Create space for students to follow their own interests.

9. Use empowering language. "Go ahead take one. (a reward) You're worth it!" "You deserve it."

10. Focus on what's there (students' strengths and gifts) and less on what's missing.

AprilWe broke into groups to discuss mentoring a teacher who might be experiencing Stress and Burnout.

May - Dr. Catherine O'Brien spoke on the topic of Sustainable Happiness.

"Sustainable happiness is about wellbeing for all, sustainably. This offers a fresh approach to happiness that invites reflection on sustainability issues coupled with opportunities to enhance our quality of life and contribute to individual, community, and global wellbeing. The concept of sustainable happiness was developed by O’Brien (2005) in order to draw attention to the consequences, both positive and adverse, of how individuals, communities, and nations pursue happiness."



As we end this year, I'm interested in eliciting your feedback on how you experienced our meetings, if they met your expectations, and how we might improve them. With that in mind I'll be sending each of you a brief questionnaire to complete. I'd appreciate it if you'd take the time to complete it.

If we decide to continue our group I've got a number of ideas for how we might approach our meetings next year which I hope to discuss with you when we meet on June 19th.

I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite poems by Roger Keyes, "Hokusai Says"

Materials from Dr. Catherine O'Brien

Check out our group members John and Bruce's great work in the books below.

By John Creger

By Bruce Novak

Founded by Catharine Hannay

Lest We Forget:

I Wish My Teacher Knew

© Pete Reilly 2018​

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