Educators and Schools

Roots

Schools have always held a special place in my heart. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. Throughout my career as a high school teacher and union organizer, I developed a number of formative relationships with incredible educators in districts across the United States. I really cannot put into words how important I believe it is that we continue struggling toward an educational system that honors the beauty and wisdom in all students and families our schools serve. The question of whether we are able to one day achieve the extraordinary promise offered us by democracy rests heavily on whether we are able to offer an equitable education to our youth. Toward that end, I offer a number of services geared toward supporting educators in schools accomplish the very large task of helping schools live up to that promise.

An Overview of My Offerings to Educators and Schools

My Approach

Educators are often overwhelmed by professional development (PD) that focuses on this strategy or that method to improve students’ abilities to pay attention, learn material, and perform on tests. Strategy and method are important, but if we only focus on them, PD can become imbalanced. In most cases, we need less focus on a “pedagogy of strategy and method” and more focus on a “pedagogy of who and how we are”.

What is a “pedagogy of who and how we are”?

I believe that the mindset, quality of being, and emotional energy that educators bring into schools matter at least as much as the strategies they carry in their toolkit. One of the challenges of working in schools is the emotional largeness that educators have to wrestle with. On the one hand, schools can be sites of extraordinary beauty, creativity, and becoming. On the other hand, they can also be sites of social toxicity, trauma, and violence. Developing the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills that educators need in order to show up well in schools (especially when they lack necessary supports) can have a massive impact not only on the lives of their students but also on their own lives.

I help educators bring forward their greatest gifts as well as develop the skills, attitudes, community, and emotional capacity to navigate the beautiful and overwhelming challenge of education work. And it ought not be on educators or school communities alone to struggle through these challenges. While doing this work, I acknowledge the lack of necessary societal support most schools experience, and I support the needed advocacy to change that.

Topical Trainings

Below is a list of trainings I offer for educators and schools. The length and content can be tailored to meet specific needs. (Some schools may also be interested in the trainings I offer on my organizations and teams page.)

Curating Classroom Culture

More commonly, this topic is referred to as “classroom management.” I prefer to think of it as curating classroom culture because learning happens more authentically when educators work with students to curate a culture that supports learning and connection. I help educators conceptualize themselves, their students, and their learning environment in a way that supports joy, productive struggle, and growth.

Equitable Grading Practices

Grading poses inherent challenges to equity. However, the degree to which a grading system is equitable depends at least as much on how it’s implemented as the policy that guides it. I help educators draw on their wisdom and the wisdom of their students to enact their grading systems as equitably as possible.

Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Instruction

I help educators improve their trauma literacy so that the way they hold and facilitate learning spaces can be more supportive for all students as well as themselves.

Tailored Facilitation and Coaching

In addition to the trainings that I offer, I also offer tailored facilitation and coaching to school leaders, educators, and schools communities depending on need. Examples of this type of work include:

  • efforts toward a more inclusive and supportive learning and work environment for all members of the community (which can include identity-based affinity group work)

  • follow-up coaching and training related to the content in my trainings (listed above)

  • leadership coaching

  • youth leadership development

  • specific personal growth work in the areas of self awareness, relational awareness, cultural awareness, systems awareness, or the responsible use of power

  • community conversations around hot topics or proposed changes to practice or policy

  • conflict facilitation

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you’d like to schedule a free consultation to see if I might be a good fit for the needs of your school or school district, please send me an email at the address below.

james.boutin@mailfence.com

Contact Me

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