Teaching and Learning Center offers in-person event amid increase in vaccination rates
This week, The Learning and Teaching Center held an in-person workshop, “Capturing Kids’ Hearts,” led by instructor Anna Beth Garrison.
The 2-day immersive seminar focused on improving student performance by teaching culture-building behaviors that transform classrooms into high-achieving centers of learning where kids feel a sense of belonging.
“What we teach is a process, not a program,” said Garrison. “It’s a process designed to create high-performing teams in classrooms, campuses, and school districts. It’s a teaching model, but it’s also a relationship-building and leadership model based on the EXCEL model: engage, excel, communicate, empower, and launch. Social and emotional learning is a big component of this.”
Garrison kicked off the workshop by applying the first step of the EXCEL model, ‘engage,’ on the seventeen Cypress-Fairbanks and Katy ISD educators in attendance, addressing their anxieties about attending an in-person event and engaging them in a positive welcome exercise for a successful rest of the day.
“I know many of you had anxieties about attending today,” said Garrison to the socially distanced room of teachers. “What, if anything, have I done to make you feel better to ease your anxieties about attending today?”
Attendees took turns expressing concern over leaving their classrooms unattended, leaving their partners by themselves to care for their own kids, and attending the workshop in person.
“I’m eight months pregnant, and I’m terrified,” said Emery Elementary School teacher Jalisa Jenkins. “I haven’t been this close to anybody in a long time. I have chronic asthma and bronchitis. My doctor told me if I get [Covid], the likelihood of me making it, even without being pregnant, is low. My fiancée’s asthma is worse than mine, and we have a six-year-old, so my anxiety throughout the entire pandemic has been elevated. I personally know four people who have passed away from Covid. It’s nerve-wracking because I don’t want to die.”
Despite her concerns, Jenkins said attending in-person is invigorating.
“I’m a type-A person. I’m going to show up and do my job,” said Jenkins. “Even though it’s fear-inducing, it feels nice. I miss being in-person. I am a very social person – I’m the happy hour queen. It’s refreshing to be this close to people and see their facial expressions – even with masks on.”
Additional opportunities to take upcoming workshops of “Capturing Kids’ Hearts” will be offered both online and in-person.
“We do offer this seminar virtually right now,” said Garrison. “The virtual training is very good. I just don’t think it’s as good as the in-person training because there is less interaction. It’s harder to build trust in a group. Many people are opting to take it online, and we want to meet their needs however we can, but we started offering these trainings in person again as soon as we could. We know a lot of people will choose to take them in person starting in the summer.”