Building Connections

Jenning Prevatte, M. Ed.

Over the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of working in various educational levels; early childhood education, elementary education, and higher education. I’ve noticed the desire to teach with heart and soul in all these educational systems. I’ve worked with outstanding educators, learners, families, and community leaders that want to connect, engage, and inspire the future. Each of us strives to do our best and be brilliant educators. But let’s be honest; the pandemic shook up what we have considered important in education. We’ve seen firsthand how important it is to support social-emotional skills at all educational levels, not just our learners but ourselves. 

In a recent blog, What does it Mean to Teach Brilliantly? I highlighted three key aspects of brilliant teachers; Connect, Engage, and Inspire. 

The wholehearted journey is not the path of least resistance.
It’s a path of consciousness and choice.” (Brown, 2020)

During the last year, I’ve written extensively about using American Sign Language as a versatile strategy to support learners in an early childhood classroom. I value ASL as a way to promote connection and engagement with young learners. But I also love supporting teachers! Collaboration and engaging in supportive communities enrich our collective strengths and teaching practices. 

Being a brilliant teacher goes beyond simply teaching concepts. To inspire and engage the learners we work with, we must connect with them first. From my perspective, a critical element of success for students and educators is building a collaborative community of practice at your school site.  I am an advocate for engaging in reflective practice. There is no growth without reflection. And who better supports reflection than colleagues working through similar challenges and experiences?

There is no growth without reflection

To connect effectively with students, we must reconnect to our strengths, build our self-efficacy and resilience, and stay true to our purpose for teaching and learning. However, doing this while experiencing stress, feeling burnt out, or lacking support can be challenging. Education can build bridges; we must identify creative ways to support social-emotional skills for ourselves and our learners. My goal is to inspire brilliant teachers and keep them connected to their passion.

So, in the spirit of reflecting, write down your thoughts on the following questions:

Now, find a trusted colleague or friend and share your thoughts. Build a community of collaborative practice and share your experiences, challenges, and successes! Maybe even start a book club. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins! They are equally as important as the big ones!

Teach Brilliantly aims to empower teachers, families, and communities by creating constructive interaction to support wellness and education by providing coaching, consulting, resources, and eLearning courses on innovative teaching strategies. Here is a list of our favorite book recommendations to support the ever-growing knowledge of child development, teaching, and brain science.  

We hope you find these as valuable as we did. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases through these affiliate links. This is, of course, at no additional cost to you, and we only share products we use and love. Thank you! 

Are you looking for an inspiring book to read? I recently read Brene’ Brown’s 10th Anniversary Edition of The Gifts of Imperfection

I am grateful for Brene Brown’s work, which reminded me that I am imperfect AND brilliant! “The wholehearted journey is not the path of least resistance. It’s a path of consciousness and choice.” (Brown, 2020) 

Another option is to choose a book from our
selection of Books for Effective Teaching