Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
Photo courtesy of

Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Answer Sheet - How to help African-American males in school: Treat them like gifted students

In education, so many times the ideas put forth in articles -- although good -- are a bit out of our reach and oftentimes out of touch with reality. Fortunately, this recent article from The Washington Post in a beaming exception.

One of our assistant principals shared this article with us last week before the Thanksgiving break, encouraging our responses and insight. 

After reading the article, one of my dear colleagues truly believes that we need to more directly involve students in our Staff Development Training with the teachers. She understands this would remove the students from a class but would still love to try to do this. For example, when doing classroom walk-throughs and informal observations, she suggests that we could pull a group of qualified students from an Advisory period, explain the concept and look-fors, and then pair the kids up with the groups of teachers and allow them to participate. Perhaps team leaders can put together a list of possible invitees, and each week we could invite a different group of students. Or, maybe one group of students could join us for a series of meetings on a particular topic and then rotate out when we change topics. Wouldn't it be interesting to see if these students observe the same things we do in the walk through? Wouldn't it be valuable for them to see us as learners? After all, student feedback can only help make us better teachers.
Personally, I know that our kids needs to see that learning is a continuing process.  We need to remind kids that we, as teachers, continue to grow as we teach – informally in school and formally through college classes. Kids need to be a part of classroom activities. We need to give them choices. We know the importance of student buy-in. However, having these students involved in our Professional Development classes, for me, would be difficult. I believe it would restrict discussion and limit what we could say. These are, after all, our children.
Teachers benefit from observations, whether by peers, department, or administration. I’m not so sure I feel comfortable, or that it’s appropriate, to have (other) kids evaluating my classroom or what I do with my students.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this important and thought-provoking article.
How to help African-American males in school: Treat them like gifted students
By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Yvette Jackson, chief executive officer of theNational Urban Alliance and former executive director of instruction and professional development for the New York City public schools.
By Yvette Jackson
I wanted to cry when I read about the 
recent widely publicized reportfrom the Council of Great City Schools about the underachievement of African-American males in our schools. Its findings bear repeating: African-American boys drop out at nearly twice the rate of white boys; their SAT scores are on average 104 points lower; and black men represented just 5 percent of college students in 2008.
When I was the executive director of instruction and professional development for the New York City Public Schools, I grew keenly aware of the challenges schools face in educating African-American males. For many reasons, far too many boys don’t get the support at home or in the community they need to thrive as adults. Instead, that job falls almost completely on their schools. And that means it comes down to their teachers.
Driven by the intense focus on accountability, schools and teachers used standardized test scores to help identify and address student weaknesses. Over time, these deficits began to define far too many students so that all we saw were their deficits – particularly for African-American males. As a result, we began losing sight of these young boys’ gifts and, as a consequence, stifled their talents.

As the report notes, it would be great to create national urgency around this issue and find more mentors for African-American males. But we have an army of educators in schools now who can help black males by doing for them what works for gifted students.
Teachers and schools can create activities that identify, affirm and build on student strengths. This can be done through student surveys, honest conversations and teacher professional development. We need to shift from remediation focused on weaknesses to mediation that develops strengths.
Damaging and pervasive chasms grow between teachers and students when teachers feel unprepared to meet the needs of students of color or economically disadvantaged students. Making cultural connections and strengthening teacher-student relationships are critical to making learning meaningful and relevant to students.
Finally, students must be enabled to be more active in their own education. Schools should give students opportunities to participate in teachers’ professional development aimed at enriching curriculum, improving teaching and expanding the range of materials students create.
In this way, student strengths will be illuminated. Teachers will get meaningful feedback on their instruction. Numerous ideas for creative classroom activities will be generated, and new bonds between teachers and students will develop. We must embrace a new approach to African-American males that focuses less on what they aren’t doing and builds on what they can and want to do as the path to improving their academic performance.
This is what a 6th-grade African-American boy from Newark, N.J., said recently when asked how it felt to lead his class in a lesson: “I got a lot of compliments from teachers saying that they think when I grow up I am going to be a very good teacher. I felt proud because it felt like I was doing very good. It was one of the best feelings that I had in life.”
Our schools and our teachers need to help more students grow up capable and confident. Students who don’t believe in themselves or who accept adults’ low expectations are one step closer to dropping out – or worse. Growing up to become a very good teacher is a destiny we can all support.

Full article available at:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Are there actually ANY good public schools in DC?

I used to think not, especially now that Michelle Rhee is gone, but check out this article. You may be surprised:

How do you choose a DC public school?

Every parent wants the best for their children. But how do you find the best public school for your child? If you are considering where or whether to live in DC, how do you know if your nearby schools are any good?

Photo by Wayan Vota on Flickr.
The growing pile of data can add to the confusion, since in many cases it isn't clear how achievement is being defined and what these numbers mean for students. In DC, the proliferation of charters and the out-of-boundary lottery only increase the complexity of the enrollment process.
It takes time and motivation to put in the necessary legwork and the result may still come down to some combination of geography and luck.
Still, being informed can make a difference. The needs of each family are unique, but here's how I would begin to weigh District schools:
Take advantage of the increasing amount of information on the web.
Oh, how I wish that the same folks responsible for New York City's Inside Schools database would inspire similarly robust models elsewhere. Great Schools does have some nice comparative features, but the info is much less insightful. However, as a starting point, it doesn't hurt to take a look at the basic stats within the DCPS school profiles. Let's useOyster-Adams, the bilingual elementary school famously attended by ex-Chancellor Rhee's kids, as an example.
The student achievement section says the school has not met AYP in at least one subject two years in a row. In No Child Left Behind (NCLB) jargon, AYP means adequate yearly progress. Should a prospective parent be concerned? Maybe. But the fact is that three-quarters of their kids are doing just fine on annual assessments, which is far above the city average. That is, if you put much stock in the type of narrowly defined achievement these tests measure in the first place.
You should also consider that the tests aren't even administered until 3rd grade, and that a dip in one area isn't always indicative of a drop in overall performance. Apparently, last year the AYP issue was contained to one particular subgroup of special education students.
Along those lines, I'm very wary of the "teach a skill, then drill & kill" mentality that many schools fall into after succumbing to NCLB pressures. I'd prefer a well-rounded curriculum that integrates academic rigor into all subjects while leaving room for creativity and theme-driven units.
At Oyster-Adams, the dual-language focus does seem to provide a foundation for enhancements that go beyond rote skill acquisition. Since each class has two teachers who must work together to provide both Spanish and English instruction, I would guess that there is a commitment to effective collaboration.
A couple of other fun facts: the demographic data shows us that kids come from all over the city to attend this type of specialized program, and its size is reasonable considering it spans nine grades.
Where to next? The profile contains the school website, which gives a bit more of a personalized picture of the types of enrichment activities that make it special. Plus, for those of you still wondering about the kids who aren't achieving on grade-level, more detailed stats will help pinpoint the places where Oyster-Adams is falling short.
What do these numbers mean? At or above proficiency trends are charted over time, so you can see achievement trends. Little blips and slight dips are nothing to be too concerned about, but you should also take a look at the data by sub-group, where the gap between minority and white students is often revealed. Here, showing some progress is more important, because it can indicate how dedicated the staff is to addressing this particular issues.
Go with your gut.
It goes without saying that looking up statistics online is no substitute for making a visit in person. Schools offer open houses, but I would stop by during a normal day, too. This is when discerning parents can compare district-produced promotional materials to reality.
Ideally, I'd want a school to buzz with the sound of kids at work — not perfectly silent, but engaged and focused. I'd look to see if bulletin boards contained cookie-cutter worksheets or evidence of projects that required higher-order thinking.
Any overemphasis on math and literacy as isolated, skill-based subjects is going to suck all the fun out of learning. Guaranteed. Who does it benefit to focus on test prep most of the day? I'd argue that it's usually not the kids. Quality staff will be able to go beyond scripted, back-to-basics measures and make learning come alive for students.
I'd listen to the tone of voice of teachers in the halls. Do the adults in the building seem happy to be there, and do they truly enjoy working with children? Ask the office staff about the principal, and watch their faces for an initial reaction.
Try and meet school leaders while you're there, since their abilities will drive the on-the-ground implementation of curriculum and policy. They're understandably busy people, but if your child's principal isn't welcoming, that sends a big red flag.
Seek out advice from others and discuss your initial impressions.
DCPS has made an effort to get school news on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube as part of their goal to recruit more families to stay in the District. Having these communication tools gives parents a chance to connect with each other electronically.
Hopefully, you'll be able to meet a few folks who can give you their honest impressions of their child's experience. Ask them what all that data means in terms of day-to-day instruction. Improvement is great, but it's relative, meaning that low achievement is still problematic even if things are getting better. Besides, although test scores seem like an easy way to gauge success, they don't even come close to capturing all the complexities of classroom life.
Think about your child's disposition and interests.
Would your child become easily overwhelmed in a larger school, or would he welcome the opportunity to make scores of friends? Would the availability of certain services make a real difference in his education? Would a long Metro ride to school take too much out of him?
Does little Junior already have his heart set on a career in science at the age of three, or would a solid, well-rounded curriculum take precedence over a magnet's focus? Also keep in mind that while charters, magnets and other specialized alternatives can provide a boost to the District's offerings, their quality varies just like regular public schools.
Of course, for every Oyster-Adams, there's a host of schools that aren't as appealing. DC schools often contend with limited resources, revolving leadership, and a combination of anything and everything that might plague a district. So, although I'd like to remain cautiously optimistic, if you're lucky enough to have some choice between schools, take the time to do your research.
And if you meet some of the teachers and administrators who do deeply care about kids and are making a better future possible, thank them for their incredibly hard work. They'll need your support and encouragement to get little Junior all the way to college.

Full article available at:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marketing tip #81: Do you know what they notice?

Marketing tip #81: Do you know what they notice?

by Drew McLellan
CollegematerialsYou probably bust a hump (and a decent budget) getting your prospects to notice you.  
You study the demographics and know who your target market is.  You are an expert in your industry.  Your product/service is exceptional.  Your marketing materials are professionally produced and tested well with the focus groups.
You got all of the big things right.
And you still may have it wrong.  
So often, it's not about the big things.  It's about the details.  The tiny little thing that becomes the deal breaker or the deal maker.  
Let me give you an example.  My daughter is a high school senior and due to a lot of hard work on her part, a very successful student. As a result, she's being aggressively pursued by many colleges.  
The mailbox is bulging every day with stunning four color brochures.  She is receiving letters inviting her to bypass the regular application process and guarantees of academic scholarships of significance.  
No argument -- all of these things are the right things.  But she isn't noticing.  
What's she's noticing is that one school seems to hold her in even higher esteem.  Because they send handwritten notes.  They take the time to attach a personal message on the drama page of their brochure because she's a drama kid.  They send postcards telling her what's happening on campus that she might enjoy.
We toss around words like authentic and transparent.  But you know what -- it's a lot easier to talk about than it is to actually do.  It takes a lot of time to get the little things right. And you have to be able to sustain it.
So here's the question -- what little thing could you do that they would notice?  And do you want their business badly enough to commit to doing it?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Soliciting Student Feedback: Do it!!

Many teachers are terrified about asking their students what is working -- and NOT working!! -- in their classrooms. They are afraid to be insulted or put down by their students, which I find extremely unnecessary. One of the BEST ways, in my opinion, to know what is working and needs to change in our teaching is by asking some of the people who are often NEVER asked for their valuable feedback: our students!

My co-teacher and I make it a common practice to survey our students on our instruction and their experience in our classroom about once a quarter already. Now, our school leadership team has decided to solicit student feedback as a whole school in every department in the next week, a process I believe is LONG overdue. Even middle school students have candid, honest, and meaningful insight that can only help us become better educators for them. 

Last Thursday, I gave this new survey to my students and just had the opportunity to compile the results. Were their words or opinions surprising? No. Helpful and oftentimes reaffirming? Absolutely. After analyzing the data from the student survey, this is the information that I was able to collect about instruction in our classes:

Instructional PLUSES (What I do already that works for my students):
- Annotating and highlighting notes
- Teaching new things
- Asking students questions
- Creative storytelling (ie: Halloween stories)
- Read alouds
- Group activities
- Listening to music while working
- Giving students opportunities to choose partners to work with
- Going over and reviewing materials with repetition
- Using the Promethean board
- Helping students
- Writing and reading activities
- Using many examples
- Giving many tests to evaluate learning and understanding
- Using graphic organizers
- Having two teachers to help students and answer questions
- Rereading paragraphs and helping students put them into their own words
- Providing feedback on writing
- Use of vocabulary flashcards
- Theater field trip
- Vocabulary review games
- Variety of handouts distributed
- Waiting for everyone to keep quiet
- Always explaining things in detail (ie: writing prompts)
- Use of calling sticks to hear from other students
- Posting the agenda because it helps us know what to do in class
- Use of interesting short stories
- Shared inquiry discussions
- Vocabulary (including sentence writing)
- Loud speech and thorough explanation
- Teacher enthusiasm
- Pictures
- Teacher patience
- Opportunities for student discourse
- Sharing examples of student writing
- Utopian drawing project

Instructional ‘ADD tos’ (Ideas of what to add to my instruction that will further help students):
- More graphic organizers
- More Jeopardy and vocabulary games
- More hands-on, fun, and interactive activities
- Stopping less when other students talk
- Better books
- More prizes and candy to use as rewards
- More exciting lessons
- More background music variety
- More opportunities for student discourse
- More field trips
- Make things easier to understand.
- Use less notes
- More reading in student groups
- More study guides for tests
- Study vocabulary words more in class.
- Make instruction more visual.
- More book discussions and projects
- Watch more videos, especially of books read in class
- Use the activotes more.
- More student inquiries
- Reading and acting stories aloud more often
- More free time and less independent work
- More time to complete assignments, especially essays
- Fewer writing assignments

Other fun student quotes:
"I look forward to this class every day."
"I love the way you are always excited when you teach."
"I love your enthusiasm."
"I enjoyed the scary stories because they were fun and entertaining."
"I like this class."

THREE SUGGESTIONS from the STUDENTS that I will incorporate during the next quarter:

1. Using more hands-on, group activities with our core books, including read alouds, discussion questions, and opportunities for creative expression.
2. Reviewing in class before every vocabulary quiz with a fun game, such as Around the World.
3. Providing students with the opportunity to discuss their favorite or current books they are reading to encourage their peers to read more independently.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Change Aint Easy!

Ask any school leader what the hardest part of his or her job is in a new school, and he/she will inevitably say: trying to implement lasting change in a building of teachers taught to distrust and question any change down the pipeline. Our new assistant principal has experienced similar push back and reluctancy thus far in her tenure, which I am sure is frustrating. After all, in order to welcome change, any person -- or teacher -- needs to be convinced that the person implementing this change is honest, trustworthy, reliable, and working in their best interests.

Our new assistant principal has become a de-facto role model and mentor for me this year, being the kind of administrator I one day hope to be (should I decide to go down that path!). I have been fortunate to engage her in several private conversations about teaching, learning, leading, and coming into a new building filled to the brim with negativity, hostility, and an overall aversion to change. I truly feel for her.

This assistant principal firmly believes in the power of leading by example, empowering teachers in the best way possible, and keeping student learning and achievement at the forefront of all our goals. She is straightforward, honest, trustworthy, candid, funny, intelligent, reliable, and competent in all she does. Did I mention funny?! It is obvious, to me, that she is a rising star in the county who certainly will not be at our school for very long.

I admire this leader's proactivity, calmness, common sense, and the ability to approach any situation with logic, a clear head, and a natural empathy towards others. She encourages her teachers to be open and honest with her, having a real open door policy in her office.

Like this administrator, another fantastic colleague of mine constantly seeks proactive solutions to problems. I appreciated hearing one set of her suggestions specifically on how to move forward as a leadership team after this week's very negative meeting:

I too felt the tension in our meeting. I share Phil’s* frustration with our deteriorating processes, strained personal relationships and lack of decisions. In the spirit of continuous improvement, I have some suggestions. I don’t have a clear vision at this very moment for how to implement these suggestions but I still feel they are appropriate and would like to share my thoughts.
  • I think we need to sit in a circle. I know this is annoying to arrange because we meet in a classroom, so someone has to set up and clean up, but perhaps we can try it. 
  • I think we need to do some prep work outside of the meeting, to allow our short time together to be more productive.
    • For example, the team meeting plus deltas could have been submitted in advance and merged then re-sent for review through email. I don’t think we saved time by filling out the plus delta ahead of time, since we discussed it at the meeting. 
  • I am unclear as to why we did this at all. What was the purpose? We did not decide as an Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) to do this. The outcome said to evaluate team meetings and co-planning during quarter one.  What are we going to use the plus delta data for? Could it have been done IN a team meeting to include all members of the team? Was a plus delta the proper tool? Do we now have an evaluation or a rating of how team meetings/co-planning went first quarter? Do we have new meeting protocols to increase our effectiveness? I fear if the purpose is this unclear to me after we’ve done the work we may have wasted our time.

· I feel we need to assign and define roles. For example, we do not follow a system to take or publish notes.
o   I believe a best practice is to share our work weekly with the staff through notes.
o   Also, as a member of ILT when I am out, published notes would be appreciated. I have no way of knowing what was discussed.
o   Another suggestion would be to have one meeting facilitator. Although individuals would still share their part of the meeting a facilitator could monitor sidebars, ask the group about borrowing minutes, ensure the action steps reflect our decisions and keep the conversation focused to the task.

· Communication outside our meetings among our group is not always effective. For example, I did not know that we were going to have a guest presenter come and review the process for writing observation reports. I would have appreciated that information. It could have been shared electronically, like a little “save the date”. I use this example because I have already done an observation this year. I would have liked the expectations for observation reports to be shared in advance so I don’t have to re-do my work.

· My last thought is about follow up and holding ourselves accountable. We begin many great tasks and conversations only to set them aside and never re-visit them. I acknowledge we are all busy with lots of pressing work to be done. With that said though, I think we feed our frustration with a lack of closure. Mike reminds us of our study circles from this summer, which we never finished, due to time. Our trainer was supposed to return to an ILT in September. I recall our principal suggesting a way for staff to give feedback on a daily basis. I remember starting work on our SIP Action Plan, an Instructional Inventory Walkthrough document, November conference procedures. 

I think I feel frustration because as a member of ILT, I don’t see our work creating change in our climate or instruction. I believe we all work well as individuals, in our own departments and teams. But as an ILT, I think we need help.

As I said, I don’t really know how to go from Phil's comments, or these ideas to improvement but maybe our next agenda ought to address the issues Phil brought up.

* Names have been changed to protect individual privacy. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We all need a little encouragement.....

I have to be honest -- I think the main reason I have been avoiding getting too personal in my recent blog entries is that the past three months have been extremely stressful and difficult for me at school, for a variety of reasons. Aside from adjusting to a new set of challenging eighth graders, I also am essentially running the eighth grade team by myself. My co-team leader has been a huge disappointment and not fulfilling her professional responsibilities really at all, much to my chagrin. I have tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, but we are now over twelve weeks into the school year, and I am at my wit's end with the situation.

Gradually, it has become more and more apparent to me that I need a change. I believe that my cup is completely full at my current school and that it is in my best interest to teach elsewhere next year. In fact, I keep contemplating the idea of moving to a high school to teach English and coach cross country and/or track. It would be a welcome change and afford me the opportunity to gain experience at a new grade level in the vastly different world of high school. Ahh, the possibilities.....

Aside from craving professional growth and change, I also live and breath a thick layer of hostility and negativity in my building that has become all-consuming and toxic. The positive, hopeful, and upbeat tone of our leadership team during the summer has deteriorated into one of mistrust, disempowerment, and an all-around lack of communication. One of my colleagues bravely sent an email to our leadership team speaking to this unfortunate demise and offers an alternative way to move forward. I think you will find his words inspiring and understand why they are much-needed for us all at this point:

I was contemplating whether to send this to all of you, but here goes. On Tuesday, while I sat in our meeting, I was forced to reflect on the great time we had this summer together. We talked about so many inspirational things that had us all motivated to achieve our goals for the year. I remember celebrating and laughing as we ran down the hallways racing each other to put toys in pans in order to believe that teamwork truly matters. I also remember sharing stories about our past that caused professionals to cry because it created a feeling of caring. In addition, the session with county personnel enabled us to realize that we needed to make changes in order to reach our goals for students and staff. 

Honestly, I didn’t feel that same group during the ILT meeting. It was as if I just met all you that day, and I was trying to figure out who all of you were. In actuality, there was so much hostility with body language and negative comments that it was rather painful being a part of the meeting. I personally felt that many decisions that needed to be made were pushed off for another day. Now I know that processing needs to happen, but please tell me when we are going to just make the decisions. We are all intelligent, loving human beings who have dedicated our lives to reaching students on all levels, and we need to start turning to each other instead of on each other. 

This note is not intended to call out anyone because we all make our share of mistakes but my mission is to focus on my weaknesses in effort to correct them, and to encourage my department to do the same. Change for students comes from the heart because once they know you care they will run through a wall because they know you appreciate it. I recall the teacher that changed my life is the one that sacrificed her time to build a one on one relationship with me even though I got on her nerves daily. I am still thanking this same woman to this day because she motivated me to believe in myself when I did not. 

My experiences with her carried me into other professions that I enjoyed and it developed part of my self esteem. I can’t tell you how much that has helped me through my life.  As a coach once told me, “worry about the things that you can control and find the ways in getting the job done regardless of the time constraints.” I hope this email does not offend anyone and I hope it is clear that will I continue to support our wonderful school regardless of the issues we face on a daily basis.

These words helped provide me with some perspective and empower me to focus on what truly matters: making the decisions that best fit the needs of our students who truly need us.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Earning Top Certification in Teaching with the National Boards

Every doctor wants to become Nationally Board Certified. Every coach wants to achieve the highest national coaching certification available in a specific sport. And every teacher should want to challenge themselves to be the best practitioner possible by attaining National Board certification.

The process to National Boards is a long, arduous, and stressful one that often results in failure. Teachers who seem to be masters of their craft are denied this certification all the time, while other seemingly ordinary, mediocre teachers are awarded with this distinction. There is no magic formula for guaranteed NB certification, but I imagine that just going through the whole process can only be informative and beneficial to any teacher looking to become a master in the classroom.

While I have not yet gone through the NB process, I know plenty of colleagues who have, some of whom were widely successful the first time, others who had to reapply with a few changes, and still more who were denied certification and didn't pursue it further. Each of these teachers has one genuine desire in common -- to improve their classroom practices and be more critically reflective for the end goal of better teaching and learning for their students.

I have way too much on my plate right now to consider becoming NB, but it is an idea I entertain and think about quite often. For those of you who teach and want to push your practice to the next level, applying for NB can be a very worthwhile and meaningful experience. I am including some information below on how to get started:

Interested in Measuring Your Practice Against High and Rigorous Standards?   

The George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GW-GSEHD), the 11th ranked private education school in the country, provides a unique opportunity for teachers and counselors to do just that and earn a 15 credit graduate certificate in Professional Teaching Standards. 
Choose to strengthen your practice by participating in the graduate coursework offered.  

The Graduate Certificate in Professional Teaching Standards is a 15-credit program designed to cultivate leadership skills and provide professional development for practicing teachers and counselors based upon the vision of accomplished teaching as described in the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ (NBPTS) document What Teachers Should Know and Be Able To Do (1999).  

The NBPTS® improves teaching and student learning. National Board Certified Teachers® are highly accomplished educators who meet high and rigorous standards.  Like board-certified doctors and accountants, teachers and counselors who achieve National Board Certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review.   

GW-GSEHD is currently accepting applications for Cohort 6

Coursework begins in January 2011 and finishes in spring 2012.  

Information meetings scheduled December 2nd and 9th from 4:30 – 5:30 at the MCEA Conference Center,12 Taft Court,Rockville, MD 20850  


Questions?  Contact Meghna Lipcon, NBCT –

Thanks in advance for sharing this information with your colleagues!   Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Meghna ( or Christine Frank ( should you have any questions!  

Good luck!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real Medicine for EVERY Woman: What We Really Need

Sitting down for a rare lunch with colleagues after the students had left last week, we entered into a gender discussion about basic needs, wants, etc. One of my beloved colleagues informed us that men only need to be married to be truly happy, while women rely on their interactions and bonds with female friends. 

I think you will find this Stanford study interesting (though not surprising!) and applicable to every woman, regardless of what profession you have.

"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head  of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a  woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being.  Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes.  But their feelings? Rarely. 

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health.  He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo, let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently, it's very good for our health."