We spent much of our conversation talking about her job, one for which she holds a lot of passion. Heather teaches at FLEX High School, in Franklinton, a SAFE educational environment where students focus on their goal of obtaining a high school diploma with one-on-one attention from their teacher mentors. She describes her students, 40% of which are homeless, as a lot of “works-in-progress” as well as a number of success stories. But some students need to be taken off the rolls, due to Ohio Department of Education policies, and “I hate when I lose a student!” And “we need mentors” to these young people so much.” 96% of her students are from economically deprived backgrounds.
Heather’s personal MISSION aligns solidly with her professional CORE VALUES; as a teacher, she will NOT shortchange a student. Her students start out highly motivated to succeed at FLEX High School, but for some it’s a challenge to keep them motivated. She describes her teaching method as a “partnership in educating her pupils.” She’s in the long game of “trying to save the world one person at a time.”
How does she keep balanced? As an empathic teacher she knows it can be difficult to punch out as the school day ends, so she intends a decompression hour, often listening to podcasts unrelated to her work.
These interviews are including a couple new questions, one being, WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY, AND WHAT AGE? For Heather, it was crawling out of her crib to play with her stuffed Big Bird puppet, under the age of three.
Another new question: WHAT DOES CONNECTIVITY WITH ANOTHER FEEL LIKE? “Like sharing a blanket with someone, finding those moments.”
SCARCITY/ABUNDANCE: She reports that financially and career-wise, she is well, and likewise enjoys a large number of acquaintances, but also admits she has only a few real close friends.
And the “BOX” that we’re encouraged to think outside of? Heather goes inside her box! As one who is “chaos-embodied,” who thrives in chaotic environments, her box is her structure in which to organize chaos.
Her IDEAS originate with her practice of brain-storming, with her principal, even on phone calls with her mother, a retired English teacher. On the notion of UNCERTAINTY, Heather does not find this unsettling. She’ll acknowledge the unknown, but it doesn’t spook her. “I’ve had to re-start my life a few times.”
Finally, how does she envision her life FIVE YEARS HENCE, 2022? Much like 2017, except then she’ll turn 50. She may be a principal, she may be in teacher support, but her mission will continue to help students learn how to learn.
Much thanks to you, Heather, for sharing your time and dedication to saving that one person at a time.
And THANK YOU, readers, for clicking on to these “CAFFEINE COMMUNIONS.”
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