Voices in Education Podcast

Episode 20: No Child Should Be Invisible

August 28, 2023 Securly Season 3 Episode 20
Episode 20: No Child Should Be Invisible
Voices in Education Podcast
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Voices in Education Podcast
Episode 20: No Child Should Be Invisible
Aug 28, 2023 Season 3 Episode 20

In the modern world of education, we are beginning to understand more and more that one size does not fit all when it comes to our students' learning and wellness. Behind every behavior and 'bad day', there can be so much more at play than simply a student misbehaving or acting out.

In the eyes of Dr Lateshia Woodley, Educational Consultant, Psychologist and Lead Dream Builder, many of these instances stem from a response to some kind of trauma. Specializing in transformation initiatives and change management focused around trauma-informed practice, Dr Woodley believes student support must be individually tailored to each child's unique circumstances and experiences - that no child should be invisible.

Kicking off this brand-new season of Voices in Education, join Dr Woodley as she shares her cutting-edge expertise around trauma-informed practice, her thoughts and advice on how to better manage student wellness, and her moving personal tale of childhood trauma that became the catalyst for her ground-breaking efforts within education.

Voices in Education is powered by Securly

Securly is your school’s all-in-one solution for student safety, wellness, and engagement. Securly's 2023 State of Student Wellness Report is a free-to-download paper that takes a closer look into the data and current trends surrounding student wellness. You'll learn how your school can overcome resource limitations, introduce efficient technologies into the classroom, and ultimately better support the students who need your help the most.

Download your free copy of this illuminating special report today.

Show Notes Transcript

In the modern world of education, we are beginning to understand more and more that one size does not fit all when it comes to our students' learning and wellness. Behind every behavior and 'bad day', there can be so much more at play than simply a student misbehaving or acting out.

In the eyes of Dr Lateshia Woodley, Educational Consultant, Psychologist and Lead Dream Builder, many of these instances stem from a response to some kind of trauma. Specializing in transformation initiatives and change management focused around trauma-informed practice, Dr Woodley believes student support must be individually tailored to each child's unique circumstances and experiences - that no child should be invisible.

Kicking off this brand-new season of Voices in Education, join Dr Woodley as she shares her cutting-edge expertise around trauma-informed practice, her thoughts and advice on how to better manage student wellness, and her moving personal tale of childhood trauma that became the catalyst for her ground-breaking efforts within education.

Voices in Education is powered by Securly

Securly is your school’s all-in-one solution for student safety, wellness, and engagement. Securly's 2023 State of Student Wellness Report is a free-to-download paper that takes a closer look into the data and current trends surrounding student wellness. You'll learn how your school can overcome resource limitations, introduce efficient technologies into the classroom, and ultimately better support the students who need your help the most.

Download your free copy of this illuminating special report today.

Adam Smith: You are listening to the Voices in Education Podcast, powered by Securly. In our third season of the podcast, we're fine-tuning our focus and shining a spotlight where we believe it's needed most. On those who've dedicated their careers and lives to education. Whether inside or outside of the classroom, we know that students need to feel seen, safe and supportive to perform at their best, but these aren't just the needs of students. They're basic human needs that apply to our educators, administrators, and school mental health professionals as well. There's a saying that you can't pour from an empty cup. Well, you are invited to fill your cup here with us. I'm Adam Smith, a former teacher, mental health advocate, and your host of the Voices in Education Podcast. It's my great honour and pleasure to get to sit down with educators just like you to discuss why they chose a career in education and how they stay the course in the face of challenges. In hearing their stories, I hope you'll come away feeling refreshed, re-energised, and reconnected to your own reasons for becoming an educator. Let's hear from the voices in education.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Voices in Education Podcast. I'm Adam Smith, your host for this brand new season of Voices in Education, and I can't wait to share these inspiring conversations with you all. But before I get into it, I want to make sure that you don't miss out on a single episode. Be sure to like, follow, and subscribe to Voices in Education on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts from. Today I am joined by Dr Lateshia Woodley and I genuinely can't think of a better first guest to kickstart this new season of the podcast. Dr. Woodley, how are you today?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: I am absolutely wonderful, Adam, and thank you for having me as a guest on Voices in Education.

Adam Smith: You're very welcome. And we've had some incredible guests in the past, some very inspiring stories, and I think today it's going to be no different. We've had a chat previously and just some incredible kind of background to sort of how you got to where you are today and what led you to be so passionate about your profession and yeah, we'll get into that. So for anyone that doesn't know you already, can I have a little introduction to you and your sort of your role?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Oh, wow. So a little bit about my educational journey. I've done a little bit of everything in education. I've been a teacher, I've been a counselor, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and now I am the CEO of Dynamic Achievement Solutions. And I travel around the country helping school districts and community organizations become more trauma-informed in their approach to making a difference in the lives of children.

Adam Smith: That's amazing. And what a journey. I mean, some incredible titles there. And I will actually come back to one of your job titles in a moment because it's still my favorite job title I think I've ever heard. But let's talk a little bit about trauma-informed practice because you mentioned that there. And for any of our listeners that aren't as clear what that is or it's something they've not come across before, can you give us a little introduction as to what that is? We'll dig into it deeper, but what does that mean ultimately?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Well, trauma, the definition, different people look at trauma in different ways, but how I define trauma is a event or series of events that impacts a individual, that sustains them over a lifetime, that really has an impact on how they move in this world, how they see themselves, how they operate, and really how they affect their day-to-day operations and how they approach life. And so trauma, of course, I said my trauma growing up with a lot of adverse childhood experiences has been tattooed on my soul. And so it has been my fuel as I lead in different spaces and being the voice for families and students that are voiceless. And I allowed that to be my guiding post to always know the centre of where I was when I was that child that needed extra love and try to be that adult to make sure that I'm creating spaces, policies, procedures that impact students in a positive way that are in need of extra love.

Adam Smith: It's such a beautiful message and such a beautiful, as you say, you used the word fuel and I think that's fantastic. What fuels us is so important, and especially in education, I don't think many educators are in it for the money or for anything like that, or the status. I think it is because to us, the future generations, our children, these students, we want to give them the best opportunities and best start in life. So having that as a fuel, that's a great word for that. Now, what is trauma-informed practice then? Because you've said that the trauma is something that you want to make sure that you are giving children and students the love and the spaces they need. But what is trauma-informed practice then? What does that look like?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: So the main thing, there are multiple elements when you're trying to develop a trauma-informed environment. One, I always like the myth that you can't take a child to a place of healing that you're not willing to go through yourself. But one of the first things is to become informed about how adverse childhood experiences affects the developing bodies and brains of children. So that's probably the first step in developing trauma-informed environments. How does these different experiences that children go through, how does it change their DNA, how does it change the way they process information? And how do we create spaces that cater to quieting down that traumatised brain in order for us to make sure they're able to thrive in the educational spaces, in the academic areas in which we want them to grow?

So creating trauma-informed spaces is about understanding the mechanics of the brain and how children are affected by trauma, and then putting those things in place, creating those environments, creating those situations of trust, creating those relationships, creating those modalities or those tools in your toolbox to be able to create spaces where students feel safe enough to be able to be vulnerable enough to allow them to be able to be present inside those classrooms and those different organizations in which they find themselves.

Adam Smith: I love you used the word present there as well because there's been times, of course, I think we can all relate to this. There are times when you're at work or maybe you are at school or whatever you're sort of doing, and you are there in body, but there's something going on at home, there's an event that's occurred, or maybe you've just had a terrible morning or something like that. So you are there in person, and of course a lot of these students will be there in schools, but they're not present in mind, they're not present in the way that they achieve or the way that they are able to take on that information that that's being given to them.

And I think for so long there's been this misconception that you just say to the student, "Come on now, snap out of it. Listen, pay attention. What are you doing?" And I think trauma-informed practice by the sounds of things allows those children in any of those circumstances, whether it be a single day or whether it is an ongoing piece of trauma, it allows them to actually overcome the thing that is the problem, the root of the problem, and then be able to learn to their fullest extent. Does that sound about right?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Yes. I want to kind of share a story if I would with you.

Adam Smith: Absolutely.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: I had a student that when I was a principal, and that student on Mondays, that student would always act out, act out in classrooms. I found they were always in my office on Mondays. And so one of the things that's important when you're looking at trauma-informed practices is to be data-informed. A lot of times people feel like, "Oh, it's just SEL or different pieces" and they don't really understand the data behind understanding how you approach this work.

And so one of the things that I did was I always tracked the time of day when students would misbehave. Was it a particular teacher's classroom? Was it a particular space? What was going on? What was surrounding the trauma? I tried to dig deeper to identify the why or the root cause of things. And so what I found is for about three weeks, every Monday, the student would act out. And so I began to kind of say, what's going on with Mondays? Why Mondays? And come to find out, this particular student had went to school on a Monday and came home, she had stayed the weekend with her grandmother and then she rode the bus home. And when she came home, she found her parents dead.

Adam Smith: Wow. Okay.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: So on Mondays, it was like a re-triggering for her that if she goes to school, something bad was going to happen. So she would always act out on Mondays to be sent home because she was still in that mindset on Mondays that something was going to happen. Now, if we would've never dug deeper to kind of figure out what was going on with this baby, she would've got just a consistent record of always being in trouble and having those different infractions. But we were able to figure out that on Mondays that she needed some extra love, she needed to be approached in a different way.

Now that is a very dramatic form of understanding the why behind the work that we do, but it's an important why. We never know what's going on in the lives of children if we don't dig deeper because sometimes the family or the caregivers are not forthcoming to say, "This is what's going on with our family, this is what's going on with this child." But if you begin to create this psychosocial type of experience where you're asking questions, where you're getting to know the child and the families, then you're able to approach that support differently.

Adam Smith: I mean, it's definitely not one size fits all. And that's a great example of that because I think especially when I was at school, if there was a child who was misbehaving frequently, they would just be labelled as the bad kid.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Correct.

Adam Smith: And very few teachers that I was aware of, and I was young, perhaps they were. But very few of the teachers seemed concerned with why is it always this child or what's kind of the root of this misbehavior or trying to get this attention or whatever it might be. And I think using data, as you say, it's just so important and we can get that kind of data now. It is a science. There is science behind this, and it's important to know that children aren't just playing up because they feel like it. In fact, they're probably feeling not like it, which is why they start to act up and they start to do things that they know is going to get them either some attention at all or just maybe it's like a quiet cry for help in the background there. Now in your role, and again, I'm going back to this job title now, your job title currently is Lead Dream Builder, which I absolutely love that. So where does that come from and what does that mean to you?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: So Lead Dream Builder is something that I developed early on in my leadership journey because when I went into education, I am a little unique because I'm a counseling psychologist turned educator. So when I decided to go into education, I was actually on my way to law school. And so I was working with a criminal defence attorney in Georgia, in the State of Georgia when I was practicing with my attorney. If we lost a death penalty case, you actually have to go to be there when that person is executed, just in case you have a last minute defense. So death penalty cases were a really big deal, and we were actually representing a student, a young person that was I think 16, 17 years old that was facing the death penalty.

And so when the student wrote his confession, he wrote all lower lowercase letters. [inaudible 00:12:33]. And I was in that courtroom, had taken the LSAT, on my way to law school, and I said, "You know what? I am living somebody else's dream. I want to make a difference in the lives of kids before they get into the courtroom. I want to make sure they get to the right lineup and the lineup that's going to get them to graduation. And not the lineup that's going to get them incarcerated and having to deal with this type of experience." So I stopped my journey going to law school. I went back, got a master's degree in counseling psychology and a doctorate degree in counseling psychology.

And when I was working on my doctorate, I was working in a private school and I said, "You know what? The students here, they're going to be okay." They had parents that went the extra mile to make sure they had what they needed. So I wanted to go into a place where the students had the most need, and I went into a public school district and began to do work there. And on my way for my interview, there was a prison that my students would have to walk past a federal prison every day in order to get to school.

And I said, "This is the place that I need to be so I can make a difference in the lives of kids to get them to that right line up." And so I made a decision at that time that I was going to be the lead dream builder in those students' lives. And so from that point on, no matter what position that I held, I said, "For me, I'm the lead dream builder in every situation." So that's my title. I'm a lead dream builder. So no matter what table I find myself at, I want to make sure that I'm being a voice to the voiceless, to be a advocate for the kids that need the extra support and to get that support that they need.

Adam Smith: I love that. And it's such a perfect fit because I think job titles can be quite misleading and sort of quite confusing. And I love that for you, that's your job title, no matter what your other job might be, whatever that secondary title, because you know what your why is, and I think such an important part of this podcast of Voices in Education is we want to understand educators why's. Why do they do this? And I think there is no better time now than really to dig into your why a little bit further. So dream building is now where you've ... That's kind of the conclusion, that's where you've come to, and that's now what you are living. But obviously it wasn't always that way. And as you say, you were going in a completely different direction and then suddenly at this moment, this epiphany. So would you mind sharing with everyone here, everyone listening, go back to the beginning for us and what led you to this path? I think you've got such an inspiring story, and I would love to share that with everyone.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: So I grew up in a very small town, Eufaula, Alabama, and interestingly enough, there was a article written in Harvard by economists that said, "A child growing up in poverty in Eufaula, Alabama, has a 2.7% chance of being successful."

Adam Smith: Wow.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Yes. So I had many strikes against me from the very beginning. Where I grew up, my race, my sex. And so when I was born, I was born to ... My mother was a teenage mom, and my grandmother was a teenage mom. And so generations of poverty just had stricken my family. And teenage pregnancy just plagued our family for generations. So I always say I'm my grandmother's 8th child, because my mom was so young, my mom was like my sister. She was like 14 years old when she gave birth to me. And so my grandmother, we grew up in the projects, my grandmother had four girls and three boys. And so the girls slept in one room and the boys slept in another room. And I slept in the bed with my grandmother until enough people had moved up out of the house in order for me to share a bed.

So I never had a bed growing up and I never had ... The books in the house where people read to you and all those types of things that you have. We didn't own a car, we walked everywhere we had to go, those types of things. But I often tell that story, especially when we're talking about building out strategic planning and things of that nature because I ask, what are we doing for parents who don't have transportation to get back and forth to school? What are we doing for parents who don't know how to read or write? So when you send the letters home to school, they can't read them or respond in that way. Those parents still want the best for their kids. So it's not that they don't want the best for their kids, but their situation is different. And we don't build out our strategic plans to support those types of initiatives, to really support those families.

So I went into elementary school. Of course, I was very behind because I didn't have those foundational skills that most students have growing in. And it was interesting, and still today we still do this, we group kids and we put them in the Red Robin group and the Blue Jays group. And I realized early on that I didn't like being in that Blue Jays group. There was something about those blue jays. I wanted to be over there with the yellow jackets. And so I felt internally that there was something going on, but I was very resilient at a early age. I began to develop a relationship with the librarian and try to learn how to read and get people to read to me and learn. So I went from being behind in entering school to being actually tested for gifted before I left elementary school.

Adam Smith: Incredible.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: So had a wonderful teacher, third grade teacher, Ms. Cromley, who introduced me to this place called college. And she was like, "All of my kids are going to go to college and they're going to do this, and they're going to do these great things." So nobody in my family had ever graduated, never went to college. And most of my family members didn't even graduate from high school. So I had no idea what this place was. But because Ms. Cromley said I could do it, I developed a mentality that was going to go to this wonderful place called college. So I began to excel and do all these extracurricular activities. So my grandmother decided that, "Oh, there's something special about this little girl. And so it's going to be in her best interest if we move her to another family member's home that did have transportation, that she can do extracurricular activities and things at school." So I did that. I moved to that one family member that owned a car in my family. And so I began to still thrive in school, do very well in everything.

But then I was faced with a situation where I got abused in that home. I was being sexually abused by a family member in that home, and I had a decision to make. I could either tell my family what was going on and stop all my extracurricular activities and things in school and move back with my grandmother or I could endure it. And so I endured that abuse for a couple of years until I got to a place where it started affecting my mental health so bad, I could not endure it anymore. So I shared with my family what was going on, and of course I had to leave that family member's home, go back to my grandmother, get kicked out of all of my activities and things at school, and not one adult said, "What's going on with this young lady? Why is she not in these activities? Why is she not doing things that she normally does in school?"

Nobody responded, no educator kind of reached out and tried to assist in any way, until a place where I got so depressed and I attempted suicide. And it was in that moment that another family member said, "Hey, let's remove her from the situation for a moment." So I actually moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with another family member and went to school at that new school, made straight As and was very depressed. No teacher, nobody reached out, nothing. I went through that whole semester depressed and without support. And so that was the making of my why. I never wanted a child to experience what I experienced and be invisible.

And so I made it my business when I became an administrator that I had a one-on-one meeting with every child before they stepped foot in the classroom and every family. And I asked those questions, "What's going on? If the child is not living with their parents, why are they living with an aunt? What's going on?" And I developed those systems of support within that building where kids could get extra support that they needed, if they needed anger management, if they needed mental health counseling, if they needed family counseling, they could have a one-stop shop of everything they needed right there at school, so school could be that community school approach, that safe space to give them the support that they need. So that's my why. My why is that no child experience what I experience and feel alone and feel invisible.

Adam Smith: I mean, it's an incredible story. It's heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure. And I think what's wonderful is that thankfully it's not the majority of young people that experience that kind of thing. And I think with someone like you at the forefront of pushing trauma-informed practice and making sure that that teachers don't miss out on the signs, the signals, understand that there is always a reason for any kind of behavior or any kind of change in behavior. You made a point there that your teachers and even your family maybe noticed there was something going on, but no one really addressed that. And I think now we're starting to understand how important it's to address those things, to make sure that we intervene where we can, that we're proactive where we can be rather than reactive and just getting ahead of these things with the data.

It's an incredible why because as you say, you mentioned earlier that it's tattooed on your soul. And I think the more you can spread that message, and I hope this podcast does the same, I hope this inspires some of our listeners to make these kind of changes in their schools, in their districts. And just to realize there are ways to get in front of this and it's such a good and sort of passionate why for doing those kinds of things.

Securly: The Voices in Education Podcast is brought to you by Securly. Since 2013, Securly's sole mission has been to support student safety and wellness. With more than 15,000 schools worldwide already choosing to bring Securly into their school communities, we are creating a clearer picture of what young people are struggling with each and every day. With this data, we are able to more effectively target and implement support, and we want to share that information with as many educators like you as possible. The 2023 State of Student Wellness Report is a free to download paper that takes a closer look into the data and current trends surrounding student wellness. You'll learn how your school can overcome resource limitations, introduce efficient technologies into the classroom, and ultimately better support the students who need your help the most. Download your free copy of this illuminating special report by visiting hs.securly.com/report. That's hs.securly.com/report today.

Adam Smith: So now, in your current role, what do you do on a day-to-day, to sort of to try and enforce that, to try and kind of live this why?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Yeah. Well, I'm going to say this. I wanted to piggyback on something you said, behavior is a symptom and not the disease. So I want people to understand that sometimes we look at behavior as a disease, but it's a symptom that something deeper is going on. And so it's always important for us to say, what is this behavior telling us about what's going on with this child and how do we get deeper? So on my day-to-day, I have the wonderful pleasure of travelling around the world. I actually get to work with school systems, work with leaders, do leadership coaching. I get to work with organizations, I get to work with faith-based communities all about building out systems that support children and creating, making sure that ... There's a thing called the Child Wellness Index in the United States, that you're able to see particular areas and the different elements that mix up whether or not a child can thrive in a particular areas.

So I go into these communities, these [inaudible 00:25:40] communities and work with different organizations about how do you make sure that everybody that touches a child is trauma-informed in their approach and try to help them transform their communities? And so it's a wonderful experience. So my day-to-day could be different. It could be working with a university, it could be working with the school district, working with a faith-based organization, a nonprofit. So it could be different and it could be in different spaces. I had the wonderful opportunity to go do some wonderful work in Ghana, in ACRO Ghana this summer. I'm just open to really looking at spaces, and what I found is the same problems that we have is universal. Kids, there's experiences, kids need extra love, and how do we build out those spaces and make sure that we are making sure those spaces are what they need, is what brings me so much joy. So I wake up every day and say, I have the best job in the world. I get to make a difference in the lives of kids who need extra love.

Adam Smith: I'm so glad you enjoy it because I mean, you are bringing joy to so many children and probably also so many educators because you are giving them the tools and the understanding to make their classrooms and their districts better and to make them places of happiness and where people can thrive. So it's wonderful. Thank you so much for what you do, and just keep up the amazing work. As we bring this podcast to a close, I've got a few questions for you that I want to round things off on a positive really. But to start with, question number one is what in your opinion is the biggest challenge educators face when it comes to supporting their students' wellness?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Well, I think the biggest challenge that we face is we are very much individuals that are creatures of habit, and we don't want to step outside of our box and do different things. So everybody wants change until you have to change.

Adam Smith: So true.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Exactly. And so the whole idea of doing things differently, the whole process of actually going through and implementing change and being uncomfortable. One of the presentations that I do when I do some presentation, I always try to utilize this article called "Willingness to be Disturbed." And so you have to be uncomfortable in order for you to really make systemic change happen. And so one of the main issues is understanding that some things have not been effective for students for a long time in the educational space. And COVID opened us up to saying that, "Hey, we can do things differently. We don't have to do things the same." And so creating that, being comfortable in that inertia of needing to change and getting to that change and the confusion, that willingness to be disturbed, that confusion piece of what needs to happen and how do we build that out, I think is the challenge that we have in education.

Everybody agrees that education needs to change, but the whole idea of changing a system that has been this way for 100 years is, I believe the main area of the issue that we have in education. When teachers go to training or they get their education, they want to come in and teach math, science, social studies, they want to be experts in their craft. They didn't realize that they have to go back and be social workers and mental health therapists and all that in their classrooms as well. And so being stretched and understanding of those different skill sets that you need in order for you to be effective in this new space is an area that I think that where we need to go in education is being open and willing to do things differently. And once we open and we begin to think outside of the box about how we approach teaching and learning, we'll see that we'll continue to thrive. The schools that have approached this and did this work with fidelity are seeing the benefits, but it's just not widespread enough.

Adam Smith: It's a phenomenal answer, and I love that it's something that everyone can do. Because of course, we strive for comfort in our every day, and we strive to just be almost content and have that just nice, steady kind of current that we're floating on. But to get rid of the discomfort of our students, we maybe need to feel a little bit of that discomfort ourselves. We need to make ourselves uncomfortable by implementing changes that will ultimately create more comfort for everyone. So great answer. I love that. What's one thing that you would like to say to our listeners who are working in education right now that are feeling lost or they're struggling or they're feeling a bit burnt out? What's one piece of advice you would give.

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Okay, so I'm a very big proponent of self-care. I have to fight with myself. When people said, "Work smarter, not harder." I don't know how to do that. All I know how to do is work harder, but what I can tell you is this, and this is a lesson that I had to learn along the way. And of course I always have stories, but one thing that I've learned along the way is you can have it all. You just can't have it all at the same time. And I got that statement, and it really kind of cemented for me with understanding that we wear many hats as educators. So not only are we that educator and being that champion that we need for children, but normally we have families, we're wives, we're husbands, we're parents, and all that kind of good stuff. And you're trying to juggle all these different pieces all at the same time.

And I never forget that when you are an educational leader, sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your family in order for you to be there for your kids. And then sometimes you feel like, "Well, I can't miss this and I need to be with my kids." But there's a balancing act there and understanding that if you put yourself and always know that in order for you to be the best you that you can be, you've got to fill your cup, you've got to be full, you've got to be running over. So make sure that you are taking care of yourself. There was a presenter that I would love to hear, and he will always say, "Wake up, be amazing, and go to bed." If you do those three things, you wake up every day with the intent of doing, being the best that you can be and being that champion for children, you go to bed, get some rest, make sure you rest.

Sometimes that we are so deep sleep deprived, we're up trying to do this, we're planning and different things of that nature. Make sure that you find a way to rest and make sure that you are taking care of yourself and so that you can show up well for your family, you can show up well for your students. But most of all, you show up well for yourself because if you're not well, then everybody around you are not going to be well. I'll often tell my staff that I'm the doctor and we work in the ICU of Education. If you are not well, then guess what? We're going to kill the patient. So make sure that you're well and put yourself in the centre of this work, and it's not selfish to make sure you implement self-care.

Adam Smith: Amazing advice, something that I think many educators out there will need to hear, and hopefully they'll take. Final question then. There are so many challenges right now that have been faced in education, but there's also so much good work going on. So I want to end on a positive note. What's giving you hope about the future of education?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Well, what's giving me hope right now is that there are so many people that are now embracing change and they're saying, "Hey, we can do all these unique things when it comes to how we look at education. We can be hybrid, we can do virtual, we can do all these different things. We can personalize education to meet the needs of kids." And so I think that if we begin to continue that message of let's identify and put kids in the centre for everything that we do, and it not just be, "Hey, that we are creating systems for the most" and create systems for each individual child, then we're going to thrive, education is going to be amazing. COVID, well, one thing that it did, it opened our eyes up to say, "Hey, we don't have to have the traditional bell schedule where kids come to school from this time to this time. We can do different things. We can have these different approaches and different kids learn differently."

No, every child is not going to do well in a virtual environment. We saw that through this experience, but some kids really thrived in that environment. So we can look at being hybrid in our approaches. We can look at doing different things to make sure that we are creating the experiences that students need to be successful. And educators for that regard, I think educators have been stretched to kind of see the different ways that they can contribute to this new space. Right now, there's a big push for I think it's called AI, where we're doing ChatGPT, and all these different pieces. How can we embrace this new technology in order to enhance the experiences that our students are having and the educational experiences?

So I'm excited about the journey in education and where we're going, and I'm looking forward to some amazing things happening. Mental health for the first time in forever, people, the stigma against getting mental health supports and things of that nature is going away. And people are saying, "Hey, yes, we need to bring mental health into the schools." There's funding that's being brought in to be able to have mental health services in schools. And so I'm excited about this new approach to learning and making sure that we are looking at the whole child in our approach, and I'm excited to see what the next decade in education's going to look like.

Adam Smith: Dr. Woodley, I love your energy and I love your excitement. You've made me even more excited about the future of education. I agree with you. I think the implementation of technology and just modernising education is absolutely something for everyone to be excited about. That brings us to the end of today's episode. And Dr. Woodley, you've been a joy. You woke up and you have been amazing today. So I hope you also, when you go to bed, you've had a great day. So thank you for joining us. Where can our listeners find you online?

Dr Lateshia Woodley: Well, I am available. My website is www.drleticiawoodley.com. You can always reach me there. I'm on all social media sites at Dr. Leticia Woodley. I would love to support you on your journey to becoming trauma-informed and helping to transform educational institutions, nonprofit, faith-based, universities. I'm open to support all across the world. I'm excited about this new journey that I'm on to be the lead dream builder to make a difference in the lives of kids and expand my territory. So look me up. I'll be more than happy to serve you in any way that I can.

Adam Smith: Incredible. So Dr. Woodley would love to hear from you, and so would we here at Voices in Education. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to leave a rating and a review, and that helps other listeners find the podcast. We'd also love for you to continue the conversation over on our social channels. You can follow us on Twitter at Securly, over on Instagram and Facebook at Securely Inc. And on LinkedIn, at linkedin.com/company/securly. I look forward to seeing you all there. So until next time, thank you again, Dr. Woodley, and for everyone listening, stay safe. Take a moment for yourself and never forget that the job you do makes a real difference to young people every single day. Keep up the amazing work. Thanks for tuning in to the Voices in Education Podcast, powered by Securly. For more episodes and additional details about the podcast, visit www.securly.com/podcast.