Transforming Education—December 2015

TE EnaThe only way to abolish war is to make peace seem heroic.
—John Dewey

Recently, Butler University alumnus Rob Goodwin came to campus to speak to Dr. Arthur Hochman’s and Professor Cathy Hartman’s undergraduate first-year course in teacher education. Rob is a teacher in Ferguson, Missouri. He reached out to Dr. Hochman to see if he could share his experience with future teachers.

rgListening to Rob share his story will be something I will never forget. He exemplified Dewey’s quote by demonstrating courage and compassion for his students, colleagues, and community during an extremely difficult, volatile time in the Ferguson community.

Rob had the difficult assignment of standing outside of his school, while wearing a bulletproof vest under his jacket, to inform children that school was closed. His concern was for those who would now not have breakfast or lunch. He worried about their safety and wondered how or if the community could
heal. When the school re-opened, he quickly offered a secure and safe space as he welcomed his children back. School administrators offered a great deal of advice to the teachers as to how to approach the students, but Rob asked a profound question. He asked, “Who nurtures the nurturers?”

This question took my breath away. How do teachers who have been emotionally impacted by tragedy find their own peace so that they can continue to provide support and solace for others?

In the following days, Rob’s question continued to circulate in my thoughts. I was confronted with it again while communicating with my good friend Angelica Granqvist, who is Swedish and teaches in Vallentuna just outside of Stockholm. She teaches high school English and many of her students are refugees. They have fled war-torn countries, oftentimes leaving loved ones behind, and have found safety in Sweden. Angelica embraces the diverse heritage of her students and, through the study of literature (James Joyce is a favorite), she helps her students find themes of perseverance, hope, facing fear, and finding peace.

agLike Rob, she makes peace heroic through her teaching and actions. She has a strong set of core beliefs about who she is as a person and as an educator, but I am also keenly aware of the burdens she carries while caring for her students. Whether it is in Missouri or Sweden, how do strong educators make peace and find peace?

What I have learned, and continue to understand more deeply from educators like Rob and Angelica is that peace begins first and foremost within each of us. I believe this comes from having a strong set of personal and professional beliefs and trying to live them each day through our interactions with others.

We can also find peace by sharing our stories with others and find both reassurance and renewal. Daily reflections and observations of what is going well, taking time out to breathe, and not being afraid to ask for help—these are steps that can be taken for the nurturers to be nurtured.

I dedicate this month’s column to all of the peacemakers in our schools and communities. My hope is that each of you will find your own ways of being nurtured and that you focus on the heroic work you do to bring peace and healing to the world. Share your story with us at coe@butler.edu.

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education

Samantha Lowe named as a finalist ASCA School Counselor of the Year

Samantha Lowe, current school counselor at Creekside Elementary in Franklin, Indiana and Butler Masters’ in School Counseling graduate was named one of six finalists for ASCA School Counselor of the Year.  All finalists will be flown to Washington, D.C. in late January 2016 to meet with their members of congress and will attend a congressional briefing.  They will also be honored in a ceremony at the White House and will formally acknowledged at a black-tie event.  Samantha was also named as the Exemplary Elementary School Counselor in 2014 for the Indiana School Counseling (ISCA) Association and was the president of ISCA 2013-14  Congratulations, Samantha!

Holiday families from the IPS/Butler Lab School and Shortridge High School

Please join us in the College of Education as we offer assistance to a few families in need this holiday season.  We have worked with social workers at our two of our partnership laboratory schools (IPS/Butler Lab School and Shortridge High School: An IB World School) to identify two families from each school who would be grateful for our donations.

Several of the families need household items such as:

Blue winter background with stars

  • Towels of all sizes (must be NEW)
  • Sheets (full/queen), several sets needed (must be NEW)
  • Personal care items for family dealing with health issues  (must be NEW)
  • Pots/pans (sets would be ideal)
  • Dishes (glasses, dinnerware sets, utensils)
  • Cooking gadgets
  • Candles
  • Other housewares

We will accept new and gently used (in good condition) items.

The generosity of the Butler University community is strong, and we’re hoping to help these families have a good holiday, which can set the tone for the coming year.

  • Financial contributions can be delivered to JH171 and will be accepted until noon on Monday, December 14.
  • Household items can be delivered to JH 180 until noon on Monday, December 14.

Thank you for your support!

With gratitude,
The College of Education