Learning Manifesto

Education and its delivery has changed drastically over the last year, and it has become imperative that students and educators alike cultivate and maintain a growth mindset. Helping my students become their own best self advocates and envision a better future for themselves is one of my major passions. Thus, helping them develop a growth mindset is one way I can do that. I believe that students who can embrace the power of “yet” (Dweck, 2016) can develop resilience and push themselves to find creative solutions to the problems that they will inevitably encounter, not only in their academic careers, but in their personal lives as well.

Furthermore, social-emotional learning has become a buzz phrase that has gained a lot of attention in the last several years. With the onset of the current pandemic, this buzz phrase has become more of a call to action, especially when educators are dealing with students whose parents have lost their jobs, their homes, and possibly their lives. Educators are having to teach virtually and face-to-face at the same time, and learning to navigate the logistics of synchronous, asynchronous and face-to-face instruction has been an overwhelming challenge, especially for those teachers who have not embraced the value of teaching with technology.

One of my wildly important goals is to create a learning environment in which my virtual students can get just as much out of my class as my face-to-face students socially, emotionally, and academically. Additionally, I want to be able to make meaningful connections with my virtual students as effectively as I do with my face-to -face as if they were sitting in my class. By incorporating social-emotional learning strategies into digital lessons, virtual students can form relationships with their face-to-face peers through meaningful collaborative projects. Furthermore, learning to work with students virtually prepares them for future careers, because of the global nature of our economy. Oftentimes adults are required to collaborate with colleagues from around the world, so facilitating the development of digital etiquette and networking skills not only prepares them for college, but it also gives our students marketable job skills that 21st century companies are looking for in their employees.

If we are to prepare our students for the real world, I believe that teacher professional learning must be relevant and differentiated, so all teachers can benefit. One of the biggest problems I see with education is the way current professional development is delivered. Most districts still resort to a “sit and get,” one-size-fits-all format. Educators are asked to deliver meaningful differentiated lessons to their students every day, and it is time that teachers are afforded the same consideration. Additionally, not all teachers are adept at using digital teaching tools and apps; therefore, we must provide support for those technophobes who are uncomfortable with using technology in their classrooms. For this very reason, every campus needs to have a full-time campus digital learning specialist who can provide individualized professional learning and support for teachers at all levels of digital literacy. This person can model lessons, coach teachers during content PLCs, and sit with individual teachers and help them incorporate digital learning tools into their lesson plans. Once they become more comfortable with technology, then an SEL specialist can help them embed social emotional learning strategies into their lessons, which will connect their virtual learners with their face-to-face classmates.

The need for teaching social emotional learning strategies to our virtual and face-to-face students has grown so fast, that I believe that, in addition to having a full-time digital learning specialist, every campus would greatly benefit from having its own social-emotional learning specialist on a full-time basis as well. "Developing SEL skills in adults improves professional interactions inside the school and prepares teachers to help students develop their own SEL skills." (James et al.) An SEL specialist can model SEL strategies for teachers who are struggling to implement them, and show them simple strategies to start with that can build community within their classrooms. These two people can help teachers both collectively and individually as needed, to ensure that teachers have the tools necessary to successfully incorporate social-emotional learning strategies into their digital lessons. Helping teachers with the use of digital tools, apps and programs is essential to ensure the successful delivery of online curriculum to their virtual students. Furthermore, since our schools could get shut down at any time because of the drastic rise in COVID 19 cases, teaching students how to use the tools, apps, and programs that will help them successfully complete their lessons must be our first priority.

I believe that all students deserve a high quality education that is tailored to fit their needs. Every student learns differently; therefore, it is our job to figure out how they receive information, so we can be sure that they have every opportunity to be successful. This can be achieved by listening to students and paying attention to their verbal and nonverbal cues. I believe it is also a good idea for students to take the 16 personalities test, as well as a learning styles test, which helps them know more about the way they learn. Knowing how they learn and what environments are most conducive to their learning is very empowering for kids and adults alike, and giving them those tools can set them up for a lifetime of success.

In conclusion, I measure my success by the students I have empowered and positively influenced over the years. I strongly believe that students deserve to be seen, not only for who they are right now, but also for the great men and women they will become. I want all of my students to know that their current circumstances do not determine what or who they will become. They are the masters of their own destiny, and it is our job as educators to give these young people the tools they need to be successful in their chosen career paths. As educators, we may never fully know the impact we have made on the lives of our students. However, it is that ONE student who comes back to us, sometimes years later, who reminds us of the tremendous impact we have had on their lives.


Dweck C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success.

James, Kelly, et al. “Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts Are Doing About It.” Education First, Oct. 2016, education-first.com/library/publication/social- emotional-learning-students-need-districts/.