The Promising Practices event on November 5 at RIC was not what I was expecting at all. I had worked at 3am the day of the conference, so when I got there I was a little bit grumpy and expecting the worst. However, once I sat down with all of my classmates and got to talking I relaxed a little bit. When the keynote speaker Robert Brooks started his presentation I was overjoyed with his personality. He was very engaging and put in jokes to his speech which made it a little bit funny while still getting his points across. I liked hearing about his personal stories which reflected his own experience building resilience in real life scenarios. He spoke about when he was in college and realized that he wanted to switch majors to psychology, and explained what a charismatic adult was.
A charismatic adult was someone, like a teacher perhaps, who made an impact on your life that you’ll never forget, whether they meant to or not. As soon as he started talking about his psychology teacher in college and how he made him realize what his own passions were I thought of a professor I had my first semester in college for my FYS. This was a moment of learning for me because I realized how fortunate I was to have an adult make such an impact on my life. This professor showed me that no matter how nervous I got about school or my future that there was always something to look forward to and always a way to control the outcome of a scary situation. His class was a seminar on sports “scandals”, which was really talking about SCWAAMP like issues in the sports industry. Writing papers and doing presentations on these topics were so easy to me because I enjoyed learning about the content and sharing my new knowledge, and that was one of the first moments when I actually felt like I was doing the right thing by starting my path to being an educator. It’s a win-win situation where I can help other people by researching something I enjoy and help them understand in new fun ways.
After the keynote speech I went to my first session which was titled Using Transgender-Friendly Picture Books to Build Resiliency, Understanding and Advocacy and was presented by Liz Rowell. This workshop presented components of resiliency that are important to work on with young children, especially those who are transgender, and how picture books can promote other children’s understanding of and advocacy for those who are transgender. I chose this session because of the latest class discussion we had gone through in class which was on the August piece, Safe Spaces. This was a conversation that I genuinely enjoyed having because I have many people in my life who are involved in the Trans community, and I want to know how I can be there for them and help them if they ever need it. I enjoyed this session because of how passionate my presenter was. I could tell that she really wanted us to understand the importance of using transgender picture books with young children, and even some older. While she did have examples to show us, the sad truth is that there are not many transgender picture books in existence, let alone ones that are available to schools and students. I am now aware of the benefits to using these books with young kids and I can make conscious attempts to educate people, young and old, about life as a Transgender male or female. This session also briefly went into the topic of bathrooms and how hard that can be for those in the transgender community. This discussion had me thinking about the Zelle article 11 and Gender Fluid. Something that is so simple to me like going to the bathroom can be scary to someone who is transgender, and that is sad. There is such a simple solution to this problem, making sure there are unisex bathrooms available along with men’s and women’s bathrooms, but no one cares enough about the underrepresented T from the LGBT community.
My second session was Stress Managament Techniques to Build Resiliency presented by Susan Clark. I took this session because I find myself getting stressed out during school and I always let it get the best of me. This lecture was actually helpful for me because I realized that I can’t allow everything to get to me and make me worry, even if I think it’s the end of the world. There are so many simple ways to stay calm when assignments are piling up and I have a busy work schedule. While it was kind of hard for me to connect this session to one of our readings I found myself thinking of Kristof’s story about his friend Rick. Rick probably knew that because of where he started that he wasn’t going to make many improvements in his life. However, he is still described as a hard worker and a loyal friend. There is the instance in which Rick had given his ex-wife $6oo to fic her car instead of getting his medicine, which is very inspiring. Rick was a man who could access his situation and deal with whatever stress he had to one thing at a time.
Overall I found that the Promising Practices event helped me grow a little bit as an individual. It was good for me to get out and listen to a speaker like Robert Brooks, who made me feel like I was going to be okay no matter what. I enjoyed the social awakening that I received from Liz Rowell, and the tips to help me stress from Susan Clark.