Timothy D. Kanold, PhD, an award-winning educator, author, and consultant, is former superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125, a model professional learning community district in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Welcome to the Deeper Learning with WeVideo first ever live event. I am your host Nathan Lang-Raad. And I am super excited to have my friend and mentor on as our very first live guest today, Dr. Tim Kanold. Tim, thanks for being on our first live event show.
Timothy D. Kanold: Well, thank you so much. And I just want to say thanks for number one, inviting me, asking me to talk about this, but also to participate in this experimental first live video. It’s really fun to do this, so I appreciate it.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Yeah. And of course, this will be recorded and put in our podcast as well, so we’ll get to go back and revisit or listen to this as much as we want. It’s really cool to have you on too because this is a very special week in the world of education with Teacher Appreciation Week. So the books that you have written really speak to the gratitude that we are showing teachers right now. So this really is the perfect timing to have this conversation with you.
Timothy D. Kanold: Well, I really appreciate that. Yeah, I think that’s part of the intent of both those books, of HEART! and SOUL!
Nathan Lang-Raad: Well, let me just tell our audience a little bit about you, Tim. So we’re going to do a fun brag sesh, so just buckle in. But Dr. Tim Kanold is an award-winning educator, author and consultant. He is a past president of NCSM, a former superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School, District 125, a model professional learning community district in Lincolnshire, Illinois. He’s the author of a national bestseller, HEART! Fully Forming Your Professional, Teaching and Leading Life.
Nathan Lang-Raad: And Tim, your newest book SOUL! Fulfilling Your Life as a Teacher and Leader was just released last month, which is really exciting. Tim has written many mathematics textbooks. He lives in northern California with his wife, Susan and their golden retriever named, Fibonacci, which I think earlier before we started recording, Fibonacci made an appearance in your office, so hopefully he’s still being a good boy hanging out in your office taking a nap right now. So we may hear him, right?
Timothy D. Kanold: You might. Yeah.
Nathan Lang-Raad: So wonderful. Well, let’s jump right on in. And I’m so proud and honored to call you a friend and mentor, and I have so, so enjoyed reading your books. You pour so much of your heart and soul into these books ironically. And HEART! was so wildly popular. Obviously, it became a national bestseller. And then, you had just wrote the book SOUL! So, curious about what lead you to write SOUL! after you wrote HEART!?
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah. That’s a really good question. And I think to answer it, I have to sort of go back to why did I write HEART! in the first place. And it also goes back really to the summer of 2014. What happened was we were doing national events across the country, PLC at work events, and I was doing sort of an experimental session on some of the research I was discovering at Stanford University on happiness in the workplace.
Timothy D. Kanold: And at the same time, I was also very interested, Gallup was serving teachers across the country, in the United States at least, and finding out, discovering that, only about 31% of teachers on a daily basis come to work and fully engage in their work life. And I was like, “Well, why is that?” So I started asking hundreds of teachers why that was. And one of the things that became clear to me was this notion of feeling emotionally exhausted, somewhat burned out. And this the summer of 2014.
Timothy D. Kanold: So I actually had to do some work in London, believe it or not, and I was coming home on the plane, and I still have my little notebook with this, and I started doodling around the idea, believe it or not, of the heart of our work life. But I had parenthesis around the A-R-T part. So it was kind of art inside the heart. And I was thinking about the art of our work life and the art of our craft, and why was that so hard for us to connect to.
Timothy D. Kanold: So in the beginning, HEART! sort of was like the art inside the heart and eventually, it just became HEART!. But at the same time, in the fall of 2014, I get a text from my mentor and close friend, and one of the original architects of the PLC process, a guy by the name of Rick DuFour. And Rick, whose journey was somewhat of a… Rick is, and was, a national icon. His journey, his cancer journey, is pretty well known. But he texted me, asked me to call him, and basically said, “I have stage four cancer, lung cancer. They’re taking a lung out tomorrow, another third of another lung, and I really don’t know. It’s just a matter of how soon will I die.”
Timothy D. Kanold: So I started to write HEART! initially because I wanted to capture some of his story because he was someone who’d had a huge impact on the lives of so many teachers and so many students. And I also had these things I wanted to say about happiness in the workplace and engagement, and how can we own our own story.
Timothy D. Kanold: So along that, as I’m doing that, as I’m starting to kind of build this out and interview him and begin to get something, I’m finding this is an attractive topic to lots of people. They all want to talk to me about it. And his wife, Becky DeFour, actually was really incredible because despite having restored him through his journey, she contributed quite a bit to the book, especially elements of compassion and other things. So she was very kind and generous with her own time.
Timothy D. Kanold: As I’m writing the manuscript, I send it to believe it or not, some folks on this… this’ll resonate with them, but in graduate school I had an advisor that I really grew close to and that I trusted her advice, her wisdom. So I sent it to that advisor, a woman named Janice [Fine 00:06:17], and Janice, in her kind way, sends it back to me with quite a few comments about it. But it says, “Tim, you need to understand something, if you’re going to write a book like this, a journal book where readers are going to write their own story, find themselves, then you have to be willing to take care of the reader.”
Timothy D. Kanold: And she just hit me with those words like, “Your stories are fine, but if they can’t connect and find themselves in those stories, then it won’t matter. They have to be able to write their own story.” And in HEART!, there was this idea of a heartprint. So it was a heartprint that I created that you’re leaving on others.
Timothy D. Kanold: So those events, I think led me to really take seriously a brand-new idea at the time, for Solution Tree at least, my publisher, of, “Okay, we’re going to write this book. We’re going to give people space to write in it. We’re going to create a journal book where they can write their own story. We’re not going to have… We’re going to source all the research in it through end notes.” These were all new concepts and ideas that had never been tried before.
Timothy D. Kanold: What we didn’t anticipate, when you said the book became popular, I think partly it became popular because it became a book study. And I honestly did not write the book thinking, “Oh, let’s have this great book study book.” So what happened out of that, out of that result, was all right, so many people were writing to me. I was getting emails daily. I was getting feedback that, “My gosh, thank you so much for chapter 12.” Chapter 12’s called Avoiding the Quadrant III Drift. But it’s a chapter about how to kind of self-correct and own if you’re in a high negative space and how to come back to that. And I provide just these my own sense of practical solutions.
Timothy D. Kanold: And then I’m at events speaking about it and people are coming up to me in tears with their stories. So I’ve thought… I felt pretty strongly I wanted to follow up the book. And that gets me to, from HEART! to… So then it was like Heart to Heart, or Heart II. In the movie industry, the follow-up movies are never as good as the original. And then I remembered, one of the things I want to do in SOUL!, which the reader will find out, is in HEART! I don’t really… I assume my life as an adult teacher. So you don’t learn anything about my past life.
Timothy D. Kanold: But in SOUL!, you learn about my life as a homeless child, you learn about my life as a highly anxiety-ridden 7th grader, you learn about my life and some of its failures in high school. But in doing that, what I’m really pulling the reader back to is, “Do you remember when you were in 2nd grade? Do you remember when you were in 7th grade? Do you remember when… Can you remember what it feels like to be on the student’s side of life?”
Timothy D. Kanold: And so, I think in SOUL!, I wanted to create this iconic feeling of heart and soul. And because when I was seven years old that was the first song my Uncle Al taught me to play on the piano was Hoagy Carmichael’s song, Heart and Soul, the top hand of it, I think that just felt right to me. And then I started asking people about what’s the difference between heart and soul. Actually, you were one of the people I asked.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Yeah.
Timothy D. Kanold: And the answers were fascinating. And in almost every case it was about how soul just takes us deeper. When we commit our soul to something, what does that mean?
Timothy D. Kanold: So that’s really what got me started on the journey of writing SOUL! and wanting to create another book study book that people could use, teachers could use and find themselves in it. And I think you do need to, you can do it certainly alone, but as you write your own soul story, you have a heartprint, in SOUL! I write about my soul story, or your story soul, and you end up writing your own soul story journey through the book.
Timothy D. Kanold: So that’s kind of how it led, one led to the other. SOUL! took me actually longer to write than HEART!. It took me almost two and a half years because it’s got a lot of brain research and neuroscience research in it as well. And I just think the topics were a little bit tougher to write about. There’s a chapter in SOUL! called The Road Less Traveled. It is a take-off of the Robert Frost poem. But it’s that idea of we don’t want to go down the hardened road, because as teachers, as educators, if we will allow ourselves to get burned out, if we all ourselves to get so socially emotionally exhausted that we start going down the hardened road, then our life will never be fulfilling as an educator and we become dangerous actually to kids.
Timothy D. Kanold: So I wanted to take that on head on. We never want to walk down this road, but here are some solutions. I always provide solutions, practical ways we can do it. So that’s kind of what got me into it. But then here’s the last thing I just want to tell you, and this does sound tragic I know, but it is in a way. Sometimes gifts in life I think birth out of tragedy. And in this case, I’m now in June of 2018, I’m now starting to think about writing SOUL!, and I take the idea to Becky DeFour, to Rick’s wife in late June of 2018. And she’s like, “Oh Tim, this would be terrific.” And I ask her, “Will you come in and engage with me in the book and give me… ” Because she just was this deeply soulful person. And that was at dinner actually on June 28th, and I never talked to her again. A week later she had an accident, fell off the stage, and within two weeks passed away.
Timothy D. Kanold: So that tragedy rocked my world for the whole summer of 2018, as you know. So that helped me though stay committed to the work. So sometimes knowing… And I write about that anger. There’s a whole chapter on anger and I write about the summer of anger that I went through as a teacher, as a professional, and how I still had to bring myself professionally to work, even though I was so angry inside I could hardly think on most days. I felt like I was in a fog sometimes. And no one could really help me through it, ultimately, not even my wife, except myself. So I provide some solutions, some ways to get through tough times. That’s part of it, yeah.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Well, one of the things that I love about your book, yes, you do provide a lot of great research especially around the brain, but you make it really relatable. And of course, SOUL! is an acronym. It stands for Searching, Overcoming, Unifying and Living. Can you talk a little bit more about the acronym and how it relates to education and teachers?
Timothy D. Kanold: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. It’s really funny because folks that have read HEART!, they know that H-E-A-R and T, each stand for something, a different part of the section of the book. So SOUL!’s the same way. There’s seven chapters for each of the four letters. So four parts of the book. And in HEART!, I never defined heart, I defined heartprint. And heartprint was the positive imprint, the impact that you were leaving on others.
Timothy D. Kanold: In SOUL!, I don’t try to define soul. It’s such a broad word, right? It has such great meaning of soul music, or soul as spiritual, your spiritual side of your life. You type into YouTube just the words heart and soul, and thousands of things come up, right? Even on a daily basis you can do a Google search on heart and could and there’ll be hundreds of articles just on that iconic phrase.
Timothy D. Kanold: So what I do define it though, is I define your soul story, just like I defined your heartprint. And your soul story I define as, ultimately in doing a lot of research on this, because we’re in the profession of education, if you think about it, what did I sign up for? I mean, I swear when I started teaching all I wanted to do is teach high school mathematics and coach baseball. That was it. And it didn’t occur to me I was joining this profession that required a certain stewardship of what we might call the moral good. And yet, that is what we are here for.
Timothy D. Kanold: As K-12 educators, our primary responsibility is to develop the good in others. And when I say the good, I mean the academic good, the academic knowledge, like smart kids, but also good kids. Kids who are morally strong, kids who are going to create good in others as they go into their adult lives. So we have a responsibility to steward the next generation into a moral good.
Timothy D. Kanold: So HEART! Was sort of this idea of impact on others and it was implicit in HEART! that that impact would be for the good. In SOUL!, I make it really clear our impact is supposed to be for the good, for the greater good. And then what happens is I talk about how we use that, our soul story, in order to do those four things. So S is for searching.
Timothy D. Kanold: I think sometimes, as we’re kind of walking through our career, we can get pretty shallow sometimes. We get just overwhelmed by all the noise and we don’t really look at our students as real humans. They just sort of become widgets and we fail to sometimes put in the time necessary to really meet the needs of all our students. And maybe it’s just because we’re overwhelmed at the moment. I mean, there can be lots of good reasons, but the reality is we begin to live life in the shallows. And your soul story doesn’t let you do that. It comes searching for you when you do that and says, “No, come back here.”
Timothy D. Kanold: And I tell a story in the S part of the book, the soul-searching part of the book, about walking off of the campus at a Virginia university at the end of Becky’s celebration, and I had delivered one of the eulogies. And I’m getting into my car and I’m just feeling this sense of being overwhelmed, that more was being asked of me because this incredible person had passed away, that I had sort of this obligation to honor her life by what I was doing with my professional life as an educator.
Timothy D. Kanold: So at that moment, it was pretty clear, my soul story was sort of searching me out and calling me to a different level. So sometimes we go searching for it because we’re hurting, but sometimes it also comes searching for us and it often surprises us. And in that part of those seven chapters I talk about listening to the soul story whisperers in your life and then also our obligation to become one.
Timothy D. Kanold: And without getting into too many of the details of what’s in there, in those chapters, I would just say that’s the idea. S is… And I felt that from the beginning, that our soul story is something we search for so that we can become and look back on and say, “I really did live a deep life, a great professional life as best I could. Didn’t win every day, but I won a lot of them.”
Timothy D. Kanold: The second thing, O is for the obstacles. I talked about that a little bit already. And it is so hard. The opening chapter to O is Lost and Overwhelmed. And it’s all about being overwhelmed by your work life obstacles, being overwhelmed by your home life obstacles, and being overwhelmed by your growing up obstacles. And not always necessarily recognizing those are at play with you at the moment.
Timothy D. Kanold: And I won’t get into it, but that chapter just grabs people I think in terms of like, “Been there, been there, been there.” But then I always provide some ways to think about it. I actually talk about this concept of falling up, that when we have issues where we’re feeling overwhelmed, Ryan Holiday wrote a book called The Obstacle is the Way. So I talk about his book and about how when these obstacles occur how we should embrace them as a way for growth and change and do it in a practical way. So anyway, that’s O.
Timothy D. Kanold: U is about unifying because the question occurred to me, can our team have a soul story? Can our teacher team have a soul story? Can our school have a soul story? Can our entire district? What’s the soul story of our school? What does it feel like for your children to enter into our place? And of course, in a year of COVID, that even became an interesting way of thinking about what is our place, what is the building, its ramifications?
Timothy D. Kanold: And ultimately, the one thing that comes out of there is this, a building itself is just bricks and mortar. The soul story resides in its people and the way they treat one another. So there’s this kind of coming together of round relationships and even the evidence that the only way to live a satisfying professional life is to be in deep relationship with your colleagues, as hard as that might be. So then how do we actually do that? I spend quite a bit of time talking about issues of belonging, vulnerability, validation and how you make those things happen in the workplace.
Timothy D. Kanold: And then L is my favorite part of the book. It opens with a chapter, you’ll love this, Nathan because you probably remember it, but the opening chapter in L, which is living your soul story, is called The Data Always Arrived. And what I’ve noticed in our profession is no matter what’s going on, all the craziness, the truth is we’re doing this now in May of 2021. The school year is going to end. The date will come, and it will have been a miserably long, awful, relentless, changing year. And it will end. And guess what? Next August is going to come and the next school year’s going to start. And then it will end and the next starts.
Timothy D. Kanold: We live in this cycle of beginnings and endings as educators. And if we’re not careful, we start to get to a place where all of a sudden we’ve got 21 of those seasons we’ve stacked up, or 22, or 23, or 30. And then it’s like, “How’d I do?” So there is this sort of looking back and looking forward in that part of the book that I really love. And how does our soul story help us, this quest for the moral good, how does it help us live a really, not just a well-balanced life, but a life that I think is profoundly filled with joy?
Timothy D. Kanold: And of course, if you walk through those seven chapters, I think you’ll walk out of it… As I say at the very end of the book, I’m like, “I’ve got three grandchildren now, graduating class of 2036 and 2038. And if you’re reading this book, you’re the kind of teacher or administrator that I’m hoping my child has as their teacher administrator, my grandchild, my grandchildren.” I think it’s like that. That’s the intent of the book.
Timothy D. Kanold: It’s really a book to sort of hold off the potential burnout and emotional exhaustion that so many people face, and to provide you with just some really simple little routines that might be helpful at finding a deep self, but one that also is where you feel like you’re taking care of yourself, and maybe a colleague that might need it as well. Yeah. That’s it. Those are the four letters.
Nathan Lang-Raad: So powerful as well. Now, you started this book before the pandemic. How did the pandemic shape and kind of… Did you have to rethink and re-change, rewrite? How did it change the final product of the book?
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah, I think that’s really fascinating to me that I started SOUL! well before the pandemic, well before the summertime issues of 2020 with the social injustice issues that were going on across the country. And they definitely impacted my thinking about the book and some of the things that I wanted to write in there.
Timothy D. Kanold: There’s a chapter, chapter 14 is actually called The Greatest Obstacle of All. And that chapter is dedicated to what we had to overcome in 2020 because of kids just being ripped away from us, after all the connection we make with them as teachers, and the grieving we had to go through with that. And then just the constant, relentless, unexpected change. So how do we walk through times like that and still stay standing in our profession?
Timothy D. Kanold: And I get it, healthcare professions was facing the same things, but in education we were really facing with unprecedented levels of change that just sort of ripped away at the fabric of our own sense of who we were. So I take that head-on and decided to put a deep chapter in there. There are also at least four or five different places, including one entire chapter, kind of dedicated to the whole issue of social justice and equity in our country.
Timothy D. Kanold: I actually have these sections at the very end of each part of the book that is… Well, let’s see, for lack of a better way to think of it, they’re just like an afterthought kind of thing for each part of the book. And in one of them I talk about how hatred corrodes the container that it’s contained in. And that the PLC life, a professional life in our case, can never tolerate hate of any form of any kind, and that as educators we have a responsibility to fight against that.
Timothy D. Kanold: So I took on a few issues about how to think through those things in a healthy way because I felt it was necessary. It’s part of our soul story. If it’s to create good in others, it means we have to be honest about life circumstances in these moments that we’re in today.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Yeah, that’s fascinating. I’m so happy that you were able to make those tweaks along the way because this has been such a challenging year for teachers and students. So I feel like this came at the best time. So thank you for that. And actually, are you ready to nudge up into our lightning round?
Timothy D. Kanold: Absolutely. Let’s try it. Let’s see what happens.
Nathan Lang-Raad: All right. Here we go. First question is if you were on a desert island, which three books would you have with you and why?
Timothy D. Kanold: Let’s see. Well, I would probably have Sanjay Gupta’s book on Keep Sharp because it’s all about how to, as we age, I’m getting older, how to take care of our brains through the way that we eat and sleep and move and think about that physical activity in our lives. So how do we stay mentally sharp? So I’d want that because that might help me survive it.
Timothy D. Kanold: The second book would probably be… There’s a really good book by John Ortberg called Eternity is Now in Session. So I’d probably want that because I assume if I’m stranded there, I’m going to die there so I might want to know a little bit more about what’s going to happen.
Timothy D. Kanold: And then believe it or not, the third book would be Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way because I assume if I’m there, there’s going to be some obstacles that I’m going to need to know how to survive it. And that book’s got some practical advice.
Timothy D. Kanold: So those would be my three, I think.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Okay. Awesome. Now, this next question I think I may know the answer to it, but I’ll let you answer it first. It is about you today. How do you recharge?
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah, I know you know the answer is I run. I go for a run. And I really use my runs as almost a spiritual time even and a time to just release and let go. But I also, believe it or not, every morning I have something I call coffee with the coach. I make a cup of coffee and I sit outside if I can, if it’s not too cold, and I just for 15 minutes sit in the silence. And that’s a very difficult thing to do, but it’s something I’ve read a lot about when I was putting together SOUL!, so I’ve really dedicated myself to allowing my brain to just sort of sit in the silence and whatever thoughts pass through, pass through. So those two ways are how I sort of recharge and get ready for the next day, or the day I’m in.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Excellent. Okay. What is the biggest challenge in education?
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah. I think a lot of people today, right now in this moment, would say the gaps that are going to exist in learning because of either the lack of access to certain standards because we had to kind of have this haphazard way, we made it through the curriculum, or because of, you might’ve had access, but mastery really wasn’t possible to obtain. And that certainly is true. I would say that that is certainly a big obstacle.
Timothy D. Kanold: But I really think, and this might sound strange, I really think the biggest obstacle is what I would call coherence, that the inequity that’s created because we all, as educators, make our own decisions about the curriculum and structure and assessment, or the learning of students, the grading, the homework, all those things, and when we make our own individual decisions, if we don’t work together in collaboration, what happens is those students’ learning experience is so widely variant then depending on the random selection of a teacher.
Timothy D. Kanold: So what I think the biggest obstacle is that the grain size of change cannot be a single teacher, it has to be teachers in the collective, the entire K-5 team in that school, or the entire math department or English department in a middle school, or whatever it might be. The fine arts team working together to think about how do we impact students. So the more we can do that, the greater chance we have that students’ learning experiences become more equitable from grade level to grade level.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Okay. What subject did you love in school?
Timothy D. Kanold: Well, mathematics obviously. It’s what I was trained up to do and absolutely love doing. So yeah, math by far beyond anything else I did.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Elementary, middle, high school, just all the way through, you were just [crosstalk 00:28:37].
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah. In middle school, I really liked music the best. My dad was a professional musician, so I think we all grew up singing and learning to sing. But by the time I got to high school, I was clearly zoned in on… I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to be a math teacher, and I wanted to be a high school math teacher. I had great clarity on that as a student.
Nathan Lang-Raad: That’s a great segue into our next question. Who is your favorite teacher and why?
Timothy D. Kanold: My favorite teacher was a high school teacher, my high school honors geometry teacher, guy by the name of Al Foster, and I actually write about Al. He shows up in SOUL!. He makes an appearance. But Al, he really was very validating, and that’s an important quality in a teacher. I was kind of struggling at home and he sort of knew that, but what happened was he pulled out four students for an experimental math program out of the University of Chicago and had us study out of that program for a month under his tutelage and guidance.
Timothy D. Kanold: And that was the first time I remember thinking, “Oh, maybe I’m pretty good in math,” because I got chosen to do this special project with kids that I thought were a lot smarter than me, right? So to me, that was very validating. And then, more importantly, I think some teachers have an impact on your life short-term at the moment you pass through your life. Al chose, for whatever reason, to stay in my life. Even now, as an adult, I still email with him and talk with him and get his advice on things. So yeah, Al Foster, great guy and very dry. Totally different kind of personality but has loved me for a long time. Yeah.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Excellent. Very cool. All right, next question, what did you want to become, or maybe who did you want to become when you were growing up?
Timothy D. Kanold: Who did I want to become? Well, I really wanted to play center field for the Chicago White Sox. I mean, I think that was since I was a little boy. I was eight years old in 1959 when they went to the World Series and I feel in love with them on a little black and white TV that was my neighbor’s. So again, in the World Series against the Dodgers. So for me, I wanted to be a baseball player, and then I realized that that wasn’t going to work out by the time I was about 19. So I decided, okay, I better go another route.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Excellent. All right. Who had the biggest impact on who you have become?
Timothy D. Kanold: The biggest impact on my life?
Nathan Lang-Raad: Yeah.
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah. That would be my Aunt Dottie. One of the things you find out in SOUL! in the first few chapters is you find out how I end up on my Aunt Dottie’s doorstep as a seven-year-old until I was 12. So she basically took me and kind of invested in loco parentis into my life and along with a couple of critical teachers. But to this day, she’s 95 years old, she’s still alive. We text quite a bit back and forth every day. She’s quite a hoot. And she’s had the greatest influence on my life. Yeah.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Fantastic. What’s the most positive change you’ve noticed in education?
Timothy D. Kanold: I want to say this in the sense of a positive change that I’m hoping for, if that makes sense.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Yeah.
Timothy D. Kanold: And in order to explain that, I want to just share something with you. I think this is what I’m hoping will be the change because of the pandemic. On the other side of it, this might be something that happens. Because the pandemic caused us to get into students’ homes, it caused us to find out what kids really look like, where they’re living, what their situation’s like. It’s not just as clean as it might be in our classroom, and we don’t really know what goes on in their home life.
Timothy D. Kanold: So we sort of crossed a certain barrier I think. And in SOUL!, I actually write this. I’ll just read it real quick. “If we are not the beacons of light in the world, who will be? How great would it be if our revised school schedules, curriculum and student groupings are used to eventually soften the lines across our diversity, expand the boundaries of who is in our in group and unite the dignity of humanity of every student and adult in our school community?”
Timothy D. Kanold: So I think, that’s kind of my hope for the future. I mean, I think if that’s one of the great things education can provide, it would provide that opportunity for kids, while they’re still being shaped in their ideas and their ideals, to respect other students who don’t look like them, speak like them, believe like them exactly. Right? And to learn how to cross those lines of diversity. And can we do that and set that up in our schools because of what we’ve learned through this virtual life we’ve lived over the last year and a half?
Timothy D. Kanold: So I think that’s more my hope probably that I for education, yeah, in general.
Nathan Lang-Raad: That’s very powerful. Thanks for sharing that.
Timothy D. Kanold: Yeah. Yeah.
Nathan Lang-Raad: All right, what’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
Timothy D. Kanold: Well, the worst advice I’ve ever… let’s see, would be from a school superintendent, who when I was in my fourth year of teaching, told me I should never leave the school district because it’ll be the best job I’ll ever have and I’ll never amount to anything else anyway, so I should stay in that school. And refused to grant me a leave of absence I was requesting to go back to graduate school so I could learn more math to teach better. So that was the worst advice. Well, I went ahead and left, so I guess I didn’t follow the worst advice.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Right. All right. And then, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Timothy D. Kanold: Well, the best advice, believe it or not, this is going to sound interesting I think at least for folks, but as you know, like many people, I do live and work and honor the spiritual aspect of my life. And the best advice I’ve ever been given I think, or at least listened to, is this phrase called, “Be still and know that I am God.” That might sound strange for folks to some extent who for which their spiritual side, we all have it, but is different.
Timothy D. Kanold: But for me, it was the words be still. I have sort of survived life by having this… sort of been gifted with this kinetic energy that is great but also can just burn the kennel at both ends. So I’ve had to learn, like many teachers, to be still, to sometimes to quiet the noise in my day, to get away from that and allow, as I mentioned earlier now, I’m trying this 15-minute routine.
Timothy D. Kanold: And I think that, to me, is great advice because it’s in there, it’s in that time when I allow my brain to get away. Nathan, we are in an era of unbelievable noise. Every place we go, the social media that comes at us, the constant steaming of people wanting things, the things that we decide, the social media we look at, use, that matter to us, much less our jobs, much less our family lives, much less our volunteer efforts, all this stuff. It’s like when do we actually just listen to our own voice and allow for that voice to be heard by ourselves?
Timothy D. Kanold: So that sounds perhaps to me like the wisdom of an older person who probably didn’t pay attention to the advice when he was younger. But I think, for me and a lot of people that I talk with, it’s such a difficult thing to do, but that’s the best advice I’ve ever been given because I think it helps me bring the best of myself to each day because of it, which I already mentioned earlier. Yeah.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Well, those are great words to wrap us up today. I’ve got a one off-the-cuff question.
Timothy D. Kanold: Sure.
Nathan Lang-Raad: I hope you don’t mind me asking.
Timothy D. Kanold: No.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Because it is Teacher Appreciation Week.
Timothy D. Kanold: Yes.
Nathan Lang-Raad: How would you express gratitude to teachers? How do you say thank you to teachers?
Timothy D. Kanold: I think, for me, I think the greatest thing we can say in our profession is to stand up and with great pride say, “Today I am teacher.” To make that declaration that what I do, and this is what I want to say because sometimes it’s hard to touch and feel the beneficiaries of our work life. Right? So because you chose our professions, as part of Teacher Appreciation Week, part of that should be us knowing and appreciating inside ourselves the incredible number of beneficiaries of our work life.
Timothy D. Kanold: So we’re obviously a beneficiary, right? Many of us just benefit because we get to teach, and we love that work. But students are beneficiaries. I think that’s what I love about it. Our students, if you think about it, they benefit, grow, become more because of your effort. And then that happens every year, our trail of beneficiaries is huge. And some of you, some of us, have been teaching long enough that our students are having students, and they are having children. Those kids now are secondary beneficiaries. And we don’t even know it.
Timothy D. Kanold: So my wish for teachers today, or this week as part of Teacher Appreciation Week, is that you can feel that 3rd grader that you taught many years ago, or that 7th grader, that high school junior social studies student that you had, now maybe they’re 25 years old, or 35 years old, or 40 years old, you should know part of what’s put a stamp on them is that they were the beneficiary of being your life’s path. And we should always remember that. We should always stay connected to that, “That’s right. That’s right. I have done great things. I am a teacher.” So I think that’s what I would say to everyone out there, don’t lose sight of all of the impact that you have had on others.
Nathan Lang-Raad: That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that.
Timothy D. Kanold: Yep, you’re welcome.
Nathan Lang-Raad: And thank you for being on the podcast today. It has been a fantastic conversation. So great to connect with you and just learn from your wisdom. Thank you so much, Tim.
Timothy D. Kanold: Thanks so much, Nathan. It’s really great to be here and I hope you have a great week, and thanks so much for inviting me. This was awesome. Fun to do.
Nathan Lang-Raad: Absolutely. My pleasure.
Nathan Lang-Raad: I want to invite you to our second annual WeVideo Creator Community Summit, July 20th to the 22nd. We will have educators from around the globe presenting on topics like personalized learning, social emotional learning and blended learning. The summit is free of charge and you’ll receive a PD certificate for attending. For more information, visit www.WeVideo.com/wccs21. I hope to see you there.