3 Simple Reads Over Winter Break

John Norlin · December 18, 2019

Another holiday break is upon us and, for many educators, it is a needed time to reset, reflect, and rejuvenate. Great educators are always lifelong learners who strive to stay on top of consuming new material, but keeping up get pushed aside because of all that is on an educator’s plate. 

At CharacterStrong, we believe in something called “LoHi” or the importance of providing low-burden, high-impact resources for educators so that they can successfully use their wisdom and expertise to take those ideas and resources deeper to impact students’ lives. 

So here are three simple reads for you this holiday break:

Title: Intelligence Plus Chello-i-m-nik-743251-unsplash.jpgharacter - The Purpose of Education from CharacterLab
Date: June 16, 2019
Author: Angela Duckworth
Link: https://characterlab.org/tips-of-the-week/intelligence-plus-character/
A powerful reminder from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about the true goal of education. “Don’t oversimplify. The best teachers and schools see academic success and the development of character as complementary, not competitive.” -Angela Duckworth

hello-i-m-nik-743251-unsplash.jpgTitle: Teaching Your Heart Out: Emotional Labor and the Need for Systemic Change from Edutopia.
Date: July 19, 2019
Author: Emily Kaplan
Link: https://www.edutopia.org/article/teaching-your-heart-out-emotional-labor-and-need-systemic-change
A powerful article on a critically important topic of adult SEL. We need to learn to manage our own feelings before we can effectively manage other’s feelings. “It’s a profession that elicits strong emotional reactions from its practitioners while also requiring that, for the sake of the students’ well-being—not to mention the decidedly unappealing prospect of an out-of-control classroom—they demonstrate the illusion of unflappable calmness and control.”

hello-i-m-nik-743251-unsplash.jpgTitle: Nice vs Kind
Date: June 12, 2018
Author: Houston Kraft
Link: https://www.characterstrong.com/blog/71/nice-vs-kind-and-3-characterdares-to-put-kindness-to-work
A powerful and practical reading on a very important topic. As a society, we are talking about kindness more than ever, but we also are struggling with kindness more than ever. If we are going to teach students about kindness, we need to understand the difference between being nice and being kind. Here’s the problem: everyone thinks they are nice. And, subconsciously, this gives us permission to settle. Nice is unproductive. It doesn’t move the needle forward. It doesn’t shift the status quo.

I hope these quick reads will provide some powerful reminders and possibly a new way of thinking about things as you continue to serve students and families every day. Don’t forget to take the time to relax and recharge this winter break so that you can better serve your students. If at the core of our work it is all about relationships, we need to make sure that we are in a place ourselves to effectively put the focus where it needs to be. Social-emotional learning and character development is not one more thing on our plates, IT IS THE PLATE!

Don’t forget that it is our own plate, too, that we need to make sure is well-balanced and strong. How’s your plate?



John Norlin

John Norlin is a Co-Founder of CharacterStrong, a Servant Leadership trainer, and motivational speaker. He was Washington Advisor of the Year, taught 5 leadership classes per semester for 10 years at Sumner High School, and was a Program Administrator for the Whole Child for five years.