Hi everyone, it's Tim, your friendly neighborhood inclusion just some of you know that I've been producing this podcast and conclusive since 2012. And since then podcasting has evolved especially in the last few years. video podcasting is all the rage. And while this podcast for the foreseeable future will always be audio, we will be using video more and more as we plan for our next season, starting in September of 2024. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I'm not reading this from a script. This is exactly my process. When I produce the audio podcast all this to say is that for this episode, we're trying out a video version which will be posted on our YouTube channel. Oh, and by the way, if this is your first time hitting play on thinking inclusive, Welcome, we are glad you're here. On thinking inclusive, we bring you conversations about inclusive education and what inclusion looks like in the real world. Are you a teacher in a special education classroom? Have you ever thought maybe there's a better way to support learners with disabilities than to segregate them in separate classrooms? Our guest this week struggled with this exact question. If you want to hear his story of how love transformed his classroom and practice, keep listening. Dr. Andrew Goff was an educator of children with and without disabilities for 12 years before transferring his knowledge and skills he developed as a teacher to work as a researcher, author and college professor. He holds a bachelor's in child psychology and a master's in early childhood education, special education from University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He earned his doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equity, with an emphasis in early childhood special education from the University of Colorado Denver. Every day, Dr. Golf learns more about how to advocate for the inclusion of children with disabilities and society. Love is a classroom. His first book shares what he learned as a classroom teacher. But the lessons do not end with this story. learning and sharing are lifelong endeavors for him. This is what happens when you record. On a Wednesday at noon in Georgia, you hear the tornado sirens in this episode, we welcome Andrew Goff, who discusses his journey from supporting highly specialized class settings to embracing full inclusion in early childhood education. Throughout the conversation, Andrew reveals his insights on why the classroom should be a place of love, and growth for all children. Regardless of their abilities. He shares a powerful narrative centered around his experience with a student named Javon eliminating the challenges and triumphs of creating a nurturing learning environment. The discussion delves into the complexities of advocacy, within an often rigid education system in the transition to leadership roles that can influence change. After a short break, in my interview with Andrew goth, and for free time this week, I want to take you on a walk with me, as I reflect on this episode, stick around, we'll be right back.
Andrew golf, welcome to the think inclusive podcast.
Thanks, Tim. It's wonderful to be here.
Let's talk about why love is the classroom like what was the transfer, transformational moment that turns you around? You know, you said that, at one point, you're thinking, maybe, you know, some kids really do need a special classroom with highly trained staff and intensive support, like what changed your mind from that line of thinking?
To be honest, it wasn't something that like it was this aha, that's actually I think, part of the writing process. So when I went into writing this book, it was more for therapeutic reasons. I didn't expect it, you know, I needed to process this experience that had been, you know, three years, two years since, you know, the passing of Javon and I think I was just coming to a place just both professionally and personally where I was like, this is this is something I need to talk about. And as I started to unpack it, I think I started to be able to articulate the ideas now the turning point, professionally because I'd said, you know, earlier that I, when I left the self contained classroom, I did say it might be good for some children. I think it was during the second half of the 2012 2013 school year, when I saw as I saw how children without disabilities, were growing, and benefited from this experience, and even furthermore, how appreciative parents were to see their children being inclusive, but I could see the correlation between their child's success and their child being kind to everyone in the class and, you know, creating a sense of belonging and welcoming, Javon and welcoming, you know, the other children, of whom I've given new names, remember, what did I call them in the book, I, when I saw how beneficial it was to children without disabilities, how beneficial it was to the families, how beneficial it was to the children with disabilities, even the children who don't have IEP s children who are just disabled by the curriculum, I, it became clear to me that no child should be I mean, this is, in my mind, it was neglectful to not in early childhood of all places, not provide children with the opportunity to thrive and grow. And to a certain extent, thinking back to, you know, I can look back on my experiences in the self contained classroom. And, I mean, it was on many aspects, it was degrading, like, the children at the end of the hall in the classroom, like, nobody deserves that. And it reinforces a lot of these internalized messages. I think parents have, you know, bringing their kids to a classroom that's self contained, versus bringing their kids to a classroom that's inclusive. It creates a different level of, of energy for me as an instructor, as a teacher is instructed nicking College, me as a teacher, as parents. And so, yeah, that turning point was really at the end, or was the middle of the school year as I saw everybody growing together?
If you are listening to this conversation, you're a teacher, and you're like, wait a minute, I teach self contained? And I don't think it's that bad. Like, I think, like I've been there. Andrew, I know you've been there. I think inherently we, like educators want their students to succeed, they want they want their learners to grow. I don't I've met up, I guess I say, I have met some people like this, but that like the vast majority, like, out of 1000 educators, maybe one or two are gonna say, you know, they need to be segregated, because, you know, they don't belong, you know, type of thing. It's very much the the majority of educators that if they do think a student should have been self contained, it's not because they actually want to segregate kids. You know, like, in the most negative sense of the, of the way of that thinking. Now, it's ableist. Yeah, it is. But just like being racist, like, those are all baked into the experience of being an educator, like we have to fight against that tendency. Absolutely. But, you know, so I think there's a lot of good intentions going on, even if those intentions are actually harming kids. You know what I mean?
Yeah, yeah. And I'd say, kids and families. And I think that we think kids first, and I sat down at meetings, those transition meetings into kindergarten classrooms, and it was always, you know, how many minutes and when are we going to mainstream them? That felt good, like, you know, that was, that was the option and everybody at that table for everybody who had any kind of true power and agency in those decisions. Agreed, you know, hey, they're going to be with their typical peers X amount of time, and that's going to be that's going to be great for their future. And there weren't other options, you know, it's like, or it didn't feel like there are other options. And I think that's one of the challenges and especially as in my earlier years of education, when I didn't understand the role of, of advocacy, and how to be an advocate. It was, here are our options here are our least restrictive environments. Let's just choose from them. There was never any questioning why like, why are these the only environments for the children. And I think that it came down to the philosophies that were held by administrators philosophies that were held by the school district. And I always found it funny. Ironic, more more than funny. How, even as you know, I'm sure it's the same now, but districts, how much they talk about inclusion. And, you know, it's a great talking point, it makes it great, you know, mission statement, all this, but then when it comes down to it, we're still sitting down at tables, say this child should go in this isolated classroom, and this child should go in this classroom, and it's not the slightest bit inclusive. And as a teacher, I just sat back and said, Yeah, I want to keep my job. That's that's the way it is. Yeah,
yeah. Oh, yeah, I know that that's very relatable to a lot of people listening. So the student you wrote about in Love is in the classroom? giovane? You know, without telling us the book, of course, because there's a lot in there. If someone is, would say, Andrew, what's your book about? You know, like, how would you describe that, hey, give us your elevator pitch for people who are interested, because I think a lot of people would be interested in this story. So I'll let you go ahead and speak.
I know, you know, I
had to deal with this over the over the holiday, I went back to my family, in Wisconsin, huge supporters, they love me, what's your book about? I'm like, shoot, I gotta work on this elevator pitch. So I've sat down, and I've tried to calculate it, I've got it in writing, but actually like to talk about it is a little bit more difficult. At the end of the day, I think the story, what I want people to know, we can go in, we think we can understand what it means to educate children. And we can have all the strategies, and we can have all the knowledge that we think is out there, but there's still always so much to learn. And it's not just learning it from a textbook, or learning it from this PD training. What love is what love is a classroom is about is learning from children are learning from families, and learning from within and reflection, I learned so much from the principal at that school, shouldn't sit down and give me any lectures, that really she did more listening than anything, I'd go into her office crying, and she would, she would listen to me. But that taught a lot, and Japan's mom, and how, what she thought about his education, seeing the children respond to Javon and it is. So there's so much you can learn, listening to children, and reflecting on what children are saying, and looking for the meaning and what they're trying to communicate. Because there's much deeper meaning often that we can take away from a conversation with children than what's on the surface. That's not an elevator pitch. Tried to make that a little more succinct. Or can you cut that down?
Well, you know, we'll see. You know, I always, so every time, every interview is different, everyone, and you know, sometimes I'll just I'll load it into my editor, and I'll just start chipping away and chipping away and chipping away and then all of a sudden, it just it forms. So it's I, I always have to take every conversation, you know, is its own unique thing. So that's kind of a beautiful thing about this medium. But it's not always a you know, a straightforward, you know, you just do these 10 steps, and then voila, there's a podcast episode. As far as Jeevan is concerned. Javon came into the school system in in preschool. Correct. And Javon was a student with extensive support needs, some medical needs.
When he came in, he actually had a diagnosis of preschool what the label that the district designated was preschool with a severe disability. Yeah, diagnosis from Children's Hospital, autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder. He was not we did not see him. His documentation did not suggest that he had, you know, any sorts of needs that were beyond what we might provide for another child. He had he was having seizures when he came in, which is not unusual for our students. We have procedures but you It wasn't, that wasn't the initial, you know, the concern initially was we're working with a child who has autism and who has seizures. It wasn't really beyond that. It wasn't until he started to digress in his development. And it actually, there was a, there were several red flags initially, but because of the nature of ASD, autism spectrum disorder, a lot of it we were able to dismiss, because his symptoms were a regression in development, he lost his ability to speak, he was losing his ability, he didn't socially engage, as you had. But unlike autism, he was losing gross motor functioning, he was losing his ability to walk as balance. And as he started to digress, and as he started to lose those motor skills, we sat down, you know, it started out with my teaching assistants in me, we said, I don't you know, I don't know if this is autism, like, look at look at this, you know, we've got all these other children who are on the autism spectrum, there's something else going on here. And because of the seizures he was having, and the seizures were increasing, his mom already had him on the list for children's hospital to get further evaluations. At that point in time, she didn't see him as a child with autism, you know, that she was her son. And whether he had a label of autism or a label of anything else, she wanted to get down to the symptoms. That was what I gathered. And we said, All right, we, you know, I, as being the teacher, I was in the arrogance that I had, I just said, you know, I you need to go and take a look at because of the symptoms, she already had it. So, in, you know, after evaluations, it became clear that this regression in development was was something much more than autism. Yeah. And the big challenge was, how are we adjusting to these constantly changing conditions in you know, there are very various other things going on in his family's life. And as teachers, especially early childhood educators, I think that one of our mastery skills, Astrid skills is being able to adapt, like, we can create the lesson plan we want to create, but that's never gonna happen. Like it's always adapting on the fly. That's part of being an early childhood educator, early childhood special educator, I think, educator in general. But, I mean, in most, most agents, you're not worrying about, you know, what happens when one kid vomits, another kid, you know, a two kids have to have their diapers changed, you know, all these things are happening at the same time. And we're in the middle of trying to teach a lesson on how you know what lives in trees? Yeah. Oh,
yeah. I've, I've been there. I've been there. So what's the what was the challenge as, as the student kept, you know, you know, losing skills, having more and more things that that needed to be looked at as far as inclusion. So that what was the team already committed to making this an inclusive learning environment for him? Or was does it take some convincing or how did that go?
Yeah, status quo, said, this is no longer an environment for him. Like, he's at a point now where he can't be adequately served in your classroom manager for various reasons. The team, in most cases, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, you know, they're trained birth through death. They're not, you know, it's not a focus on early childhood. And, and so the team wasn't really, I mean, inclusion is something that is, I mean, not overwhelmingly embraced in early childhood, but more embraced in early childhood than anywhere else. I think any other age level, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like early childhood, it's pretty receptive to the idea. But no, the team was not saying we're going to make this inclusive. They were saying, Andrew, whatever you think is best. I mean, you're the you're the teacher here. So if you want to do it, it's up to you go for it. And, but they didn't have us what the challenges were. And we were in uncharted territory. It was, you know, one his mom didn't know the resources he needed, and then to translate the resources he needed at home and from the medical committee. unity to the resource he would be in a school. I mean, that's not the, that's not the same thing. So what we needed to do, you know, to get the resources to make, you know, to be able to support Javon in the classroom, it was, you know, this is what I need from my physical therapist, here's my, here's what I need to understand from the speech language pathologist, but it was more of me going to them, and them coming to me, and that's not unusual. But it did make it challenging because I didn't know what I was what I was asking for.
Yeah, and, and so, you know, I, I, I was gonna say, I love your title, but love is in the title. I found it really difficult. So I'm trying to figure out how to say, I appreciate the title. So here's my question. In the title, love as a classroom, and having, you know, having a looked at the preview, and you know, and, and, you know, reading your story, it seems like, the love that you had for your student and for your classroom, is what made it and it's not just you, I mean, everyone eventually had to pitch in. Right. So, but the love is were breeding the inclusive classroom, like the love is, that's where it came from. Right?
Yeah, I think that it was, I came to recognize it as well, later on, as a magnet early childhood. You can't say I love you, you can't tell a child, you can't even think I Love A Child. There's too many negative associations with men and affection, and especially with young children. And so to come to terms, or recognize, I should say, Love in that classroom, it was step back 10 years. Say like, that's what it was, it was love that was driving it. At the time, I think it was more of compassion. It was, you know, dignity, it was being supportive, it was never turning away. Because I was uncomfortable. And plus y times three, whatever the mathematical formula, that all came down to what was happening there was there was love, it was love from the children. It was love from the families. It was love from me. And not only is it society's rejection or society's distaste for men, being affectionate toward children, it's also that our society doesn't really have a universal definition for love. And so I wouldn't necessarily say, I would say you have to love your students, in order to create the classroom that came to be during that story that I tell them 2012 2013 It's it was more about, you know, those acts of compassion and understanding, respect, and really embracing what everybody brought to that classroom and not saying I'm at the center, recognizing children and families are at the center of this classroom. And if I tried to drive it, I think that was the that was one of the one of the many lessons was and I carried that on up till my college classes right now. I can't be the center of the curriculum. If I'm the center of the curriculum, it's not going to be inclusive.
Yeah, I think that is a great point. And when, you know, when I'm thinking about inclusive schools, and the common practices, the teacher at the center, being the one delivering the instruction, and the students or the receivers like it just doesn't, it doesn't work like that. Like,
yeah, and I think in early childhood, in in most cases, you don't have anybody there. They're not up there preaching. They're not up there. They're not the sage on the stage, but they are the ones creating the lesson plans. They are the ones dictating what we're going to be doing and here are the standards that are going to be taught. Here's here are the IEP goals that we need to be able to accomplish and So even if I went into a typical early childhood classroom, compare that to what's happening in a kindergarten classroom or a first grade classroom, I would say, as way closer to inclusion, you know, the kids are interacting with each other. They're learning through experiences, you know, that looks like inclusion. But still in early childhood, we tend to say, here's the theme of the week, this is what we're going to work on. And that's No, that's no different, although it's much easier to bridge toward inclusion. But it's really no different than the teacher being the center of the curriculum, as the teacher is in the center of the curriculum often in, you know, definitely by the time you get to college. That's just how things work. Right? Same thing. Yeah.
Yeah. How has the experience that you write about? Has that changed your teaching practice? You know, after that experience, and even now, because I know that you're you teach in college, or you provide your teaching educators? Is that right? Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I currently teach teachers how to teach. And, you know, there's a, there's a clear line that can be drawn from 2012 to 2023. Just in my pedagogical perspective, and view on education, that's a whole that that's way too long to actually even get into. But, you know, there's, I think, a question that's going to arise from this, if I'm lucky, because this would only arise if people read the book. And that is, well, Andrew. All right, you had that great experience. But you left the classroom two years later, like, that doesn't that doesn't connect, why would you? Why would you have that experience, and then just decide to up and leave two years later. And I think, you know, the line comes into, I learned how to, I learned the importance of advocating, and I learned the importance of leadership. And when I'm looking at from that point in time, to right now, when I'm working with teachers who are learning or early, when working with professionals who are learning how to become high quality teachers, I am always reiterating and talking about leadership, like it is always going to come down to leadership and understanding from a leadership lens, how to be a leader, how to be a follower, putting the children at the center. And, you know, just that lesson that I learned at that point in time it's brought across, I wouldn't say prosperity, it's been very far from prosperity. I'm not making any money. But you know, getting to the point where my belief system now what I'm able to teach, the research that I'm looking at now versus the research I would have been looking at before it is there. It's linear, from what I learned in 2012, to, you know, the way that I look at things now, to answer that question about why I would leave the classroom two years later, I think that's going to be the subject of my next book, but so feel free to edit this out. But ultimately, I was trying to advocate and I was looking for leadership. And when I was advocating and trying to lead and looking for support from leadership, it ended up backfiring. And so that's not always the route to keeping your job, or maintaining a position. But I found home for in other places. The truth is, though, you know, I recognize the privilege that I've had and that I've been afforded to get to the point that where I'm at
what you bring, you bring up a great point about like, the tension between being an educator and advocate. And by advocate I mean that, you know, you see there's a problem with the way the educational system is like, it doesn't matter what district you get, it really doesn't can be yours mine, two states over it doesn't matter. You pick a district and there's going to be a problem. And the tension between I'm an educator, they pay my bills, I'm supporting a family. How do I walk the line between wanting to change the system within while also keeping my job? You know, because like I live I worked in Georgia, Georgia isn't at will. Was it at will right to work state there's no union You know, it's that they, you know, they just fired a teacher in Georgia, because they, you know, quote, unquote, broke the rules. So like, in, in the district that I used to work in, if you cause a big enough fuss, they'll find a way to get rid of you. So, you know, how do you how do you work in a system like that, and you're wanting to change things. But also, you know, you need to show up to your job every day. And you need to, like, you know, you have you have students, you have faculty, you have, you know, people that are relying on you. So, it's a really tough situation. Yeah, I see that
in my adult learners, they, most of them work in childcare programs, and they're getting paid minimum wage, and it is about survival. They come into these glasses, and I tried to keep things, you know, on a, I tried to approach it from a realistic standpoint of, you know, you there's a leadership hierarchy here, people aren't trained, you know, I mean, people just aren't very well trained overall, especially leadership. But it creates that that real tension of Andrew, you're teaching us all these things that are great about including children, and, you know, strategies for guidance in the classroom, and XY and Z. But it gets to the classroom. And my teaching assistant doesn't understand what I'm talking about. My administrator is pulled in every single direction. The teachers next door, say mean things about me because I'm pursuing my education. So they think that I'm, you know, some special person and I think so highly of myself. And so they come to me, and it's like, how do I do this? Like, how can I take what you're teaching, and all this stuff that research, all these ideas that research tells us is going to work with children? What do I do? And there's never one simple answer. And fortunately, I know my students fairly well, and I can kind of understand I can listen to their angles and what's going on, and gets more of the details. But it comes down to, you know, you're not in this to, you're not in this for you, and focus on on the kids and the families. Advocacy isn't something that has to you know, one, it's a slow process, like those changes aren't going to happen overnight. And you can be an advocate in your classroom with the children, you can, you know, just teaching the act of teaching children, how to create a learning space, where they allow one another to, you know, be leaders and followers, and teaching your teaching assistants, you know, small pieces at a time, because one of the things that that is really difficult, I think that we jump into with inclusion is we try to take these big leaps, teachers in my classes want to take these big leaps, because I share these, you know, here's what my classrooms were like, and it was so incredible. And they're like, Andrew, we want to do that. But it's it's incremental. Yeah. So start with your own practices. Start with your teaching assistants, or start with your teacher, if you are teaching assistants, start with your families, start with your children. And, you know, the truth is administrators, as long as they don't have to be putting out fires in your classroom, usually, they're not going to care, hone those skills, and then become a director yourself, become a leader yourself, and put yourself in a position where you can make those decisions. And it's a lot easier to become not necessarily for everybody, it's easier said than done. But it's easier to become a director in a childcare program than it is to become a principal or administrator in public education or in a school. So, you know, I think there's a little bit more power that that satisfies, maybe I've just learned how to satisfy my own students. I think they're more satisfied with the idea of, I'm going to get more education because I want to become that director, and that's inspiring to them. So yeah, advocacy is not doesn't have to be seen as it needs to be the whole system. Because if you try to take on the system, like you were talking about in Georgia, I was in Arizona before this at will states. They, yeah, I could be cut loose at any point in time. But nobody was going to cut me loose for what I was doing to advocate for, you know what I was doing in my classroom to help children be more inclusive. But there's a lot more To that, because I know that there's a lot of scrutinizing what teachers are doing at the K 12 level that
spent eons, especially now, especially now. Well, you referenced a book you wanted to obviously love as a classroom, you know, go out and get lovers in the classroom. Read it. Tell Andrew what you think of it. But you also have another book you want to plug. Right?
Yeah, yeah, I, I've admired the work of many folks ahead of me. And there are a lot of great people out there who, who have helped guide me and understanding my own practices and love as a classroom is a story that really helped me understand why this is so important. But it still leaves even when you know your why you? I mean, it's even more frustrating. Like, I know why I want this, but how do I do it? And how I've been able to turn to the work at inclusive school aid, inclusive schooling.com, Julie Causton, and Christy pretty broad sack, and they really do a phenomenal job. I mean, I just love their work, and how they're able to answer that question of here's what we need to do. And here's how we need to do it. And so their book, the way to inclusion was released a couple months ago. And along with all their other work, it is a great resource for There you go. It's right here for beaver Hall.
We both have copies of it on our desk, apparently, we'll
send this over to to them and say hashtag inclusive. So, you know, it's their work is always looking at, it looks at leadership and leadership, not from just the administrators, but leadership around the classroom, or around the entire school. And encourage listeners, readers of my book, to set it down when you're done and say, How do I want to do this, I'm inspired. I want this to happen. And know that they can go over to the work at inclusive schooling, and get guidance on how their district how their school can actually make this happen.
After a quick break the mystery question.
If you could install this will say if you could install one piece of advice in a baby's mind, like you putting in a piece of advice in the baby's mind. What advice would you give? Maybe a child, maybe a child?
In today's modern era?
What would be the piece of advice? So is this like planting the seed like the
Yeah, yeah, like you okay. Yeah, yeah, that's how I interpret it. I
have a it's funny because I have a 13 year old now and a 10 year old. And I'm a very active father. And I thought I was instilling all these things in their heads as infants, toddlers and preschoolers. And now they're hitting adolescence, and I'm questioning everything I'm like, really? Is the seat still I feel like this seat is just completely died off is because they're lovely. They're lovely. Don't get me wrong, but I'm just not seeing the fruits of what I was hoping for research I follow. I think, ultimately, what it comes down to is, is that compassion, like, we are social beings. And, you know, whether we have it no matter what our skills are, I think that we all have the ability to be compassionate. And so I think that, you know, not giving me any time in advance to process this.
That's that's the whole point, Andrew? Yeah, it's like surprise.
Yeah. Compassion. And I say that curiosity too, you know, Oh, yeah. And live cure. And I mean, there's so much but yeah, I think I'm looking at I'm trying to think back to what I did with my daughters and where they're at right now and where there's continuity, and
well, so let me let me give you an example. Because I was I was thinking a lot about this. My, I have three. I have a 17. An almost 14, so almost 14 tomorrow, but well, by the time this airs, he'll be 14 But tomorrow is his birthday and my youngest just turned 11. And my youngest is like, you know how you, I don't know if your kids are like this, but they a lot of times they just don't care about like your work like, oh, yeah, dad's a teacher, okay, whatever, you know. But my youngest, just in the last couple years has been like, Dad, what do you do? Like what? Like, what's your podcast about? Like, what are you talking about? And so, and I've been very much like, I don't talk about work a lot around my kids, unless they ask. But she's been very, very interested in like, inclusion and what that means and disabilities and all this stuff. And so she was joining this, like, it was it's called the helping hands club at her middle school. And she had to write an essay. And she wrote the essay. And she's like, Hey, Dad, would you look at it? And so I was looking at it. And, you know, there's, like, just with when you're talking with anyone about, you know, disability, you know, like, the helper versus the healthy and, you know, really, we're just trying to be friends, you know, so I was kind of, like walking through that with her. And I'm like, Well, you want to be you want to be friends with them? Like, well, yeah, I want to be friends. You know, like, I think that's one of the things that, that I wish that I could, like install or implant in kids minds, when even when I was a teacher, is, if you see someone that's different, or, you know, is, you know, maybe visibly, they have some sort of disability, not to automatically think that they need help, you know, but it's more like, how can we honor? And how can we just be friends with people just because they're humans, you know, and so I know that my daughter is still learning that and it's like, no judgment, you know, like, I'm just kind of talking through it and figuring it out. And, and really, I think that's where, like her heart is coming from anyways. But that's something when I read that I was like, I wish that we all could kind of have that like, not just babies, like everybody, like all of a sudden, like being like everyone sees each other as humans, rather than, you know, that there's like, well, I'm up here and you're down there, you know what I mean? I
think, inherently children don't see the world that way. And I was reminded of this, a while back, I saw a child. And, you know, I've seen this before, I'm sure I saw it with my other my daughters to saw a dandelion, and they pick the dandelion, and they said, you know, to they're gonna guess it was their gram, they said to the adult with them, they're like, flower. And of course, the adults said, that's a dandelion, that's a weed. And it didn't matter at all to that, you know, to that toddler. You know, if we look botanically a dandelion is a flower like it is. But we don't see it that way, as we've been conditioned. And I think that that is where children come from naturally is they don't see things as this category or that category, they learn that and to hear that message over and over again. It's funny, because the lesson that I think we taught my daughter, like one of the seeds that we planted for her, my older daughter, was, you know, Mike, for what you believe in, like, if you feel something, speak up, and you know, it's pushed forward understanding that everybody needs to be treated fairly. Okay, sounds great with a toddler doesn't work with an adolescent. So I have to remind myself, this is what we taught you to do. We taught you to advocate for yourself to speak up for what you believe, which totally, totally great away from our house, but when you strongly believe that you need to be wearing a crop top and all this makeup
is advocating for herself, and our strongly held beliefs dad,
she is not necessarily but you know, as I'm reminded, it will pay it's something that's really important. Absolutely. Tough it out. Tough it out and true, because it's part of the journey. So ultimately, yeah, the seed of compassion, and you know, see where that that grows, because I do see that my younger daughter, and yeah, you said about, you know, with with your younger one that they're curious about Your job now. And that's the same way with my younger daughter, she, I put store, I created stories and I put them on YouTube and their stories from the classroom. I don't think they're any good, but I put them up there. Because I wanted these to be here some lessons that kind of go. They before I wrote the book, these are lessons that I learned. And they're 12 minute long stories. And my daughter just sits there and watches them in all. And I'm like, sweetie, do you like watching these videos? She's like, Yeah, they're really interesting. Like, or is it just like putting you to sleep because of my voice? Which is like, no, they're interesting. I like that. She's like, Can I read your book? When it comes out? I was like, Absolutely, you can read my book. That's
amazing. That's amazing. Love that. Andrew Goff, thank you so much for spending time with us on the inclusive podcast. Tim,
it has been my honor, thank you for inviting me on.
That time means it's free time. For free time. This week, I'm taking you on a walk on the noonday Creek Trail. In Kennesaw, Georgia. This is one of my favorite places to run, walk, spend time with the family. It's a beautiful sunny day, it's probably around 65 degrees. And after I wrap up this recording, I'm gonna be going for a run. I really loved the conversation I had with Andrew, because I can totally empathize with being a special education teacher. And feeling torn about how vocal to be about wanting to bring inclusive practices to my school or district. That's exactly how I felt. I spent 16 years in public schools. And for really, the majority of the time, I was at some point trying to bring inclusive practices to where I worked. And not everybody wanted to hear it. And for Andrew, I know that he got to the point where he needed to do something else. And that's kind of exactly where I was. I had to decide whether or not to go somewhere else. And that's eventually what I did in 2020. And I joined the Maryland Coalition for inclusive education. So if you're a special education teacher in a situation where you want to bring inclusive practices to your school or district, but you just don't know how to reach out, let me know, I'd love to chat with you. Every situation is a little different. But we need to talk to each other. Because if we keep all of it inside, if there's nobody at our school or district that we can talk to you, it gets really lonely, and you feel stuck. And when you're an educator, you don't want to feel that way. You want to feel like you're making a difference in the lives of children. So reach out. You can find me on the socials. Or you can email me at TV I ll firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay, that's it for this week's episode. Think inclusive is written, edited, sound designed, mixed and mastered by me to be ageist Original Music by miles credits. Additional music from melody. Thanks for your time and attention. And hey, if you liked this version of the video episode, at least, let us know. And on YouTube, go ahead and put a comment. So that way we know you're listening. Have a great week, everybody. And remember, inclusion always works.
I was told I have a friend who is a librarian and she was like all he used to do Andrew is just like something really controversial or say something really controversial. And then everybody's gonna want to read your book to see how controversial it is. It's like there's anything controversy has something
country well, including this for inclusive education is for all learners seems to be pretty controversial sometimes. MCIE II