In This Episode:
Welcome to Episode 78 of Dyslexia Devoted and today I'm breaking down the reasons I choose not to be a professional advocate in my business.
I'm almost halfway to my goal of $500 for the food bank! It would mean the world to me if you could donate to my favorite charity!
This Episode's Topics:
- The Kids - why I do what I do
- Burnout - why I set boundaries
- My personality and my superpower - the boundaries I set to avoid burnout and embrace my strengths
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
- Donate to Second Harvest
- Teacher Burnout Statistics
- Get the Dyslexia Devoted Newsletter
- Black Friday Deals Week - Monday bonus 11/27!
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
Hello and welcome to dyslexia devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host, Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted.
Hello, friends, I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving if you were listening to this in real time, I know my Thanksgiving certainly did not go to plan. So maybe yours didn't either. We were supposed to have our family gathering. And unfortunately, a very large portion of our crew ended up with COVID. And it had to be canceled on just a few hours notice. So we ever so wonderfully have fabulous neighbors, and we ended up with an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner with the people we share offense with. So it is lovely to be able to do that and shared our Thanksgiving food with our real family by cooking what was already ready to go and dropping it off on their doorstep. So that way, they got to at least eat a yummy Thanksgiving meal, even if it was not with us. Speaking of Thanksgiving, one of the things that I had going this month was a fundraiser for my favorite charity, which is the Second Harvest Food Bank, who helped give us food when I was a kid. And so I'm trying to raise $500 for the charity this year. So we're in about the halfway mark, as of when I'm recording this episode. So if you would like to donate to the food bank to families in need, who can't afford enough food this holiday season, that would mean the world to me, I'm putting the link for that in the show notes, episode number 78, of dyslexia devoted is just like many of my other episodes, it is inspired by communications from you guys, my listeners and the families I work with and the kids that I work with the topic of this week's episode is why I am not a professional advocate. Now, you might be wondering why I picked an episode of why I'm not instead of how to blah, blah, blah. And it is really because it is a question that has come up and was actually stemming from a parent last week who was rather unhappy that I don't provide a certain type of service, and sent an email that felt really unkind to me, it was essentially saying that I'm not truly devoted to helping kids with dyslexia, if I won't become an advocate. And it's not enough for me to just be a tutor, and doing curriculum development to help kids with dyslexia. And I'm really just not doing all the things I should be doing. I'll be honest, it was a really rough one. And it actually was a response to an email that was really excited to send and I was in such a good mood, and I got the response back. And it just felt really hurtful and which is not ever a good feeling. But there were some real questions in it. And it's actually not the first time I've had somebody asked why I don't just become a professional advocate. And so that part is a really fair question. So let's talk about why I actually actively choose not to be a professional advocate for dyslexia and learning differences. Even though it is a topic that I am super passionate about. My number one reason is actually the kids, the kids are my pride and joy. They make me so much happier. I in my height of burnout, that was actually the favorite part of my day is to go work directly with the kids. And I did hit full blown burnout, I was in tears every day. And it was really because of how I was treated by the adults. And how poorly adults treated me in my job in my position is what led to burnout. And the kids are what bring me absolute joy and why I became a teacher in the first place. And one thing that happens that people don't realize is when you get really good at your job, people want you to do something different and go be in charge of other things. And then you're no longer doing the thing that you were really good at. And for me, the thing I'm really good at is working with the kids. And to hear someone tell me, it's not enough for me to be a tutor for these kids is, frankly wrong. When people get really good at something and then they leave who's going to do that job anymore. The kids who come into my office are the kids, nobody else can help. They're the ones every other tutor has failed to provide the right kind of instruction for the kids that come into my office, try telling them I shouldn't be their teacher anymore. They are what I'm really proud of. And I'm darn good at what I do. I make kids who are terrible readers and terrible spellers love coming into reading and spelling tutoring, they bounce into my room, they cry when their session gets canceled. And for reasons that have nothing to do with me or them. It's usually like a sibling or something. And I'm really proud of that. And I don't feel like I should have to give that up. I like being the tutor that can help a kid that nobody else can. I'm really, really passionate about that. The other reason is burnout. Do you know how many teachers burnout? Most teachers don't make it past five or seven years. Once you factor in being a special education teacher, the odds are even worse. And in fact, I've looked up a ton of the research for you guys, if you would like to learn about the causes of burnout and the rates of teachers leaving the profession, I'm actually going to link that in the show notes today. And it's because it has become really challenging to be a teacher, because there's always something more that you can do. No matter how much you do, and no matter how much you take on, there's always somebody else telling you, there's something else you're supposed to do. I'm really not okay with somebody telling me, there's something else I have to do, and that I'm not doing enough, because I put in 1012 hour days, and I am doing a free podcast for everybody every week, and I'm teaching amazing kids. And I'm teaching courses for parents and educators to learn even more about dyslexia. And I'm doing curriculum development to help even more kids get better and have more opportunities to practice their skills, and working for a major company that does curriculum for kids with dyslexia. So for a person who knows, I do all that to tell me I'm not doing enough. No, that's not okay. You need to be able to know that burnouts real in the reason so many teachers leave is the way they're treated by adults. And that's actually why it's why I'm refusing to do advocacy work, is because parents who really care about their kids, what one of my colleagues kindly calls becomes a mama bear, as in wanting to protect their child and do everything they can to help their child, which is awesome. Parents should do that. They should make sure that their kid gets everything that they deserve. But it also takes a toll on the teacher who gets that wrath all the time. That's actually why you don't want to be an advocate is because I don't want to come in telling a teacher that they're not doing enough, I don't want to go into an IEP meeting, telling the teachers that they're not good enough, because I've gotten enough of that on the receiving end, that that's not what I want to dish out. I would rather build bridges with the school districts I work with, because it's not just one kid that comes from a particular school district. It's many of the kids that I work with. And I really want to make sure the school districts I work with respect me, and are more likely to listen to me and you get more flies with honey, I find that it works a lot better when it's a collaborative team. Rather than going in and bashing a school district, and telling them all the things they're doing wrong. Because I've been in the schools, things are rough, things are ugly right now, you're just barely getting by. It's not really what brings me any joy whatsoever. And in fact, that's actually my third reason for why I'm not an advocate is my personality, I really don't do well, with people being angry at me all the time. Getting angry emails, when I wake up in the morning is actually the reason I left my job. Some people really love debating and getting into arguments and proving the point and getting the last word in. And that's on me, I love working as a team and feeling like we're working together and everyone's getting along. And, you know, being a bit of a people pleaser. So you have to have the right kind of personality. To be an advocate, you have to be able to be a little feisty, you have to be able to not take things personally. And I take things really personally. And so therefore I know I would be a terrible advocate, I know that I have a certain level of capacity, there are only so many things I can do. So for now, what I have chosen to do is work directly with kids, to coach parents on how they can support and advocate for their own child. I choose to work on curriculum development. So I can keep helping develop things that can help mass quantities of kids in their schools and their assignments, when they have work that meets their needs and is at their level and teaches them important things. And it's why I choose to do all of those things. There is some level of capacity, you have to say no at some point. So the thing I choose to say no to is the thing that brings me the least amount of joy. Every day I get told something else I should do. I should expand my business since I have a waitlist, I should hire more tutors, I should go become an advocate. I should go do this, I should go through that. And there's only so many hours in a day, and there's only so much I could do. And so I choose the things that make me the most happy. And the things that I know I'm really good at that not as many other people are good at. I'm really good at helping the kids that no one else knows how to help. I'm really good at coaching parents on what questions to ask their school district. I'm really good at creating worksheets and curriculum that helps kids with learning differences in a way that makes sense to them, and isn't overwhelming for them to do their assignments. I'm really good at coaching parents and teachers on ways that kids with learning differences learn. I am not the expert on all things IEP laws. I am not the person who wants to go in and tell all the teachers the things they're doing wrong. Instead, I choose to help teachers get better at what they are already doing. I choose to help teachers look at things a little differently than they did before. I choose to help parents know what to ask and what to look for in their own children's schools so that they can advocate for their own kids. Because I really don't feel comfortable advocating for a kid I've never worked with. I have gone in to an IEP and I have advocated for kids before. In fact, I did it just last week, but it was a kid, I currently work with a kid who I see what works and what doesn't work. And it's one where I know with full confidence, what I say really is accurate. Versus being an advocate for a kid I've never taught before, I don't really feel comfortable doing that, because I don't know that kid in and out. And that's actually my superpower is I know, every kid I work with, in and out, I know all their strengths, I know all of their struggles. I know what makes them tick, and what will set them off and Tailspin them in the wrong direction. And that's what I choose to utilize is that power. So if you get something out of this, I hope it is a couple of things. It is knowing that kids are my reason for why I do what I do. Even if it's not necessarily the way you wish I should do them it is that teachers are getting burnt out. And one of the big reasons is how poorly they're treated by adults telling them that they're not doing enough, when they're putting in 12 hour days, doing everything they can to help kids and that everyone has to know their capacity, and know where to set their boundaries to keep them from burning out. And I've learned what my boundary is and what causes me to burn out. And sitting in endless IEP meetings and getting angry emails all the time is my limit. It is what I hate. So instead, I choose to work with awesome kids, and kind appreciative families who really try their best to be a collaborative team player. And that's what I choose to do. And I hope that's okay with you. And if it's not, please unsubscribe from all of my everything's, if this is something that motivates you, please share this podcast with somebody, and let them hear how amazing it is to help kids. And to know that yes, I could do more things I've learned I can run an entire division of a school. But guess what I chose not to. I chose to work with the kids, and teach courses online and host webinars, because that's what brings me joy is working directly with the kids and directly with the teachers and directly with some of the parents that I support. That's my happy place. And I made an entire job of my happy place that still does good for the world. And for me, that's enough. I hope it's enough for you too. All right. That's it for this week. So it would mean the world to me if you could donate to my charity, which is the Second Harvest Food Bank. The link is in the show notes for today. And I really hope you can have some season of giving and kindness to others. Because I think probably not everybody had an easiest Thanksgiving ever. And I think we could use a lot more kindness in the world. Thank you. See you next time.
Thanks for tuning in to today's episode. If you want to learn even more about dyslexia, check out Parnello education.com forward slash courses. See you next time.