Jim Bob Solsbery
Vanell’s philosophy about teaching is simple. She agrees with Madeline Hunter when she said, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” Many think she was being too “warm and fuzzy” but what she meant was you are not going to reach some kids academically until you first reach them on the “human to human” level. Sometimes the subject matter in our classrooms can’t compete with the “drama” in their lives. The main ingredient missing in a lot of our classrooms today is a “connection with kids.” Vanell believes that research is clear, when students know you value them as a human being, not just another student; they will work harder for you and challenge you less. She also believes teachers don’t need any more theory and new, trendy programs with catchy names.
Vanell believes teachers need to be given research based, proven, practical strategies and applications that teachers can start implementing immediately – without throwing anything out that is working in their classroom. Vanell believes educators have the toughest job in America as they are asked every day to wear many different hats – mom, dad, nurse, counselor, teacher, advisor, judge, jury, lawyer – just to name a few.
Vanell understands that students come into our classrooms and schools with different backgrounds and cultures and their cognitive abilities, assets and experiences are just as wide ranging. Sometimes the only thing students have in common is their age! The “one size fits all” approach does not work anymore.
Vanell also knows the biggest unchallenged assumption by many today (especially politicians) about education is that kids are coming to school willing and ready to learn. As educators, we know this is not the case. We have a generation of kids coming to our schools basically un-socialized. Many students are learning behavior from TV shows, video games, social media and a myriad of other influences.
Vanell knows there’s not much we can do from 4:00 PM until 8:00 AM but there is a lot we can do from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Vanell is dedicated to helping educators be successful through motivation, inspiration, humor and a common-sense approach to stress management. Most importantly, she leaves educators with as many proven, practical strategies as she can.