-Valicia, Secondary Teacher
J. Lynn, District Superintendent
Richard, Elementary Teacher
Carolyn, School Administrator
Olivia, Elementary Teacher
Cathryn, Secondary Teacher
Stephen, Elementary Teacher
Connie, Elementary Teacher
Angela, School Administrator
A smattering of smoky remnants is all that remains of the once promising fire of success in the classrooms of East Crossroads Middle School. The teachers, each having entered the profession with blazing ambition, now struggle to protect their feeble flames from the billows of student indifference and waning motivation.
Within days of unpacking, Mrs. Kris Able, expert teacher turned guidance counselor, is unintentionally thrown into the ashes of the mess. With wisdom and experience, Kris leads the teachers of East Crossroads on reflective journeys in classroom culture creation. From the burst bubble of a enthusiastic first year teacher to the authoritarian habits of an old, burnt-out science grump, from the super cool history teacher to the haughty theatrics of a doctor of mathematics, Counselor Kris instigates change, little by little, by teaching her colleagues four empowering principles of creating a classroom culture of success. With identifiable characters, applicable lessons, and an enjoyable plot, Empowered’s beautiful blend of tips and tales is as informative as it is entertaining and inspiring.
Kris observed the groups of teachers collected together around the mismatched assortment of round tables. Some gathered with forced smiles. Others quietly ate their lunch in solitude. A few openly commiserated about the upcoming nine months of doom. Kris mentally summarized in a single word the lounge’s collective feeling – stress. She saw it in their shadowy eyes and slumped shoulders. She saw it in their forced smiles and shrill voices. Truth be told, they looked much like their own rewarmed leftovers. I might be counseling more than students this year, Kris thought to herself.
Change. Why is change so hard? Green leaves change to red. Winter changes to spring. Night changes to day. But a man can’t put his wallet in the other back pocket. He can’t wear his watch on the other wrist. He can’t bring himself to drive a different route to work. Yes, he can identify a bad habit, but he has the hardest time changing what he knows he should. While the world seems able to cope with change, he who inhabits the world separates himself by – not. Alex sat at his desk the following Monday morning, suppressing his anxiety and feeling uncomfortable with the changes he surveyed before him. The evidence of his work the previous weekend was apparent all around. Clean desk. Organized bookshelves. Clear directions written on the board. Copies of assignments for the next two weeks neatly filed away. As the time approached for his students to enter, Alex stood to ready the last details of the day. The movement forced a swish of color to pass through his periphery. He looked down and frowned to see his old, skinny maroon tie he hadn’t seen since senior prom and wished he would have never seen again. Yet there it was, flopping about, exaggerating each movement and mocking him at every turn. To him, the tie was like a pesky little sister, irritating and inescapable. And though he’d been able to remember how to tie it, he still refused to tighten it all the way up. Hey, a man’s got to draw the line somewhere!