I remember my college track coach, Betsy Riccardi, doing her workouts before our track practices. She took great care of herself. She always seemed calm, present, and just downright together when she would conduct our practices, take us to track meets, and hang out with us.
Coach Riccardi often gave us quotes or positive sayings to motivate us. She took the time to know all of her runners. I felt especially special. I was not recruited to run, and I didn’t have a track scholarship or any of the rights and privileges of a recruited runner my freshman year in college. I “walked on” to the track team and had to earn my spot on the University of Toledo track team. The great thing is, my coach gave me a chance. From day one, she made me feel accepted, like I belonged. She never made me feel like an outsider, or like I did not deserve to be there, or that I was extra work for her, even though there were a lot of runners on the team.
Coach Riccardi and coach Coach Julie Rivalry knew my name. They watched me, like all the other runners, and learned about my strengths. They could always sense when I was having a bad day and would ask me if everything was okay. I really didn’t have to say much, they just knew. While they did not know about my family history, they just met me right were I was and intuitively made me feel like I was capable.
That was the beginning of my shift toward success in college track. In less than two years, my performance skyrocketed. It all started with my coaches showing an unwavering belief in me. They made me feel like I mattered, like I was worthy.
In return, I worked harder. I wanted to give back a portion of what they gave me. I became more self-confident and respected myself more.
This way of teaching, coaching, and helping others reach their best potential stuck with me my entire life. I believe that if everyone who teaches, mentors, or coaches adopts this same pattern of practice, so many others others would experience what I experienced, and they would be able to rise above their circumstances. It starts with teachers, coaches and those in the “helping” profession putting forth significant effort to take great care of themselves.
As educators work on their self-care, they can provide the long term care and equity to their students, which will, in turn, help their students to RISE!
Here are the steps:
R - Read
Read your students.
Know about their individual “Care Profile,” similar to what you may read as a profile on social media. Care Profiles take into consideration what a person loves and cares about, and a bit about their family and friends, to the extent they wish to share it. Care profiles allow teachers to know about who they are as a person.
This will eliminate the chances of you making an assumption about a student.
It also makes a student feel special, like they matter, because you took the time to get to know them better.
Every student has their own story, their own life.
The more we read and learn about each person's story, the more a student will feel understood, feel like he or she belongs, and realize how much they matter.
I - Insight
Gain insight from your students.
This is like fact-finding by using my "Insight Guidelines."
Glean an understanding of your students by doing more listening. Observe how a student is doing on a particular day.
With the student’s care profile in mind, ask questions about what you read about them and how their day is going.
You may ask how their family is doing.
Be sure to have an insightful demeanor. This will require you to maintain a pleasant smile, be kind, and have a caring attitude.
Share how much you believe in them and do this often.
Be available for your students.
Understand what affects them, what makes them tick.
Pay attention. This will allow you to notice when they may not be acting like their normal selves. That way, you'll be able to gain daily insight.
S - Sensory
Sense what is going on with your students.
Use your sixth sense of intuition and know how this interacts with your other five senses.
After reading about a student and gaining daily insight, you'll be in a better position to engage in tuning into the intuitive feelings about your students.
You'll be able to trust your spiritual and emotional intelligence to sense what may be going on. This is similar to relationship awareness, and it is a fundamental aspect of emotional intelligence.
E - Engage
Do not sit idle.
Be your student's keeper.
Talk to the student.
Share with them what you've observed.
Verify what you may be sensing.
Engage with other educators.
Engage with parents.
Do your research.
Bring in others who may be more skilled at assisting with what may be going on or what you verified is going.
HOWEVER, BE CAUTIOUS AS YOU ENGAGE. It is imperative to engage in a manner that is not demeaning, destructive, or that can destroy relationships and trust.
Helping others RISE is my core mission, just like it was my college track coaches’ mission, and I hope it is yours too. However, if we lack daily self-care practices and principles, try as we might, we won’t be able to sustain our core mission. Without self-care practices, we will get swallowed up and fall prey to the same destructive behaviors of those we are trying to help.
Are you an educator, coach, or mentor interested in learning how to adopt more self-care practices to help others RISE?
Are you interested in helping your school or team become more caring and equitable?
If you answered, “Yes!” let’s talk. Feel free to contact me.
Or if you simply wish to read more about my RISE program, click here.
Follow Diana on social media through #dpinspires for daily challenges on how to rise and commit to living your very best life. Download a free chapter or an audio sample of her book, Inspiration in My Shoes by visiting her website.