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KEYNOTE - How to Be Positive, Balanced, and Productive Despite Sudden Change
This year brought sudden, drastic, and pervasive changes. Our country and the world have been shattered by a pandemic. People have lost jobs and loved ones. Mental fatigue, turmoil, and the overall decline of everyday life characterize the impact of COVID-19. As educators, some of us—maybe more of us than we want to admit—find ourselves anxious, stressed, and emotionally overwhelmed. The shift from broad-based in-person education to entirely remote, virtual instruction and hybrid schedules, has made the always worthy challenge of educating our students and leading our staff exponentially more so. During this opening keynote, educators will learn techniques to be positive, balanced, and productive while reaching, teaching, and motivating students to perform and be their best. Leaders will walk away feeling re- energized. This session will remind you of what initially inspired you and drew you into this noble, yet under-recognized and under-appreciated profession. You will be urged to have a growth mindset—not a fixed mindset—while engaging with students. Despite the obstacles, it remains our duty as educators to prepare our students for the present and future—and the future is now. Come join this session and walk away with strategies you can use right away.
This talk was presented at:
2021 National ESEA Conference
February 2021 in Cyberspace
Robert Jackson

As a student, I never met my biological father. I lived in a very abusive household, where I witnessed my mother being abused by my stepfather. I went through physical and sexual abuse. I also buried both of my best friends who were murdered. My neighborhood was very violent and I dealt with daily trauma. I had a lot of emotional issues growing up due to my circumstances. I was educated by teachers who didn't understand how to work with students like myself who were experiencing daily trauma. They didn’t understand how to equip me with what I needed to be successful. As an educator over the past 20 years, I have successfully helped 1000s of students with trauma navigate through and beyond the school system. My on-the-job training began at Arlington High School, one of the most challenging schools in Indianapolis. There I saw first-hand how trauma affected an overwhelming number of students’ quality of life and their learning capabilities. It was there I began to develop my own personal approach to reaching and teaching students. As a result, I have a large number of former students who have graduated and gone on to lead productive lives. As a consultant, I have improved upon that approach by studying and applying research, including but not limited to the Restorative Justice Approach, combined with open conversations with school age students and educators though out the country. What I have learned is that no matter the location, the effect of trauma is the same; it hinders the education process and the only way to change the narrative is to face it head on. This is what I have done in school districts nationally and Canada over the past 15 years.