Ex Fabula: Teach

Sep 15, 2018

By now, students and teachers alike in the Milwaukee area have had a few weeks to settle into the new school year. This week, we pay homage to teachers and the dedication they have to guiding and helping the children in their care.

Our first teller, Elena Olson Valdez, explained at the "Belonging" StorySlam in January how a challenging student surprised her with more than just his naughty behavior. During a summer after-school program, she was in charge of a number of second and third graders – one of whom was the disruptive-but-smart Chad. After a kite-making project went awry, there was only one way Elena could show him who was boss while also proving she’s on his side. And it’s not a technique that is traditionally taught in college!

Storyteller Jen Hoepner
Credit Kennita Hickman

Another thing many teachers don’t learn until they live it is how difficult it is to navigate and embrace cultural diversity. Jen Hoepner had spent a lot of time in different settings as a teacher, and was able to help another teacher gain valuable perspective on one student’s behavior based on an experience she had in the Peace Corps. From eye contact to talking over others, Jen urged listeners at a recent Fellows event on Embracing Cultural Diversity to view behavior through an inclusive lens and to communicate openly about differences.

Listen to their stories here:

UPCOMING EVENTS: Register for the General Public Storytelling Workshop at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 at Artists Working in Education, 4315 W. Vliet St. Visit exfabula.org/tickets to find out more about this season’s events!