Dean Simpson

Dean Simpson

Mother, Christian, Friend, Educator, Advocate

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School of Education and Behavioral Sciences

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by Dr. Alex Spatariu

The semester end is almost here! Before we can all relax during the winter break, assignments have to be turned in, a few more classes need to be attended, and the finals are pressing for more study time. All of these could make one tired or feel overwhelmed. My best advice to you all for navigating through busy times well is to divide work into smaller tasks and take things one step at a time. Try not to think too much about what you have to do overall, just chunk things and work on each of the smaller parts. Then piece them together.

Here are some motivational video interviews to watch when you have a few minutes. These are done by Dr. Bob Hoffman, a good friend of mine, who is a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Central Florida. These folks come from all walks of life, but they all have something in common: overcoming hardships and experiencing success by finding their motivation!  You can also sign up for Twitter and follow Dr. Bob.

Finding Joy in a Tough Job

by Dr. Julie Fernandez

Why would anyone want the job of a school principal?  It is a tough position. People yell at you, challenge you, and at times steal your parking space.  The responsibilities of a principal have grown exponentially during the past 10 years.  School accountability means the test scores are pinned to a principal’s shirt for all to see.   There is nowhere to hide when it comes to the endless responsibilities of the job. You must have knowledge of instructional strategies, human resources, special education, budgeting, scheduling, discipline, and serving food in the cafeteria.  If there is a problem on a campus, it is the principal’s problem. However, the job is not all about stress and gloom.  There is joy.

When the day is over and everyone goes home, you can sit back and reflect on the enormity of the job that God entrusted you to do.   It is a calling far beyond any thoughts of glory you had when you first dreamed of this career path.  Children depend on you to hire the best teachers.  They come in the doors hoping for unconditional love and acceptance.  They look to you as their parent away from home.  It is an overwhelming honor.

How you keep all the stress from sucking the joy out of your passion for the job is the biggest challenge.  I struggled with this problem all the time, but I finally found a simple solution. On particularly stressful days, I went to kindergarteners for advice.  It was at the end of the day when they were resting from a long day of letters, numbers, and songs.  I asked them to sit with me and give me their wisdom for living a life full of joy.  One little boy who smelled like Play-doh and sweat looked me in the eye and said, “When I am tired, I take my blanket and snuggle with my mom.  She makes me feel good.  She loves me.”  When I arrived home that evening, I took my blanket and snuggled with my Father.  He made me feel good.  He loves me.  “Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand so he may lift you up in due time, casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 6-7, NIV)

Never underestimate His love and care for you when you follow His calling to positions where you are entrusted with the care of His children.  Stress in any job is inevitable especially in jobs where leadership is vital.  However, how we manage our stress is what separates the believers from the non-believers. Snuggle with your Father and allow Him to take your burdens and lighten your load.  There you will find joy.

How are you managing your stress?

by Dr. Kaye Busiek

Are you thinking that you want to “finish strong” this semester, but you aren’t quite sure if you have the physical, emotional, or mental strength to get there? It’s that time in the semester when major papers, projects, and final exams are coming due, and it might be helpful to read a few tips that can help you do your personal best.

Positive thinking means we look at the unpleasantness in the world—and there’s plenty of that—in a way that is hopeful and aims to get something done well rather than avoid it. Those thoughts that pop into our head when we have difficult or challenging things to accomplish are called self-talk. Some of us tend to have more negative self-talk (pessimism) than others. Conversely, some are prone to letting positive self-talk (optimism) rule the day. There are some major benefits that positive thinking, or positive self-talk, can provide. Some of them include lower rates of depression, greater resistance to illness, better coping skills during difficult times, and even a longer life span.

In order to tell if you are a negative thinking or a positive thinking, you might consider the following forms of negative thinking. (1) Even after a day of completing tasks ahead of time and receiving compliments at school or work, do you focus on the unfinished tasks and forget about the compliments? (2) When something bad happens, do you automatically blame yourself, even though there were other people who influenced the outcome? (3) When a graded test or paper is returned to you, do you automatically expect to get a bad grade—even though you know you prepared well and may have felt pretty good when you turned the test or paper in to the teacher? (4) Do you feel like you’re a failure if you aren’t perfect (by your own standards)?

So, how can you turn your negative thinking into positive thinking so that you “finish strong” this semester?

* Identify areas to change. Focus on at least one area that would make a big difference if you thought about it in a positive way. One area may be to “chunk” your reading, writing, and general studying tasks because they may be more easily accomplished if you don’t have so much to do at one time. You may also benefit from taking breaks between the “chunks.”

* Check yourself. Positive self-talkers check in during the day to make sure they are focusing on what they are doing well and not all that still needs to be done. They reward themselves in healthy ways, and refrain from thinking or saying condescending or derogatory comments about their performance or attitude.

* Be open to humor. We need to laugh—sometimes even at ourselves—so that we break the cycle that makes every task a “make-it-or-break-it” obligation.

* Follow a healthy lifestyle. Do you eat healthy throughout the day—and while you are studying? Do you take a 5-minute break about every hour of studying? Do you practice deep breathing to relieve the occasional stress? Do you get plenty of sleep in order to avoid feeling tired or “fuzzy” throughout the day?

* Surround yourself with positive people. Positive self-talk is much easier if we surround ourselves with people who are also thinking positively about you and about themselves.

* Practice positive self-talk. Replace any negative conversation you’re having with yourself into positive affirmations and gentle encouragement.

Most importantly, don’t forget about the power of prayer! God is ready for you to give your concerns to Him. He knows your struggles and your negative thoughts, and He’s ready to guide you as you strive every day to “finish strong”!

Summarized from Healthy Lifestyle, Stress Management, by Mayo Clinic Staff

Resources for Literature Searches in Education

Here are some resources for finding research articles in the field of education:

  • American Education Research Association’s Paper Repository   This resource is free and published by the largest education association in the US, if not in the world. It contains recent research on almost any educational topic.
  • Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education  This resource is not free, but you can search the titles and abstracts first to see if you have any interest in their research. The association is the premier organization for education and information technology research, so you will find a wide variety of research.
  • Google Scholar  Yes, I do use Google Scholar :) to find abstracts as well as full text articles. It also has a feature that gives you the proper citation in different styles, including APA!

Academic Success and Tutoring

The semester is almost half way completed, and many of you have taken midterms in your classes. Of all classes I am teaching, statistics seems to be a rather difficult one for many students, and it is a class requirement for at least some majors. It is difficult, as the concepts presented are complex and quite abstract, and there are a few math calculations involved. I encourage seeking help outside the classroom from our tutors in the library. Here is a link to the Academic Success Center at HBU:

If it helps you feel more at ease about the class, I, too, encountered many challenges back in the day when I took the class as a student, especially the more advanced statistical procedures. However, if you attend the classes, put time in to do the homework, do the practice quizzes, and get tutoring help as needed, you will be able to succeed in the course. Have a good rest of the semester!

Alex Spatariu

Time to VOTE!

by Dr. Stephanie Ellis

When you have concerns about your academic future, who do you go talk to? Your professor, right? Or your advisor? You don’t go to President Sloan!

When you need help or seek change, do you know who implements that? You! You talk to a professor, they talk to their chairs, who talk to their deans, who talk to the Provosts, who talk to President Sloan. And sometimes there’s a committee in there. :)

Can I encourage you that more than the US Presidential Election matters? Now that you can vote, I want to challenge you to figure out what matters to you – to YOU – and go find out what the candidates for State Representative, State Board of Education, Congress, Supreme Courts, and Governor say about those things. And then go vote. You may never have the ear of the President of the United States, but you easily might have the ear of your district representative for Congress.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably eligible to vote. But are you registered? The last day to register to vote in the 2014 Elections is Monday, October 6th! You can register to vote here.  And then you can find out all your district voting information (who are my representatives? who are the candidates?) here.  And you can find out where you can go to vote here.

Here at HBU, we want and expect you to be world changers. Start now. Go vote.

Live Life and Age Well: What We Can Learn From Leisure World

Last spring there was an episode of 60 Minutes discussing the Leisure World Cohort.  These residents of the California retirement community were thoroughly evaluated in the 1980’s on everything from their physical activity to what vitamins they took.  Years later, despite their advancing ages, the population from this community has aged exceptionally well and preserved the integrity of their brains.

What did they do to live longer?

Did they discover the fountain of youth?

No, of course, they didn’t.  Instead the residents of this community learned how to live well.  Check out this short clip on what the residents of this community teach us about living life and aging well.

Living to 90 and Beyond-Part 1

Living to 90 and Beyond-Part 2

Dean Simpson’s Thinking Aloud Again!


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