What is Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching?

What is TYTYT?

We might not realize we get in the way of our children and how that is a problem. Not only do we perpetuate limits, stereotypes, prejudices, and biases, we then pass them on to our children. If left unchecked, they get passed on to the world. As an educator, the implication is simple: you cannot fully see and respect the children in your classroom. If we cannot see their full humanity because we are clouded by unconscious beliefs, we cannot consciously love, honor, and protect the lives of our students, their families, and our communities. 

Find more under the Education Tab on www.thecouragetodo.com 

In my work, Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching, this message includes and extends beyond race. This extends to seeing, honoring, and making space for our children’s inner lives so we can co-create a world that loves and welcomes us individually and collectively. This includes but is not limited to: accepting emotions as indicators of needs, curiosity around behaviors over punishment, inclusiveness of gender and/or gender-nonconforming youth, challenging cis, hetero relationships as the norm, and learning through a world-lens of the cultures, customs, and religions that make up our classroom and the globe.

Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching begins by having us take a critical look at our own limiting beliefs, particularly as they pertain to the classroom. It is rooted in the belief that we must uncover what gets in our own way so that we may get out of the way of our children. By committing to this process of self-actualization with an anti-racist, anti-bias parameter and conscious lens, we are opening the world to becoming what it needs to be for the citizens of today.

When we commit to this process of dismantling constructs that don’t serve us and the global majority and then look within to heal ourselves, we begin changing the narrative of our children. We give them the space to grow free of our traumas. We change their futures. When we change ourselves, we change our children, and we change the world. When we transform ourselves we transform our teaching. 

When we commit to transforming ourselves and transforming our teaching we give ourselves permission to reach our highest potential while recognizing our inherent worth. Then, with conscious acts we do the same for our children and our world. 

It starts with us. It moves to our children. It impacts the world.

Let’s get started. 

Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching is a poem, a playlist, a book. It is a call to action. It is comprised of actual classroom and personal experience met at the intersections of conscious parenting, education, and social justice. It is rooted in love and spirit for all because we are all imperfect beings in search of love, belonging, connection, and purpose. It is a way forward through conscious action in the means. Through this conscious awareness work we move through the world with grace and intention. We leave no one out. Together we create a new world. 

I come to you with 11 years teaching experience across many domains. I taught one year of fourth grade and ten years of Kindergarten. My classrooms have spanned from PA to CA. My experience includes public, private, and charter settings in traditional, Montessori, and literacy-specialist work. I am not an anti-bias, anti-racist educator. Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching was born in the summer of 2019. Prior to a book idea, I could feel change brewing. I couldn’t quite put the words together to state what it is I wanted, but I knew it had everything to do with changing the status quo. I did not like what I saw happening in education. I did not like how we were preparing students for more of the same. I did not like how we were getting in the way of our children. I knew that this work has to start within but it is ultimately for the benefit of the children, of the world.

Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching started to take place after I began to notice, analyze, and alter my conditioned responses. At this time I also sought a sober community and ended up diving into the Instagram world of self-care, self-actualization, and empowerment; a world I did not know existed. While there have been many folx who have informed and influenced my own sense of self, my layers have been shed in thanks to the works of Jamila Reddy, Shirin Eskandani (Whole Hearted Coaching), and Tory Dube Lloyd, as well as the authors highlighted on my IG account.

I often credit Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind, to helping me get sober. Truthfully, it was the only book I had read and it became the only one I needed at the time. Her work has forever changed my life and it is through my sobriety that I have established a framework to how I live and approach problems and information. The same can now be said of Layla F. Saad’s book, Me and White Supremacy. I first heard of Layla in March 2020 from her appearance on Ruby Warrington’s Sober Curious Podcast. While Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching also looked at my experiences with privilege and unchecked biases, I have become more aware of anti-Black behavior and White Supremacy through Layla’s work as well through anti-bias and anti-racist educators such as Rachel Cargle and Britt Hawthorne, all of whom can be found on Instagram.

When I first started putting together this idea of how I viewed education and where I wanted it to go I didn’t always have the words for what that would look like. I talked to close friends and family about these ideas but mostly kept them to myself. When I did, I often got that stare that meant, “good luck with that.” To be honest, I did not think it existed, which made it feel all the more pressing, powerful, and ripe for my perfectionism to come out! Not to mention,  I didn’t look outside of myself, because frankly, I was too afraid of being deterred.

While I have tried to honor my own process as I refine what my approach means to me and for children, inevitably life continued to shape how I viewed this work. Moving from California to Canada and transitioning from teacher to stay-at-home-parent has made me question where my attention and commitment is at. It’s made me question my role in education even more, often to the point of confusion and holding back. I’ve been waiting to shout from the rooftops, and incidentally, I got in my own way.

Yet, I believe the time is now. Perhaps it was always meant to be now. I recognize my own ignorance and arrogance and privilege in thinking that I was the only one in the world with an idea to revolutionize education! And yet, I am thankful that I have since found educators and leaders who are also doing this work, including Akiea Gross and Liz Kleinrock. They can also be found on Instagram.

I have much to learn and I know that I will never have it all. I am still sorting for myself if I want to return to the classroom, be a resource coach to teachers, or if I simply want this vision of TYTYT to help me live with integrity no matter what I do. I am limited yet I am boundless. This is my privilege and my spirit. 

Two non-negotiables I have posted on my closet wall are:
-Do no harm to kids.
-Be spirit led.

This work is a culmination of my experiences as a teacher, parent, and participant in this world. This is about where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going. This is me living my authentic self while also working towards the liberation of all.

This is me saying I will not get it perfect and I will probably mess up alot, but I cannot let that get in my way. I can be joyful and persist in hard work. But I cannot wait any longer. 

Let’s keep going.

Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching comes to you in poem, playlist, and book. It is a call to action. This has been my process. The poem has been a guide, the playlist a motivation, and the book is the work in print. Each line, each song, each chapter goes together respectively.

The Poem

Feel it
But for real
This is serious
We have to take action
And we can
You Can
Yes, You
Don’t forget the road
It will be hard
But it’s worth
Every note we hit
So, stay
In the discomfort
Until it’s the comfort
Of the world
And every child
Starts new

The Playlist

  1. Vacation – Dirty Heads
  2. Do You Love Me – The Contours
  3. Feel the Lightning – Dan Deacon
  4. Eastside – Benny Blanco  (with Halsey & Khalid)
  5. Heavy – Birdtaker
  6. My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit
  7. Float On – Modest Mouse
  8. This is Me – Keala Settle
  9. ABC – The Jackson 5
  10. Shake it Out – Florence + The Machine
  11. Hang on Sloopy – The McCoys
  12. Walden Pond – Atta Boy
  13. The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
  14. Glory – Common, John Legend
  15. Hallelujah – Jennifer Hudson, Tori Kelly
  16. One – U2
  17. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  18. Shake – Victoria Justice
  19. When I Was Done Dying – Dan Deacon 
  20. New Endings – Bon Vie  *Extra Track

The Book

The Two Book Struggle: Some History and Today

  1. The Book: I’m So Glad You’re Here
  2.  What Are You Waiting For
  3. Thoughts are Not Facts
  4. The Intersection of You and Your Teaching
  5. Toxicity
  6. No More Status Quo (as is)
  7. Perfectionism
  8. My Philosophy
  9. Do the Work, Be the Model
  10. When You Compare, You Diminish Your Own Light
  11. What Threatens Your Light
  12. No Judgement (Safe Spaces and Vulnerability)
  13. Setting Your Intention
  14. Less Checking Boxes, More Checking Biases
  15. Privilege
  16. Naming and Keeping Boundaries
  17. More Resources (Toolbox)
  18. A Fair Chance
  19. You Write the Last Chapter
  20. (Notes – Extra Space)

An Update

I recognize my “book” may never be written. Today I am saying that’s OK: I’ll start where I am. And that’s by providing you the chapters as they come out. Look under the Education tab on the homepage. Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching was never meant to be a lesson plan, a curriculum, or a one-size-fits-all. It has always been by me, for me. It is my personal declaration to how I want to show up in the world and my vision for what I believe holds teachers, parents, and children back. I look forward to where this will take me, and at best, where it can take the world.

Transform Yourself, Transform Your Teaching
A Poem, a Playlist, a Book. A Call to Action.
By Christina Lindvay


Find me @thecouragetodo, IG & Twitter

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