Student council

Jade Bilodeau – Former President OSTA-AECO and Student at Western University

Jade Bilodeau – Former President OSTA-AECO and Student at Western University
About Jade Bilodeau

Jade (@JadeBilodeau3) is an undergraduate student at Western University and the First-Year Representative for the Social Science Students’ Council.  In high school, she was a student trustee and the President of the Ontario Student Trustee Association

In today’s episode, she shares what she believes educators should focus on and do to make their students feel appreciated, seen and heard! 

Connect with Jade: Facebook | Instagram | Linkedin | Twitter

Listen Now

Listen to the episode now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favourite podcast platform.

Resources Mentioned

Western University

UWO Social Science Students’ Council

Ontario Student Trustee Association

Western Women in Leadership

The Transcript

**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.

Sam Demma (00:00):
Do you want access to all the past guests on this show? Do you want a network with like-minded individuals and meet other high performing educators from around the world? If so, go to www.highperformingeducator.com. Sign up to join the exclusive network and you’ll get access to live virtual networking events and other special opportunities that will come out throughout 2021. I promise you I will not fill your inbox you might get one email a month. If that sounds interesting. Go to www.highperformingeducator.com. Welcome back to another episode of the high performing educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker Sam Demma. Today we have a different perspective. We have Jade Bilodeau coming on the podcast. She is an undergraduate student at Western university and a first year representative of the social science students council. Last year, she was a student trustee and the President of the Ontario Student Trustee Association.

Sam Demma (01:03):

And she was responsible for bringing dozens of different initiatives and policies to the government of Ontario that students were behind that students wanted to have approved. And she did a phenomenal job. I was actually supposed to speak at one of their conferences right before COVID hit. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to speak this may instead. She’s now moved on from the association and now is a full-time student at Western, and I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to bring her on and talk about what she thinks is important for a teacher to do or an educator to do to help young people. And she shares so much awesome ideas and advice on today’s episode. So I hope you really enjoy it without further ado. Here’s Jade. Jade, thank you so much for coming onto the High Performing Educator podcast. It’s a pleasure to have you. I know things have been so weird since we last spoke back in may. You’ve been still pushing still leading. I know you’ve done work now with Harvard. You’re doing some, some stuff with mental health now, as well. I’m curious to know what inspired you to be become the student leader that you have today and actually to get involved and worked, that impacts other young people with OSTA-AECO, which is done for you now. But you move on to next steps.

Jade Bilodeau (02:24):

Yeah, so essentially my journey kind of began in high school with student leadership. And one of the main reasons that I began down that route and down that journey was because of how inspired and motivated I was by the students around me. I’ve always believed that age should not define what a person is capable of doing in their life or what the I can accomplish at that time. And so that’s kind of what inspired me to become a student leader and to be able to advocate for people who were still my own age, but who also had such an important thing to say.

Sam Demma (02:55):

Cool, did you have any educators, teachers, or older influences in your life that inspired you and maybe mentored you or motivated you to take this path?

Jade Bilodeau (03:05):

Absolutely. There were so many people in my high school and community who were my biggest mentors specifically my guidance counselor at school. My board of director, cuz I was a student trustee of the Niagara Catholic district school board. And there are just so many different coaches and teachers that I’ve had. And even to this day, I still keep in touch with them. And I still ask them so many questions because as much as age can’t determine, can’t define what you can do. It’s definitely helpful to have some wisdom and so going to those people and those mentors is definitely helpful.

Sam Demma (03:37):

Cool. If you had to break it down, what do you think they did that was so impactful for you? Was it their passion when they spoke to you? Was it their experience? Like if a teacher is listening to this right now, thinking how do I impact my students the same way your mentors did for you? Like what are those characteristics that can make a huge difference in a student’s life?

Jade Bilodeau (03:57):

Yeah, for me, it was 100% their passion and their drive to wanna see their students succeed for the most part. When I had conversations with my mentors and I asked them questions they would answer with another question. And so essentially it wasn’t necessarily them giving me the steps into telling me this is the roadmap to becoming a student leader or to doing what you wanted to do. It was more of you were capable of doing it and kind of motivating me to continue to do what I loved to do.

Sam Demma (04:26):

Do you remember, and this is like a question leading from what you just said. Do you remember any of those questions that were like, whoa, this is so fitting. Like this really helped me push through something. Cause I think like the information we always seek is in, so else’s mind and the ability for us to get that information is directly tied to our ability to ask a great question. And I think what you just mentioned is so important asking great questions is so, so important for not only coaching, but for, you know, your own progress in life. And I’m just curious, you may, you may not, you could totally say no some of your crazy, but if you do remember, please let me know.

Jade Bilodeau (05:03):

For sure. I remember one time it was during university applications and I was sitting in my guidance counselor’s room her office and I asked a question about one of the application essay questions. And I said, how should I interpret this? Like, what should I do about this? How should I answer it? And she basically told me, she said, how do you see it in your own life? Like relate it back and connect it to yourself. So she was kind of just, none of her responses were actually answers that I was looking for. But rather her question kind of like led me to reflect deeper and to actually think about how the things that I’ve done can relate to what I was trying to accomplish in the future.

Sam Demma (05:39):

Hmm. I love that. And I it’s cool. Cause my, one of my mentor does the same thing with me and he was telling me earlier, usually the answer is a part of the problem and you don’t actually have to absolutely reinvent it. You have to just ask enough questions to figure it out and sure. You ended your role as the president of the OSTA-AECO back in June, July. Was it around there that you guys?

Jade Bilodeau (06:00):

Yeah, my term officially ended on August 1st. Okay. so it did go through part of the summer. But those two years, as part of the Ontario student trustees association were so pivotable and my student leadership journey, I’m so grateful for the experience that I got there. And funny enough, there were even mentors that I would consider my same age. And there were students part of the, a Ontario student trustee association that I would consider mentors as well. And they were people, people my age or younger.

Sam Demma (06:28):

Awesome. You ended your term when COVID was just unfolding. And so you got a, you got a little piece of the pie in terms of the pick sure. Of what things were shaping up to look like for the coming year. What were some of those challenges that you were facing towards the end of your term with COVID and trying to run this huge organization?

Jade Bilodeau (06:47):

Yeah. There were so many barriers and challenges. Seeing kind of the barriers that school boards were facing in terms of trying to create a plan for September was huge. But then more than that, it was essentially the biggest barrier that we faced was how can we support students during this time? Because definitely one of the biggest challenges that I’ve personally faced, and I know that students across Ontario and across the world are facing right now is adapting to this new learning style and this new environment of learning. And so during that time, and at the end of the year, when everything was unfolding, it was essentially what can we do to make sure that students are in the best position going forward. And currently, cause obviously there are so many barriers in the education system and then adding a pandemic, a global pandemic on top of that, doesn’t make it easy. So it was definitely just a matter of what resources and what supports can we try to provide to students.

Sam Demma (07:37):

And I know during the pandemic, when it was just unfolding, you guys still pushed forward and tried to do virtual events where you could, do you have any tips on engaging young people virtually? I know teachers it’s, it’s a struggle, the struggle that you mentioned earlier about dealing with the pandemic and all the other barriers, it applies right now to schools and teachers as well. You know, if you were a student in classroom and you had to learn virtually what you are with university, what would you want to tell your teacher to do, to make it a better experience?

Jade Bilodeau (08:07):

I would say one of the biggest things, especially being around the third week into post-secondary online and even last year planning some of those virtual kind of provincial meetings. One of the biggest things was trying to be creative in terms of having synchronous and dedicated time to social interactions online and so for example, whether that’s kind of matching people up and pairing them for coffee chats, or it’s kind of just interacting increasing that user friendly techno technological tools, that was a big thing, is finding a platform that could then integrate a bunch of different kind of softwares and programs that we could use. It, honestly, for teachers, I would say in the classroom, it can be as easy as taking a poll halfway through class. Does this make sense to everyone or things like that? Just something to keep people engaged cuz staring at a computer screen all day is definitely not an easy task.

Sam Demma (08:56):

Yeah, no, it’s definitely weird. And as an educator, people that maybe just started in education are getting thrown into this job thinking, oh my gosh, this stuff is crazy. Like I didn’t sign up for this. I signed up for teaching. This is like 10 jobs in one. I’m not ready for this. But it in education, we also have the opportunity to impact so many young people. And although you weren’t a formal teacher, you were, you know, at the head of an organization that was impacting thousands of young people’s lives. I’m curious to know if you have a story you can share about the work that you did at OSTA-AECO?

Sam Demma (09:37):

If you could share like a story where they work, you guys did impacted a young person just to remind educators that the work that they’re doing is so important right now. And you can change the student’s name if you’d like to keep it private. Or if they’re like someone who you think would love to have their name shared, you can go for it.

Jade Bilodeau (09:56):

I would say ironically enough, one of the biggest things that we had done in my term last year as a part of it was actually the e-learning survey which was data from the previous academic year. And so the results from that survey kind of showed that students are in the same mind frame as student, as teachers right now, in terms of wanting e-learning isn’t necessarily what students want at this time. The results of our survey basically showed that 96% of students were against mandated e-learning cuz that was the topic that was talked about. And so obviously it’s not necessarily an optional thing right now because of the safety of communities in the world. And so the, I guess thing that I could say to teachers right now is that it’s a learning experience for both students and teachers and that learn and grow together as a class because obviously it’s gonna be both parties, students and teachers learning specifically something that kind of a story that we did last year was we kind of had this dialogue with student trustees across the province about share something motivational or inspiring that one of your teachers did during COVID.

Jade Bilodeau (11:07):

And that was kind of just to keep things hopeful and to remind students that even though during this time, teachers are still trying their hardest and that’s ultimately students will recognize that when teachers are trying their best to provide the best educational experience.

Sam Demma (11:20):

Do you remember any of those stories? Just curious, like, I don’t know if you do maybe some crazy ones?

Jade Bilodeau (11:24):

Yeah. yeah. There was actually quite a few awesome ones, especially for graduating students. There were some really awesome things that teachers had done specifically, actually in my school board and in my high school actually the teachers had compiled in a van and had driven around to all of the graduating class of 2020 and had honked and kind of like celebrated balloons and kind of like the whole 10 yards. And it was kind of just a way to say, we appreciate your four years at high school. Like we recognize that you’re graduating. It was just a good experience, even though it couldn’t be in person.

Sam Demma (11:59):

And that could also be applied to a birthday for anyone listening, who doesn’t have a graduating class. Imagine if you drove to everyone’s house on their birthday and gave them, you know, a piece of cake or Uber eats them a cake from Baskin Robbins or something crazy. That’s absolutely no shows that you care a little bit more. Cool. And what’s next for you? I mean, you’ve done so much in education already. I know you’re still leading in space as a young person. What are you working on now and what’s coming up?

Jade Bilodeau (12:24):

Yeah, so currently I’m a first year student at Western university. I’m an international relations. And so I’ve just been, I’ve just been looking for student leadership opportunities in post-secondary cool. And so I’m planning on joining my residence, council, social science faculty, student council. I just joined the Western women in leadership club. And so just finding ways to still get involved in meet like-minded people, because that was one of the best things that I ever did in high school was get involved to meet people who are similar.

Sam Demma (12:55):

Nice. And if a teacher wants to reach out and get a younger person’s perspective on anything related to student engagement, student leadership, doing activities for their kids where can they reach out to you? What’s the best way to get in touch?

Jade Bilodeau (13:08):

I would say the first place is definitely their students in terms of their classes, aside from that their student leadership teams at their high schools. And then even if they wanna go further than that, their student trustees at their school boards are always such a great resource. I know I loved when educators came to me and asked me questions. And then even beyond that, the Ontario student trustees association, or just groups of students that are similar, where they’re all kind of striving to represent that student voice. But essentially just having and engaging students in a conversation, whether that’s the person who sits in the front row of the class or the person who sits in the back row, whatever it is, just engaging students in conversation in general.

Sam Demma (13:47):

Love that and say an educators listening to this podcast right now and they’re thinking to themselves Jade’s awesome. And she might have some cool perspectives that, that she can share. Is there a way that they can actually get in touch with you personally to bounce some ideas around or have a conversation?

Jade Bilodeau (14:01):

Yeah, absolutely. You can reach out to me on Facebook. That’s usually where a lot of educators do and it’s Jade Bilodeau. And other than that through the Ontario Student Trustees Association, there’s lots of, kind of different alumni networks through there.

Sam Demma (14:17):

Awesome, Jade, thanks so much for taking some time to chat and sharing a little bit of your wisdom and your story. I really appreciate it.

Jade Bilodeau (14:23):

Thank you so much for having me.

Sam Demma (14:25):

And there you have it. Another amazing guest, an amazing interview on the High Performing Educator podcast. As always, if you enjoy these episodes, please consider leaving a rating. You so other educators like yourself can find this content and benefit from it. And here’s an exclusive opportunity that I mentioned at the start of the show. If you wanna meet the guest on today’s episode, if you wanna meet any of the guests that we have interviewed, consider going to www.highperformingeducator.com and signing up to join the exclusive network, you’ll have access to networking events throughout 2021 and other special opportunities. And I promise I will not fill your inbox. Talk to you soon. I’ll see you on the next episode.

Join the Educator Network & Connect with Jade Bilodeau

The High Performing Educator Podcast was brought to life during the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide you with inspirational stories and practical advice from your colleagues in education.  By tuning in, you will hear the stories and ideas of the world’s brightest and most ambitious educators.  You can expect interviews with Principals, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors, National Student Association, Directors and anybody that works with youth. You can find and listen to all the episodes for free here.

Melanie Headley – Teacher and student council advisor at Bluefield High School

Melanie Headley - Teacher and student council advisor at Bluefield High School
About Melanie Headley

Melanie (@MelanieHeadley) is a teacher, student council advisor, lifelong learner and the #1 Springsteen fan :).  She has an infectiously positive aura and is constantly striving to provide her students with the support they need to reach their full potential.  

Connect with Melanie: Email | Instagram | Twitter

Listen Now

Listen to the episode now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favourite podcast platform.

Resources Mentioned

Bluefield High School

Canadian Student Leadership Association (CSLA)

Canadian Student Leadership Conference (CSLC)

The Transcript

**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.

Sam Demma (00:00):
Welcome back to another episode of the High Performing Educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker Sam Demma. Today’s high performing educator guest on the show is Melanie Headley. Melanie is a educator. She is a teacher and the student council advisor at Bluefield High School. She is an islander by choice, a mom, a wife, a friend, a bobcat, a teacher, a server, a lifelong learner, a runner, and the number one Springsteen fan Melanie has so much energy and so much wisdom and so much insight to provide that she, that she gives in this episode.

Sam Demma (01:14):
And she’s one of the most, I would say, energetic and highly engaged and caring educators that I’ve had the chance to speak to. So I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the conversation I had with Melanie. And I will see you on the other side. Melanie, thank you so much for coming on the high performing educator podcast. It’s a huge honor and pleasure to have you. I know we just talked about the fact that we know so many similar people. You know, maybe you can even start by sharing this story that you just told me and the hope that Mark might hear it and be a little inspired that people are talking about him.

Melanie Headley (01:49):
Hi, Sam. So nice to meet you. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Before actually that I shared that specific story with you, I also want to include that when Maddie Campbell from CSLA, when she emailed me saying that she had shared my name with you I actually had to go back and read the email a couple times to make sure that it was actually me. But anyway, so I’m very honored to be a part of this. So last Thursday night I had tuned in a little late to the meet the maestros session that CSLA was putting on. And at the end, when, just before we had all signed off and I think it was Dave Conlan who had said, is there any, you know, any final comments, anything else that, you know, we need to share with each other before we sign off.

Melanie Headley (02:45):
And I hope I remember correctly, but I’m pretty sure. It was Lenora that had said, if you haven’t tuned into the High Performance Educator podcast with Sam Demma, put it on your to-do list. She also said Mark England’s was uploaded today. So that was, that was really, really neat and the second that I logged off, stayed up a little later than I probably should have that night, but it was cause I was, I was listening to the lovely and kind gentle soul of Mark England. So that was really sweet because you know, not having had the opportunity to attend CSLC this year, it’s just so, so important that we we have these opportunities and whether it’s through your podcast or through a virtual meet the maestros you know, that we can still connect in those ways.

Sam Demma (03:44):
And now you’re a guest on the show. So why don’t you start by sharing a little bit about who you are and how you got into the work you’re doing with young people today?

Melanie Headley (03:53):
Sure. so again, my name is Melanie Headley and I teach at Bluefield high school Bluefield high, a school is located in the community of Hampshire. But it is about 10 minutes west of Charlottetown. So if you’re familiar with the capital of PEI Bluefield is a school just outside of Charlottetown. And I actually grew up in am Nova Scotia. So I’m not, I’m a CSA, I’m a come from away as it’s called. But the island is my home now. But I grew up in am Nova Scotia and I did my first degree at Mount Allison university. And when I went to Mount a, I was going because my end goal at that time was to be a lawyer. So my path was to go to law school and I took clinical science history and English. And in my third year I started the process of applying to law school.

Melanie Headley (04:57):
Hmm. And that included reference. So I needed two professors to write references and both agreed nice. And however, there’s a little bit of a twist. The day after I had actually crossed paths with one of the two professors that had agreed to, to support me. And when we crossed paths, he said, I need to speak to you for a second. And of course I was like, no, what, what does he wanna tell me? He doesn’t wanna write this, this reference letter. And he says to me, and, and I could honestly, I can still hear his voice in my head. And he says, Melanie, while I think that you would make a good lawyer, I think that you would make a great teacher. Hmm.

Melanie Headley (05:47):
So after I graduated from Mount a, I did not go to law school. I moved to Halifax where I worked for the year. But even more so than working, I volunteered at a junior high school. And it was through that volunteer work that I made the decision to apply to the education program at U P I. So the following September I started the program and later that my, we found out where our teaching practicums would be. And when I was told Bluefield high school, I had no idea where it was located, how I was gonna get there. So lo and behold, I did my practicum at Bluefield with two fabulous list educators who to this day have become great friends of mine. So Jennifer Gill and Brett wood both took me under their wing. And I completed my first teaching practicum with the two of them. I went on to do two more practicums, cuz at that time, U P E I, the education program was two years. And then in my second year, right before, about a week before convocation I would, I was now certified and so I was very, very keen to start substituting. So I came out to Bluefield to let them know that I would be available and the vice principal here at the time she says to me, can you start tomorrow?

Melanie Headley (07:27):
And that was in may of 2002. Mm. And I have been here ever since. Wow. And my current teaching assignment includes grade 10 English and grade 11 law.

Sam Demma (07:41):

Melanie Headley (07:44):
Best of both worlds is right. It’s pretty great. So that’s a little bit of my my back story in terms of how we came to be an is or live on PEI anyway. And and teaching at Bluefield high school.

Sam Demma (07:58):
And at what point did you get involved in student leadership? You know, you attended the Mero session with Dave Conlan, you’re involved with the CSLA, where did all that passion and desire and decision come from?

Melanie Headley (08:11):
So even before becoming a teacher when I was in high school I was involved with student and council. Nice. And when I started teaching you know, initially my priority was the classroom. It really, really was to ensure that I delivered the curriculum well and that it was meaningful and that I, I knew my subject area. And as, as soon as I really had a grasp on that then I started to venture outside the classroom and to see where I could where I could commit outside the classroom. Right. So my, my first real commitment was actually with our, our prom, our graduation dance. Oh, cool. So myself and a few other teachers we were the teacher advisors for the grad dance for a number of years. And actually in 2015 our students, parents took over the grad dance, but that was my first, that was really my first commitment outside the classroom.

Melanie Headley (09:21):
In addition to that and this I hope to connect this to student leadership mm-hmm but prior to my involvement with our student council is myself and a few other teacher, Jennifer Gill, who I had mentioned earlier as being one of my my practicum teachers. We started what was called the rap team. Hmm. And rap stands for respect accept and protect, and the crew of us along with a group of students, we develop a program and a presentations or assembly, so to speak mm-hmm that addressed anti-bullying and character development. I love it. I love it. So we did that for a number of years. We did it within our own school, but then when other island schools started to find out what we, they wanted us to come to their schools and to present. I see.

Melanie Headley (10:21):
So kind of that character development you know, servant, servant leadership was definitely a big part of that initiative. And then about 10 years ago, the student council advisors at that time who are absolutely fantastic people and have been incredible mentors to me one of whom was presented with this year CS, a leader of distinction award for PEI. Oh, wow. Wow. His name’s Paul MCCA and yes, students call students, call him P Mac. So he had run our student council for a number of years. But then when he stepped down, he still, he, you know, I took it over. He still helped me and continues to help me to this, this day. And he’s an incredible mentor. You know, any ideas that we have, he’s always available, you know, to listen and, and run things by. And he’s been great, but 10 years ago he was ready for a break.

Melanie Headley (11:27):
So I took that on, but then I was really, really, really quick to realize I can’t do this on my own, you know, student council. It’s, it’s even like, not just even a September to June commitment, it’s really, it can be full it’s full time. Yeah. Year round. But I love it. Yeah. So Lynn cl she came on board to support me and the two of us do it together. And without her we wouldn’t be able to do, to do the things that we do. Hmm. I dunno. Did that answer the question?

Sam Demma (12:04):
Yeah. I asked how you got involved and told me that you started off by putting basketballs in between young women and men, so they don’t get too close us while they dance right. That’s awesome. I love that story and I’m sure the work that you’re doing in the school right now, it’s a little different than it was years ago, or even one year ago. Can you shed some light on what, you know, challenges you currently face with, and maybe some challenges your school or certain classrooms have been able to over, and maybe there’s some unique ideas you can share.

Melanie Headley (12:36):
So, first of all, to answer that question is living on PEI. We are very, very, very fortunate. So we’ve, we’ve only had, I shouldn’t say only, but we’ve had 66 cases of COVID 19. Oh, wow. So prince Edward island is probably not only the best place to live in our country, but probably probably in the world worldly . Yeah. So we are in school full time. Okay. And after March break last year, so March 13th, Friday, the we were, it was pretty soon to find out that we wouldn’t be returning. Yeah. And then I guess it was around may early may that we found out that we wouldn’t be returning for the rest of the year. But then in August we found out that we would be coming back to school full time. So we are in, in classes full time.

Melanie Headley (13:37):
But with, with, with that said, there’s still guidelines in place, right. So there’s no large gatherings at lunchtime. So anything that student council did in the past where, you know, large groups of students could come together was in our cafeteria or outside or in the gymnasium, those things are not, are not happening. But we’re making it work. Hmm. Yep. We’re definitely making it work. Our student council has been absolutely fantastic in the way that they embrace the op opportunity to do things differently. They’ve been really creative and the, the feedback, the feedback has been terrific as well.

Sam Demma (14:24):
That’s awesome. And you know, what are those things specifically that are working? How have some of the things shifted you, does any examples or ideas come to mind that wow. You and make you say, wow, great job. That’s really cool.

Melanie Headley (14:38):
So right outta the gate our frost week, so we have an annual week where Monday to Friday, it’s usually the first full week that we’re back at school. Every single day at lunch, there would be activities in the past, there’d be activities to welcome our grade 10 students. So what we’ve done this year to abide by the guidelines is that other than having the activities at lunchtime, our homeroom teachers have graciously allowed student council to command to their classes about 15 minutes before classes over. Mm. And they’re, they’re running those activities during home room. And so when I see the feedback has been really great, what teachers are coming to me and saying is that the, the bonds that are being formed in their home room are like never before, because in the past, when they would leave their morning class to go, you know, participate in the, the lunchtime activity, maybe they wouldn’t even go to participate.

Melanie Headley (15:57):
Right. And if they did, they were going with the people that they already know, right. They’re going with their friends this way in the homeroom. Everybody’s participating for the most part and the homeroom teach and the student council a person that’s assigned to that specific room. They’re just forming these bonds that they wouldn’t form otherwise. Yeah, that’s awesome. So what we did is on the Monday of frost week, we had what was called movie Monday. Nice. So every grade 10 in homeroom when the student council representative would come into the homeroom, and again, it was like the last 10 or 15 minutes of class and our student council has a Google classroom. So all of the events are that students just have to access it through Google classroom. Cool. And there was 10 different movie images. Hmm. So the student council member would lead the activity, but then the class as a collective would just have to decide on the title of that movie.

Melanie Headley (17:05):
Cool. And then, so we have 12 different grade 10 home rooms, and so student council would get together at lunchtime at add up, you know, their scores. And then we go over the announcements to say, for example, miss MC Nevins, homeroom had 10 outta 10, or, you know, Mr. Craig’s homeroom had nine outta 10. And that sort of thing then on the Tuesday was trivia. So trivia Tuesday, we like our alliteration. Nice. So movie Mon movie, Monday trivia Tuesday, Wednesday was Wes wisdom Wednesday. Mm. Where a quote or a song lyric or a saying would be posted. And again, the students would have to decide who said that piece of wisdom? Thursday, we didn’t name that tune. Nice. And then on Friday what we were able to do is in the Friday, we wanted to do something really fun and memorable to kind of wrap up the week, but we would call two homeroom outside at a time. And we had pylons in the shape of a 23. Cause our grade tens will be the class of 20, 23. Yeah. So we, so we had the students they would stand beside a pylon and then another teacher who’s also a photographer. He had agreed to take class photos with his drone. Nice.

Melanie Headley (18:34):
So we might have 240 grade tens, but we weren’t able to bring those 240 together to do that. Yeah. But what we were able to do the alternative was to bring out two class at a time. So one class would be the two, the other class would be the three and then we’ll get their picture taken.

Sam Demma (18:52):
I think the important things that you made them feel appreciated and welcomed, and Maya angel always says it, you know, they don’t remember what you did, but they remember how you made them feel. And I’m sure you made them feel really special. And I’m curious to know, as a teacher during this time, how do we ensure your students feel appreciate and, and feel heard and cared for during this time? Should we be taking extra care of touching them on the shoulder and saying, not physically, but of saying, Hey, is everything okay? Or, you know, what’s working right now for you in your class? Well,

Melanie Headley (19:24):
Just in the example that I gave with fr week. Yeah. I think that, you know, some of our, our new as Bobcats were the Bobcats Bluefield Bobcats. Nice. So when they came into grade 10, you know, they had, perhaps they had siblings who had gone through Bluefield or, or still here for that matter, but they had experienced fresh week, you know, like it had under how it unfolded in the past and you, some of them didn’t know what it was gonna look like for them, or even if it was gonna happen at all. Mm. So I think that they were very grateful for the fact that we were able to make it happen. Yeah. So and then continuing to do these things and, you know, just setting up opportunities to, you know, say rather than saying we can’t do that finding alternative ways. So for example we just finished at the end of October, our annual October Fest.

Melanie Headley (20:28):
Mm. So we have a courtyard, a beautiful courtyard that of in the center of our school and each year during Octoberfest we decorate kind of this photo opportunity. Nice. And we had kind of toyed with perhaps not doing that because would it encourage large groups? Our students still wanna get it well, they wanna get their picture taken with a mask on mm-hmm well, they still wanna get their picture taken if they have to be six feet apart from their, from their friend. So we still did it, but instead of doing it for the five days of October Fest, we did it for two. Nice. So I think that they were still grateful that, that we did it rather than not at all. And then another thing that we had to do differently, but again, we were happy. And the results were good was normally during October Fest, we serve hot chocolate, nice in our courtyards.

Melanie Headley (21:26):
And we call it B by L one, bring your own mug. the students need to, they bring their own mug in as long as they do their served hot chocolate. Nice. So this year due to the guidelines we weren’t allowed to do that. So instead we discussed as a council what we could do as an, and knowing that the alternative had to be a prepackaged item of some sort, that’s where our focus went and actually a current member of a council. And he’s in grade 10. His family part of their business includes these very, very well known on PEI anyway, these cinnamon bun. Ah, and anyway, they’re delicious and they’re amazing. And so I said to him, do you think we could do those anyway? So we, we sold a hun, but 110 pre, then they were all prepackaged nice have these amazing cinnamon bonds. And they sold out in about 10 minutes. right. So it wasn’t a hot chocolate, but this was still, still fantastic and memorable.

Sam Demma (22:41):
Yeah. It’s that, it’s that mentality of, we’re not gonna cancel it this year. We’re gonna figure it out. Right. It might be something different, but let’s, let’s still an effort and not just say, okay, it’s canceled and we’ll just wait till next year. It’s like, no, right. We can’t do this, but what can we do? And I think you did a great job and the school has done a great job of, of taking that question and asking themselves and yourself that very often and coming up with new solutions. You know, if, if someone’s listening and is loving these ideas and maybe wants to connect with you and dive a little deeper and ask some questions and connect what would be the best way for them to do so?

Melanie Headley (23:18):
My email is meheadley@edu.pe.ca. So that is my email. Perfect. I’m also on Twitter and Instagram. Nice. So, yeah.

Sam Demma (23:38):
Okay, awesome. And if you could travel back in time to wrap up this episode and give your younger self advice in education, what pieces of advice, knowing what, you know now, would you give your younger self?

Melanie Headley (23:50):
Hands down? Not to take myself so seriously. Yeah, honestly that is really, really, but at the same time when I say that looking back like and I, I hope that I teach this to young people as well. And I currently have a student teacher from U P E I nice. But that’s part of growing up. Right. You kind of have to grow through that. And, but I am, I would definitely try not to take, take myself so seriously and yeah, that’s awesome.

Sam Demma (24:20):
Awesome, Melanie, thank you so much for coming on the show. So many actionable ideas. I really, really appreciate it. I appreciate the energy and the, the openness to share, and I hope someone listening does reach out to you and start a conversation.

Melanie Headley (24:34):
Thank you. And thank you for the great work that you’re doing

Sam Demma (24:37):
And there you have it. Another amazing guest, an amazing interview on the High Performing Educator podcast. As always, if you enjoy these episodes, please consider leaving a rating and review so other educators like yourself can find this content and benefit from it. And here’s an exclusive opportunity that I mentioned at the start of the show. If you wanna meet the guest on today’s episode, if you wanna meet any of the guests that we have interviewed, consider going to www.highperformingeducator.com and signing up to join the exclusive network. You’ll have access to networking events throughout 2021 and other special opportunities. And I promise, I will not fill your inbox. Talk to you soon. I’ll see you on the next episode.

Join the Educator Network & Connect with Melanie Headley

The High Performing Educator Podcast was brought to life during the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide you with inspirational stories and practical advice from your colleagues in education.  By tuning in, you will hear the stories and ideas of the world’s brightest and most ambitious educators.  You can expect interviews with Principals, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors, National Student Association, Directors and anybody that works with youth. You can find and listen to all the episodes for free here.

Angelo Minardi – High Energy Educator, Chaplain and Student Council Advisor

Angelo Minardi - High Energy Educator, Student Council Advisor
About Angelo Minardi

Angelo Minardi (@AmbrozicChap) is a chaplain at Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School. He is a Husband, Father, Educator, Sports junkie and passionate about his faith and catholic education. Angelo is also a High Energy Educator and Student Council Advisor.

Angelo is one of the most kind-hearted and purpose-driven educators you’ll ever meet. His high energy is infectious, and his ideas are actionable. He also currently serves as a Chaplaincy Leader at the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board.

Connect with Angelo: Email | Instagram | Linkedin | Twitter

Listen Now

Listen to the episode now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favourite podcast platform.

Resources Mentioned

Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School

Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board

St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School

Angelo Minardi Youtube Channel

The Transcript

**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.

Sam Demma (00:00):
Welcome back to another episode of the high performing educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker Sam Demma. Today we have another friend and guest from education on the show. His name is Angelo Minardi and fun fact, his wife actually worked at the school at which I graduated from Saint Mary Catholic secondary school in Pickering. So it’s a very small world, as I’m sure you already know, as you make more friends and colleagues in this industry, Angelo was a chaplain at Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic secondary school. He is a husband, father, educator, sports junkie, and very passionate about his faith and public education. Angela was one of the most kindhearted and purpose-driven educators you’ll ever meet. And I hope you do meet him. Please reach out to him after this episode, he’d be more than happy to connect with you. His high energy is infectious as I’m sure you’ll find out and his ideas very actionable. Let’s get into this episode right now with a good friend Angelo Minardi I’ll see you on the other side, Angela. Thank you so much for coming on to the high-performing educators podcast. It’s a pleasure to see you. I know we talked earlier in the summer and we’re connecting again and hopefully again, in the future what got you into the work that you do with the youth today and how are you doing

Angelo Minardi (01:17):
Right? Good. Well, first of all, thanks so much Sam for having me on. And it’s exciting, especially knowing that you are, you’re a product of St. Mary’s in Pickering. I have a lot of friends there. My wife works there so exciting to be on with you look you know, young people in terms of my work with them and, and why I I got myself involved with young people. My studies were in sociology and history when I left the university of Toronto. And then I was working at the bank of Montreal right after, but very quickly I found out that I wasn’t really using my gifts. You know, I had the many other gifts and I, and I thought, you know, how do I begin to explore for this? And it was just in conversations with my local pastor and conversation with some friends in conversations with my girlfriend at the time, who’s now my wife Katia where, you know, they people said, Hey, listen, we see a gift in you.

Angelo Minardi (02:05):
You have a lot of enthusiasm and joy and you seem to be great around young people. Have you thought about working with young people and that’s kind of where it started really, that’s where it was planted. And I remember when world youth, they was in Toronto, it’s a big celebration of young people across the Catholic church. And I attended it. And I remember meeting people from all across the world, young people from Mexico and Germany and Switzerland and USA all over the place. And I just found myself immersed in this, you know, th th this Nirvana, if you will, you know, this is like amazing place where young people were, you know, together sharing, singing, laughing, and it just kind of kicked off from there. And then I got myself into high school ministry and haven’t looked back ever since

Sam Demma (02:51):
It’s about enthusiasm, it’s definitely a trait that you don’t lack. It’s evident even just talking to you over this. And it’s, it’s funny because the biggest impact that my world issues and religion teacher had on me was the, was the fact that he was passionate. And I want to ask you when you were a young person and you were in school, what are some educators? And if I asked this question, you probably have some names that pop in mind right away, who are some educators that made a huge impact on you. And why? Like, what was the trait or the reason why you still remember them to this day and how do you try and have that same impact on your kids?

Angelo Minardi (03:28):
Very good. Yeah. That’s an excellent question. And you’re right. I think instinctually, you remember right away. So there’s two teachers that come to mind. First teacher was my grade eight teacher. Peter Gane was his name. And he was also my basketball coach and I’m an avid basketball player played right up until the university level. And I remember I was in grade eight and I was kind of one of the better playing guys, but there was something missing that was taken me to the next level. And I remember Mr. Gain would always pull me aside and say, Angela, you have a gift in playing basketball. You need to work on that gift. You need to work harder and you’ll, you’ll have much more success. And really that’s what kind of that mindset changed everything for me, because when I got to high school level suddenly I emerged as one of the better players in, in high school that was playing over at or attending new McNeil high school in Scarborough and was having great success there.

Angelo Minardi (04:20):
And then a coach there was coach day pat day. And I’ll never forget him were same idea. You know, you can do a lot of good stuff here. Have you thought about playing, you know basketball at the varsity level and, and you know, if you do, you’ve got to start thinking ahead. And, but it, wasn’t only the sports, you know, these coaches, the great thing about sports is it unifies, right? It kind of helps build you up as a person, but then it also helps your life improve too. So not only am I becoming a better basketball player, I’m beginning, I’m becoming a better person. Right. And so I finally remember those two coaches. I remember also Mr. Vander Steen, my grade 12 religion teacher, who was so random, but he had enthusiasm and passion that could bury anyone, right? Like he just would never stop with it.

Angelo Minardi (05:05):
And I ran into him at a McDonald’s years ago. He was, we were in a drive-thru and there’s this chaos in front of me, this vehicle in front of me, kids all over the place. And and this car is taking forever to move ahead. Finally, he moves ahead. Well, he recognizes that as me behind him, and he gets out of the car and gives me a big hug. It’s like, how you doing? And so these are kind of the, the, the memories you have the relationships that you’ve formed. And I tell you, my wife’s a teacher, of course, I’m, I’m in high school chaplaincy, but so many great people in education. Right. And, and so many great role models for sure.

Sam Demma (05:40):
No, I love that. And it seems just talking to you and I’m sure an educator listening to this right now probably thinks the same thing. You took the same passion that you saw from your teachers and apply it to your own work now. And it’s, it’s fascinating to me because I think there’s always teachers that we never forget for a very reasons like the ones you shared. And I’m curious to know if through your own enthusiasm and passion, you’ve touched on some young people’s lives. And for the sake of this interview, you don’t have to use their name if you don’t want to. But I’m curious to know if you have a story that you could think of, of a young person who maybe was transformed by some work that you’ve done with them or with the school.

Angelo Minardi (06:18):
Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, there’s a few that come to mind. One in particular of which I’m still in contact with today. So I met her, I met the student when I was at all saints high school in Whitby. I was the chaplain there. And you know, she was struggling. It was a lot of issues at home between mom and dad, mom and dad were thinking of maybe possibly getting divorced. And you know, she would come into my room and just want to chat. You know, I could never resolve the issue for her. There wasn’t anything I could do other than listen. So that was one issue, but she also, academically, she wasn’t, you know, your model, a student, she worked harder than any student, but just couldn’t achieve the grades she needed. She always wanted to be a teacher.

Angelo Minardi (07:02):
And she was always told she couldn’t, and I would work with her, you know, all at pretty much, every, every other day she was in my office working on this. And anyway, she moved on to post-secondary kept applying herself. We had many conversations, good and bad, many tears. Laughter. and she just kept going. And I remember she, she called me, we had drawn apart for a few years. We had stopped communicating and then she contacted me and she basically said, thank you. And I said, for what? Well, just for being there for being present for listening, I said, I didn’t do anything. She goes, no, you don’t understand. She goes, I’m a teacher. I got into teacher’s college. I’m graduating. I’m like what? She goes, yeah, I’m graduate. I’m going to be a teacher. She’s now living in Quebec and she’s teaching in Quebec.

Angelo Minardi (07:48):
And, and again, that’s one of many stories, right? Cause you don’t realize the impact you’re making on lives of people. Not only students, but even people you meet every day. Like the words you say, how you interact, how you respond to them. And the thing about education or even working with people is that you don’t, you don’t know you can’t, it’s not tangible. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. You don’t know the benefit right. To that conversation or to that, that relationship. But there’s an example. And we just spoke the other day. She was telling me how she was very nervous because there were 562 cases of COVID in Quebec and they were shutting down schools and you know, she’s an elementary teacher. She was worried. Right. So yeah. W that’s someone, gosh, I love her. I tell her all the time that, you know, I’m so proud of her and yeah. That’s someone I think of immediately. Yeah, for sure.

Sam Demma (08:40):
It’s amazing. It’s an amazing story. And the reason I wanted you to share was because so many teachers right now are experiencing burnout or facing instrumentable or what seems like instrumentable challenge. Like you mentioned with COVID there’s so many, so many unfortunate things happening in education right now. It’s hard to get a pulse on what we need to do. It’s like, you know, education’s around peg and now the peg hole is a square and nothing’s fitting properly. There’s no rules of the game. Imagine showing up to a basketball game with no raft, there’s no lines. There’s five nets. You’re like, what are we supposed to do here? Right. So many educators feel like that. The story you shared, hopefully brings them some hope and reminds them why they’re doing what they’re doing. So I want to ask you the reverse. What brings you hope? Why do you keep working so hard? Why do you keep inspiring all these young people and, and show up every day, excited with enthusiasm to your job? What motivates you?

Angelo Minardi (09:32):
Listen, man, I, you know, I, every day when I get up, I think, you know, how can I make a difference today? And I really mean that I’m not, it’s not cliche. Like I, I mean, I, you know, I wake up every morning and I’m just grateful, right? That I’m healthy. That, that there’s another day here place before me. And you know, young people inspire me, man. Like, it’s just, I find that young people are not judgmental. You know, young people don’t carry, you know burdens in the sense that that weigh them down when they’re around other people, young people do have hope. They have compassion, they are empathetic. And so when I surround myself with young people, when I see a young person I’m, I’m filled with joy, man, I just want to do more. I want to give them more.

Angelo Minardi (10:15):
How much more can I give? How much more of an example can I be? But I get it from them. Like they’re giving me the energy. They’re giving me the hope, right? It’s not what I’m doing. I don’t do anything. Right. It’s their presence. It’s their ability to answer me. It’s their desire to want to go out in the community with me and do good. You know, at the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I’ll be honest with you sometimes. I think, man, how much more can I do? But this is my 19th year that I’ve been working as a high school chaplain. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Right. it’s so life-giving gives me so much hope. So, you know, students give me hope, but even teachers and again, yes, my wife’s a teacher and I’ve been working with teachers for 19 years, but even amidst this whole pandemic, there’s been so much negativity around teachers and what they do.

Angelo Minardi (11:02):
And I can tell you working with teachers for the last 19 years, these are amazing people. Like they are. They’re amazing people. And they give so much to children that are not their own right to young people that are not their own. And I know my wife will be up day and night asking how much more can I give to these kids? And so teachers inspire me, right? The work of an educator inspires me that somehow, who am I to be able to share with someone, my, my gifts or my wisdom, like who am I in the grand scheme of things. And yet for, for young people, they look up to us, right? They want to hear us, they want us around. And so that’s where I find hope. I find hope and enjoy. I find hope in youth. I find hope in, you know, educators people that, that selflessly give Sam, that’s what you’re doing. I see that you’re selflessly giving. And that’s what makes the world always a better place, right? That’s what makes there’s always more good than there is bad in the world. Because of that,

Sam Demma (12:00):
I love it. There’s a book. I was recently reading called how to sell your way through life. And it has nothing to do with sales, but everything to do with developing a very sound and integrity based personality. And one of the traits was get into the habit of doing more work than you’re expected. And there was another habit that was just embodying the golden rule, right? Cheat your neighbor as it can be treated. And, and he said that if this was the basis of all of humanity, almost all of our problems would be solved. And you raise a good point about service. You also mentioned that you’ve been doing this for 19 years. That’s almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Angelo Minardi (12:39):

Sam Demma (12:41):
And I say that not to position you as an older gentleman, but to show your experience, you know, you’ve been doing this a very long time. You’ve been, you’ve been doing this. You’ve, you’ve worked with hundreds of students. You’ve also worked with a, probably a lot of outside different events and partners to bring into a school. And I’m really curious to pick your brain for a second. What do you think is the most important characteristic or trait of an external presenter or speaker that you bring in front of your student audience? If you’re going to share an idea, you know, how do you choose which ones to share?

Angelo Minardi (13:13):
Well, th th that’s a great question because, you know, there’s never a shortage right. Of, of people that we bring in experts, if you will, in a field or whatever, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of a young person. Right. So if someone shows up in my school and presents to me, you know, what am I, what am I looking for? What do I want to see? You know, I think the first thing I would, I would look for is an authentic person. Right. Then authentic message. What is it that this person wants to communicate? Is it just another item on their agenda or another another group on their, on their list as they rise, you know, in stature, arise in their work? You know, what is the message? And is it authentic? Right. But there also has to be a personal site to, can this person connect with young people and listen, I know many older people than me that are excellent with young people, but it’s because there’s the gift, right.

Angelo Minardi (14:02):
There’s gotta be a gift there. There’s gotta be some connection mate. And so that’s important to me too. Right. So authentic message, you know, is there a personal side where they can connect with these people? You know, ultimately is there a love of, of, of, of the group that they’re speaking to? So when I’m looking for a speaker, you know, do I see from that speaker love to be with young people or a desire to want to help young people become better young people. And so, you know, that’s kinda my approach. Usually, you know, I try to find someone with the same enthusiasm to, if I can, you know, just imagine two of us standing up there. Right. And then the kids are wild now they’re wild. Right. But that’s okay. We got them, we got them. Right. And they’ll listen when you tell them to, but yeah, that’s also important, right. Otherwise there’s no connection Sam. Right. Otherwise we’re just up there talking just like any other person talking. Right. So,

Sam Demma (14:53):
Yeah. I love that. That’s a great point. And right now, unfortunately, it’s tough to bring people in due to COVID you mentioned you’re the girl that you taught is having the same difficulty out in Quebec. I’m really curious to know how you’ve approached school during these times. Have you had any ideas that are generated by you, your staff or your students that have helped increase student morale, increased student engagement during these times? Or what just general tips would you have for other educators to push through during COVID-19?

Angelo Minardi (15:23):
Right. So, you know, I think we, we, we need to begin by, by saying that this is something we’ve never experienced before, right? Like we absolutely have no idea from day to day kind of how to go forward or what, what to do next. That being said you know, I’m always a guy glass half full, right. So I see this as an incredible opportunity to be present. And let me explain that for a second. So usually in a typical high school year as a chaplain, I would be out of the school of three to four days a week, whether it’s leading a retreat meeting with a pastor having to attend the board office for a meeting because of COVID-19. I have actually been in the school every day, since first day since September eight. And so it’s given me this incredible opportunity to be present and presence, meaning my physical presence in the school as the spiritual leader, you know, like being able to visit students just to drop into their class, being able to spend more time with teachers.

Angelo Minardi (16:21):
I’ve never had this much time with teachers in all these years because our students in high school, they usually only come in for a couple of hours. So they’re gone by lunch and I’ve got the rest of the school day with teachers now. Yes, they still have to continue teaching online, but they do have launched. They do have a work period where I can connect with them. So it’s been an incredible opportunity in that time. I also been able to continue meeting with our students online. And so I work with a group of core kids, which is a, a group of identified students from grade 10 to 12 that work with me more closely in chaplaincy. And this group of core kids, we’re about 180 this year. We have weekly check-ins, so we’ve started last week. We continue. We’re continuing again this week where we just check in, how are you doing?

Angelo Minardi (17:09):
What are you hearing in the community? How do we continue to be a caring, inclusive and, and, and compassionate community? And I tell you, Sam, the, the things that these young people are telling us, and I’m talking about 15 and 16 year olds, right. Which the world would say don’t mean anything don’t count, have nothing to contribute. I tell you what this generation, as far as I’m concerned is as more as, as compassionate, as empathetic as a generation. I know I would even say more so than my generation. I know a lot of adults, you know, in my age group you know, that would not have the compassion nearly have the compassion or empathy these young people have. So in terms of, you know how have I approached it or what opportunity has been presented? It’s been presence, presence with, with, with teachers in particular, but it’s been that constant right.

Angelo Minardi (17:58):
Weekly check-ins daily. Check-Ins for some students, you know, we’re here, you know, we love you. We support you, you know, how can we help you? Because that’s the reality, right? We’ve got to accept, what’s been given. And so rather than complaining about it and finding other ways to ignore the issue, or just further isolate ourselves, you know, how do we, how do we kind of continue to build that community and that relationship with, with what’s, with what’s given in terms of the pandemic. So that’s kind of it, I, again, glass half full, right. I always try to be positive. Cause when I’m negative, I always, I always joke around with my own kids at home, but also the kids at school, I say, listen, when minority’s negative, it’s always in the car, on the drive home. Right. So if I need to cry or scream or whatever, I’m by myself in the car. Right. And you know, then I’m, once I’m out of the car, I’m back. Right. I’m I’m ready again. So that’s, that’s pretty much it. Yeah.

Sam Demma (18:51):
I like how you opened it by saying we have to all agree and understand that it’s a new experience. Something we’ve never experienced before. And with that perspective, no idea is a stupid idea because it’s a brand new situation and you just mentioned the positive side of it, as you, as you explained, I’m curious to know if there are any mistakes, you have also seen things that maybe you have been tried and didn’t work out or things that educators have tried, but aren’t really maybe, maybe not the right time to do something. Like what have you seen on the mistakes? I think, and the reason we share this is so someone else can avoid the same thing you can write.

Angelo Minardi (19:27):
And there is, there’s always two sides to a coin, right? And, and you know, sometimes we have to be careful when we talk about what’s not working because if we’re not in the right frame of mind, or if we don’t have the right perspective, we can get trapped in it. But yeah, there’s a lot that hasn’t worked. I can tell you this hybrid model of learning that we’re currently going through, which is, you know, students coming in in the morning for a couple of hours, so they can have some FaceTime with their teachers and then heading home and, and going online the rest of the day, it’s not working because number one, our students tell us it’s not working. Right. And it’s not working because our students come in they’re quickly ushered to their class. They’re not to leave their class unless they need to go to the washroom.

Angelo Minardi (20:11):
And then they’re quickly ushered out. No conversations allowed in the hallways, no contact within two feet in the hallways. And there quickly, I should also the whole social aspect, the whole social piece is gone. And it’s funny, Sam, because here we had, and again, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist and not a psychologist, but here we have, you know, psych lead psychologist from the hospital for sick children at the end of the summer, saying for the old, for the wellbeing of our young people, for their mental health, you know, we need to get them back to school. Why can tell you Sam, not only in my board, but you can see what’s happening in Toronto. We don’t have enough teachers for online. We have more and more students leaving in class and going online because there’s no social piece. And so where does that leave us?

Angelo Minardi (20:58):
You know, so what’s happening is that’s one piece. The other piece is we seem to be isolating ourselves more and more at least isolated in our students. More and more for me, Sam, and this is my own personal opinion. And, and hopefully no one calls me out of this, on the board level, but you know, where, where, you know, where’s the concern of our kids. When have we spoken to our students, we’re talking to ministers of education, we’re talking to politicians, we’re talking to teachers, but what are we talking to our students? Are we asking our students what they need, what they would like to see? We’re not, we’re not, you know, so there’s that. And then at the end, I would just say this whole process, you know, where we’re continually daily, introducing new documents or daily, introducing new approaches, where is it getting us?

Angelo Minardi (21:46):
Like, what is it doing to us? Right. And so again, like I said earlier, I don’t want to, don’t want to sound like I’m kind of trapping myself in this negativity, but let’s Sam, if we’re going to speak clearly. And honestly, then we have to be, you know, we have to be, you know, speak with truth, right. Speak with what we believe. And so I think we’re losing the battle, man. I think we need to maybe just get everyone back online, do our best that way, but find approaches online to have check-ins, to have mental health checks, to have, you know opportunities for kids on a more social level to just hang out in a zoom breakout room and just talk about whatever, you know? So yeah, so I think, I, I think those are some of the mistakes and again, we’ve never been on this path before, right? We’ve never had this journey before. And so maybe looking back in 50, 60, a hundred years, one week, you know, when we’re no longer here, we can leave some stuff behind to say, Hey, if a pandemic happens again, this is what we learned, right?

Sam Demma (22:47):
Yeah. It’s that old, it’s that old proverb that says, when you chase two rabbits, you catch none. And you’re trying to, you’re trying to do this integrated learning with online and in-person, you’re losing it, both of them right now because you’re dividing the attention maybe. And I love the candid approach. I love the honest open truth because that’s what other educators want to hear, including myself and the students. I’m sure if I was in school right now, I would be saying minorities, the best job, whatever, whatever I gotta, I gotta take the consideration of, of their point of views into the bucket of opinions as well. So I love that. You’re considering that Angelo, look, it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you briefly today. You know, it’s, it’s already been 30 minutes. That’s crazy. Yeah. Why is it we’re having a good conversation? And if any educator from around the globe listening to this wants to reach out to you, where can they just, you know, email you or

Angelo Minardi (23:42):
Get into the app? Absolutely. So email, just angelo.minardi@dpcdsb.org. I’m on social media as much as I can. So on Instagram @ambrozicchaplaincy on Twitter @ambrozikchap. And recently students have encouraged me to start up a YouTube channel. I’m not, not quite sure how to use that yet. I’ve just got daily prayers on there, but I’m even on YouTube as Cardinal Ambrozic CSS Office of Chaplaincy So yeah, you can certainly try there as well.

Sam Demma (24:14):
If anyone has some unique advice to share with Angelo on using YouTube more effectively, please do reach out.

Angelo Minardi (24:21):
I’m reading it. I’d love to be an expert please. Yeah, man, for sure.

Sam Demma (24:25):
Awesome. Angelo again, thank you so much for taking the time. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Angelo Minardi (24:29):

Hey, thank you, Sam. All the best with your stuff too. You’re doing great, man. Thanks so much.

Sam Demma (24:34):
Another jam packed interview with yet again, another high-performing educator Angelo, again, would love to hear from you and have an amazing conversation. So please be sure to reach out. And if you enjoyed this episode as always, please leave a rating and review. Let me know how you liked it. Some more educators can find it or even better yet. Tell your colleagues about this show. And if you know someone or you are someone who has inspirational stories and actionable ideas, we would love to interview you. I would love to interview on the podcast. So shoot an email to info@samdemma.com and let’s make it happen. Thank you.

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The High Performing Educator Podcast was brought to life during the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide you with inspirational stories and practical advice from your colleagues in education.  By tuning in, you will hear the stories and ideas of the world’s brightest and most ambitious educators.  You can expect interviews with Principals, Teachers, Guidance Counsellors, National Student Association, Directors and anybody that works with youth. You can find and listen to all the episodes for free here.