Report from the Field – Kelly Cusson

Sometimes you never know how you affect others. This makes all the craziness of the past decade worth it:
Hey Ben –
Your blog saved my career about 10-12 years ago, and your compassionate insights on the PLC continue to motivate me and remind me of what really matters in our work. I can’t thank you enough.
Your insights and caring turned teaching around for me.
I had taken a year’s leave-of-absence from 2003-2004 (I started teaching in 1996) and wanted to leave the profession entirely. It was unbearable. Soon after I went back, Susan Gross came to my district for a one-day workshop. That led me to your blog, which inspired me to completely transform my practice. My new mantra: “First, do no harm.” I was able to base my work on positive human interaction, on connecting with students and helping them to develop their communication skills. I tell my kids that this is a communication class; that good communication skills will improve every aspect of their personal and educational/professional lives. Any French they acquire in the process is a bonus, haha.
I have had a much more positive influence on my students’ development than I could have ever had the way I was heading before I found your blog. I have made peace with this work in the context of a cripplingly dysfunctional public school system, thanks to your years of experience and research and reflection. I can’t thank you enough for making that accessible when I was floundering (and when I continue to flounder). It’s my rock, my sanity.
With deep respect, warmest regards, and unending gratitude,
Warmest regards,
Kelly Cusson



3 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Kelly Cusson”

  1. I feel the same way, Kelly. I honestly don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for Ben and the people he’s united here.

  2. The learning and sharing on this PLC gave me wings to present to a wider audience, and take on the ineffective legacy methods of modern Hebrew instruction. Now, I have a few side consulting gigs, with interest cropping up here and there at a steady pace, including @ public & private school, summer camp, supplementary school, etc.
    I was utterly inspired by first Ben’s and then Tina’s and now the Dynamic Duo’s message and practices. So much more than mere pedagogy, their work stems from an intense desire – no NEED – to re-humanize the schoolhouse.
    Very big stuff.
    I am so grateful to be having the conversations, and for being able to implement the practices in my work.
    The refocusing on communication and relationship, and putting curricular content in it’s place, has been so liberating.

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