Sitting in the Messy Middle with Guest, Rebecca A. Weiner, M.Ed.

Join Angela and Molly for the first ever guest episode of Drudgery and Dreams. We are joined by Educational Consultant and Inclusionist, Life-long learner, and creator of Learn Play Grow Educational Consulting, Rebecca Weiner, MEd. Rebecca is here planting seeds of change so families and teachers, who have been talked out of their intuition and their inner knowing, can trust themselves and each other to do what is in the best interest of our children.

Freak out and kick out

October is scary. Not because of Halloween—we love it—but because it is a time of exhaustion for parents, teachers, and kids in schools. “In October, which is freak out and kick out month, [parents] get this deluge of negativity, their trust is broken,” (Rebecca, 9:35) Wouldn’t it be great to get out of this routine and into a space where compassionate curiosity, communication, and partnership is the norm?

Reframing “empathy”

Angela brings up the harmful narrative that neurodivergent—especially autistic—people lack empathy. Rebecca shares her experience as a consultant upon receiving an email labeling a child as aggressive and lacking empathy, she thought, “That’s not a very gracious characterization. And I reminded myself [to] get curious, before accusatory” (16:30). Molly recounts conversations with Rebecca and Angela that helped her understand her “tiny human with feelings” (19:25)  and “so many racing thoughts” (20:27).

Honoring the humanity

It’s easy to play the blame game and we are all here knowing the harm that can happen within a system that is broken—and the system is broken. With so many teachers who have their own lived experience involving trauma, without understanding the concepts of self-regulation and co-regulation, how are they going to honor the humanity of the kids when their own humanity feels dismissed by this broken system? 

And don’t forget about the parents in all of this. Parents also have their own experiences that contribute to their ability to trust and communicate with the school and their children’s teachers. Angela reminds us that it is important to look at all of this through an intersectional lens—“we need to provide a psychologically safe space so parents feel that they can share” (55:06).