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Ready to commit to know yourself, your students, and your content?


Embrace dynamic relationships


You’re here to begin the journey of embracing teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange. The first step? Commit to know yourself, your students, and your content.

Across this journey, you will be prompted to record your answers during some activities. You can record them or type them on your own device and save the files so you can come back to them later. If you see the option to take notes within the text boxes, you can print and/or email them to yourself at the end of the activity for your personal use. You can also access a digital download of this Experience Journey if you prefer.

If this is your first Experience Journey with The Elephant in the (Class)room, make sure you Pack for Your Journey before you depart.
Pack for your journey


Think of a learning experience where you felt genuinely seen. The learning experience may have occurred outside of the classroom. Tell a story about that experience. Do your best to put yourself in that particular space and time and describe what precisely was happening that contributed to your experience.

How did that experience impact your learning?
Think of a time when you did not feel seen. How did that experience impact your learning?

Record your answers on your own device.

You can refer back to them later.

Next up: Listen to Learn

Humanizing the Learning Environment

Chrystal Seawood

Let’s listen to Chrystal Seawood, an educator and artist based near Washington, DC, speak about how she uses her understanding of herself, her students, and instructional planning to create a humanizing learning environment for students. 

Listen twice to what Chrystal has to say. These repeated listens are essential to deepening your understanding, as we will be prompting you to listen with different “ears” or orientations.

First listen:
from a learners lens
  • Reflecting on the media, what resonated with you as a learner?
  • Think about dynamic learning experiences that you, your child, or someone you know has had. What connections can you make to the anchor of embracing teaching as a dynamic human exchange and the commitment to know yourself, your students, your content, and the practices Chrystal Seawood describes?
Record your answers on your own device. You can refer back to them later.
Second listen:
from an educator lens
  • Think of a time when you intentionally promoted agency and shared leadership with students in your classroom. Describe it, including teacher actions and student actions.
  • How do you build relationships with the learners in your setting? Think about the routines or practices you use.
  • How do you typically support learners who appear to be disengaged or noncompliant? How do you typically communicate with your students about your expectations regarding “behavior” or compliance?
  • Who has power and agency in your setting? How do you know?
Record your answers on your own device. You can refer back to them later.

Now that you have reflected, told a bit of your own story, and learned from other educators, use this template to capture your learnings and concrete implications for your craft.

Weaving it together can increase your self-awareness and your capacity to concretely embrace teaching and learning as a dynamic human exchange through reflective practice, storytelling, and actions that will help fortify your “why” as an educator. See disclaimer on privacy and protection of info.

    Knowledge of Self: Heart, mind, skill/craft, time and space (i.e., operational obstacles)

    Knowledge of Students: Explore dimensions of student identity

    Knowledge of Content: pedagogy, planning

    Last Step: Commit and Connect

    Now that you’ve woven it all together, where do you go from here?

    Connect with others on this journey so that we as educators can learn and grow together in community rather than in isolation. Commit to equity as an ongoing practice and explore more content on The Elephant.

    Engage others in your system

    You might start with engaging others in your system – for example, your colleagues, a grade-level team, a professional learning community structure already established – and invite them to join you in this experience.

    Connect with us

    Connect with the Elephant team to join a cohort of like-minded educators from across the country to redesign systems for equity. Send us a message at .

    Explore more on The Elephant in the (Class)room

    Explore other ways to commit to embracing teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange:

    Embrace Experience Journey

    Discover and leverage learners’ unique and diverse assets and ways of learning
    start journey
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    teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange

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    our concepts of educator and community in schools

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    systems to sustain equity