[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Sarah Rosman



Do you want to feel more fulfilled, successful, and joyful at work? Do you feel depleted energetically and overwhelmed by what is being asked and expected of you as an educator? Do you have the energy necessary to tap into your creativity, productivity, and optimism needed for excellent teaching and learning? Working with Elena Aguilar’s book, Onward, you will cultivate your emotional resilience to help you thrive as an educator. You will explore practices that will help to shift your thinking, feeling, and behaviors and lead you on your path to rediscover your passion and purpose. Prompts and activities from The Onward Workbook will be woven throughout the course to help you deepen and expand your thinking. You will strengthen your inner resilience so you can start to respond to unexpected disruptions and challenges from a place of calm. Resilience is cultivated with intentional action and dedication to practice. If you have hopes and dreams of helping your students build their own emotional resilience and strength, it must also be cultivated, nourished, and tended to inside yourself.

This course is appropriate for teachers K-12.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Explored practices that will help shift their thinking, feeling and behaviors leading to more fortified emotional resilience
  • Re-examined their purpose and passion as Educators
  • Worked on specific strategies to strengthen capacity to respond to challenging situations that arise inside (and outside) the classroom

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar. Available at Powell's City of Books for $17.95 and Amazon for $19.29

  • Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators
    ISBN# 1119364892
    by Aguilar, Elena

    Buy from Amazon


No additional materials fee.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Welcome! Introduce Yourself

I’m so glad you are here. You have the most important job in the world, and it is nearly impossible to actually do all the things we are asked of us as educators! First and foremost, thank you for taking this time for yourself to get reignited and grounded in what drew you into education in the first place. Not only will you explore what it will take to keep you in this field, but my hope is that you will sow the seeds to thrive and do the best and most connected work moving forward in your career. I recommend purchasing a notebook or journal, one that can accompany you on this journey and through this course. Feel free to use it to write your thoughts and wonderings to the prompts throughout the class. My wish for you is that you can return to it and find inspiration and musings for your continued path inside and outside of the classroom.

In solidarity, Sarah.

Please complete your introduction before moving on to other assignments.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
- Viktor Frankl

This moment between something that happens and how we respond is what this course is about. This is the moment when we cultivate resilience. This is that space where so many of us find ourselves at the crux of continuing on in this most important work or questioning, leaving it behind burnt out.


Please think about and/or write in response to all or some of the following prompts:

  • What’s brought you to this course? Why are you interested in resilience? Why do you want to develop your own resilience?
  • What do you want to be true when you’ve finished this course and/or reading Onward?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • What are the challenges you feel you currently face in your work? List as many as you can.
  • Now go down your list and code them as big (B) challenges, medium (M) challenges, or small (S) challenges. What do you notice about your list?
  • Which strategies do you currently use to manage the stresses and challenges you face at work? For example, if you have a colleague who drives you crazy, what are your coping mechanisms?
  • Imagine that you have a toolbox for dealing with adversity and stress. What’s in it right now?


Using Padlet, create an account, and record a video of yourself with an introduction to who you are (and preferred pronouns) and your current teaching situation. Include some thinking that came up in response to the prompts and what led you to this class. Please touch on what you are hoping to get out of this course!

Please look at two (2) other profiles and respond to them in a few short statements. Padlet Link -

NOTE: Once you have finished and uploaded your video greeting and responses to classmates, please note in your assignment response box that you have completed the assignment in Padlet.

Assignment #2: Introductions, Habits and Dispositions

In your text, read the Preface (pages. 1-19); this will provide you with an overall introduction to grounding into the fundamentals of Elena Aguilar’s book and why it is structured and set up in the way it is.

Language is a gateway, essential and powerful; it gives us all access and entry points. For this course and in Aguilar’s work, “Resilience” is defined this way (see box below). We will use this definition when we discuss resilience.

Resilience is:

➔    A way of being that allows us to bounce back quickly from adversity, stronger
       than before so that we can fulfill our purpose in life.

➔    An adaptive, dynamic process that includes an individual’s interactions over
       time in a complex environment. Context plays a role; resilience is not simply
       a function of one individual’s behavior. Who we are and where we impact our
       ability to cultivate resilience.

➔    Cultivated through engaging in specific habits and by fostering specific

➔    What enables us to thrive, not just survive?

➔    A way of being that allows us to bounce back quickly from adversity,
       stronger than before so that we can fulfill our purpose in life.

➔    An adaptive, dynamic process that includes an individual’s interactions over
       time in a complex environment. Context plays a role; resilience is not simply
       a function of one individual’s behavior. Who we are and where we impact our
       ability to cultivate resilience.

➔    Cultivated through engaging in specific habits and by fostering specific

➔    What enables us to thrive, not just survive?

“...we have tremendous power in how we interpret what happens and, therefore, in how we respond to big and little incidents that we didn’t anticipate, don’t want, or don’t like. The opportunity for resilience originates in how we make sense of the things that happen because interpretation dictates actions.”

“The most important thing to know is that you can increase your resilience; it’s a set of adaptive behaviors. (In this course, you will be guided) in a journey to discover the resilience that already exists within you and to discover many ways to cultivate your resilience.” Aguilar (pg.2)

Complete Habits and Dispositions of Resilient Educators: A Self-Assessment in Appendix A: Pages. 317-321 and answer the questions on pages. 321.

Assignment #3: Chapter One - Know Thyself / Purposefulness

“Something ignited in my soul . . . And I went my own way, deciphering that burning fire.” - Pablo Neruda.

Read Chapter One from pages 21-43

Complete the following exercises and prompts

  • Set a timer for five minutes and make a list all about you. Let your mind free-associate and jot down anything and everything. Include things you identify with, that resonate with you, and love or care about; include adjectives, nouns, places, and people. Let your mind go where it takes you. After the timer goes off, read back through your list and star the ones that feel most important.
  • Some of the things Elena Aguilar included in her example are cacao and corn and coffee, the East End of London, my mother’s daughter, a redwood tree, and a lotus flower.
  • Why did you get into teaching? Free-write in response to this question. Set a timer and write for three minutes without stopping. Don’t edit yourself, and be honest.

Take the free, online Myers- Briggs test at or (or you can take both and compare your results).

Think and/or Write about the following:

  • What is your four-letter personality type?
  • Given your personality type, what really resonated? Were there any descriptions that felt particularly “like you”?
  • What were you surprised by in your results?
  • Were there any results that didn’t feel accurate?
  • What are the implications of knowing these personality tendencies? Are there implications for what kind of work you do, where you work, whom you work with, and what you might be able to do?

Make a diagram, visual, poster, collage, or drawing with images and text that:

  • Incorporate how your unique identity, likes/dislikes, and personality impacts you as an educator.
  • Include representations of this work that came up after you completed the prompts above.
  • If you would like to include words, texts, and explanations that help articulate your ideas, please feel free but know this is an artifact for you and not necessary for me :)

Assignment #4: Chapter Two - Understanding Emotions / Acceptance

“Understanding emotions—accepting them and having strategies to respond to them—is essential to cultivate resilience. With an understanding of emotions, you can accept their existence, recognize where you can influence a situation, and let go of what is outside your control.” - EA

In your text, read Chapter Two pages. 44-67.

  • Try the “Get to Know an Emotion Cycle” worksheet using Appendix C, page 329 (Linked is the work sheet
  • You can upload a photo of your work, submit the worksheet or write a couple of paragraphs reflecting on this activity.
  • In 250+ words, reflect on what stood out to you in this chapter. Does the content of this chapter shift your thoughts about discussing emotions at school? And in which ways?

Assignment #5: Chapter Three - Tell Empowering Stories / Optimism

Read chapter three, pages 68-93. 

Understand how you interpret and make meaning of situations. You can actively reframe these events through an optimistic lens by telling empowering stories and what impacts this may have on wellness and emotional resilience.

The healing of our world may lie in how we make space for stories to be told, how we listen to stories, and how we tell our stories. As Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in her 2009 TED Talk,
The danger of a single story, “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower and humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that dignity.”

Considering what Elena shares, it is our responsibility to recognize when we tell dehumanizing narratives (of women, poor people, rural people, people with dark skin, people with disabilities, and people who aren’t gender conforming or heterosexual) and when we hear them being told – and to unravel them.

Please respond to the following on Padlet

  • What are some specific ways you see storytelling empowering and/or harming your thinking and actions?
  • What are you left wondering or thinking? What are your takeaways?

Note: Once you have uploaded or created your video response, please note in your assignment response box that you completed your assignment in Padlet.

Assignment #6: Chapter Four - Build Communities / Empathy

Open the Padlet to view the reading, writing, and video assignments and respond. 22kybt

  • Read chapter four, pages 94 -123; Explore how building empathy can lead to a more connected community and helps us navigate through our most challenging moments.
  • Take an Implicit Bias Test; What role do you think implicit bias might play in how you build relationships or cultivate trust?
  • Watch Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.”
  • Body language affects how others see us, but can also affect how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains how “power posing”— standing in a posture confidence, even when we don’t feel confident—can positively affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain and might impact our chances for success. Cuddy suggests that we can change other people’s perceptions of us and our body chemistry by changing body positions.
  1. How does the idea of “fake it until you become it” apply in your context as a teacher or leader? How is this relevant to you?
  2. What role do you think "fake it until you become it" might play in building relationships or cultivating trust?

Once you have completed your responses in Padlet, reflect more in-depth on one of the topics discussed in this week's prompts in 250+ words.

NOTE: Once you have finished responding on Padlet, please note in your assignment response box that you completed your assignment in Padlet as well as adding your 250+ word reflection for this week.

Assignment #7: Chapter 5 - Be Here Now / Mindfulness + Joy

Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think. – Buddha

Read Chapter Five from pages 124-145; How might being present and mindful help you cultivate your own emotional resilience and thrive through your purpose as an educator?

Complete the following exercises and prompts:

  • Mindful Breathing: The most basic form of mindful breathing is to focus your attention on the inhale and exhale of your breath. You can do this while sitting, lying down, or even standing. You may find it easier to maintain focus if you close your eyes. It’s helpful to set a timer to sustain your attention.
  • The essence of the practice is this: Simply observe each breath without trying to change it. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation of air on your nostrils. Your mind may wander. You might get distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s okay. Just notice whatever happens and gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Mindful Breathing

  1. Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could sit on a chair, the floor, or a cushion. Keep your back upright but not too tight, and rest your hands wherever comfortable.
  2. Notice and relax your body. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Let the chair or cushion hold your body. Just breathe.
  3. Tune in to your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath moving in and out of your body. You don’t need to do anything to your breath—just let it move naturally. Notice where you feel your breath in your body—in your belly, chest, throat, or nostrils. Follow the sensations of each breath, noticing how when one breath ends, the next begins.
  4. You might notice that you start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. Just notice that your mind has wandered. Softly, in your head, you can say thinking or wandering. Then redirect your attention back to breathing. If you’d like, you can count the breaths—inhale, 1, exhale, 2—restarting at 10, 12, or 20.
  5. Continue to focus on your breath for 5 to 10 minutes. If you get lost in thought, return to your breath.

It’s best to do this exercise regularly, at a designated time. The more you practice mindful breathing, the greater the impact during mundane daily events as well as during difficult moments. Think of the daily practice as training for a race—for those moments when you need your mind and body to efficiently move into high performance to deal with a stressful moment.

Continuing your mindfulness practice and meditations: Here are a couple of great resources on your evolution through this profound practice. Enjoy!

The Joy Collage: This activity can help you gain insight into joy, which for many of us, is an elusive emotion.

  • Collect some magazines and a piece of heavy paper or cardboard, grab a bottle of glue, and find a place to spread out. Now, go through the magazines, tearing out images that represent joy for you. If you want, you can use scissors to cut them out; or tear the paper with your fingers, which can create a nice effect. Then paste your collection of images onto heavy paper or cardboard.
  • The key to getting the most from this activity is not to spend too much time thinking about the images—go with your quick reactions. Let this be playful and fun, and let yourself be drawn to whatever image speaks to you of the experience of joy.
  • Once all assignments are completed, respond to the following questions in 250+ words:
  1. How might mindfulness help you fulfill your purpose?
  2. What came up for you during your Mindful Breathing exercise?
  3. ​Upload a photo of your Joy collage directly or through an attached Google doc.

Assignment #8: Chapter 6 - Take Care of Yourself / Positive Self - Perception

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is an act of self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.  Audre Lorde.

Read Chapter Six from pages 146 - 171; Learn the importance of self-care and how it is intertwined with building emotional resilience. Lean into the ways in which you could implement some changes to achieve better overall wellness in the areas you can control.


●      Complete the following exercises and prompts:

  1. Elena says: At the heart of perfectionism is a belief that, in order to be loved and accepted, we must strive to act and be the best all the time. Our very worth as human beings is tied to our perfection. Knowing ourselves and understanding emotions are foundational habits to begin to unpack any perfectionism in yourself or someone you coach.
  2. Watch this compilation video of Brene Brown: Brene Let Go of Perfectionism
  • Create a mind map using five strands, graphics, and some creativity, to show your thinking and ideas about taking care of yourself, reflections of how you currently practice this, and goals for future improvement. Include the reading, the video, and your thinking. How does all of this fit inside of your identity as an educator?

Assignment #9: Chapter Seven - Focus on the Bright Spots / Empowerment

You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. - Eckhart Tolle

Read Chapter Seven from pages 172-195; How might your days be different if you focused more on bright spots?

  • Our Brains have a Negativity Bias: The brain perceives negative stimuli faster and more intensely than positive stimuli. Within a tenth of a second, we can store negative stimuli in our memories. Read article to learn a bit more about how our brain and thoughts are naturally oriented and strategies to disrupt this.


  • Tuning into the Positives: Complete the following exercise.
    According to many psychologists, burnout is simply the impaired ability to experience positive emotion. The interventions that are most effective at reducing burnout all have to do with improving a person’s ability to perceive positive emotions. But our focus determines our reality, so it’s hard to recognize the data pointing to what’s going well if you're feeling down. You literally won’t see, hear, or register it. Whether or not you’re feeling burned out or are worried about preventing burnout, this exercise will help you hone your ability to experience positive feelings.

For the next two weeks, every night before going to bed, write down a few good things that happened during the day. These can be little things—you enjoyed a TV show, finished your work by 6:00 p.m., or had a brief chat with a colleague—or bigger things. Then label them with 1 of these 10 positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love.

This process (which has been tried and tested among healthcare workers) helps you strengthen your ability to notice the good and to counteract a lot of the other demands that are put on your brain that force you to focus on the negative. It’s simple, takes only a few minutes, and can have a big impact.

  • “Don’t worry, be happy” is terrible advice. In this short video from big think, “How Forcing Positivity Can Create Despair” (, Harvard psychologist Susan David shares her thoughts on this subject. - What do Dr. David’s thoughts raise for you?
  • Make a weekly plan of how you want to train your brain to focus on the bright spots and consider small but impactful shifts or practices that could prove sustainable for you in the long term. These adjustments should make sense to you in order to transform your thinking, perspectives, and orientations.

Assignment #10: Chapter Eight - Cultivate Compassion / Perspective

“If you want to fly, you need to give up the shit that weighs you down.” - Toni Morrison

Read Chapter Eight, pages 196 - 219; Work on building compassion for yourself + others in an attempt to understand the perspective and the complexity of a situation. Perspective can support empathy with others, see the long view, withdraw from the drama of the moment, and identify multiple responses to an event.

  • Revolutionary Love; Watch Valarie Kaur’s TedTalk on 3 lessons of revolutionary love in a time of fury. 3 lessons of revolutionary love in a time of rage, Valarie Kaur.
    Kaur is a renowned civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, innovator, and best-selling author of SEE NO STRANGER. She leads the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a force for justice.

  • Learn, Practice, and Explore self-compassion with yourself through the LovingKindness Meditation.

    LovingKindness Meditation - This is a powerful and basic meditation to cultivate compassion for yourself and others. It’s like the multivitamin for compassion—if you’re going to regularly engage in only one practice, do this one. Try doing it every morning before work for a week—or a month!— and see how it changes you and your experience of the day. Of all the exercises in this chapter, it’s the one I hope you’ll spend the most time exploring. You can spend three minutes a day in this meditation, or longer if you like; doing it regularly makes it most effective.

Lovingkindness Meditation
     Sit or lie down comfortably with your eyes closed or open.
     Say to yourself,
     May I be safe. May I be happy.
     May I be healthy. May I live with ease.

     Repeat the phrases to yourself slowly, bringing your attention to each one
     as you say it.
     Call to mind someone who has been kind to you.
     Picture the person, get a sense of him,
     and then say these phrases to him:
     May you be safe. May you be happy.
     May you be healthy.
     May you live with ease.

     Call to mind someone who is having a difficult time.
     Picture the person, get a sense of her,
     and then say these phrases to her:
     May you be safe.
     May you be happy.
     May you be healthy.
     May you live with ease.

     Call to mind someone you see fairly often but don’t know very well,
     someone about whom you have neutral feelings.
     Picture the person, get a sense of him, and then say these phrases
     to him:
     May you be safe.
     May you be happy.
     May you be healthy.
     May you live with ease.

     Call to mind someone you have trouble getting along with.
     Picture the person, get a sense of her, and then say these
     phrases to her:
     May you be safe.
     May you be happy.
     May you be healthy.
     May you live with ease.
     If you have a hard time sending this person loving kindness,
     then go back to sending loving kindness to yourself. At that moment,
     you’re suffering, and you deserve compassion.

     Finally, offer loving kindness to all beings everywhere, known and unknown:
     May all beings be safe.
     May all beings be happy.
     May all beings be healthy.
     May all beings live with ease.

     During the day, when you notice yourself feeling distressed about something
     that’s going on, see what happens if you repeat these phrases —
     perhaps just offering yourself loving kindness in a difficult moment or
     offering these thoughts to your students or others.

Also found here!

Six Ways to Forgive Someone.
There are likely many people in your life who have hurt you. In this set of exercises, I encourage you to think first about people in your work world who you feel have harmed you and whom you might want to forgive. Some of these harms could be minor—the student’s parent who was relentlessly critical of your teaching approach, the principal who barked orders at you and everyone, the student whom you spent endless hours tutoring only to hear him mocking you one afternoon. Many people carry around a lot of resentment and anger at school. If you are also tempted to use these practices to forgive people from your personal life, go ahead. But by strengthening your forgiveness muscles first with people to whom you have less attachment, such as your principal, you’ll be more prepared for those tougher cases.

What follows are six exercises to help you forgive someone. Try them all—if only to see which ones are most helpful. But to be honest, when I wanted to forgive someone who I felt had really hurt me, it wasn’t until I’d finished the final forgiveness exercise that I felt truly relieved of that pain. You may want to spread these out over the course of a week or two.
1. Remember Being Forgiven
    Recall a time when you hurt another person, and you were forgiven.
    Jot down a few words about what happened.
    How did this person communicate his or her forgiveness to you?
    How did you respond?
    Why do you think this person forgave you?
    How did his or her forgiveness change your relationship?
    How did that experience change you?

2. Forgiving Yourself.
    Write a letter of apology to someone you harmed in the past or present,
    in your professional or personal life. In remembering and accepting
    that you’ve hurt others, you can cultivate empathy and insight into people
    who may have hurt you.

    In the letter, describe what you did, why it was wrong, and how it harmed
    the other person and your relationship. Apologize for your behavior,
    affirm the value of your relationship, and express your desire to restore
    the relationship.
    You could ask, “What would it take to reestablish our relationship?”
    You could pledge to change your behavior or offer a way  to make amends.

    Whether or not you send the letter is up to you. It may not be possible to
    send it, or it may not even be wise to send it. The power of this activity
    comes from writing it, from the space it opens up inside you.

    Write your letter somewhere else, and then if you want to tape or staple
    it in here, that’s your choice.

3. Forgiving Someone Else: Imagine the Other Person as a Kid.
    Think of the person who hurt you as a little kid. Imagine what she might
    have looked like. As you recall the harm that this person did to you,
    think of her acting out of fear, attempting to deal with her pain and
    suffering and complex emotions in the only way she knows how.
    Sit with this image for a few moments. Jot down your reflections if you

4. Imagine Forgiveness.
    Sit down or lie down somewhere where you feel safe. Close your eyes
    or keep them open, and imagine a person who you feel mistreated you.
    If you feel that there are many people in your life who have mistreated you,
    start by thinking about someone whose actions toward you were less
    harmful than those of others. Again, you may want to start with someone
    from your professional life.

    Now, empathize with that person. Try to see through his eyes and ears.
    Trying seeing that person as a whole person with many sides to him —
    he is more than his offending behaviors.

    Imagine forgiving this person. Imagine exactly what you’d say. Imagine
    your facial expressions as you forgive him. Imagine how you’d feel at
    that moment.

    Remember: Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you excuse or
    tolerate hurtful behavior. It means you try to let go of some of your
    hurt and anger.

5. Write a Letter of Forgiveness.
    Write, but don’t send, a letter of forgiveness to a person who has hurt
    or wronged you. Describe that hurt, how it affected you, and how it
    continues to hurt you. Tell the person what you wish she had done instead.

    End with an explicit statement of forgiveness and understanding.
    For example: “I realize now that what you did was the best you could do
    at the time, and I forgive you.”

6. Write the Letter You Want to Receive.
    Imagine that the person who has harmed you receives the letter you
    wrote in the previous exercise granting forgiveness and writes you back.
    What would her letter say?
    What do you want her to say?
    What explanation do you want for her behavior?
    Write the letter you want to receive.

    After you have completed all the reading and activities, please respond to the
    following on the Padlet: -

    Feel free to discuss anything that came up and/or any or all of the following:
    what resonated with you, what was most significant, and what you are left

Note: Once you have uploaded or created your video response, please note in your assignment response box that you completed your assignment in Padlet 

Assignment #11: Chapter Nine - Be a Learner / Curiosity

“You may not like what you learn about yourself or the world. But if you learn it well, it might help you become an agent of transformation—even when (to quote Merlin) you are seeing “the world around you devastated by evil lunatics.” - Parker Palmer

Read Chapter Nine from pages 221 - 245;
Explore looking at challenges as opportunities for growth, change, and a deeper understanding of yourself, others, and the community. This chapter will help you explore limits and strengths in your thinking, beliefs, understandings, and connections. What more can you learn? How can you stay curious?

Complete the following exercises and prompts:
A note about The Conscious Competence Ladder on pgs. 224 - 226
I love this concept and use this often in my life and work with teachers. However, I like to envision it as a path. Because this work is not linear and depending on the context, situation, and people - where you begin can be quite different.
Please check out the visual and notes here: Path to Competency

How to Receive Feedback; Read through this exercise and do a visual or written reflection on what you feel you adjust to help you receive and hear feedback in hopes of growing and evolving.

Seeking feedback is a key way to increase self-awareness. We all have blind spots, aspects of ourselves that we can’t see, but others can. To see ourselves as we are, not just as we think we are, we must seek feedback. If we’re really lucky, there’ll be people in our lives who see our blind spots and have the courage to share them with us in a way that we can truly hear the feedback. We need to develop a crew of these people who are willing to hold up the mirror, who see our blind spots, and who care about us enough to let us know what’s up skillfully. In order to find and keep these people, you need to be good at asking for and receiving feedback.

Stone and Heen’s book Thanks for the Feedback (2014) is a comprehensive and helpful guide to seeking and learning from feedback. One of my favorite chapters has to do with how to dismantle our distortions of feedback. Here, the authors recommend:

  1. Be prepared; be mindful. Consider how you typically respond to less-than-favorable feedback. Do you start by accepting it and then dismiss it with time? Do you get defensive? Do you blame, chatter, or get very quiet? Ask yourself, How do I typically react?

  2. Separate the strands: Feeling, story, feedback. It can be helpful to tease apart your emotions and interpretations from the actual feedback. Simply ask yourself, What do I feel? What’s the story I’m telling? What’s the actual feedback?

  3. Contain the story. When we distort feedback, we tend to do so in predictable ways. Specifically, we generalize shortcomings to see them as overly personal (“I messed up” becomes “I’m a bad person”), overly permanent (“I messed up this time” becomes “I always mess up”), or overly pervasive (“I did this wrong” becomes “I do everything wrong”). Again, ask yourself, What’s the actual feedback?

  4. Change your vantage point. If our interpretation is distorted, perhaps we need to view the feedback from a different perspective—that of a friend, sibling, or ourselves 10 to 20 years in the future. Ask yourself, How might my sister/my colleague/the future me interpret this feedback? Consider a piece of feedback you recently received, either solicited or not. How did the feedback sit with you? As you consider the distortions noted here, do any stand out for you? How else might you interpret the feedback you received? Jot your reflections here.

  • Reflect on the last time you received critical or constructive feedback; maybe it was your last education evaluation; how did that go? Try to think of a time that was hard for you. How were you able to utilize what was offered? Did any defensiveness come up? If you could go back to that moment, knowing what you know now, how could you show up differently to get the most out of it?

  • How to Give Feedback
    ​Sometimes we are called to offer feedback to someone else. If you work in education, chances are good that it’s part of your job to give feedback—to students, staff, people you supervise. When it’s your turn to offer feedback, you’ll find it helpful to keep in mind your own challenges receiving and acting on feedback. It can also be helpful to distinguish among the three types of feedback.

  1. Appreciation. “I’m so glad you’re on this committee. Your insight this afternoon really moved the discussion forward.” Although this kind of feedback may be the least helpful, it’s essential to building relationships and creating inclusive learning environments. And let’s be honest; it’s often what we want when we ask for feedback. We all need appreciation and validation from time to time.

  2. Coaching. “When you said that, it seemed to me you were feeling frustrated, and others in the group stopped listening. Is that what you saw?” Coaching can help us learn and grow by focusing our attention and energies. However, it requires that both parties be clear on the role of the person offering feedback. For example, well-intended administrators often offer coaching feedback following an observation when teachers are expecting evaluation and hoping for appreciation.

  3. Evaluation. “This assignment asked you to contrast two poems, but you analyzed only one. You’ll have to redo it if you want a passing grade.” Evaluative feedback tells us where we stand. Although this type of feedback can leave us feeling judged, if we don’t receive a clear message on our standing, we look for it in appreciation and coaching feedback, which doesn’t always give us an accurate reading on our performance.

  • Before offering feedback, take a moment to check in with the recipient about the kind of feedback he or she wants or expects. You might ask, “I’m intending to give you coaching; is that how you’re hearing it? From your point of view, is that what you need right now?”

  • Think about the next coaching conversation you have coming up; maybe it's with a student, teacher, or colleague; play it through in your head, or write it out. How can you use this information to potentially adapt the conversation you will have?

Whom Do I Want as a Mentor? and How to Ask!

  • According to Dr. Anders Ericsson, the professor who came up with the “10,000 hours” theory of expertise, the first step in getting better at anything is to find a mentor. This needs to be someone whom you admire, who is doing something in a way that you might eventually like to do it. A mentor can help you identify what you might need to learn and the steps involved in acquiring the skill set that he or she has.

  • A mentor has experienced what you’re going through and offers guidance and emotional support. A mentor also often acts as a role model, giving you something to emulate and aspire to. For the first couple of years that I was an instructional coach, every time I faced a challenge, I would think of Liz, my phenomenal coach, and I’d ask myself, what would Liz do? I was surprised by how often this helped me identify new options when I was stuck.

  • Make a list of people you would like as a mentor. You are welcome to include unrealistic possibilities as well as realistic ones. To find a mentor, you first need to know yourself and what you need. Look for someone with resilience, someone who, as Dan Coyle says, “scares you a little,” and who seems relatively content in his or her profession. You’ll want and need many mentors over the course of your life, so be on the lookout. Find someone who has done things you think you want to do.

To connect with a potential mentor, reach out in an email and share uncommon commonalities. Take the first action right now to connect with a mentor. Identify a couple of people you might approach and draft an email.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #12: Play and Create/Courage

“Play is the high form of research.” - Albert Einstein

Read Chapter Ten from pages 246-265; Creativity and play unlock inner resources for dealing with stress, solving problems, and enjoying life. Play can fuel our inner courage, which is necessary for showing up authentically, moving through conflict, and connecting with people. This is a vital step in our capacity to thrive.

Complete the following exercises and prompts:

In 400-500 words, describe in detail a lesson or series of activities you would teach with students emphasizing play, creation, and courage.

Assignment #13: 400 & 500 Level Assignment

Complete the following assignments A, B, and C:

A)    Collaborate with a colleague.

  • Meet with a colleague, and share what you have learned about
    Emotional Resilience through Onward.
  • Talk with your colleague about how you will integrate these
    practices this coming year.
  • Share three (3) concrete goals with them around what you
    hope to see as a result of this in your life and three (3) concrete
    goals you will see in your teaching.
  • Invite your colleague to introduce this practice as well and/or
    adapt their current practices to invest deeper in different areas
    with you as partners

Post your response which should include parts of the conversations, a response to your learning experience, your comfort level in sharing, and your goals moving forward.

B)   Your Play Personality;
Who are you, and how do you play?
Stuart Brown, the author of Play (2010), identifies eight “play personalities”:

  • The Joker: Makes people laugh, plays practical jokes

  • The Kinesthetic: Loves to move, dance, play sports, hike, bike

  • The Explorer: Meets new people, seeks out new experiences

  • The Competitor: Loves all forms of competition, loves to keep score

  • The Director: Has fun planning and executing events and experiences

  • The Collector: Revels in the thrill of collecting objects and experiences

  • The Artist/Creator: Finds joy in working with his or her hands or making things

  • The Storyteller: Uses his or her imagination to create and absorb stories

Use the following questions to explore and write about how you show up in play.

  • Which is your most dominant play personality or combination of play personalities?

  • Which play personality would you like to explore?

  • Think of your close friends. What are their play personalities?

  • How do you think this influences how you interact with your students?

           Ride The Waves of Change
Read Chapter Eleven, pages 266 - 287; Explore how perseverance, patience, and courage can help us navigate the ever-present waters of change.

Journal about what sections of this chapter eleven were most helpful to you and the implications for action that are there for you from the ideas presented in this chapter. Keep a daily journal for the entire week, responding to these implications and actions that you are changing. A bonus would be adding responses from the people in your community, students, drawings, notes about your thinking, and anything that will provide more documentation.

  • Include the changes and adaptations you are making and explain the reason for your choices

  • Keep daily documentation that includes your response, changes you might make, and overall effectiveness at the end of two weeks.

Assignment #14: (500 Level ONLY)

Complete Option A and two (2) other options from B, C, or D.

Option A)
Celebrate and Appreciate/ Trust (Required) Read Chapter Twelve and Conclusion (pgs. 288 - 315)

In 500+ words or the equivalent video response of 10 minutes, consider using the reading in your future teaching.

  • How will you integrate Emotional Resilience into your class and potentially your greater school community?
  • What specific strategies or actions will you utilize?
  • How will you keep yourself grounded and accountable for this type of work?

Option B)

Implications of Academic Integration
Using an academic unit of study previously taught in your classroom, redesign or adapt it based on what you have learned about emotional resilience. Using objectives and goals, design a week-long span of lessons that support and deepen this type of learning. Get creative, still hold the academic learning at the core, and incorporate specific social and emotional targets that will enrich your overall units and have learners cultivate their emotional resilience along the way.

  • ​Be specific with what you will be doing, why, and how it will be related - be clear about how your learners will be building their emotional resilience individually and in the community.
  • Add how you will be supporting your growth simultaneously.

Respond in a 250+ word response that explains your thinking and includes your lesson plans.

Option C)

Gratitude Journal. Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the most effective and researched ways to provoke a positive shift in your overall mood.

A gratitude journal pushes you to pay attention to the good things in life that you can take for granted and helps you become more attuned to the everyday sources of joy around you. It’s not enough just to call these moments to mind—you must write them down. When you translate thoughts into concrete language, you’re more aware of those thoughts, which have a deeper emotional impact.

The basic idea behind a gratitude journal is to capture a written record of what you feel grateful for. You don’t need to write every day; some research suggests that writing occasionally (one to three times per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling.

How to do it: Write down five things you feel grateful for. They can range from small in importance (“First period was calm today”) to relatively large (“I have a supportive, fun, skilled partner teacher”). You can list things from your professional life, personal life, or both.

These tips will help you get the most from this exercise:

  • Be specific. For example, write, “I’m grateful that I responded calmly to Elena when she came into first period shouting and that the whole class settled down quickly,” rather than “I’m grateful that first period was calm today.”
  • Go for depth over breadth. Elaborate about something you’re grateful for—describe it in detail. That’s more beneficial than making a superficial list of many things.
  • Think about people. Describe the people you are grateful for more than the things.
  • Reflect on what your life would be like without certain people or things.
  • Be grateful for what you have avoided, prevented, escaped, or turned into something positive; try not to take good fortune for granted.
  • Be sure to capture positive events that were unexpected or surprising. These elicit higher levels of gratitude. You can write about them as they happen, and you can write your memories of them.
  • Write about the same people and things over and over if you want, but each time you write about them, describe a different aspect in detail.
  • Avoid snarkiness. (“I’m grateful that my principal didn’t yell at me today like he does every day”; “I’m grateful that Miguel was absent.”)
  • Write regularly. Commit to a regular time to journal, and honor that commitment.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal for a week and reflect on how you responded to this process. What changed? What was helpful? In 250+ words, reflect on your experience.

Option D)
Your Choice
An assignment of your own choice with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #15: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Sarah Rosman, M.Ed., (she/her/ella) found herself in education after traveling through Argentina and Chile with a group of artists, putting on role-playing experiences for immersion language acquisition for all ages. After the experience of teaching in traditional Argentinian schools and non traditional experiential education, Sarah returned to the United States to study what rooted her philosophical beliefs and framework. She received her Master of Education from Lewis and Clark with a certification in ESL.

Sarah has been teaching for over 15 years primarily in Portland Public Schools, during that time she has also been a consultant, adjunct professor, researcher and student. Her work is anchored in true continual education and inspiration, which she has found through a growing community of educators and thought-leaders around the world.  Currently, Sarah is consulting on issues surrounding race, justice, language, and education while her family lives between Portland, Oregon and Oaxaca, Mexico.

For more information on my courses, visit my website at




  • Aguilar, Elena. 2018. Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators: Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
  • Aguilar, Elena. 2018. The Onward Workbook: Daily Activities to Cultivate Your Emotional Resilience and Thrive: Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
  • Bradberry, Travis, and Jean Greaves. 2009. Emotional Intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart, San Diego, CA.
  • Brown, Brené. 2010. The Gifts of Imperfection. Hazelden, Center City, MN.
  • Brown, Brené. 2015. Daring Greatly. Portfolio, New York, NY.
  • Brown, Stuart. 2009. Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Penguin, New York,NY.
  • Cameron, Julia. 2016. The Artist’s Way (25th anniv. ed.). Random House, New York, NY. See also The Artist’s Way Workbook. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006.
  • Cain, Susan. 2013. Quiet. Random House, New York, NY.
  • Hammond, Zaretta. 2015. Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Corwin. Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Lasala, Teresa. 2012. Positive Discipline in the School and Classroom, A Teachers’ Guide Of Activities for Students. Positive Discipline Association. NY, NY.