Canadian NEA Chapter Mothers Day keynote speaker MAXINE ADWELLA inspires Educators to Never Give Up On Students & Family

MAXINE ADWELLA believes education’s purpose is helping students see their full potential and providing the comprehensive support system

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, May 11, 2021 / — MAXINE ADWELLA spoke at the Canadian Chapter of NEA on Sunday May 9, 2021 Mothers Day. Maxine Adwella believes School needs to be a physically and emotionally safe place. Maxine Adwella believes that education‘s purpose is helping students see their full potential and providing the comprehensive support system necessary to accomplish this life consuming goal.

Maxine Adwella talked about her poverty as a single mom in her Mothers Day speech to NEA educators and parents. Adwella stated we all become surrogate mothers every time we do something caring, compassionate and responsive to help any child and youth’s journey through life easier, and encouraged every attendee to “Never give up on students because Great things take time!” Maxine Adwella started teaching in an inner city school over ten years ago where students lived in bachelor apartments with one or two parents and five children. When she saw students acting in heper active ways Adwella knew it was because of lack of food, lack of sleep or stress and immediately starting bringing fruit and oatmeal for breakfast and sandwishes for lunch into her classroom. Adwella would regularly meet with parents and offer them advice and support and help refugee families navigate the systems in their new countried because she knew that circumstantial stresses were negatively impacting the potential for learning and success for her students.

Maxine Adwella believes and advocates for inclusive learning spaces and classrooms which provide 1) physical ( food, a stress-free classroom proper clothing, a good nights sleep), 2) mental health supports ( a safe haven for students to talk and feel safe in a zero tolerance for bullying environment), 3) spiritual exploration ( helping students explore who God is and the peace and confidence that comes from communicating with a higher power), 4) academic ( making sure that the curriculum is presented and communicated so that all learners, (left brain, right brain, visual, autistic, etc, can understand and learn, and mental health supports because it is important and vital to care about the emotional and psychological state of our students, caregivers and families because stress ( racism, socio-economic trauma, evictions, divorce, CAS, court involvement, etc) inhibits and impedes learning because of the trauma of these life experiences. Maxine Adwella stated that” it breaks her heart and should break all of our hearts to know that many students are dealing with multiple ongoing major stresses in their lives on a consistent basis. For many of these students school needs to be a place that provides a sense of belonging, safety and opportunity.

Maxine Adwella discussed her desire to be an educator because she experienced horrific racist and sexist insults, treatment and oppression during the school system and knew that she could make effective change. Maxine Adwella talked about being a parent and how when she became an educator every students became her child. Adwella said ” It is important that students see your love and support for them and know that your classroom is a safe place to be themselves, to have a voice and that learning in your classroom is possible. ” Adwella encouraged educators to be life long learners because growth is the keep to falling in love with the profession and finding the passion, that secret ingredient that makes every teacher special. Every time I taught a student and ran into them five or ten years later, I was always amazed by what they had accomplished and become and if any students were off track I wanted to find out why and what the external factors were that contributed to them going off track.

We cannot ignore the very troubling statistics that diverse children and youth are racially profiled and some are streamed into CAS by schools and they 1 in 4 black males are arrested, many without just cause. These statistics are real and as educators we need to care and we need to help students become wise, protective and resilient so they can keep bouncing back in life. We should not care how many times they make mistakes, the only thing we should care about is how many times they bounce back. Teach our students to consistently bounce back.

Sarah Smith
National Educators Association
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