This Restorative Justice Life

Abbott Elementary S1E9 "Step Class" w/ Alexia Pendleton (Restorative Justice Reflections)

July 20, 2023 David Ryan Castro-Harris
This Restorative Justice Life
Abbott Elementary S1E9 "Step Class" w/ Alexia Pendleton (Restorative Justice Reflections)
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How can you use Restorative Justice in incorporating dance into education, the struggles of working collaboratively, and building relationships with colleagues? Find out on this episode of Restorative Justice Reflections!

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Speaker 1:

Heyo, david here. Restored of Justice Reflections was created as a video first medium because we're including video clips from the shows we're talking about. You can still hear our full conversation here with the audio from the clip, but for the full experience and to see our beautiful faces, head over to our YouTube page link below. If you're only going podcasts or your thing, please bear with the mentions of video and clips and use your imagination. Enjoy. Welcome back to Restored of Justice Reflections.

Speaker 1:

I'm David, ryan Barsega, castro, harris all five names for all the ancestors and today I'm here with Alexia Pendleton, the dancer teacher, to dive deep into the restorative themes, or lack thereof, found in season one, episode nine of ABC's Abba Elementary Step Class. As always, our conversation here is not a critique of the story or production choices of the creators, but we will highlight how Restored of Justice could apply to situations like incorporating dance into education, the struggles of working collaboratively and building relationships with coworkers. Hopefully, this will give you some insight about how to apply restorative ways of being into your life, in and out of the classroom. If you want to take a deeper look at applying Restored of Justice to your life, join our inner circle community to connect with RJ-minded individuals and get bonus content. Deepen your practice by checking out our courses and, if you want to see this work in your school or organization, invite us for coaching or training on implementing this work.

Speaker 1:

Of course, links to everything down below. Now let's get to it. Oh my goodness, alexia, it is so good to have you here on Restored of Justice Reflections. Tell the people who you are and why you're excited to talk about this specific episode of Abba Elementary.

Speaker 3:

My name is Alexia, obviously, but other people know me as the dancer teacher. I'm a kindergarten teacher in New Jersey. I am a dance instructor as well, so I teach hip hop in a dance studio and I also teach hip hop to adults in hip hop fitness class. The name goes with what I do. I am a mother of two boys, a wife, and I am excited to be here because these conversations are important, especially as an educator, and if we want to, you know, make impact and change, these are important conversations that we need to have.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And, of course, as the dancer teacher, this was the episode of Abba Elementary that I was like, oh, as I'm scrolling my feed of teacher Instagram, who would be the perfect fit? Alexia, yeah, seeing like the videos that you put out with your kids, the energy that you bring, it's kind of a mix of Ava and Janine in this space. You know on a high level. Why was it important for you to talk about this episode of the show?

Speaker 3:

I guess I really resonate with you know both characters and the theme of it and really you know, incorporating the importance of dance and our kids really performing and getting out there. So this episode was all about you know, the students and their performance a couple of other things in between, but I really enjoyed the highlighting of you know the importance of our students and how they can really show their confidence, their having fun and doing something that you know resonates with them. Sometimes our students don't get the opportunity to self express and dance is an important way to do that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, this doesn't happen within the scope of a classroom, and so, before we get to the episode summary, I'm curious how you've incorporated dance into the life of your students.

Speaker 3:

So everything we do, from the moment that the students walk in the door, I like to reimagine what school and the classroom looks like. So from the jump, from the minute they walk in, there's music playing. You know, kids have the opportunity to eat breakfast, they get to talk to one another. It's a whole community experience. The music is going and I kind of want it to feel like you know you're at a family cookout or you're at you know, a quincean guerra or a dance at school or something where we come together we have fun.

Speaker 3:

You know music is and dance is so important, not only for community but also for like the brain and learning in it, and it heightens and triggers all different areas in the brain. So we get started from the jump with that and throughout the day we have a lot of opportunities for I call them brain blooms, so the students get to like dance or, you know, move in between our lessons and how we, you know, go in between reading or math or phonics. There's always like every five to seven minutes. There's a way that music and dance goes with the lesson, but it's incorporating what they're learning and it's, you know, a great way to get them up moving, learning, their brains are activated and we end the day with, you know, another music. The kids get ready, they sing, they dance and, of course, on Fridays we have our freestyle Friday, where the kids get to. We have a big community circle and they all get to freestyle in the middle and it's just, you know, it's all about the love, community and joy throughout the day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know you're working with kindergarteners for those right like within the school context, right. And beautiful about that is like they're often less inhibited than maybe older kids would be in this. Really great that you're able to you know, take advantage of that kind of energy and encourage that space. But I imagine sometimes dancing might be intimidating for some students. How do you navigate that part?

Speaker 3:

Well, again, that comes with like giving students choice. So I'm all about like. You don't have to do it if you don't want to. I'll never force a student to. You know, get up if they don't want to, and it's just about their feeling comfortable and feeling free. So sometimes, as grown-ups or teenagers, you know our freedom is suppressed because of the systems that are in place or you know teachers are telling us to sit down and be quiet and we've been conditioned to not feel that freedom. So in my space I always want to encourage students to be free and themselves and eventually you know they will. I'll see that confidence grow and they'll. I mean they don't have to be good at dancing, most of the times they're just, they do whatever. But to see them in that free space and that moment of like, that one student that might be quiet and shy and like the song comes on, that they like and they're like doing all the things. So never a forceful thing, always about building resilience, confidence and self-expression.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. And for those teachers who might not be in the kindergarten space, like, how have you encouraged them to incorporate dance, expression and other things into the life of their classrooms?

Speaker 3:

Just having you know conversations or showing them that it's not as hard as we make it. You know, sometimes it's like, well, you teach kindergarten so you can do it, and it's like, no, you can like break out of the box of what education has always been created to be, to really revolutionize it and rethink what a classroom should be. We have to challenge those systems and that sometimes is hard, because breaking teachers out of something that they've always done, it's like, well, I'm not trying to change because this is the way it's always been. So, just encouraging them like you want to feel joy and it starts with you. So maybe add a song that you really enjoy, or play music while the kids are working or, you know, have a dance party at the end of the week to celebrate academic success.

Speaker 3:

So, with the older kids, you know, and I teach hip hop to up to high school outside of school, and it's a. It's a difference in the dynamic from like starting with my youngest, to the high schoolers, who are like I'm going to go home and lay down on the couch and hide, like it's crazy to see the disc when it changes. From like confident, proud, and then now you're navigating, like who you are as a person in the world, because you're getting older and more cognizant of everything. So, just you know, encouraging those teachers just to take a risk, to be uncomfortable a little bit, to try it, because if your students don't see it in you, then how are they going to be able to do it themselves?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know so much of this is about. You know how we show up, what we, what space we create. This isn't necessarily in this episode of Abad El-Enkid, but there have been times right where we've had teachers try to be someone that they're not, and you know that backfires. I'm thinking really specifically about you know, jacob in the past episode, like trying to roast his students, like that doesn't go well and like if you you trying to be you as a teacher, listen to this, trying to be Alexia, that's probably not going to work. How are you going to be you in that space Exactly? What is the journey that you're going to go through with identifying, like, how music incorporates into your life? How are you going to share that with your students? How are you going to invite them into?

Speaker 1:

doing this and like there's so many parallels between this and how we exemplify restorative justice in the classroom. Right, the way that I lead a circle, the way that I invite students into a relationship building like isn't going to be the same, because I'm not Alexia right, and neither of us are you. And so, as much as we want to learn fundamentals and frameworks of restorative justice or you know music or dance so much of it is. How are you contextualizing it to you and your students?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

With all of that said, let's get into this episode of Abba Elementary and, graciously taking this summary from Wikipedia, we have Ava taking over Janine's afterschool step, class Five, six, seven, eight.

Speaker 2:

Okay, cut, cut. That's enough of that. What's the problem? This royalty free music is wack and these moves are tired. When did you get this routine from Barney, the big book of step? I'm going to assume that's Barney. How did you manage to make step and dorky? Somebody put on some good music, like Cardi Great minds. Let's move this to the floor. We're going to need some room.

Speaker 1:

So, when we see this episode as a dance teacher, as a kindergarten teacher, as someone who's participated in school structures as a student and, of course, now as a teacher, what stood out to you?

Speaker 3:

Of course, it stood out like a big theme throughout the episode with like being, and it's crazy because we just talked about like being who you are and not being afraid of like doing that and how we, like will try to conform or like try not to shake things up because we don't want, you know, other people to call us weird or say that you know we're not the same or we're not, you know, doing what everybody else is doing. So we see that, especially like with Gregory and his need in the beginning to be like trying to hide the truth of it all. And then we also see that with like Janine and Ava's dynamic of like what Janine brings from like her background, with step and dance, and it's clearly the complete opposite of what Ava brings.

Speaker 2:

Okay, they're not even following the routine. So the point of this class was to teach them structure and responsibility, not card to be there. Do you ever talk about anything other than structure and responsibility? Yes, pride and leadership Step is supposed to be fun and, if I'm expressing yourself, use that to create a routine.

Speaker 3:

So, like finding that freedom and who you are, and then bringing that together as a community to say you know what, what we both bring, what we both like, what we both enjoy, like it's a both end and we can bring that together to really create magic within our community Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And I'm thinking about how, in that beginning of this episode, we have Janine really, really excited and really enthusiastic about giving her students this opportunity to participate in step, something that she found really valuable for herself and through that she found right, discipline, responsibility and that's what she is trying to impart on to her students.

Speaker 1:

Students aren't really being responsive to it. I imagine if I was a student who was signing up for like an after school dance class, I would be looking for like fun and dancing. And as much as we can be critical of Eva in other ways on the show and there are many ways that we can be critical of Eva she does really take time to be attentive to what the students are looking for and bonds with food, bonds with getting to know them, bonds by getting to share it. As Janine is like rigidity and like order and like let's learn things the way that I did it. It's not necessarily wrong that Janine's doing that, but taking time to learn to meet the students where they're at can be so important to like actually getting to those goals of you know, responsibility, leadership. You just have to have their buying first facts yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

When we have Eva's interest in joining this step class, we have a bunch of the teachers who are stepping through.

Speaker 2:

I already know that I'm an open. Okay, listen, this has got bad news written all over it. She only looks after herself. I've seen her push students out of the way during the fire drill True. I'm going to choose to look at the glass half full.

Speaker 1:

Okay, your glass, just make sure Eva doesn't spit in it Because of all of the ways that Eva has strict responsibility in the past and like, in many ways just been a bad principal. But Janine, like I really appreciate the way that she gives Eva the benefit of the doubt and as much as Eva is the principal in this school, it's sometimes helpful to think of her in the show as just another learner who is being given another opportunity to like, share what she has to offer. You know, as you worked within the realm of school, like you have had principals and other colleagues who, like might not be like the most skilled or like the most equipped to do the thing it is that they're doing, or might even be a student. But when we have those opportunities to let them shine in the spaces where they can, like, it unlocks something beautiful. Can you think of any examples of unlocking a moment like that with a student or a colleague?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so I am on, obviously, kindergarten team, so it's like me and another two kindergarten teachers and over the summer I would. Last year I was able to work with my I call co-teachers because we're you know, co-teachers.

Speaker 3:

In a sense, we had the opportunity to work with each other during summer school and, you know, teachers don't really have the opportunity to like watch each other or grow and learn from each other. And she was having some issues with like maybe like creating classroom culture and community and really, you know, developing that first before, kind of like the dynamic before she was able to teach, because you need that structure, you need that community and you need that culture to be built before our kids actually learn. So during this time, you know, we were really able to grow closer in our relationship and then we were able to like learn from each other and she was able to watch me do some lessons and sometimes, you know, like we said in the beginning, sometimes it can be like, oh well, I can't be you and like you do all this stuff and I can never do that, and I think sometimes like I don't want you to be me, I want you to be you, but also bringing the things that are culturally responsive and building that community with your kids and what it can look like. But you can't know what it looks like if you never see it. So we were able to really work together to team teach.

Speaker 3:

She was able to see how, like I did my lessons and how I transitioned into things and then she realized and recognized you know, what it's not like. There's some things that I am able to incorporate, that I want to incorporate, and there's some things that I'm going to put my style on too. So she was able to do some of those things. Like I have a DJ of the day For my classes, my classes, all themes around hip hop, but she loves like Motown music and she's like a old soul. So she had like, instead of the DJ of the day, she did the musician of the day.

Speaker 3:

So, like that, this the lead singer is I think that's what she called it the lead singer. So she like incorporated that and she incorporated different movement opportunities for the kids and different you know, different structure to make her day go a lot smoother, especially for kindergarten because they be wallet Okay. So seeing that growth in her and that opportunity to really connect and build and then grow our relationship, and then kind of weed out some of that like I guess some people will call it like intimidation, and it's not me trying to be intimidating, it's just who I am in my purpose. Like I'm confident in what I do, but that was really like an open for us to grow together and for herself and to like really create that. Like yo, I'm proud, like you doing, you doing some good things like and to see that growth from her this year and her classroom was really, really amazing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm thinking about you know we do have the limit of 21 minutes in the show, but Jeanine and Eva don't take any time to talk about what is our collaborative approach here, like what are your strengths, what are my strength? It's kind of just like your turn, my turn, your turn, my turn and those things, those themes are clashing, and what would it have been like if they had stopped and had a conversation like these are my strengths, these are your strengths, how can we incorporate those in the mix? I don't want to like let it pass without acknowledging that teachers do have a limited amount of time to observe each other, to collaborate, so it's a school leaders who are listening to this and even teachers who are, like, informally trying to create those spaces. That's important, right. What are the opportunities that you're taking to learn from your peers? Like support each other?

Speaker 1:

right, because you know there are things that you learned from your co-teacher that, like you never would have thought about if you hadn't taken that time to. You know, share with her right. It's not about like.

Speaker 1:

Alexia is the keeper of all the knowledge and all things to be like perfect kindergarten teacher, right, like she has things to contribute to you as well, right, I think about restorative justice. It's not just like. Everybody has gifts and we're all needed, for what we bring is so important, and to create those opportunities for those gifts to be identified and shared and people to be acknowledged and affirmed for having those gifts is just so important.

Speaker 3:

It's so important. I agree Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

We have these skeptical teachers in the episode because Ava has a background in not showing up for any number of her responsibilities and at the beginning of this episode we hear that she's come back from a week-long vacation. As she assumedly bails on this performance, it doesn't show up. It tells the students that, like Paige, andington, have to take over.

Speaker 2:

She said that something came up and that you'd handle it. I can't handle it. I barely know the routine. That's what I said. Where are you going? I'm busy right now, janine, what are you waiting for in Uber Black to take you to an Uzi Vert concert? You know that man. Don't come out during the day time. Go take care of your step class. I can't, because you changed the routine. They do your wack ass routine. You know what? Everybody told me not to trust you. They said you do this and I said no, because I believed in you. And now it's messing with the kids. You can't think of anyone other than yourself. Oh, an airport van to take you on another vacation. Baby, did you have to bring our youth? She had an episode. We couldn't calm her down and figured it would help her to see your face. I'm here now, grandma.

Speaker 1:

Whenever people are behaving in a way that is not in line with your expectations or causing harm there is generally a reason it might not be a reason that you agree with, but there is a reason that people are acting out, as you saw this play out, what came up for you, because Ava hasn't been the most upstanding character in this series.

Speaker 3:

No, she has not. It made me think on a deeper level what people around us are truly going through and the assumptions and stigmas that we place automatically as humans who prejudge people without really having the connection or time to get to know them and understanding that usually everything that happens is caused for a reason. We might not know what that reason is. It's just sticking close to humanity and seeing people and having communication with them to understand that they're not alone and that it's okay to speak up and speak out about what you're going through.

Speaker 3:

People can get to know you and be more empathetic to situations, then getting to understand why people are not like what happened to you instead of like why are you this way? What is going on in your life? What has happened with your past? What has happened now in the present? What happened when you were a kid? This is all a part of who we are as adults, how our kids are shaped. I think for me, thinking about me as an educator, as a dance instructor, as a fitness instructor, all of these things is really getting to know the why behind behaviors and developing a closer relationship and making that connection. It doesn't excuse it, but it gives us a lens at which we can see and understand why these things are happening. Then if we have to collaborate or communicate in a way to solve problems or to show growth or fix things, we have that space and that knowledge to do so.

Speaker 1:

A broad framework for having a restorative process. Restorative conversation is that what happened instead of what did you do, what role did you break and who was impacted and how, and what needs to be addressed in order to make things as right as possible. In that what happened? There's so much more to explore there. What happened in this moment? Sure, but what happened leading up to this and all the things that you talked about? What are the things that you've experienced before? What is the nature of the relationship between those people? What is the culture of the school environment that would lead to Ava not sharing about this with her colleagues?

Speaker 1:

We've seen Ava Elementary. As much as these teachers come together in times of crisis, things become crises because they don't communicate about simple things going on. They're afraid to ask for help, afraid to be seen as a bad teacher, afraid to be seen as a bad principal, afraid to be seen as somebody who's weak, afraid to be seen as someone who's growing old and out of date. All of these characters exhibit lots of these things and put up walls, put up masks, try to hide their behavior, try to hide their flaws. If we had created an environment where people were able to ask for help we're able to share who they are liking pizza or not, we might have been able to prevent so many of these issues. Of course, when we do have these issues, it's so important to apply these framework, but I think so much about the proactive, restorative practices that are necessary to build and strengthen, as well as repair, relationships when harm occurs.

Speaker 2:

Everybody bring in their favorite pizza and we'll have an eat-off. Okay, gregory, you never told us your favorite pizza place.

Speaker 4:

Oh, I should say this one out I'm more of a Baltimore style pizza guy.

Speaker 2:

Ooh, Baltimore pizza. I've never heard about that. What makes it so different?

Speaker 4:

You never heard of Baltimore style. Oh, it's great. It's really crunchy and like wet.

Speaker 2:

Wet.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, no, it's great. Next time you're there, go to Seychee's Pizza. They soak it. It's like sopping. I got to go talk to a child about lipping.

Speaker 1:

As you saw Gregory struggle with this in this episode, like trying to fit in. I'm curious if there are any instances in your early teaching career where you felt the need to fit in. How did you overcome that?

Speaker 3:

So, yeah, so in the beginning of my teaching career I was very like Around other adults. I was very muted. I felt the need to always like not say anything, to be quiet, to like keep the waters, you know, steady. I always like, when I'm around kids, like I'm always, like I'm gonna be who I am, I feel free, like I'm going to, you know, do the things that I know are best for my kids and just be outside of the box. But whenever I was with you know, colleagues or in meetings for work, I was always like don't say anything. I felt like I didn't, you know, fit in because I was so different than most teachers around me.

Speaker 3:

And then I started to, you know, be more confident in who I was as a teacher. I started therapy and then I had to like it's weird, but I had to like force myself and I'm anxious, and anxiety would come and like my mouth would be dry and I would like start to sweat, like start, my heart would race and I would speak out, even though I was experiencing those things and throughout some time I would build the confidence and then talking about why I was feeling these things. And then now it's like I feel free in myself and confident in myself to be able to speak what I feel, speak the truths, speak up for my kids. And yeah, I feel more confident and that comes with time, that comes with experience, that comes with you. Know I can speak because I could show you the facts and the things that I have been able to do as an educator, where in the beginning I didn't have that confidence.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, you talked about going to therapy. You talked about like increased confidence. You talked about like time and experience. But I'm curious if there are any instances that stand out that were like, oh yeah, I can be this way, like what helped you overcome that year?

Speaker 3:

I think it was other people in my community. Outside, especially, like during COVID, I connected with a community on Instagram of teachers and they just filled me up with just so much and like reassurance and they were like, girl, you better snap out of it, like you got this. So getting that from them and connecting with people who are like-minded, who do, are invested in this work, are invested in creating bigger change and reimagining what the classroom is. Connecting with my hip hop ed community, that was like the aha moment for me to be like you are special and it's okay that you're not like everybody else. There's a reason for that. So that was a turning point for me for sure.

Speaker 1:

Right, it's great that we find community in, you know, places like Instagram, because we can connect with people all across the country, even the world. Right, that's how we got connected. But what was it like to find community within your own school context?

Speaker 3:

It took some time, as relationships take, but throughout the years, you know, dealing with people who were not maybe like-minded or were a little intimidated by what I did, but as the years would pass, we have new leadership. I was able to connect with other teachers outside of my grade level who really pour into me, who see you know, who see me and accept me for what I do and who I am, and it's been great to connect with them, to go on staff outings with them, to, you know, having conversations about the importance and the changes that we want to make in the school. So it's been a great like two years for me really developing those relationships and, you know, having teachers that I can call friends outside of school. Yeah, yeah, and you know the Abbott crew.

Speaker 1:

You know as much as this is just a sitcom, right, and they have to like contrive the story lines into like these 21 minute episodes, right, like they do go through all of this, right. We're towards the end of the story, we're towards the end of season one when this episode came, but we do see, like the evolution of their friendships that like exist maybe outside of school, maybe a little bit more than friendships for it for some of the characters, but you know, even like the dynamics between Jacob and Greg, like Jacob like being willing to drive all the way to Baltimore to like do something to connect with a colleague, right, like those are moments that aren't in your job description, right, but they are things that like will build relationship equity and the ability to speak into people and rely on people long term.

Speaker 3:

Yes, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Is there anything else that's about to you from this episode that you want to make sure that we highlight?

Speaker 3:

Um, I think what I really loved at the end was how Ava and Janine like they still have their like eugh, like relationship but they like came together and like did this stomp together and it was like affirming of like we can still come together with our differences and if we're able to like create change and just see them like have that moment of joy and love, and like yo, we did a good job Like, even though it was like kind of weird how they ended before that moment and Ava went right back to like talking down to her.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, janine, I appreciate you.

Speaker 3:

It was still like that moment of like we can, if we could all just like come together and see that success, so I thought that was like a really great way to close out. You know the episode um how they came together.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's like it's really funny Because in the context of a sitcom you can't have like too much character growth right, but like, in some ways, like it is true to real life I'm thinking about the second chance, where it was working with the teacher who was dealing with the student who was like cussing it out all the time. And you know, we have this restorative conversation and come back and like she's just like I don't know what's going on. He's still yelling at me and I'm like, yeah, but is he cussing she's?

Speaker 1:

about to grow right and like that's not. Like restorative justice or restorative process isn't, like this, necessarily cure-all. Like we stop patterns of behavior in moments, right. Like it is an evolving relationship that requires us to continue to show up, keep people accountable to the things that we want them to be, support them in doing those things. Of course, no one is, you know, holding Ava accountable to being like, a better principal here in this space, right, but within the context of that relationship we do see growth which, like, is indicative of, you know, the things that we experience in our everyday lives.

Speaker 3:

For real it is and like, like you said, like noticing because I had a student like that this year as well like we was at it. But I think, like monitoring that and being like self-aware, to say, you know what? She didn't throw its hand drum screaming at the top of her lungs and then we moved to. Oh, she's able to like self-regulate and like when she was feeling a strong feeling or feeling disappointment, like she was able to go to our calm down spot and like get herself together and like building upon that. Was it perfect? No, but, like you said, like in restorative practices, we have to understand that it's a process and it's going to take time and space and getting more aware with yourself so that you can model that to especially children. But it just takes time and also considering the what and what they have gone through to why they're responding in a certain way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean going from like two tantrums a day to one tantrum a day, to like being like really heightened, but then like being able to self-regulate, like that is tremendous to what like is not going to happen just because you have a conversation with a kid. Right, that's what we opt into as people who are doing work in education, with human change. Right, there's just so much time and there's just so much work to be done and it happens when we give it the time and attention that it requires. You've heard from us. Now we want to hear from you. Drop your restorative justice reflections in the comments and if you want to join a live community conversation about our restorative justice lessons from Ava Elementary, join us for a live event on Monday, july 31. Link with more info in the description. Before we go, there's a question that everybody answers when they come on these airwaves. You have the ear of Quinta and the riders of the show. Pitch yourself as a character on Ava Elementary. What would your story arc be?

Speaker 3:

Oh gosh, of course it would be the teacher that's like filled with joy and dancing and it's like. I think for me it would be like a musical but hip hop. So I would be like the teacher that's like always singing and dancing, and just be an extra and bringing you know some fun and joy into the space with the characters. And yeah, about change I would want to, you know, change up what it looks like to be in a traditional classroom. So I think that would be the character I would want to be.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm curious, like and just bring something, as people have witnessed on this in this conversation like you do bring so much joy, light and energy, and I think that's something that Jeanine aspires to do in a lot of cases. Jeanine is also someone who like exhibits or like upholds, like a lot of toxic positivity.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 1:

And I'm wondering, like if that is something to play off of. I'm curious, how do you prevent your like up beatness from becoming like that toxic positivity, and I think that's something such as rainbows and like we have to be happy all the time?

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah. So, and I think the difference with me is there is a realness and a inability for me to have learned how to communicate when things are not okay, to say you know what this is trash. Like to be able to be open and honest and have those conversations like not sunshine and rainbows, because it wouldn't be normal if it was that way. So I think being able to just, you know, reflect on that and like bringing in the different ways that I, when we are having a hard moment and we have a lot of those in kindergarten, how I like address it with the kids and I'm very like, honest, we have those, you know, those where we do have conversations and we do talk about it and we do get real and we do like we will, you know, collaborate and like work through the problems, and I'm 100% Like we're going to keep it a book.

Speaker 3:

But I think you know that realness also comes with love, because love and joy also requires accountability. So I think I would be real and raw. But watch my presentation of how I communicate those things. So like, like you said in the beginning, it's a mix of Ava and Jeanine morphed. It would be the two together that would be me.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. So from your mouth to Quinta and the writer's ears, you know tag them. All folks make this happen. Well, Alexia, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, your experiences, your story, your reflections. How can people support you and your work in ways that you want to be supported?

Speaker 3:

You could just give me a follow, give me positive vibes. You can follow me on all platforms, on the Dancer teacher. And yeah, we can connect. I love meeting new people, I love learning stories and learning from people all over the world. So, yeah, let's connect.

Speaker 1:

Again, thank you so much. We'll be back very, very soon with the next episode of restorative justice reflections. Thinking about other elements, episode 10 open house. But until then, take care y'all.

Incorporating Dance and Restorative Themes
Exploring Identity and Collaboration in Education
Restorative Practices and Building Confidence
Finding Community and Growth in School