Today a dear friend and educator colleague of mine talked about silver linings with distance learning. She pointed out that distance learning has forced us to get to know our students better and vice versa. We’re in their homes, teaching online. They’re in ours.

Academics more often than not has been overshadowed by social emotional learning (and to some extent, should be) because we must know our students before we can most optimally get to the academics, especially in this distance learning platform. And this stay at home time has forced many of us to get to know ourselves better…


Calling an awareness to the adversity that so many of our students are bringing into our classrooms, this adversity that shows itself as an obstacle to learning, is one huge step in creating an inclusive school culture, conducive to optimal learning and promoting positive relationships, therefore improving educational outcomes. It’s also all part of social emotional learning.

And it begins with stories, because stories matter. …


“Every time a child is saved from the dark side of life, every time one of us makes the effort to make a difference in a child’s life, we add light and healing to our own lives.” — Oprah Winfrey

Childhood trauma isn’t something kids just get over as they grow up. The repeated stress of abuse, neglect, and being raised by parents who struggle with mental health issues or substance abuse has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. …


“I became a teacher for the money and the fame,” said no teacher ever. I saw that on a t-shirt once. Teachers understand long before beginning their careers that there’s not a lot of money in the profession. Money is never the incentive for choosing a teaching career. We’re in it for the children, for the impact we could make, and for the love of teaching.

Those of us who choose the teaching profession usually do so with the hope that we’ll share in changing the world, shaping lives to ultimately make a difference. …


I was never encouraged in my upbringing to be a risk taker. In fact, it was always the opposite. My father always warned me not to challenge the status quo, not to go outside the box, not to take a jump. Save your money; don’t spent it. Stay at home; don’t travel. You don’t need any of that, he’d say. I was taught that risk taking was dangerous and unnecessary. That way of thinking never resonated with me though. …


Life is a classroom and my students are my teachers. There is indeed so much we can learn from watching children live through their life experiences, and teaching in an impoverished area has been an eye-opener for me, to say the least. Over the years, I’ve seen countless wonderful, caring, striving families who want only the best for their children. I’ve also seen the heartache and adversity that some of the children and their families go through.

Sometimes it seems as if these communities are a magnet to terrible, negative situations. Children being taken away from their families, drug abuse…


Today marks the two year anniversary of my mother’s transition, when she finally gave in to the disease. She lived with cancer for 39 years. As many of you who have experienced the depths of grief, not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and contemplate our life’s journey with her.

I see a lot of derogatory remarks about cancer and its injustice all around me every day in our society. In social media I see it. On bumper stickers. At cancer awareness rallies, walks, talks, etc. Even through all the chaos that my family and I…


“I think the Lower East Side inspires me. That whole neighborhood, a lot of the people I worked with, seeing what we’ve gone through in life, being given an opportunity to understand who I am; my identity, my culture, and my roots.”

— Luis Guzman

I love the rich culture that permeates the community where I teach. The Hispanic population has really held on to its beautiful roots in so many ways. I think the invisible ties that bind them to their heritage is part of the glue that holds them together with their families, the community, and carries them…


My first year teaching, 1996

I am a teacher. I am an author, a speaker, and an advocate for students and teachers. I am an educator.

I have been educating underprivileged students living in low socio-economic communities for twenty-three years now. Advocating for the social and emotional aspects of learning in the classroom, and for teaching social justice to our students that ingrains in the forefront of their learning empathy, inclusion, communication and tolerance for others is at the forefront of my intentions as an educator. …


“Tell your story…” is what Medium.com has its writers begin their writing with. It’s those three words we start at when we sit down to write. We tell stories. We write what matters to us. We share. And most importantly, we connect when we share. So, what’s your story?

Julia Alvarez, a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist says, “I write to find out what I am thinking. I write to find out who I am. I write to understand things.”

My own story has helped to inform me who I am as a person and is interwoven all through my…

Angela Censoplano Holmes

Author of 🦋Life is a Classroom, A teacher's journey. District Resource Specialist, & Teacher Educator who ❤s learning and advocating for students & teachers.

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