In this episode of SuperPower Mommas, Tracey Severns, who is currently the Leadership and Learning Strategist for Rutgers Graduate School, joins Laura Greco as they explore the question of what is confidence and how do we model that for our children. Tracey is well positioned to speak to this topic as she has dedicated her entire career to the service of students, teachers and administrators since 1992. In serving as a classroom aide, a special education teacher, a vice principal and a director of student performance and a mom of her own two children, she’s gained much insight to what can assist moms and dads to building and nurturing the confidence that will be life sustaining to our children. So if you’ve ever wondered how you can support, instill and nurture confidence with deep love in your children, you’ll truly benefit from Tracey’s insight. Join us and let’s keep this much needed conversation going.
Hello and welcome. I’m Laura Greco and you’re listening to SuperPower Mommas and we’re so excited to have you here. Thank you for stopping in.
I am so excited to have Tracey Severns, I’m sorry, how am I saying your name? Severns?
Tracey Severns with me today. I know Tracey because of a woman’s, I’m almost reluctant to say networking group, but we are a wonderful group of women who get together and share our brilliance and ours different things that we work through as women and moms and entrepreneurs. I met her through that and heard her speak.
Tracey has dedicated her career to a service of students, teachers and administrators since 1992 and today we’re talking on the topic what is confidence and as a momma, how do we model this for our children? Tracey has also worked, as I mentioned here, she has been serving as a classroom aide, a special education teacher, a vice principal, a principal, director of student performance, superintendent, adjunct professor and Chief Academic Officer in the New Jersey Department of Education. She is currently the leadership and learning strategists for Rutgers Graduate School of Education Center and effective school practices, and she is a mom of two grown children. We’re so excited to have you here. So welcome.
Tracey, good. The way we always start off our show is to ask the first question about your super power. So what is your momma super power? What is your super, I mean really you’re a momma to so many, right? So what is your super power?
I would say that my super power is the ability to reach and teach all kinds of kids. Over the course of 31 years in education I have had the honor and the privilege and the challenge of working and learning alongside thousands of students. Most of my career was, well, I don’t know about most, but much of my career was with middle school kids and as everyone knows, sometimes they can be harder to love. I’ll put it that way. Sometimes parents said to me, “I’m so glad I get to send them to you all day because they are challenging at home,” and they certainly are, but someone needs to love them and I was happy that that was me.
I feel like middle school kids in particular are trying to figure out who I am and how I fit into the world. When we guide kids along that pathway, I think it’s very, very important. They’re defining themselves or seeing where they fit into the world and they’re looking forward to a future that hopefully gives them a sense of enthusiasm that they look forward to the people, the young adults that they will grow into. I would say my super power is connecting with kids, is to understand them on a personal level, connect with them on an intellectual level, but also just in a way that says, “I see you, I get you, I know you, I love you and I’m here for you.”
I love it. I love it. You speak to my heart in every word you say. Beautiful. Beautiful. I love that you’ve agreed to come on the show because I think for us listeners as moms, you are a mom yourself, but you being in the system the way you’ve been, have a very interesting perspective to share with parents that may be an insight that we don’t always get a window into. Right?
I know in our topic, like what is confidence and how do we model this for our kids? And really it starts with moms first, right? How have you used this super power in your work, but also in your home? What have you learned that has helped you raise your two children?
One of the things that I’ve learned is that when you create a kind of an analogy or metaphor, sometimes that’s a way for people to really understand things in a different way. I’ve always believed that effective parenting and effective teaching and leadership in schools when you work with kids, I think the way to do it is like bowling with bumpers. Have you ever gone bowling and they put those bumpers in the gutters?
Here’s what I love about that. It’s the perfect balance of latitude and limits. Here’s what I believe is the role of a parent and an educator when working with kids. We need to create for them a lane that gives them some room. There needs to be the opportunity for agency, for some choice, for some autonomy, but not so much where it’s not so wide that they fall off and land in the gutter, if you will, where they go to a place where you can’t recover. At the same time, we also can’t create a lane that is so narrow that there’s no room to make choices and to experience the consequences that come from our decisions.
When we kind of provide that space where there’s room to live and to learn that so many of the most powerful lessons are those where we have stumbled or struggled or maybe even fell. I think that our challenge as the adults is not to try to save our kids, not to try to protect them or shield them from any discomfort or anything that causes at all any level of frustration or struggle. But to be there on the other side to lend them a hand and then to ask them the question, what might you do better or differently next time?
I think that we are, because we love our kids, our inclination is to protect and to shield and to guard from all things that may be at all uncomfortable, upsetting, or difficult. I feel that when we do that, we really rob our kids have the opportunity to learn that that is in the challenge. It’s in the struggle where the greatest learning takes place.
Love all of this. We’re going to get into that a bit more in our conversation, but right now we have to take a break. Thank you so much for sharing that though because our tendency right to love is to protect. I love that you said that because that’s so true. We equate love with protection and yet it’s really any experience that they get to learn and that actually ends up being a protection to them also.
Before we go for this break, please share where you would like people to find you and experience your website. I loved your website by the way and there’s great clips for videos to look at, to understand better what Tracey has learned through the years and been sharing in school systems. Where can they find you?
I can be found at teach4results.com.
Beautiful. Beautiful. Thank you so much. Everybody stay with us because we’ll be right back. You’ve been listening to Super Power Moments with Laura Greco and Tracey Severns and we’ve been talking on the topic of what is confidence and as mamas how do we model this for our children? So hold on.