In Chapter 3, we’ll explore the personal and authentic stories that each person has hidden within to make sure that when we see our students, we not only see faces, but hearts as well. Starting with why, we’ll seek out ways to prioritize each child’s story to find the unique beauty inside.

Personal Note: Many educators have reached out asking about the medical treatment my daughter underwent for her severe food allergies, a story that I share in this chapter. Check out this Oral Immunization Therapy (OIT) website for more information.


Stop & Reflect / Study Guide Questions

  • Tom shares a quote from comedian Michael Jr., “When you know your why, your what has more impact, because you are walking in or towards your purpose.”  So, what is your why? What is your purpose? Why do you do what you do?

  • What’s your story? Which of your life experiences have been central to how you see the world?

  • Tom shares a moment on a train where he watched this video which caused him to pause and reflect. Take a few minutes to view the video and reflect. What are the “hidden stories” inside our students each day that have an impact? What are the hidden stories inside our colleagues that do? Share a time, without breaking confidentiality, when understanding a student’s hidden story, caused you to change your understanding of the student.

  • (For Personal Reflection) What “hidden stories” are inside of you? How do these personal experiences impact you as an educator? How do they impact the way you see the world?

  • Think of a student that you’ve worked with that had a difficult life story. In what ways did understanding his/her story help you maximize your impact?

  • Have you ever worked with a student who had significant medical needs? How did you ensure he/she was always included? What did you learn about yourself in the process?

  • How well do you know your students? How well do you know your co-workers? How well do you know their stories? How do these stories impact how you do what you do? What strategies do you use to get to know those people you work with each day?

#AuthenticEDU CallOuts

Download the callout quotes from this chapter and use them as part of your book study, team discussion, upcoming presentation, to share on social media, or in any way that can support you as an educator!

Related #LeadershipMinutes

Additional Resources to Support Your Personal & Authentic Journey

Author’s Note: The resources contained within this page are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but are intended to provide conversation starters, pre-reading/watching, and inspiration on your journey. If you have additional suggestions, please share them so that they can be included for the benefit of others.