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In This Episode of School of Talk


This episode features Dr. Jody Carrington.

Jody has assessed, treated, educated, and empowered some of our most vulnerable and precious souls on the planet. She is a child psychologist by trade, but Jody rarely treats kids. The answer lies, she believes, in the people who hold them, especially when kids have experienced trauma. That’s when they need big people the most.

Some of her favorites include educators, parents, first responders, and foster parents. Jody has shifted the way they think and feel about the holy work that they do.

Before Jody started her own practice and speaking across the country, she worked at the Alberta Children’s Hospital on the inpatient and day treatment units where she held families with some of the difficult stories.

They taught her the most important lesson: we are wired to do hard things.

We can handle those hard things so much easier when we remember this: we are wired for connection.

This all started when Jody received her Bachelor of Arts with Distinction from the University of Alberta. She completed a year-long internship with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during that time and worked alongside families struggling with chronic illness at the Ronald McDonald House.

She received her Master’s degree in psychology at the University of Regina and completed her Ph.D. there as well, before completing her residency in Nova Scotia.  

Her first book, Kids These Days: A Game Plan for Reconnecting with those we Teach, Lead & Love, sold 20,000 copies in just three months. It is now on Amazon’s Best Sellers List. Her second book, Teachers These Days: Stories & Strategies for Reconnecting, was on Amazon’s Best Sellers List within the first 24 hours.

Dr. Carrington sat down with us to discuss the biggest problem we face today – disconnection and how educators and school leaders can work on reconnecting.

Episode Highlights:

  • How Dr. Jody Carrington got started in child psychology and how it led her to work with adults.
  • The impact the global pandemic has had on connection building within the education space, and how educators can focus on reconnecting.
  • The power of acknowledgment and listening when forming connections.
  • How proximity and technology are impacting our ability to connect.
  • What the components of the global pandemic and the major factors faced by highly dysregulated children have in common.
  • What school leaders and educators must remember when managing our most challenging cases.
  • Why connection is necessary to formal learning and why students can’t learn without it.
  • Why technological advances aren’t the problem. It’s how we use them. 
  • A reminder for teachers about how important their work is.

Episode Transcript

Intro: You are listening to School of Talk. We’re creating a world where every child experiences the power of a great teacher. We believe education is the answer. It has the power to conduct change, improve lives, unlock ideas, create opportunities, and build connections.

It’s the single greatest investment we can make today to create a better tomorrow. That’s why we’re on a mission to train, inform and inspire educators around the world.

Each week we dive into a topic related to education, teaching, and learning. Whether you’re an educator by trade or an educator by spirit, we’ve got something for you. Open up your mind, and get ready to soak in some new learning.

Class is in session!

Today’s episode is brought to you by Skooli. Skooli is an online tutoring platform for K to 12 schools that deliver scale security and the best technology for one on one learning design with the classroom in mind.

Skooli offers schools and districts the learning support students need to understand difficult concepts. Students can connect with expert tutors directly and instantly through a safe online learning environment. Skooli’s easy-to-use digital classroom can be accessed anytime and from anywhere.

Michelle: Today’s episode features Dr. Jody Carrington. Over the past 15 years, Jody has assessed treated, educated, and empowered some of our most vulnerable and precious souls on the planet. She is a child psychologist by trade, but Jody rarely treats kids.

The answer lies, she believes, in the people who hold them.

Some of her favorites include educators, parents, first responders, and foster parents. Jody has shifted the way they think and feel about the holy work that they do.

Throughout Jody’s career, she has been taught two very important lessons.

  1. We are wired to do hard things.
  2. We can handle those things much easier when we remember that we are wired for connection.

Jody is a speaker and author of two best-selling books, Kids These Days: A Game Plan for Reconnecting with those we Teach, Lead & Love, as well as Teachers These Days: Stories & Strategies for Reconnecting. Jody and I sat down to discuss the biggest problem we face today, disconnection, and how educators and school leaders can work on reconnecting.

Michelle: Welcome to the podcast. Jody, I am so excited to speak with you. It’s so great to have you here.

Dr. Carrington: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Jody Carrington pursued a career in child psychology after feeling inspired by her teacher

Michelle: I’d love to start with a little bit about your backstory and just how you got into child psychology.

Dr. Carrington: You know, that’s a great question. I, I often tell people this like I didn’t even like kids. And I still sort of can’t believe sometimes that I well, I have three of my own right now. So I’m sort of coming around (laughs).

But I, you know, it was a teacher – I knew I wanted to go into psychology primarily because of a teacher.

And it’s remarkable to me that I ended up doing so much work, and I will for the rest of my career do work and serve teachers because I can’t imagine what it’s like to teach in a K to 12 classroom or, you know, teach in any classroom.

I think it’s some of the holiest work on the planet. And I often tell the story about why I became a psychologist. It’s because of a teacher. Not because of anything they taught me with respect to literacy and numeracy. But it was because of how they made us feel, or made me feel.

I grew up in a small town in Alberta, and there were 26 of us that started kindergarten together. The same 19 of us graduated together. And hockey was our big life. I mean, it’s a Viking is a hockey town, like the Sutter Brothers, you know, six boys make the NHL. You know, it was a big deal.

And I remember where Mrs. Holly Nordstrom was standing in grade 10 when she had to tell us that the captain of our hockey team had been killed that day. I remember what she was wearing. I remember so much about her, but I have no idea what she said.

“I just remember how she made us feel.”

Dr. Carrington: I remember thinking that night like I went home to my dad and I said, I know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to make people feel the way Mrs. Nordstrom did today. And he was like, anything, you know, at that point, you’re just drinking excessively in, you know, the gravel pits in small town, Alberta.

So he was like, “I’ll pay for it!” Like, “let’s go!”

And he didn’t realize it’d take me 13 years to get a Ph.D., but it’s fine (laughs).

And I spent a lot of time you know, just wanting to do you know, motivational work and sports psychology and then I ended up doing a residency in Nova Scotia where I did a rotation with kids.

I even said at the time like I’m not a huge fan of kids, I really want to focus on the adults and they were like, you know, listen, you’re kind of like a kid, we think you’d be a good fit.

And they were not wrong.

I fell in love with these tiny humans. And I realized that we knew less about kids and trauma than we knew about adults and trauma.

I did a bit of a postdoc out there on the East Coast. And then, I came back to my first job in Alberta on the psychiatric inpatient unit of the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

I stayed there for 10 years learning lots about trauma and kids and how behaviorism, you know, is still something we very much employ in you know, many of our parenting programs, and certainly across the education system, and it’s useless.

In fact, harmful.

The more disconnected we become, you can’t tell a kid how to make good choices, you got to show them. You can’t take away enough stuff from a kid to make them be kind.

You have to be in a place to demonstrate what that looks like, particularly when they lose their freakin’ minds.

And so I know I left there after 10 years because I got married, had kids.

From child psychologist in small town Alberta to national bestselling author of Kids These Days

Dr. Carrington: We moved to a small town and I was just, you know, in a private practice coach and hockey.

And I started to consult with schools about their toughest kids because I love the kickers and the hitters in the biters, like those are my jam. And so we started talking about that.

And then, you know, people said, hey, you know, this makes a lot of sense when we think about relationship and connection and emotional regulation and kids.

Would you talk to, you know, our teachers? I said, Yeah, absolutely. Would you talk to our superintendents? Yeah. Would you? You know, speak across the country? Yep. Hey, would you write a book? And I was like, Wow, all right. Which I never thought I would do.

I wrote a book called Kids These Days, and it became a national bestseller. It was a, you know, huge surprise to me anyway.

We just wrote our second book called Teachers These Days.

I co-authored it with Laurie McIntosh, she was one of the best teachers I’ve ever met.

And, you know, all in this effort to say, you know, kids are the least of our worries, if the big people holding them aren’t okay, the little people don’t stand a chance.

And so as a child psychologist, I rarely see kids, I often, you know, hang on to the people who hold them.

And so it’s been just such a, an honor to sit with, you know, educators across North America and across the world, actually, in the last few years.

How can schools and districts create a supportive environment for K-12 teachers to build connections during a global mental health crisis?

Dr. Carrington: I think that’s, you know, we’re facing a massive mental health crisis right now. I mean, the pandemic is one thing, but the fallout from it, I don’t even think we began to see the ramifications.

And so kids aren’t going to be the issue if the big people aren’t okay, they, you know, the little kids, it doesn’t matter what we do for the kids, they, they need to be in a system where they can be regulated.

So that’s been our mission and our goal, and it landed me here with you!

Michelle: That’s incredible. I have chills that was so interesting. And I totally agree, I was a teacher. And I remember dealing with quote, unquote, difficult students. And this idea of approaching them like they’re a problem, when really it’s like, how am I, the teacher, responsible for guiding them with my actions, my words, the way I handle situations.

And sometimes I think leadership in schools forget that teachers are also people with their own baggage and their own difficulties. And it becomes really challenging to be, I guess, perfect all the time and model that, and I think this focus on how do we set ourselves up for success so that we can set our students up for success. It’s like a foundational change.

Dr. Carrington: 100% a foundational change, because, you know, I was telling you this before we went on air, I, you know, [spoke with] Utah teachers this week, and you know, it’s no different than when I’m in Canada.

So many people say like, it’s all about the kids, it’s all about the kids, you know, we’re here to serve the kids, which is, I mean, obviously true in the system of education, but like, No, you’re not, if you don’t serve your staff, well, the kids are in big trouble.

And so in many, you know, schools that I am honored to step into, they can list the resources that they have available for kids and the programs that they invested in, and you know, the ideas that they have around supporting kids’ mental health, and I say so what do you have in place for your teachers, you know, for your bus drivers, your EAs, your custodians, and the question is often, like, Sorry, what?

And then I saw, you know, what do you have to support these amazing people, and they’re like, “well… we do potlucks?”

Nothing says you matter, like ‘bring your own food!’

The issue for me is [the unacknowledgement].

“When you’re acknowledged, you will rise.”

Dr. Carrington: The indigenous peoples in this country have taught me that more than anything in the last, particularly, year.

And, you know, we really are in sorry, in this effort to you know, get to reconciliation, but you can’t get to reconciliation until you get the truth.

This idea about, you know, land acknowledgment, we often, you know, talk a lot about and I, you know, speaking across this country, I’ve sat through – this so embarrassing – I’ve sat through many land acknowledgments and didn’t understand how powerful they are.

I’ve heard people say things like, ‘How many times do we have to do this?’

And you know, I’ve seen or listened to people butcher the name of the land on which they’re acknowledging.

The power of acknowledgment and listening when forming connections

Dr. Carrington: Here’s the interesting thing about acknowledgment.

The definition of an acknowledgment is it is an act of holding space of witnessing again and again and again.

So it’s not two things. It’s not an apology. And it’s never a one-shot deal.

Because you can imagine what happens to you if you’re out frolicking in your community and somebody comes up to you and says, like, hey, Michelle, can I talk to you for a second?

And you’re like, ‘Yeah.’

‘I just needed to tell you. I don’t know if you remember, but you taught my kid, five years ago, and I just, I wanted you to know, you saved his life. He talks about you to this day. I don’t know if you remember the day where you told him like, don’t listen to the haters. But that was a day he had a plan to kill himself. And he told me this the other day that if it wasn’t for you, he wouldn’t be here.’

What happens to you in that moment, right, when you are acknowledged, right?

Your feels are up. It’s also not an apology.

I mean, if we think about this with our indigenous peoples, if we were to say, you know, sorry, for the cultural genocide, yeah, we good.

It’s not an apology, you can apologize for something like that.

“The ask in fact, and you know, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to acknowledge, again, and again and again, that we are in this place.”

Dr. Carrington: And so I think what’s really critical about acknowledgment is it’s not like if we think about getting married in our country, for example, the purpose is two people get together and acknowledge their love for each other.

What if that was a one-shot deal?

You know, like, on the day of everybody’s dressed up, and Jesus or Buddha’s there, or the creator, maybe you’re drinking, you’re having fun.

‘I love you, you love me, we acknowledge our love for each other.’

What would happen if like, two days later one, you know, the married fella said to the other fella, hey do you still love me? And the other guy was like, ‘What? How many times do we have to do this?’

Michelle: Right? Like it would be just ridiculous.

Dr. Carrington: Right? And so when we’re talking about, you know, the atrocities of cultural genocide, acknowledgment is the least we can do.

And what I think is really critical about acknowledgment is, as I watched this pandemic unfold, I know it won’t be merely acknowledgment that’s going to be the answer.

It is genuine acknowledgment.

Because so many teachers say this to me, I am sick and tired of ‘Thank you for your service.’ ‘We’re all in this together.’ A generic acknowledgment is not nearly as powerful as something genuine.

So like, for example, if you leave your school next week, and you come out to your car, you’re the last car in the parking lot because you typically are you work so hard for these babies and their families. And there’s a note on your car, right under your windshield wiper this dress is addressed specifically to you.

And it says, ‘Michelle, I just need to tell you, you inspire me. I see how much you give to these kids in these families. And I want you to know, I notice it, I see you. And I’m so grateful for you. I hope you have a good night.’ What happens to you, right?

Versus the generic ‘thank you for your service.’

When we are genuinely acknowledged, and we were standing in the parking lot, our eyeballs are leaking!

And that’s really… we were never meant to do any of this alone. And we understand that our power right now is to acknowledge and listen. We’re also tired right now.

Okay, yeah, that the ability to just even witness another person or notice them or give them a compliment is so debilitated right now.

Because of the burnout and, and the fear of COVID, the uncertainty of our futures.

And ‘Are we going back online? Oh, my gosh, are we stepping in, are our kids falling behind? Are we not going to reach outcomes? What happens when they get to departmentals or, you know, provincial exams or state exams?’

And so it becomes really hard to do this thing we’re all wired for, which is to stay connected.

Because that’s, that’s how we’re going to survive it. Right? Does that make sense?

Michelle: Absolutely…it just feels like there’s something about the last couple of years where we have shifted away from that feeling of connection. And suddenly, I think people have perhaps they’re becoming very lonely. And as a result, are lashing out. 

What the components of the global pandemic and the major factors faced by highly dysregulated children have in common.

Dr. Carrington: …If I think about like, emotionally dysregulated kids… the definition of emotional regulation is like, how not to lose your mind. If you’re emotionally regulated, you have the ability to stay calm in times of distress.

…I think that the most dysregulated kids I would ever see have these three things on board for sure: uncertainty, fear, and no end in sight.

So there might be a plan for this kid but this kid doesn’t know it. Okay, so uncertainty, fear, no end in sight.

Think about that.

Three components of a global pandemic: uncertainty, fear, and no end in sight.

As a globe, for two years, we have been in a heightened state of arousal. And, I hear people say this to me all the time, I don’t know why I’m so tired.

Or, ‘I want to throat punch everybody I see,’ ‘I don’t even think I should be here. Like, I don’t even like kids,’ or, you know, our memory starts slipping.

So many people have said to me, I think I got dementia. And it’s like, no, no, no, no, we have been in a heightened state of arousal… we are still at the scene of the accident… let alone be able to process much.

And for at least a year of that we have said, the thing that used to fill our souls, okay, for the physical safety of your communities you can’t do.

You can’t go to funerals, or weddings, or hold your grandbabies. You can’t, you know, gather at the hockey rink, or the baseball field or like, whatever the deal is.

And if you do, like, do Jesus, be careful. And also, like, we just need to check your passports and do your things. And you know, and so there’s so many of those things that just sort of keep us in this state of shoulders wrapped around our ears.

And when we’re irritable, we lose all access to grace.

And our chippiness becomes contagious, way more contagious than Omicron.

People say this all the time: ‘Okay, so then we’re like, are we screwed?’

No, the issue is we can’t address what we don’t acknowledge.

Let’s drop our shoulders and know that this is exactly where we should be. Then and only then can we start to practice gratitude and be like, ok, we’re in Canada, or we’re in the United States, we have resources.

One step at a time, that’s all we can do.

This is not any senior leader, no superintendent’s going to fix this. No government official is going to fix this. It’s you and me doing the next best right kind of thing. That’s it.

Can you wave at your neighbors today? Can you give a compliment to your principal today? Can you look at the kid with purple hair and the hoodie app and instead of saying get your hood down, we have an anti hoodie policy, start to wonder why his hood might be up?

Because divorce has increased by 33% in North America since the beginning of the pandemic.

We were taught that a kid who’s going through divorce at home – they’re unteachable. Not because they don’t want to learn, but because they are in an extra high state of arousal because their rug has been ripped out from under them. No matter how hard you try to get the literacy and numeracy through, you can’t.

So in that moment, it is so much about regulating and seeing and witnessing and noticing and putting into context why this kid is, you know, showing up late or doing whatever the deal is.

And then it allows you as a teacher to drop your shoulder and go like, okay, it’s not me. Yeah, system in which I’m living. And what do I need to be able to show up for these kids?

I need things like eye contact, and joy, and creating a safe place to land.

So then and only then might we be able to learn something formally today. And if not, the greatest lesson I’m going to teach you is that this is safe to regulate here to make sense of the hard things.

Because then you have access to be able to teach, you can jump over that step. And the more desperate we become, the more worried we get for our kids. The quicker we jump that step.

Michelle: Absolutely. Wow. That is very powerful. And how would you say so? So of course, as teachers, that’s how we can approach our students who are feeling dysregulated?

How can school leaders approach their teachers and other staff members who are feeling emotionally dysregulated?

Dr. Carrington: Oh, my gosh, I love that question. And I think so many people don’t ask it.

I think that when you are good at regulating your students, you are also good at regulating the people that you lead.

So we have the skills, we just have so much less expectations for kids. We assume that our colleagues should have it together, we assume that you know, you’re an adult, take responsibility.

The issue is that we regulate each other the same way that we regulate kids and the ones who needed the most are the hardest to give it to.

Why connection is necessary to formal learning and why students can’t learn without it.

Dr. Carrington: Just like our babies, the ones who needed the most are the hardest to give it to, right?

It’s so great to interact with Taylor who’s got pigtails and she’s emotionally regulated. And she just loves. She did some baking for ‘Mrs. S.’ If you’re like ‘good morning, Taylor!’ (she responds positively).

Versus Jackson, who comes in, you know, doesn’t want to be there. He’s 10 minutes late. He’s like, ‘What?’ (sharply)

Same applies for our staff. Right? Well, we love Helen. She’s in early she brings baking oh, gosh, she’s just sweet. Almost, you know, too sweet.

Sometimes we lower then there’s like, I don’t know. Fred, who? I mean He never comes to staff meetings.

And when he does, he’s rolling his eyes, his arms across the end of the thing. You know what, like Jesus does he want to be here.

And the ones who need the most are the hardest to give it to. Right. And so what’s going on for Fred?

Was steel, when’s the last time anybody gave him a compliment? What little do we know, man, his wife’s died of cancer? Yeah.

Little do we know that this guy is struggling significantly, you know, when feels like, you know, everybody else is taken over. And nobody really respects the fact that he’s been here for 25 years.

Michelle: Okay. And approaching him with a bit more empathy and maybe just trying to connect with him as a human first.

Dr. Carrington: You know, and Brene Brown says this, she said people are hard to hate close up.

Michelle: Oh, yes.

“Be kind and don’t tolerate bullsh*t. In that order.”

Dr. Carrington: And I think we’re really unclear about that tactic, which is, if we allow kids to just sort of walk over us, if, you know, don’t sort of create boundaries and limits you and we’re so right about that, right? Like kids need to know who’s in charge.

I often follow this mantra: be kind and don’t tolerate bullsh*t. In that order.

So it’s not like, Okay, everybody gets away with everything. Like, ‘Look, I brought snacks for everybody.’ It’s like, ‘Hey, guys, I’m new here. Like, how does this place run?’ Right? What do we think about? And then that, you know, when they’re sent to you, like, she’s really kind and you’re like, yeah.

Can we show your teacher how much you’re going to get done? She’s gonna be shocked when she comes back.

Gordon Neufeld is another Canadian psychologist who talks a lot about collecting before you direct. Collect and then direct. Collect and then direct, right. And we historically come from this place where we’re like, listen, kids need to earn respect, I’m going to come in and take charge and show him who’s boss.

The issue is that worked so much better two generations ago because we had proximity.

We had smaller classrooms, smaller schoolhouses, in fact, we lived in smaller houses. If you think about the square footage of the house in which your grandfather was raised in, and the square footage of the house in which we’re raising many of our babies today, the difference is massive.

They had 75% more opportunities for face-to-face connection with their children than we do two generations later.

Can technological advancements fulfill our need for face-to-face connection?

Dr. Carrington: Now, technological advances means we can access each other more quickly. But we do far less face-to-face connection. And we are wired for it.

My cortisol decreases when you and I are in the same room. And when we look at each other in the eyes. It does not decrease when I text you. As I’ve lost proximity in this world, I mean, we’ve gained many things because of technological advances, but we have lost access to the hardest thing that is for any of us to do, which is to look at the people we love. Right in the eye. Right?

Because so many things can go wrong. I would much rather just text you or you know, if we’re fighting, let’s fight over text or email instead of let’s come in and have a meal. You know, can we have coffee? I’m worried about something like it just doesn’t feel right between you and I right now. Is there something that happened here?

Do we need to talk about what’s happening in our culture, our team, our marriage, you know, whatever that looks like, it is so much harder to do close up. And when we have exit ramps like technological interventions all the time, we’re gonna take them.

And we have them all the time, right? When somebody dies in our community, we’re just like, oh, shoot, guess we’ll send a Facebook message. Because I don’t want to… bring them food… I don’t know what to say… I don’t…. Go!

Michelle: That’s so true. Right? And so that’s like the, the specific scientific reason as to why this tough style of authoritative teaching work two generations ago and not so much now. That is very enlightening! Very cool.

And do you have some advice for someone who’s having a hard time connecting either with their co-workers or with their students?

Dr. Carrington: Yeah, you know what I think, you know, most of all, it’s really about ‘how are you?’ And ‘do you know how important you are?’ ‘Do you know just how much you matter to so many, that you don’t actually have to do anything fantastic or have the best Chromebook or whiteboard?’

‘You matter so much to so many.’

And it’s so much about just dropping our shoulders, wiggling our toes, relaxing the jaw, and stepping in and knowing that we have the ability in this profession to not only alter our life every single day, we have the ability now more than ever to save them.

Our suicide rates have increased in adolescents by 51% in the United States of America, since the beginning of the pandemic, which is I mean, is a massive number. I read that this morning in the Globe & Mail.

Michelle: I think it’s devastating.

“For the first time in history, emotional illness is killing us faster than physical illness”

Dr. Carrington: It is and you know, it’s for the first time in history where emotional illness is killing us faster than physical illness. And it really has so much to do with this disconnect.

And so what’s the antidote to disconnection? Connection? Right? We look and we see it cost us nothing. It costs us the risk that will get rejected.

It costs us, which is a pretty high price to pay when we don’t put it into context, which is everybody’s tired, everybody’s chippy, it’s likely going to happen.

But give it away.

And I tell you, I promise you this right now, the bar is – I’m so happy to be alive right now, I’ll tell you this – because the bar is so low.

The ability to leave a legacy right now. I mean, I was just telling you this. I’m in Nevada. I’m in a hotel this morning. And you know, came downstairs.

And you know, the cleaning staff was up this early this morning, I came up for you know, a coffee at 6:30. And I was like, ‘Good morning. Thank you so much for being here. Like this place it looks amazing. And I’m just so grateful for you.’

People don’t know what to do with that. Right? They’re like, are you? Are you fine? Like, are you okay? Right.

Michelle: And that’s, you know, such a normal thing.

Dr. Carrington: Oh, my goodness. Like, what happens when you’re walking? You know, when somebody says to you, ‘Oh, my gosh, I love your hair. It is so beautiful.’ Or, you know, you’re like?

Like, that’s free. And you know, it really does as much for me as it does for the receiver. Because I have to be in a regulated state to give it away.

So it’s just my cue every day to just like, can I give it away three times? Can I find anybody, somebody to compliment?

And the more somebody means to me, right? Like my husband, for example, when I send him a text that says something like, ‘You know, I don’t know if I tell you this enough, but you’re amazing.’

He’s suspicious, you see. He’s like, ‘…What’d you buy?’ (laughs)

The people we love the most are suspicious when we’re kind, which is the epitome of disconnect. Right? See? And so it’s like, what’s the antidote? We do it more.

Michelle: We do it more. I certainly didn’t make this up. But I heard it somewhere that if you’re feeling low, or having a hard time, the best thing you can do for yourself is to do good for someone else.

Dr. Carrington: Yes, absolutely. And it doesn’t fix anything. But it allows some reprieve. It decreases the cortisol, ups the oxytocin and dopamine, which means then you have a little bit more in the tank, to navigate whatever is on your shoulders.

Michelle: And I know we spoke a little bit about technology and how it’s impacting our ability to connect with one another.

Would you say that technology is the biggest obstacle facing connection today? Or do you think that there’s maybe a mixture of things?

Why technological advances aren’t the problem. It’s how we use them. 

Dr. Carrington: Yeah, I mean, I, I’m a huge fan of technology. And I think that it gets such a huge rap, a bad rap. Here’s the issue.

Technological advances are amazing to me. If I look at what my grandfather did, you know, in just two generations, the fellows plowing in his field, you know, with no running water, and he dies being able to send me emails.

And so it just like this, this very quick generation, so much advances have happened.

I mean, I hope before I die, we understand how to, you know, because of technological advances, cure pancreatic cancer. All of those things, right?

“Technology isn’t the problem. It’s how we use it. That is the issue.”

And when it becomes the interface between real connection, I mean, and this happens all the time, right? Like, we text our kids, and they’re in the basement.

I can’t even get off the couch to go downstairs to see. And when I go down there, I noticed like, oh, his room’s a mess.

You know, he’s, he’s been writing things down and drawing pictures of, you know, guns or whatever and I can say, like, ‘Hey, babe, what’s this about?’ Right? Versus if I don’t interact in that way.

Like, if we think about the square footage of the house that your grandfather was raised in, right, and somebody comes off the bus, your aunts and uncles, come off the bus, and they or they, you know, walk home from school, and they’ve had a shitty day, right? Like they’ve been bullied.

One kid is like, completely, you know, beside himself, who knows about it. Everybody, everyone in the house is 700 square feet. When that happens now, to us who knows about it?

Michelle: No one, you could probably go hide in your room.

Dr. Carrington: And you’re inundated by Snapchats of other kids, you know, doing cool things and you didn’t get invited to this friend’s party. And you know, your mom and dad are gonna be you know, they’re working so hard to support you or do whatever they are.

But they’re, you know, they’re not going to be home until like, whatever the deal is.

And it’s so difficult to not get regulated or so easy to not get regulated in that moment. Right. And so you just think about experience after experience after experience of that. It becomes debilitating.

And so, again, technological advances aren’t the problem. It’s how we use them. That’s the issue and it’s so much easier to not do face to face stuff.

A reminder for teachers about how important your work is.

Michelle: Do you have just a final message or recommendation or question idea that you’d like to leave us with?

Dr. Carrington: Yeah, I mean, I’m just so grateful to sit with your listeners because I think if they only knew how much they mattered, and I want you to think about, you know, the top three kids, you’ll never forget whether you’re still a teacher you did before.

You know, the ones who made you, you know, question the profession, the one who you know, the ones who remembered your birthday, the ones who maybe even died.

If you can think about them today, and you know, wherever you’re listening to these words, I promise you there are families that think about you 10 times as much. This is a holy profession.

And you know, when you step into it with your whole heart, we need to now more than ever.

So what you do is amazing. And don’t forget it.

Where to find Dr. Jody Carrington

Michelle: Jody, thank you so much for being with us. Where can our audience find you to learn more?

Dr. Carrington: Yeah, we’re on social @drjodycarrington, that’s our Instagram and our website. And you know, we do we have courses for teachers, we release Teachers These Days on audiobook in February.

We’ve got a lot of resources that you can sort of use, some are free.

I do a training course for mental health professionals in K to 12 education, to university level course that we’re just kicking off this year. So we’ve got lots of resources.

So come we, you know, our community is a safe place to land for anybody. That’s our hope. And we’d love to see you there.

Michelle: Perfect. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Have a great day.

Thanks again to Skooli for sponsoring today’s episode.

A recent study shows that most students are five months behind in math and four months behind in reading.

Schools and districts can no longer ignore the impacts the pandemic has had on their students learning both in and out of the classroom.

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Head over to to download the report and understand the long-term impact of learning loss caused by COVID-19 and its latest variants.

That’s to download your free report.

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