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Dedicated to Teachers

Water for Teachers: Fear and Rebellion with guest Linda Aldebot

Water For Teachers_EP3_Linda-Aldebot_FIXEDWelcome to Water for Teachers, A Heinemann podcast focused on engaging with the hearts and humanity of those who teach. One thing we know for sure is that teachers are human. They have fears. They've experienced tragedy. They struggle. They are affected by crises and pandemics. And like everyone else, they deserve to lead lives full of peace, joy, and love. Join host Shamari Reid and other educators as they move from logic to emotion, from the head to the heart, from thinking to feeling, and from the ego to love.

This week, Shamari is joined by Linda Aldebot, a Middle School teacher in the Bronx, as they talk about our fears as humans who want to do what's best for students. Sometimes what's best might make us uncomfortable and require us to confront our fears.

Listen to last week's episode here!



Below is a transcript of this episode. 

Shamari: Episode four. For some strange reason four I think it's Beyonce's favorite number. And I don't know why, I don't really care, but I do want to just sort of channel the energy of Beyonce because I want to, as we dive into another conversation with a wonderful human who teaches, Linda. But you all know how this goes. First, I'm going to share a story today and then after, Linda and I will talk about whatever the story brings up for us both.

I've shared before that at this time in my career, I work a lot with teachers. I give workshops for in-service educators and I teach courses for both pre-service and in-service educators. And about a year ago, one of the teachers in a course I taught, approached me after class to share a moment from her classroom. I won't share her real name, but for the purpose of this story, we'll call her Julie. And what Julie shared with me was this. It was her first year teaching and she had been paired with a more experienced co-teacher. Julie and this co-teacher were in a first grade class [inaudible 00:01:54]. Her co-teacher was like the superstar in the building, the teacher that the administration loved, other teachers looked up to, and this co-teacher was regarded by many as the master teacher.

And one of the things they did in their classroom was invite students to make I guess their own dolls. So every student had a doll that they made and named and dressed and assigned a personality. And Julie told me sometimes during their morning meetings, the students would bring their dolls to the carpet. And the doll has got to engage in the morning question too. So the question that morning was very simple. How are you feeling? And Julie goes, but it was rather strange because that morning her co-teacher decided to have one of their students sit outside the circle by himself. And he was told to leave the doll and it's cubby. So all the students were on the carpet and they're going around sharing how they're feeling and how their dolls are feeling.

And Julie noticed that her co-teacher, who was leading the activity, didn't ask the student outside the circle how he was feeling. So the student got upset and started crying. And Julie's co-teacher asked him to be quiet and he got a little louder and he started to shout, but you forgot me. And you always forget about me. And he said it over and over to which the co-teacher responded, "Oh, stop. You're acting like an animal. Please just stop it." And he kept crying and eventually he stopped. But that day after class, when Julie told me this story, she started crying and she said, "I didn't do anything. I didn't speak up for him because I was scared. I was the new teacher.

I didn't want to ruffle any feathers. I didn't want my co-teacher to not like me or others in the building to not like me to include in administration. And so I stayed silent, even though I knew I should have done something. I felt paralyzed in that moment by my fear." Today, we're talking with Linda. Linda is a middle school teacher in the Bronx, BX stand up. She loves her dogs, baking, decorating, cleaning, and the challenge. During this time, she has been working on her spirituality in order to remain centered in the midst of chaos. Linda, welcome to Water for Teachers.

Linda: Hi. Thank you so much. That sort of made me so sad.

Shamari: Yeah. I was actually going to ask you, what did that story bring up for you?

Linda: Wow. Honestly, it made me sad. It made me feel like how could you? As the other teacher, not the teacher that didn't stand up for the child because I've heard that particular story many times. I'm scared, I don't want people to dislike me, I'm new here. I don't want to be penalized. I've heard that a lot, but just from the teacher who did exclude that student, what were you thinking and how dare you and why, and what does that make other students think? And how does that build culture in your classroom? Those are all the things that came up for me really quickly.

Shamari: Yeah. I'm embarrassed to share this. I'm going to share it anyway. I'm definitely afraid of rats. I grew up in Oklahoma city. I'm not familiar, I've been in New York five years, but in Oklahoma we have wood rats. And I remember the adults would sometimes threaten the kids. Like if you don't stop acting up, I'm going to take you to the country with the wood rats. But I never saw one before. And so all I saw were field mice. There are a lot of fields near the homes that I grew up in. And so I was scared of mice, but I could function. You know what I mean? They make me feel weird, but I could function. So I get to New York and many people were like, "Shamari, why would you go to New York? You're scared of mice."

They have reps there. But because I had never seen one, I didn't know how big they were. But anyway, I get to New York and I'm in the train station. And a lot of my stories in New York take place in the train station. I now realize but hey, I'm always on the train. But I'm on the train station. And there's a rat and it's on the platform and I freeze up, I feel paralyzed. I start crying. I just couldn't move. And so that's when I realized okay, you're not just afraid of rodents. This is a phobia, this is a real thing for you. And so I want to ask you, Linda, are you afraid of anything?

Linda: I am. I'm actually afraid of the dark a little bit honestly. I really love animals, but I am definitely afraid of their power.

Shamari: Wait, say more about the animals and their power.

Linda: So I just think of like riding a horse and I think horses are gorgeous and all the great stuff, but they're massive. They're massive. And although they might not mean any harm, their heads are huge, so you're all here going you're so cute and they're like [inaudible 00:07:04]. So those are some things that I think of and I'm like oh, I love animals so much, but I am definitely scared of their power. Sometimes even my dog y'all are great until you jump on me too hard. Other things I'm scared of, I don't know... Just really the dark.
Shamari Reid: So when you are in the dark or confronted with the power of a horse, what does it feel like? What does that fear feel like in your body?

I would definitely say if there's something that I'm worried about if I'm in the dark. Yeah. I'm definitely like paralyzed. I'm stuck. I'm like whoa, what do I do? I don't know what to do. My problem solving skills apparently go out the window. I don't have any right now, which is wild. But when I am scared, I'm like oh, I don't know what to do.

Shamari: Can you walk me through the last time you felt very afraid.

Linda: Sure. It wasn't that long ago actually. And I left my building. It was about 11 o'clock at night. So it was dark, and typically there's not that many people outside. And I looked to my right and I was walking my dog and it looked like there was a person there. So I was like okay, I'm going to go this way because my dog is not the friendly is, let me keep walking. I was waiting for the person to pass because my dog is not that nice. But the person never passed. So it seems like either the person was just standing in the midst of I don't know what, or I'm seeing things. So at that point I was like well, now I'm going nuts, I'm going crazy and I was super scared. So I was like, my body was hot. My mind was like whoa, what's happening? Like I'm paranoid looking around and where's this person gone. I was trying to just wait and give them some courtesy. But then it turned into like oh my God, my mind is going nuts.

Shamari: So you're afraid of the dark, strange characters, the power of horses. But I remember when we... I think I said this on another episode when I was talking with Gabby, that the way that I've come to know these guests is through a Google form. And so, I don't know anyone I'm talking to, we're literally meeting for the first time right now on air. But I remember when I was going through your form, Linda, you came off like a rebel, kind of like, you like getting into trouble, and you're not really afraid of anything. Would you consider yourself at work, a rebel teacher, or someone who is unafraid to get in trouble or do things that could get you in trouble?

Linda: Yes, absolutely. I've never considered myself as a rebel teacher. The way that you said it, I was like, "Okay. All right. Hello." But I'm definitely somebody who's not worried about getting in trouble. Like, "Y'all could get me in trouble, okay?" That's how I feel about it. Like, "Yeah, but you're wrong." Or, "Yeah, but this is what's right for the kids." Or, "This is what the teachers need." Or, whatever it is, I'm always like, I get it, there are rules and there are certain protocols and things to do, but if there's a need, that's where I come in, and I'm like, "Oh, hello, there's a need, you don't see the fire in front of you? Let's work on it. Let's figure it out." And oftentimes, unfortunately, that takes a little pushback on whatever that regulation is.

Shamari: Yeah. And so, when we spoke before, briefly, as we were preparing and scheduling the time to jump on the air, you said that educators must break the rules. What do you mean by that, break the rules?

Linda: I do think that educators should break the rules. I think that they need to go against some of the policies, some of the regulations, whether it be at the city, state, whatever it is, or just your administration in your particular school, or even your co-teacher. Some things that are norms in your building, in your school, with your administration, with your city, with your state, is actually not normal, and it's not okay. And depending on the students that you teach, the population that you are with, you got to break the rules in order to serve them accurately, and just love them. You got to break the rules. And, unfortunately, a lot of us are policy followers and rule followers, and sometimes it just doesn't work for our students. That's what I mean. Break the rules, because we need to do what's best for the kids.

Shamari: But wouldn't you say too, that some of the policy followers, perhaps we do some of that stuff? Because that fear that you and I both just talked about, you with your horses, me with my rats, but, it's paralyzing. And so, sometimes in our work, we find ourselves at these critical junctures, right? In which we witness or recognize something that we feel is wrong, and we know the right thing to do, but the right thing might place us in a position that we feel goes against the school community, against the administration, against the wishes of families. There's a real fear that interrupting the things we feel are wrong, might have negative consequences for us.

And so, what do we do, especially when we know as many education scholars, from Gloria Ladson-Billings, to Paulo Freire, to Bettina Love? They have all said that sometimes doing the right thing will mean you will find yourself in direct opposition to the systems in which we work. Linda, how do you navigate that tension, that very real fear that happens when you see things that are unjust and you know you should act? But, that fear can be paralyzing. How do you navigate that? How do you remain the rebel, and the one who breaks the rules? What do you draw on?

Linda: Honestly, you got to find a tribe. You have to find a community of people, or like-minded people. I can definitely say that I've always been a rebel. That's just me. But once I got to this particular school, and I was introduced to these particular people who are really willing to be like, "Oh, yeah, I got you. Don't worry." Including administration. Like, teachers, administration, parents. Like, "Hey, I got you. I understand your motive. I understand that you think that this is what's best for the kids." And sometimes we're wrong, quite frankly. Sometimes what I might think is best for the kids might actually not be, but you still have to be able to push it out there and have a tribe and a community of like-minded people to be like, "This is my idea. This is what I think, and this is why I think it. This is what I think the benefit will be." And put it out to the community to see what they think.

Now, if everybody's like, "Girl, have you lost your mind?" And then you have to reconsider. But a lot of times, those people, that tribe you built, they'll probably be on your side, and then you'll be like, "All right, I got this." They might not be the people to go break the rules, though. And that's really important. They might have those fears that say, "Shh! Yeah, no, girl, that's not me. I can't do that because of whatever reason." But at least having the people behind you to say like, "I got you. No matter what, I have you. I got your back. I will vouch for you. I'm going to be the one in the fire, but if you need somebody to back you up, I got to." I really think that building a tribe and having people that think the same way really helps you, even administration. Sometimes the schools you're at, and the admin, sometimes that's the problem.

Shamari: Do you think you would be as courageous, or as brave if you didn't have this community, if you felt like you were the only teacher in your building who was willing to sort of go against the grain?

Linda: Honestly, I wouldn't be at that school. I would go, honestly. If I felt like the people in the school that I was at did not support what's best for students and families and teachers and everyone, I wouldn't be able to be in that space for that long. Like, once I've realized that I might give it a chance, right? But, it'll take a little time for me to be like, "All right, this is not it." Because, I do truly believe that as educators, our job, our priority is to do what's best for the students.

And if you think what's best for the students is testing them and data and all that stuff, that's just not for me. I really think that our students have so much more important things going on that we need to be able to push back on and figure out before we're like, "Oh, yeah, let's go take a test." If I didn't have a tribe or I wasn't introduced to like-minded people from the beginning, I probably wouldn't have lasted at the school that I'm at.

Shamari: Wow. You know, you're bringing up so much for me, and so many stories, and so many things. As someone who is a teacher, and I work with teachers, I get... I wouldn't call it pushback, I get interesting faces whenever I start talking about gender identity or sexual identity. And that's where I feel a lot of these fears come up. It's, I want to share, not to bore you all with theory or anything, but I do want to share really quickly that one theory that helps me understand sometimes people's inactions is the cycle of socialization. And it's this theory advanced by Bobbie Harro, and I'll make sure to include information about it in description notes for this episode. But really simply, what Bobbie Harro is saying is that we're born into a cycle, or a circle, right? And in this cycle of socialization, we are socialized to accept certain things as normal, to believe that certain ways of being are normal, and that other things and other ways of being are not normal.

For example, when we think about sexuality, many of us, especially those of us who were born and raised in this country, are socialized to accept heterosexuality and being straight as normal, and to accept that being gay or queer or trans as something that's not normal. And we get those messages from families, which is the first place you might encounter some socialization, but also in places like schools, when we have gender lines, and we have things that maybe teach children, boys play with this, or boys play like this, and girls play like this.

And so what I'm trying to get at is, we're socialized, all of us as humans who teach, to accept certain things. And, Bobbie Harro says, "Sometimes, we arrive at this critical juncture in which we are made aware that some of the beliefs that we hold are wrong, and that we can choose to stay in the cycle, which means do nothing and go around and around, or we can break the cycle, get out the cycle. We can interrupt." But what Bobbie Harro believes, at the center of the inaction, at the center of us not making waves, she has four things, but one is fear, fear of being in this paralyzing force that, "Yeah, I know it's the right thing to do, but I'm afraid of X, Y, and Z."

And so, to get back to my story, when I'm talking to teachers, and I'm saying, what are you doing around the inclusion of LGBTQ youth in your classroom? There was always a lot of, "I'm afraid of what other teachers will think." "I'm afraid of what parents will think." "I'm afraid of what administration will think." I want to just ask you if you've encountered any fear at all, introducing any topic or doing anything in your classroom. Yes you've done it, and you've been a rebel, but is it easy? Do you not have the butterflies? Do you not have the nerves? Do you not have the, "I can lose my job."

Linda: Definitely. And I'll touch on a lot of those... Just talking to students and having conversations with students about differences and what that means. Or reading texts or books, or having book clubs on books that introducing that, aren't really something that they see and having those conversations and doing some research and just having students talk about themselves, if they're comfortable and their experiences and telling us why.

Moving on to the parents, I always try to talk to the students about what they are comfortable with. If they feel comfortable with their parents knowing certain things. And if they're not comfortable with it, well I want to talk to the parents about their particular child about that situation, whatever it might be. Sometimes it's gender identity. Sometimes it's, "Somebody they're dating in school." Right? "It's a secret." And you're like, "Oh my goodness." Right? There are some things that the students tell you that are obviously not harmful for themselves or others that you're like, "Okay, we can talk about it ourselves."

But I really think that kids learn through us. They learn through each other. So you give them the space to speak, they will teach each other. And if they say something inaccurate, of course, you're going to jump in and be like, "Hold on. Not really bad, it's this, or we have to do some more research on it. Let's do it together." I think that's been a real kind of push for me where it's like creating that space where students feel comfortable to speak, creating relationships with families where you are comfortable or able to have really nonchalant conversations.

Honestly being able to speak to certain families. Of course, you have the families who are like, "Absolutely not. We're not talking about anything." But you also have the families who are open and they're willing to ask you questions or bring up topics for you. And you're like, "Okay, that's great."

I think that relationships, whether it's with your students, with parents, with staff, admin, whatever is really a huge reason, I'm able to have conversations so comfortably, or I'm able to kind of push back on rules or push back on certain things that are said or done. Then I'm like, how is that safe for our students to feel or speak or interact or whatever it is. I really think building those relationships have been something huge for me.

Shamari: Yeah. And I appreciate you saying that. You're reminding me of a conversation I had on another episode with Gabby, we talked a lot about love at the top of this conversation. You also mentioned your love for your students and hearing you talk now about their feelings and their relationships. I hear you privileging actively privileging the love you have for your students and allowing that to move you. And so I want to go back to my cycle of socialization again, not to bore you, but here's my thing. I think that fear is real. Like my phobia with rats, it's a real thing. I didn't make it up. They paralyze me. I do feel my hands get clammy. I feel like I can't move. The same thing in schools where I'm like, "Okay, I want to do this thing, but I could lose my job." The fear is real. It's real and it's present.

But what I believe is this, that when we find ourselves at those critical moments, like the story I shared earlier, and the fear is present, arises as it does, as the theory says, I think love can move us beyond the fear. And so what I mean by that is when I'm afraid, or my voice might be shaking, or I'm thinking about like, my goodness, what could happen to me? I draw on love. The love I have for people. The love I have for young people.

And it often, I won't say always, but often allows me to move beyond my fear. And it allows me to be brave and to be courageous and to interrupt anything or anyone, I feel poses a direct threat to the humanity of students and I can do in a class... I can't do it with rats just yet. I haven't figured out how to get love to move me beyond the rat thing. I'm like, "You love yourself. You love the world. You love creatures." Yeah. But rat, that's a real test. But when I'm in a school building, I can draw on the love I have for students. And it can move me to, to stand up if you will. I'm even in the presence of fear, what do you think of that? Did I get that right by the way as I paraphrase to you?

Linda: Absolutely. I do think that a lot of my love for my students and my passion for teaching that moves a lot of things. I do think that using... I'm an ELA teacher, so using texts to kind of open up conversations or put texts out there and if you want to read it, sure. I think that builds some relationships as well. Being able to say, "I know some of your interests." Because I took the time to ask you or just observe or whatever it is, read some of your writing and while that yeah, that's probably my job.

It takes more than just my job to kind of dive deep into that to be like, "I know so-and-so." I know these are some struggles and I'm not talking academically other than academically. some struggles you're having, or these are some things that you're really arriving with them.

You might want to like bring into the classroom or bring it to your advisory or talk to your friends about and things like that. I definitely think passion, love, all the good stuff, all that warm fuzziness pushes me to kind of break. Sometimes I honestly don't even think about it. Sometimes if I'm breaking rules, I don't even realize I'm breaking rules until somebody's like, "What were you thinking?" Sometimes people don't really say anything and they're like, "Oh yeah." That's what we should do for our students. I wish everybody did that.

But you're right. Some people are paralyzed by fear. Some people let the fear kind of stop them, even if they do know that's the right thing to do. It honestly just takes that extra like, "I know I'm supported." I know the people in my school love me. Students, staff, teachers, administration, I know I'm valued. Whether you're a student, staff, teacher, whatever it is, I know I'm valued. So it's okay if I break the rules sometimes obviously you're not going to break the rule all the time, but sometimes breaking the rules and pushing barriers and going past policies, it's really necessary to serve the students that you teach.

Shamari: Yeah. And so I know we both love our jobs, but I know I'm not going to say that it's been a walk in the park doing my job during this pandemic. So what would you say has been the hardest thing for you about teaching and living during these times?

Linda: I think for me the hardest thing is probably the lack of connection that like... It's a lot harder to build those relationships right now. It's a lot harder to just keep kids engaged. You can't really... It's not as fun. You don't get to joke and play around and facial expressions or sometimes as we know gray squares you normally see sometimes.

So students are not comfortable participating, you don't hear their voices. Maybe they might just only write in the chat. Those things are really difficult. And I think that for me has been so hard because I don't get to build those relationships with the kids the way that I'm used to and have all that fun with the kids. As you mentioned earlier, I love to bake. I always used to bake for the kids, and that was another way for me to just kind of engage with them where they're either enjoying or I'm telling them, "Hey, there's avocados and those brownies that you didn't even know it." And they're like... And those are those fun parts of teaching that nobody really talks about. You are Like, "Oh yeah haha." The kids always have something to say like, about whether you're vegan or whatever it is. And that's been really hard to not have those really close, beautiful connections with students and families that am used to having.

Shamari: So I love that you talked about baking, I'm also a foodie. I don't know if I've shared this before on any of the episodes, but I am a huge foodie. Food is like a passion for me. I cater on the side. So I cook all the time, but I saw... I sometimes Snoop on the guests to just get a feel for like what you all are up to when you're not talking to me. And so I was on here, social media, which by the way, for everyone listening, Linda gave me access. She shared with me, her social media handle. I did not go and Google her and stalk her in that way. But I was snooping and I saw that you were in the mood for pastelitos. And I wanted to ask you, what are they? Walk me through the process and then also, do you have to modify that at all as a vegan?

Linda: I love this question. I love that you snooped on my social media. That is so fun. I was like, "How did he find me?" I completely forgot about that.

So no, I don't have to modify pastelitos to make them vegan. Pastelitos are... Some people call them empanadas. They're really just a dough disk made out of flour and water. It's super duper easy. You put something in it, meat, cheese, meat and cheese. Whatever you want. Honestly, I know somebody who puts sweet things in it. You can put anything in it. It's delicious.

You fold it over, you smash it with a fork so it's closed. It's like a regular patty. They're just called pastelitos or empanadas, whatever. Pastelillos. They're all the same thing. And no, I don't modify them for vegan. I put vegan cheese in it. That's the only modification.

Shamari: So yours have, what, vegan cheese and maybe meat substitutes and other really cool veggies?

Linda: Yeah, yeah. Sometimes I put lentils instead of meat substitute if I'm trying to be healthier. But if I'm making pastelitos, I'm probably using some meatless meat.

Shamari: I love it. I love food. I love food. Let me ask you this. In the next set of questions I ask to all of my guests just because I'm curious and I want to see what they say, the first is this: As a human who teaches and bakes, what do you wish others knew about you and your work?

Linda: It's not as glamorous as it looks. I think that I have gotten a lot of great compliments and praise on both ends, baking and teaching, but it's hard. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of hours. It's a lot of late nights, a lot of early mornings. So it's not glamorous, but it's fun.

If this is your passion, if teaching is your passion, you will hustle to do what you need to do for those students, whether it's following the rules or not, whether it looks pretty or not. Let me tell you. A student wrote in the chat today, "Miss you look tired." I was like, "I am." I'm thinking I look great, so I'm there there teaching. "Miss, you look tired." I'm like, "Oh, okay. Fine, I look tired. You got me."

So it's not glamorous. It's great if it's your passion. But if it's not your passion, it's hard. It's hard if it is your passion, too. Not to say it's not, but at least you love it. At least you have fun with it. You find the way to have fun because you love it, baking and teaching. Both. Even not educators, non-educators, I want you to know that teaching, whether you see a teacher being amazing or you think they need some support, it's not glamorous.

Shamari: What would you say to other educators right now?
Linda: Protect your energy. Take care of yourself. Do something for you. I think we get caught up a lot in doing our work. That's nice. I think that if you enjoy your work, that's great. That's beautiful.

Linda: But our work is draining and this world right now is draining. So if you're being drained in so many ways, you need to figure out what's going to be something that you enjoy doing, something that's going to refill your cup, something that's going to protect your energy. We're talking spiritual energy or we're talking regular energy, just your energy to be. Protect it. You got to do something for you.

Shamari: Speaking of doing things for you, this podcast is called Water for Teachers. Water, for me, it's like a reminder to nourish myself, a reminder to reflect, a reminder to relax, to heal. That's what water has always sort of symbolized for me. And so I have two questions for you. Two final questions, one I ask every guest and one just for you. The first is, what is your water?

Linda: My water right now is really taking care of my mental health. I've gotten into a lot of meditation and just spiritual healing and trying to exercise. That's not my favorite, but it's there. Eating healthy, cooking, cleaning, doing things really that make me feel good. And yes, cleaning makes me feel good, guys. Yes, I love it. Cooking good food, things like that that make me and my mind kind of be like, "Ooh, this feels nice." Those are definitely things that I could say are my water.

Shamari: Thank you. And final question. What are the consequences for our students of centering our fear of what might happen to us if we interrupt things that happened to them that are unjust versus what we know will happen to them if we don't? What are the consequences that you see in centering our fear and acting from a place of fear?

Linda: Well, we know there are so many inequities for our students. I truly believe that if you sit back and watch, those inequities and those gaps are just going to get bigger and bigger. If you take initiative and do what you know is right, then you can support those students in whatever they need.

And of course, different students need different things, but there are also those basic things that we know students... All students in communities that need you, need teachers like me, Black and brown students, there's certain things that you as a teacher need to break in to support them, regardless of anything else.

Unfortunately, if we are paralyzed by fear, those students don't get the supports that they need to succeed. In the outside world, in the education system, hey. If you're not supporting them, if you're not breaking those rules, if you are not saying what they need, they're missing out on something that is crucial for them right now.

Shamari: For those of you who are listening, as I do with every episode, I would love to invite you to join this conversation. I would like to invite you to reflect on this question: What are the consequences for your students of centering your fear of what might happen to you if you interrupt the injustice they face versus what you know will happen to them if you don't?

And I'm not saying that fear is not real. Fear is real. My phobias are real. They paralyze me but sometimes, it's powerful to reflect on the consequences that might arise for our students if we center our fear.

And so if you are in a space of vulnerability and you want to share your reflections and your thoughts with us, please, we'd love to engage with you and your humanity. You can share your responses to this very complicated, nuanced, difficult question. You can share it on Twitter using the hashtag #WaterForTeachers, or tag us using our Twitter handle @water4teachers. That's water, the number four, teachers.

Thank you so much, Linda, for being honest and open and talking about the power of horses and the... I'm stuck on that, by the way. But thank you for sharing that. And even a recipe. What if we leave the recipe in the details for pastelitos in the description of this episode? That could be a real thing. But thank you for sharing all that you've shared. Until next time, everybody, in peace and love. Bye.


Linda's Homemade Pastelitos 🥟

📄Dough Recipe: BePlantWell.com

Makes 9 discs:

1 & 1/2 Cups Flour

1/4 Cup Vegan Butter (chilled)

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2-3/4 Cup Water


🔸Combine flour & salt

🔸Add butter in pieces & combine until "sandy"(could be with the paddle on a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon)

🔸Add water 1/4 cup at a time until dough forms a smooth ball

🔸Chill in fridge as you create the filling 



🔹the dough is ready in about thirty mins but I left it in the fridge for over 4 hours 

🔹this works better when chilled 

🔹If it gets sticky or hard to shape you can pop it back in the fridge for a couple mins 


🟦Roll, Shape, Create 

💠flour a clean surface to roll your dough. If you don't have a rolling pin, wine bottles, cans, anything round will work...

💠 roll until about 1/2 an inch thick, you want it to be firm enough to pick up without it breaking 

💠 cut out your shape - I used a round glass bowl 

💠 add desired filling - meat, cheese, veggies, lentils, chocolate & banana, guava, etc. 

💠Fold in half and press edges together with a fork on both sides 


🟪 Cooking 

🔸Traditionally these are fried in oil, but I used an air fryer

🔸Coat both sides with oil (you can use a spray) 

🔸Air fry each side for 5 min on 400 degrees 



♦️If you don't want to make them right away, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2-4 weeks (probably more!)

♦️use parchment paper to keep them from sticking together 




Shamari Reid headshotShamari K. Reid I often refer to myself as an ordinary Black Gay cisgender man from Oklahoma with extraordinary dreams. Currently, that dream involves completing my doctoral work at Teachers College, Columbia University in the department of Curriculum & Teaching where I focus on urban education and teacher education. Before starting my doctoral program, I completed a B.A. in Spanish Education at Oklahoma City University and an M.A in Spanish and TESOL at New York University. I've taught Spanish and ESL at the elementary, secondary, and post secondary levels in Oklahoma, New York, Uruguay, and Spain. In addition to my doctoral work, I have spent the last few years as an instructor at Hunter College- CUNY offering courses on the teaching of reading, urban education, and language, literacy, and culture. I have also been engaged in work as a consultant for the New York City Department of Education’s initiative to combat the discrimination students of color face. My research interests include Black youth agency, advocacy, and activism and transformative teacher education. I am currently in the process of completing my dissertation on the agency of Black LGBTQ+ youth in NYC. Oh, and I have small addiction to chocolate chip cookies.

Linda Aldebot As a Latina teacher from the Bronx with ties to the Hunts Point neighborhood, Linda LOVES being active, playing with her dogs, and challenging tasks. Since she loves the outdoors, the chaos of Covid - 19 has made it difficult to remain centered. Linda found joy baking and creating new meals centered around veganism. Following the art of organizing, Linda was able to structure her life from work/home environments to relationships with a positive outlook that focused on HER.

Topics: Empathy, Podcast, Teachers, Community, Heinemann Podcast, Social-Emotional Learning, Shamari Reid, Water for Teachers, Linda Aldebot

Date Published: 02/25/21

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