Day 1

There is really no telling how many times I have changed the theme of this blog. I write about education. I write about parenting. 

And honestly, I am going to keep writing about those things. But today I am going to start an experiment. I am going to take some time to write about "Life Learning."

What is Life Learning?

For me, it is basically increasing the skills in your tool belt. As an educator, I understand that one of the best ways to learn is to teach. Of course, I love teaching. I love guiding students to their full potential. But I also love doing that for myself. I love learning and obtaining new knowledge. 

So for the next little while, I am going to be documenting my own learning experiences. 

It will be casual, and fun, and at times organized and at times disorganized.

....but it will be good.

So what exactly do I want to learn? There are SO MANY THINGS! 

And simplifying is one of the challenges. To simplify, you can take a quick look at the problems in your life and define THE NEED.

This week, I am going to focusing on cooking. 

WARNING: THIS WILL NOT BECOME A COOKING BLOG!!! This is a learning blog, and again, I am going to be talking about Life Learning, but currently, I have a very tight schedule and recently learned that one of my children has challenging food allergies and on top of that he is picky.

I don't have a very large kitchen, but I DO have an instant pot. So as I spend the next week discovering recipes, I will be documenting the META process of learning. Again this is an experiment and we will see how it goes.

So my NEED is this: I need to find healthy, simple, quick, and yummy recipes that I can make with limited resources. 

So step 1 is to look at problems and define a NEED. The next step in the process will be to create a project, which I will talk about next time. 


Who says "They can't"?!?!?

Not too long ago, I was talking with a person who was also a teacher. They were talking about a particular student who they said would never make it college. 

I was a little frustrated, to say the least.

When we start telling kids "You can't" or "You won't", I know that the intentions are good. We want to make sure that the kid is grounded in truth. That they don't feel let down when reality hits them in the face.

However, who are we to say that they can't or won't? Do we know the future?

And even if our instincts are correct and they won't achieve their goal, by saying "you won't" we are robbing them of the journey to that goal that will have amazing results of its own.

I refuse to say that anymore to a student. Sure, I might give them my opinion, and let them know that the journey may be extremely hard and will require a lot of work and may not even happen on their ideal timeline, but I am going to let the student decide when they quit.

A Little Change.

Hi Fellow Educators!

I am changing things up on the site. A few months back I tried creating a part of this site called "Profe U" where I documented things that I was learning about.

Then I started my challenge where I posted to Medium 6 days a week for a little over a month. That challenge consumed my time. I even stopped posting as much to my own blog.

So, I had to shut down Profe U and I also had to put a pause on the podcast. 

All that to say, I am just trying to experiment to see what works. Here is my new experiment: This section of the site is now called "Blog" and it will be very informal writings on my part just updating you guys on random thoughts that I have about education or random updates about the site. I'll also bring stories from the classroom and let you know what I am currently learning as well.

I would love to know what you think. Email me anytime and let me know what you think about the site and what is helpful to you!


The Benefits of Failure: Why you must FAIL to SUCCEED.

Photo from

Yesterday, I was outside playing soccer with my 5 year old son Pablo.

Not only is Pablo named after me, but he is basically my little clone.

He looks like me, talks like me, has my expressions, and feels his emotions like me.

As we were playing, it occurred to me that I usually let Pablo win. I wondered “How he will take loosing?”, so I started to score some goals. Pablo’s little demeanor went from fun to frustration. In a fit of tears, buggers, fury, and moans he started kicking the ball not even close to the goal.

Failure was getting the best of him.

I called off the game early, and told him to calm down and then we could try again.

I have noticed that many people (including myself many times) don’t take failure well. We see failure as the end result of our efforts, or worse, we see it as the definition of our character. We start telling ourselves “I am a looser.”

What would happen if we changed the way we saw failure? What would happen if we taught our students to do the same?

By simply teaching students this one principle, we could completely alter the course of their lives.

“Success is forged through failure.”

That’s it. Done with blog post. Have a great day!

Just kidding. Failure is obviously more complicated than that. Let’s take a further look at the benefits of failure.

The only path to success is through failure.

Failure is simply a step toward success. As you’re chasing your dreams, you’re really chasing a failures. Everyone who has ever been successful in their life has failed their way to the top. So as long as you’re pursuing failure, you know that you’re going in the right direction. In our “viral video” culture, we often see the split second successes of people doing amazing things. We start to believe the lie that they were born with that talent. Although many people are born with natural advantages or tendencies, we don’t take into account that the one moment was the culmination of hours, days, or years of preparation. That preparation was made from countless attempts and failures.

If you aren’t failing you are not aiming correctly.

You need to be aiming at something rather than nothing. If you aim at nothing, you are not succeeding or failing. You are simply being. There is no end goal in mind, and that is a life poorly lived.

Then there is another alternative. Maybe you are aiming at something and succeeding. If you aren’t failing, maybe you are not aiming at your full potential. You want to be aiming high enough so that there is risk of failure. Now that doesn’t mean aim at the impossible, or even the highly improbable. What it means is that you need to be aiming at things that are high standards for you, that will push you to excellence. Failure is your gauge that you are aiming correctly.

The greater the fail, the better the benefits.

Failing just to fail isn’t worth anything. For example, if I went out today and attempted a marathon, I would fail (and probably puke) and that fail would be worthless. I would simply feel sore and embarrassed.

Here is an equation for you:

Value of a fail = time invested + effort invested + preparation invested

If I trained for a marathon for 5 months and fail, then that would be a failure worth having. The preparation that I put into that fail would not only make me more of an athlete, but would also set me up for success the next time a tried.

It is only a complete failure if you give up.

If I keep trying, I haven’t really failed. Every time I train and try again, I am closer to success. It is only a compete failure if I give up. Consider failure one step of the larger journey.

Let’s play it out:

Let’s take those principles and apply them to my son Pablo. Let’s imagine Pablo doesn’t give up on soccer. We go out again today and play. Let’s imagine that when I start winning, he keeps attacking the ball. Let’s imagine he makes it his goal to beat his old man. He might not beat me today, but if he keeps trying and training, in a few years, I am sure that he will kick my butt. Not only that, but he will probably be able to beat other kids his age.

One final note. Overcoming failure is a mindset that spreads to all areas of your life. If you learn to embrace failure in one area, chances are that you will live those principles out in other areas as well.

Next post I’ll discuss how to train our students to embrace failure. Until then, happy failing!

The article today was taken from reading and research that I do on a regular basis. Today’s article was inspired by a video my sister shared with my called “Chasing Failure” by Ryan Leak. It is well worth 15 minutes of your time!

Join the conversation.

If you liked what you read, please join the conversation by grabbing your FREE copy of the ebook: “Profe Pablo’s 25 Teaching Tips that will instantly make your life easier” or subscribe to my weekly podcast “Schooled Radio with Profe and Mr. Wallace.”


-Paul (aka Profe Pablo)

Why every teacher needs a blog

Photo from Pixabay:

Blogging has transformed my work.

That is a bold statement.

It sounds like something a hipster in skinny jeans a beanie would say on a Facebook ad as they show me their new Ferrari and brag about how they run their business out of a local coffee shop.

But as much as it is bold, it is equally true.

I originally started blogging so that my opinions would be heard. However, after time, I noticed some unexpected results.

Blogging has some powerful side effects on my profession, as does any form of writing. These side effects include clarity of thought, added credibility, and constructive conversation.

Because of these benefits, I can make another bold statement:


Let me explain.

1. Blogging helps clarify your beliefs

Writing isn’t stating what you have already discovered. Writing is discovering what you believe. The process of writing and editing helps clarify your thinking. As you write, you will start with some sort of vomit draft, where you simply dump your thoughts on paper. As you edit, your thoughts become more concrete. Doing this on a regular basis helps establish present observations and define what is needed for future action.

2. Blogs give you credibility

Most résumés are dull. Imagine an employer reading hundreds of meaningless pieces of paper until they come across YOUR resume. Your writing is clear, concise, and professional because you practice through blogging. On your résumé you have a website where employers see that you have been documenting observations and research in the classroom for months. You have article after article about what you have discovered. This adds credibility to your résumé and shows them that you take your work seriously.

3. Blogging creates conversation concerning education.

Education requires collaboration between students, teachers, and parents. And yet, through the business of life, many educators and parents feel disconnected. Blogging helps resolve that enigma. You can share your blog with the parents of your students. They will learn about your struggles and victories in the classroom. Over time, they will interact with your writing. This conversation between parents and teachers is vital for successful education! Blogging also connects educators. Through research, social media, and guest posting you will learn about the resources that have helped others in the classroom. If enough people start engaging this conversation, the outcome will surely be positive change.

4. Blogging documents your growth.

When I go back and read some of my older blogs, I realize that some of my ideas were erroneous concerning the classroom.

That is not a problem.

Seeing my past errors is a sign of my present growth. Through blogging, you are documenting your classroom experiments, seeing your progress as a teacher, and observing areas where you need to improve.

5. It reminds you of your “why”.

There are going to be days when you are on fire for teaching, and there are going to be days when you hate teaching. That is the nature of any job. When I go back and read some of my old blog posts, I am reminded of how much I love teaching. I am reminded of the students’ lives who have been transformed through their education. I am reminded that I played a part in that process. Without blogging, some of those memories would be foggy at best or forgotten at worst.


I can’t imagine teaching without a blog. Every profession needs regular documentation of research. Every profession needs to create greater conversation, especially a profession as important as teaching. Every teacher deserves to remember the work they have done. That is why I’ll stand by my bold claim that Everyone teacher needs a blog.

Join the conversation.

The article today was taken from reading and research that I do on a regular basis. If you are interested in starting your own blog, shoot me an email at

If you connected with this article, please join the conversation by grabbing your FREE copy of my ebook: “Profe Pablo’s 25 Teaching Tips that will instantly make your life easier” or subscribe to my weekly podcast “Schooled Radio with Profe and Mr. Wallace.”


-Paul (aka Profe Pablo)

When your student teaches you how to chase your dreams

Photo from Pixabay:

Inspiration from an Unexpected Source

Today one of my students gave an unexpectedly good speech. It was unexpected because it was only his second speech in the class.

It was so good in fact that he was able to touch the life of someone 15 years older him.

That person was me.

It is fun having this particular student in speech class. He talks quietly if he even talks at all. I guess the word that best describes him is “chill.”

So as a speech teacher, I told him that we are going to have to get creative with his personality type so that we capture the audience’s attention.

He didn’t need much help. Today’s speech was amazing.

Chase Your Dreams Now!

He started off with a picture of a dead skunk on the side of the road for his visual aid. He started telling a story about how he passed by the skunk the other day.

Then he said, “As I was thinking about it, it occurred to me, if that skunk had tried to cross the road earlier, he would have made it to the other side.”

The skunk had waited too long to pursue his goal and therefore paid a price.

My student’s message: You have to start chasing your dreams now.

Then he went into the details of excuses people use to postpone their dreams. He specifically said that one of the reasons that we don’t chase our dreams is fear and doubt.

The Main Excuse

If you are someone who reads any kind of blog, this should be obvious to you. Dream bloggers always talk about facing fear and doubt.

For me, those terms are too general. I am sure I struggle with them on some sort of subconscious level, but I want something more practical to fight against.

But then my student mentioned a third enemy: procrastination.

That stuck with me!

That is an enemy that is so tangible that I could punch it in the face.

The Struggle is Real

One of the ways that I procrastinate is when I am writing and blogging,

Lately, I have been trying to wake up around 4 AM to write.

The problem is that I’ll set my alarm with good intentions, and then fail when morning comes.

Here are the excuses I use to empower my procrastination:

  • It is too cold.
  • I’m too tired
  • I don’t want to get sick.
  • I might wake up the kids.
  • I might wake up the dog.
  • I won’t be able to think this early.

With all those excuses, I am just wasting my time. It has been close to a week now where I haven’t done the work that I wake up to do.

I put off tasks until I feel like doing them or until I feel the environment is perfect…. Which is never!

Perfection is our enemy.

Our environment will never be perfect, and we will rarely feel like doing the hard work.

Because I am a practical guy, here are some practical tips to fight procrastination.

3 Ways to destroy procrastination.

1. Pay your future self.

When you procrastinate, you are only looking to appease your present feelings. Instead of thinking of your present self, do what you need to do for your future self. It is like writing yourself a check for the future. Do it for your future family and friends. Every time you procrastinate, you are stealing from your future.

Look ahead to the future benefit.

2. Make an easy to remember motto.

Something that has helped me wake up in the morning is the following quote:

“ Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.” (Proverbs 20:13 NLT)

By having a quick and easy phrase to inspire me to action, it makes it easier to eliminate the excuses that keep me from actually doing the task.

3. Catch yourself waiting for perfection.

Remember, perfection is our enemy. Your environment will never be the perfect one to work in. Your efforts will never be perfect. Your outcome will never be perfect.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. However, we do need to push past our imperfections and simply be faithful to do the work for our dreams.

The Student Becomes the Teacher

I left my student’s speech feeling inspired. If this young man can figure this out so early in life, he will be on the road to success.

As for me, even though the struggle is real, I can start making the change today.

You can too.

Join the conversation.

The article today was taken from reading and research that I do on a regular basis.

If you connected with this article, please join the conversation by subscribing to my weekly Teaching Tips. You will get my e-book “Profe Pablo’s 25 Teaching Tips to Instantly Make Your Life Easier” along with other life changing content. Come on and join in!


-Paul (aka Profe Pablo)

The 3 step formula to keep yourself from being stepped on.

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Here is what it is like to be stepped on.

Imagine this. You are a high school teacher. You are the “fun” teacher. You think that students love and respect you.

One day, towards the end of class, you hear this yelled at you: “But it’s not my mess!”

This is a persistent student’s response to your order to vacuum the room.

It isn’t a difficult task. It only takes five minutes. All the student has to do is vacuum up the food on the floor.

“It’s his mess!” cries the student.

The student then proceeds to point to his friend and classmate. This of course is not received well by the accused party, who instantly starts denying and accusing as well.

You want to say something, but are nervous that the students might think poorly of you.

The two go on arguing until finally the bell rings.They continue their argument all the way out the door.

The floor is still a mess.

You think, “This will teach them!”

So, you grab the vacuum and do their job out of spite.

Wow! You really showed them! (sarcasm implied)

Maybe you think the above scenario is far fetched.

“That would never happen to me or any other teacher for that matter! The students were totally controlling the situation.”

But that is exactly what happened to me a couple of years ago.

Following the above mentioned scene, one of my fellow teachers who saw me vacuuming simply said, “Paul, you can’t let them do that to you!”

I shrugged my shoulders, continued vacuuming, and continued feeling hopeless.

It has taken many instances like that to finally snap me out of it. I have had to learn the hard way through trial, error, training, research, counseling, professional development, falling on my face … and the list goes on.

The good news is that I’m doing better…not perfect…but better.

And if you identify with being stepped on, you can do better too.

The one thing you are missing

Maybe you feel like your situation is not getting better. Maybe you feel controlled, manipulated, and abused. The fact of the matter is that the your problem is precisely that: YOUR problem.

Maybe if someone else changed his or her behavior, life would be easier for you, but you can’t count on that. You can’t change other people. You can only change your own attitudes and actions. In the end, the most powerful life changes will come from the changes you make to yourself, not the changes others make to ensure a more comfortable life for you.

Your changed attitudes and actions in response to others behaviors can be summed up in one word: Boundaries.

But before you charge out into the world and start pushing people around, there are some paradigm shifts that you need to make.

Boundaries are not selfish.

The first thing that you need to realize (and I have to remind myself daily) is that boundaries are not selfish.

For some reason, even after hearing lots of different teachings on boundaries, something inside of me still squeaks, “Yeah, but aren’t boundaries selfish?Aren’t I just excusing selfish behavior? Aren’t I supposed to die to myself and consider others over myself?”

You are not doing anyone any favors by not setting boundaries. If anything, you are lying to them. And worse, you are probably holding on to bitterness and resentment.

Boundaries allow you to truly be yourself. That means that when you say “no” you really mean it and that makes your “yes” sincere and powerful.

Boundaries make you more responsible, and that feels amazing!

As an adult (or even young adult), you are responsible for yourself. No one else is responsible for you. You are the one who is responsible for your health, your finances, your time, your emotions, your needs, and your wants.

You cannot neglect this responsibility.

If you do other people will be picking up your slack. If others pick up your slack, they will over time become bitter and controlling. By setting boundaries on what others control, you are saying that you will take care of it.

This in essence is a double boundary. You are telling others that you can handle your self, and you are telling the lazy irresponsible part of you that you will not tolerate irresponsible behavior.

When you take care of yourself, you become healthy enough to look out for others and help carry loads that are too much for them to carry on their own. This time you help not out of obligation, but out of desire.

Starting with boundaries is not complicated.

Alright, let’s get going! Starting with boundaries is as easy as 1–2–3.

In reality that 1–2–3 is for me because I have trouble remembering lists any longer than that.

Here is a 3 step process to setting boundaries that you can do today.

#1 — Recognize your feelings, wants, and needs.

When you feel crappy, you feel that way for a reason. When you feel sad, you feel that way for a reason. When you feel angry, you feel that way for a reason. When you feel happy, you feel that way for a reason.

Don’t let anyone tell you, “You shouldn’t feel that way!”

Feelings aren’t good or bad, they just are.

They are meant to move you to action.

You need to notice your feelings. Write them down if you have to. Then ask yourself VERY SPECIFICALLY what you want or need in the situation that is causing your feelings. It’s not selfish. It’s responsible.

#2 — Do something differently and set a boundary!

Something is causing you to feel angry, or frustrated, or sad. After you have clarified your need, decide how you are going to act or react differently the next time the situation comes up. Let the involved parties know (even if it is just yourself) that in the future things will be different because you are going to do something different the next time the situation arises.

Nothing has to stay the same. You can change your actions which in turn influence the outcome.

#3 — Enforce the boundary

This is where it becomes exciting.

When the situation comes up again, don’t get discouraged. You are going to feel nervous. That’s ok.

Maybe the said parties will feel offended. Not your problem.

Set the boundary. Follow through with your word and observe the new outcome. Did you notice a difference? Did things change the way that you wanted them too? Maybe you need to adjust your boundary. No worries. Adjust and try again.

Back to vacuuming.

The scenario mentioned above may seem small and insignificant, but to me it was huge. How could I let my classroom get so far out of control that even my small needs and wants were being overlooked?

And what was worse is that it wasn’t just in the classroom. It was in every aspect of my life.

It took (and is still taking) small steps to get to where I want to go. I had to practice saying no to small things. I even would say no to things that didn’t bother me just to practice setting the boundary.

But now after much trial and error, I walk a little taller, feel a littler calmer, and feel happier with myself and with others. There is hope. You don’t have to feel stepped on.

Join the conversation.

The article today was taken from reading and research that I do on a regular basis. This specific topic was largely taken from the book “Boundaries Participant’s Guide — -Revised: When To Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

If you connected with this article, please join the conversation by subscribing to my weekly Teaching Tips. You will get my e-book “Profe Pablo’s 25 Teaching Tips to Instantly Make Your Life Easier” along with other life changing content. Come on and join in!


-Paul (aka Profe Pablo)Other Resources

How to use your students’ instincts to put them in a state of learning.

I remember when I was thirteen or maybe even a little younger, I went to the movies with my cousin and uncle. We went to go see the movie “Twister.” Before I continue with this story, there is something that you need to know about me. I am extremely sensitive to movies. I get completely caught up in the whole experience. When I was little I cried in “Homeward Bound”. In 2013 as an adult, I walked out of the movie “Gravity” because I was having too much anxiety.

Well, “Twister” was no different. My parents had given me a five dollar bill for snacks and by the end of the movie I had two ends to that five dollar bill.

What made me tense up so much that I would rip money in half?

The answer is mirror neurons.

What are mirror neurons?

When you see a sad movie, you cry. When you see a funny movie, you laugh. When you see an action filled movie, you get tense. It’s called empathy.

Empathy is feeling what someone else is feeling. The science behind empathy is mirror neurons. When someone is sad, you become sad too. If they smile, you smile back. If you see someone get injured, you might reach for the area on your body where they where injured.

Your eyes see something and send a signal to your brain. Your brain is so connected with the signals it receives, that the same brain pattern that is happening to the person you are watching actually shows up in your brain too and causes you to react similarly.

You create an experience

As a result, whenever you enter a room, you can use science to create an experience in that room and specifically in the classroom. When you enter your classroom you can create an experience based off of the energy that you bring to the classroom. The choice is yours. If you walk into the classroom and you are low energy and you are sad, then your students are going to reflect that.

If you are high energy and you smile, then your students are going to reflect that as well.

It is simply biology.

So, my challenge for all of us. Is to spread happiness.

Smile more. Laugh more. Be high energy.

It’s Instinct

You have heard that laughter is contagious. You can use that to your advantage, and again it is all biology. Some of the students obviously are going to resist your high energy, but the majority of them, have strong empathy built into their brain. When they see that you are smiling and that you are happy, they will become that way too out of pure instinct.

If your students are happy, they are in the best state for learning. If they are anxious or tired, they will not remember your lesson.

So use science in your favor and choose to spread happiness.

Join the conversation.

The article today was taken from reading and research that I do on a regular basis. This specific information came largely from the books “Broadcasting Happiness” by Michelle Gielan and “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.

If you connected with this article, please join the conversation by subscribing to the newsletter. You will get free and exclusive teaching hacks which will transform your life, your parenting, and your classroom.

-Paul (aka Profe Pablo)

Black, White, Supreme Courts, and the Classroom

You know you are a teacher at heart when you hear the words “field trip” and you get a little giddy.

That was the case for me when another teacher invited me to go on a field trip to learn about the local court system.

The trip was with the high school Senior class. I know them well, so I knew it would be an easy trip. I could sit back, relax and learn.

First we went to the local circuit courts of our county. We heard from a judge who talked about her personal story of becoming a judge and the “sad” situations that come into court. We heard the word “sad” a lot that day from the judges. I thought that was interesting.

Then we went to was the Supreme Court of Tennessee. One of the supreme court judges talked to the class about her job and about the court system in general.

This judge had a presence about her. She was older (“the oldest member of the court”, to quote her own words). She was soft spoken. However, she carried with her a demeanor that was hard to explain. After hearing her talk for some time it dawned on me: This was the most “black and white” person I have ever met. This was a person that was willing to put aside her personal agenda and opinions to simply study the law and judge accordingly. She was fair.

Not only that, this was a person who believed in the system of the United States and the State of Tennessee, and she was willing to trust that system and the judgement of our founding fathers.

To hear someone seek to do what is right and fair and just simply felt safe.

I didn’t feel intimidated by her authority. I felt secure. This person really had the best interest of the community in her sites. She believed in the system of our country and was going to defend it.

Back to Class

As always, I started thinking about the classroom.

I am a person who struggles with being black and white. When it comes to rules, I often extend mercy to the point of not holding my students to high enough standards.

Kids need to feel secure and know that someone is in charge of the classroom. Based on what I observed from the courts, here are three ways that we can have more authority in the classroom.

1. Follow the rules

The rules that our schools have in place are there for a reason. I was amazed at how the judges could detach themselves from the rule system. They were not giving their personal opinion. They were simply holding the situation up to the law to see what to do. Similar to the court system, we don’t make the rules, and maybe we are not happy with the outcome the rules bring, but it is our job to follow and enforce the rules. You can even use this line with your students: “I don’t make the rules, and I am not happy about this, but I DO have to enforce the rules.”

2. Know the Rules

That being said, it is important to know the rules of our schools well. I have had many discussions with teachers where we debate if something is in the handbook or not. The court judges are constantly studying the law so they can make a fair ruling. Knowing the rules will create consistency and security in the classroom.

3. Listen to your students

Students will always have their side of the story. Everybody does. They need to be heard. You could tell that the judges empathized with others because they often talked about the situations as “sad”. If you discipline a student, let them talk to you about how they feel or their perspective. Have empathy with them. Even if it doesn’t change the outcome, it will build connection.

The outcome

By following those 3 principles, we can create consistency in the classroom. The students who usually follow the rules need to know that someone is going to maintain class order. I have heard multiple students complain about teachers (in my school and in others) who could not control the class. Also, the kids who push the limits, need to know that someone loves them enough to keep them accountable when they have done wrong.

Students long for order and fairness. We all do. Be the authority. Enforce the rules.

Where do you struggle to maintain order in the classroom? What would you add to the list?

Join the conversation.

If you connected with this article, please join the conversation by subscribing to my personal blog. You will get free and exclusive teaching hacks which will transform your life, your parenting, and your classroom.

-Sincerely, Paul (aka Profe Pablo)