California Educator

April/May 2024

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Often educators' creativity spills over into a book, blog, app or other work. We're happy to showcase members' talents. Lit From Within Got something for Lit From Within — a video series, podcast, album or something else? Tell us at with "Lit From Within" in the subject line. We lean toward new(ish) work that can be used in the classroom. Check out past issues at James Stiles, a member of Palos Verdes Faculty Association, has a new photography book — School's Out for Teachers — focused on his fellow Palos Verdes Peninsula High School staff. He began the project in 2019, cut it short during the pandemic and returned to it in the 2022–23 school year. He asked his subjects to bring personal things to be photographed with — serious, whimsical and everything in between. "My hope is to show the three-dimensionality and richness of these individuals beyond the school day, providing a small glimpse of their personal worlds," says Stiles, a photo, video and broadcast journalism teacher. "I'm told through showing these images that many staff are getting to know each other a bit better — their hobbies, passions, accomplishments and dreams." To date, 75 PVPHS faculty and staff have participated. The book is available on Amazon. School's Out! A Healing Talk Bridey Thelen-Heidel, a high school English teacher, LGBTQ+ youth advocate and South Tahoe Education Association member, was 33 and had beaten the odds stacked against someone raised by addicts and abusers. But the trauma she tucked away waited to be triggered by a song or a familiar smell; it wreaked havoc on her body. While she used therapy, meditation and self-help guides to heal, she found that the very qualities we developed to survive can also help us thrive. In a February TEDx Talk, Thelen-Heidel spoke about how we all have the power to overcome our trauma, put a safety lock on the triggers, and create a normal and functional life. Educators and counselors have told her that the talk helped them understand what students deal with and gave them talking points when reminding their students of their strengths. Watch it at June Choi, Korean language teacher, Palos Verdes Faculty Association Colette Dunn-Kottke, history teacher, Palos Verdes Faculty Association 56 CTA & You

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