Education Perspectives

EP 12 Haneen Abu Zaghrit, Social Worker Tates Creek HS

June 22, 2023 Liza Holland Season 1 Episode 12
Education Perspectives
EP 12 Haneen Abu Zaghrit, Social Worker Tates Creek HS
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Show Notes Transcript

PODCAST EPISODE 12

Haneen Abu Zaghrit

Social Worker

Tates Creek High School

Quote of the Podcast – 

"So, surely with hardship comes ease." 

On this episode of Education Perspectives, we speak with Haneen Abu Zaghrit, a social worker from Tates Creek High School. She believes that it's important for high school students to learn how to advocate for themselves before leaving high school, as they will need to find their own structure once they leave. The pandemic has significantly impacted mental health, therefore, some social workers are now focusing more on mental health. The speaker also wants to create an event called Adulting 101 that teaches juniors and seniors how to manage finances and budget effectively. The event would be especially helpful for students who may not have access to this information at home. The speaker reflects on how emotional it can be to say goodbye to graduating seniors, and notes the challenges that come with parents blaming schools for their child's actions. All in all, teaching students how to advocate for themselves is crucial for real-life situations, and social workers play a critical role in helping students succeed emotionally and academically.

Introduction of Guest BIO – 

Hello! My name is Haneen Abu Zaghrit, this is my first year as a School Social Worker. I am located at Tates Creek High School, which also is the school that I once called home as a student. I actually realized I wanted to be a Social Worker while I was a junior in high school, not realizing that in about 7 years, I would become the Social Worker at the very same school. I am a first-generation college student that grew up with immigrant parents that raised me with two different cultures, Arab and American culture. Which caused a lot of confusion, especially with mental health.

Interview

Agents of Change: Leaders/Innovators

  • 30,000 ft. view – Why do we, as a society invest in education?
  • What drew you to education?
  • What do you love about what you do?
  • Student to Leader – Who looks like me
  • Mental Health
  • Tell us a story or favorite memory about your work in education.
  • What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you face?
  • What would you like decision makers to know?

Podcast/book shoutouts

I am reading now the book called "A Gentle Reminder" by Bianca Sparacino. I have not finished it yet but it was highly recommended by many people, for people that just need a reminder that life is hard but you can grow from it and be okay.

00:02:54 From social work to education: helping everyone.
00:04:54 Social worker does daily check-ins with students.
00:09:20 Representation lacking in education, mental health awareness.
00:13:58 Pandemic changed life for students and adults.
00:17:23 Teacher cherishes memories of students' interactions.
00:21:04 Biggest challenges: getting families on board, trauma, burnout.
00:25:06 Parents and students should both advocate themselves.
00:27:52 High school should teach advocacy, independence earlier.
00:31:30 "Event teaches life skills to students, immigr

Support the show

Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P athttps://www.fiverr.com/saiinovation?source=inbox

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions

Liza Holland [00:00:02]:

Welcome to education perspectives. I am your host, Liza Holland. This is a podcast that explores the role of education in our society from a variety of lenses. Education needs to evolve to meet the needs of today and the future. Solving such huge issues requires understanding. Join me as we begin to explore the many perspectives of education.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:00:27]:

And so, welcome back to Education Perspectives. We are delighted to have Haneen Abu Zagrit here with us today. I'm going to read her bio. It's actually in the first person. So imagine Hanin saying this.

Liza Holland [00:00:41]:

Hello.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:00:42]:

My name is Haneen Abu Zagrit. This is my first year as a school social worker. I am located at Tates Creek High School, which is also the school that I once called home as a student. I actually realized I wanted to be a social worker while I was in junior high school, not realizing that in about seven years I would become the social worker at the very same school. I am a first generation college student that grew up with immigrant parents. That raised me with two different cultures, arab and American culture, which caused a lot of confusion, especially with mental health. Hameem, I am so delighted to have you here. Welcome to education perspective.

Liza Holland [00:01:22]:

I'm glad to be here. Thank you so much.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:01:25]:

Well, I start out the podcast with the same question to every person taking a 30,000 foot view. Why, in your opinion, do we as a society invest in education?

Liza Holland [00:01:38]:

I love that question actually, because I've seen when I was young, I never understood the answer to what I'm about to say. But I do see it now as I grew up and I realized that education is where we get our future from. And the way that we start our kids straight from preschool to 12th grade in college, those are our next generation and those are the people that are going to bring us up to the world, to where society needs to be at. And I think we focus life on education because even though we only have them for 8 hours a day, we see these children sometimes more than their own parents. And we are the ones that raise these kids often and we teach them how to be a human. And I think that that's why we focus a lot on education. It's not algebra or how to do this equation and science. It's more of how to be human beings and who are going to be the future in 20 years. I really enjoy thinking it in that perspective because we raise these kids to be like humans, as I mentioned before. And if we don't have our kids to be humans in the next 20 years, we're not going to have people that are leading us in the next 20 years.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:02:44]:

Great answer.

Liza Holland [00:02:45]:

Thank you.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:02:46]:

So you mentioned it a little in your introduction, but tell me what drew you to education as a profession?

Liza Holland [00:02:54]:

So I actually began thinking as a social worker. I wanted to work in foster care, and I did an internship at foster care agency. I loved it. I wanted to become a social worker because even though I went through life a little difficult, I realized when I was a junior in high school, there were people that lived it a little harder than I did or much harder than I did. And I realized my privilege, even though I went through life and it was hard. I was 17 at the time, and I'm growing. There are people that are 17 and they're their own parent. They're their siblings parent. They are much older than I was. At 17 years old, I was pretty mature. But there were people that were living life much different than I was. And I realized that there was like, I'm privileged to have a home. And even though it wasn't always the way that it should have been, that I wish my family could have raised us, we still had shelter. So that was something that I recognized my privilege. So I thought foster care would be the one that I would want to work with. And I did an internship there at a foster care agency. I loved it. And then I realized that it also only limits me to foster children. When education, I get to meet everyone. Demographics, foster care, people with both parents, people with a single parent, people with grandparents raising them, I get to meet everyone. And I really loved education because it made me realize that I get to focus on these kids regardless of their social class or whatever they're going through. And I had thought about it, and I was like, when I was their age, I wish I had somebody that I could talk to that I didn't feel like was not validating my feelings or validating my feelings. I really needed somebody like that, and I wasn't able to get that. So that's something I really thought about education, was I don't have to worry about going home and talking to my parents about therapy when I can just have myself here and letting these kids feel welcomed in my office and being able to get them from square one for the 8 hours that they're here.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:04:49]:

Tell me a little bit about what your general day looks like.

Liza Holland [00:04:54]:

So every day is different, and that is one thing I really love about being a school social worker, or just a social worker in general is no day is boring. So I come in in the morning and I greet people at the front door. I really like to say good morning. And I remember my first day here, I was walking around the school saying good morning to kids, and they weren't very welcoming about that. And then I realized high schoolers are not that easy to talk to as much as that I wish they could be. But when I was actually in elementary school last year, and I loved getting good mornings back from the kids, and they would easily give it back. And high schools are a little different. So I still say good morning to kids, and most of them actually start the conversation now, since they know that I like to ask them how they're doing in the morning. And then typically, depending on the day, I start my check ins. And I have weekly check ins or bi weekly check ins with people. I do check and connect, which is for some kids that either have some behavior or attendance or grades or a problem. I'll check in with them either biweekly or weekly to see how they're doing, to see if they're increasing their grades just to establish rapport with somebody. And then I have check ins for people that either their family won't allow them to do therapy if they can't afford therapy. I don't do therapy because I'm not licensed, but I just do check ins. And a lot of the kids just like to be listened to. And because of my age, I'm much younger than some other student support staff members. Some kids like to come to me because they know that I'm not telling them to do something in a mother's tone. I like to think it as like an older sister tone, and I think they need to listen to what their moms are saying and what the other staff members are saying. But some of them like to have an older sister's idea, which I'm not their older sister, but it's something that I like to think about in that standpoint. They're like. I like having somebody that has lived through it just more recently, not too long ago, something similar to their story. And then just continue to do check ins. I will do attendance calls. We have weekly meetings with academies, and we talk about students that may need some additional support if it's academic attendance behavior. And we have those meetings weekly with each academy because we are an academy school. So we have quite a few different meetings every Wednesday and Thursday.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:07:03]:

Yeah, marvelous. I think a lot of people don't really know what some of the support folks do and how there are such really good supports available in school. So that's the reason I asked you to tell me a little bit about your day, because it's nice to know that kids are being recognized and when they are struggling that they're being identified, that sort of a thing. So tell me about what do you love about what you do?

Liza Holland [00:07:34]:

Well, I kind of mentioned this before, is that I love that it's much different every single day. I don't have to live a repeat a job where I continue to do the same thing every single day, which can get really tiring. But I love my job a lot with realizing that the kids feel welcomed. And whenever a student will tell me that they like what I said or that they're like, thank you for validating my feelings. That makes me really feel welcomed myself, because it makes me realize that I'm doing what I wish I could have done. And I actually see a lot of quotes that say that it's like, you do what you wanted as a child, and that's what I do. I do talk to kids like I wish that somebody would have when I was their age. And that's something I really do enjoy about my life, is because even though I am helping them, it's also helping me heal and listen to what they're saying. I have a lot of students that I tell them. It's like I'm looking through a mirror. It's like how much we relate so well to some stories. And I think that's something I really enjoy is being able to help somebody heal. It really does help me heal my inner child sometimes too, depending on the situation. But I do love just being a support person. That's just my favorite thing, is just being supported.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:08:43]:

That's a great segue into another topic I wanted to touch on is the diversity in people who are in schools. And I had your principal on our show a couple of weeks ago, and he mentioned how incredibly well you relate with kids and how he's had certain students come up and say, it's so important to me that someone who looks like me is here. Can you talk about that a little bit and why you think that was important and why people, maybe of different backgrounds, different cultures, different races should get into education?

Liza Holland [00:09:20]:

Yeah. So. As I mentioned before, I'm an Arab American. My parents are Palestinian, and they immigrated here when they were young. My mom was very young when she came here, but she also went through Fayette County Public School. She actually was a tastebreak alumni as well. So myself and a lot of my family members, we recognized that even though it wasn't to the point where we didn't feel welcome in some schools, there were some times where there were situations that it wasn't very welcoming towards us because of being Muslim or being Middle Eastern. It made me realize that I never had a Muslim teacher until I was in college. And I went through Fayette County Public schools for elementary school and high school. And when I was in middle school, I did go to a private school for it was an Islamic private school, so I did have that. But through college was the first public University of Kentucky. We had one Muslim teacher, and it made me realize that we're not as represented, and neither is any of the other diversities diversity cultures. I don't know when the last time I had a Hispanic teacher, a black teacher. Any type of other race in the state of Kentucky is not as common, I don't think, in other states either. But one thing I love about being here at Taste Creek was we have a lot of Muslim and Arab students here. We have probably the most at the high schools out of all the high schools. And we had since the 90s, since my mom was here, there was quite a few of them then too. And I realized that we went through a lot, a lot of us then, my siblings, other Muslim students, there was a lot that we had to go through in high school. And it's really hard to go to somebody that just doesn't understand. And I can relate to that a lot because mental health is not very there's a stigma toward in the Arab Middle Eastern community. It's not in the Muslim community. It's the culture of the Middle Eastern culture. And people I've heard it multiple times, you just need to pray to God and you'll be fine, or I lived through this worse than you did, and there's a really big stigma. So I've tried different therapists before and a lot of the sessions are asking, oh, you guys do that in your culture? Oh, that's weird. Oh, that's nice. Okay. And it's a very judgmental tone, and it's not more about what we're going through, it's about asking about the culture. And I get it. They want to establish rapport, they want to understand, but it's to the point where it's majority of the session, and it just feels really good to come to a school where I know a lot of these Muslim students or Arab students are going through it and that we have so many and somebody actually understands. Even though my mom was raised here in America, she still believes in mental health is not that real, but it's something that I get to look at their perspective in my own eyes. And I could say, well, you know what, the reason why this family is like this is because of their background, or it's just adding a different perspective is really great for myself to talk with my student support team, because a lot of them, they'll say, well, why don't we just do this with this family? And I'll explain it well, that family probably is not going to be as welcoming towards it because I've known and I've lived it, and that's actually true. A lot of the kids will say, well, I can't ask my mom that, or my mom doesn't understand it because of the language barrier. So that's something I really, truly want people to realize. Not only is it the culture, it's the language barrier. And the life is just much different overseas. And if they're coming new here and the child is moving into the school, life is just really different. And being a Muslim woman or a Palestinian woman here, I don't have to ask them, oh, your culture does that. Oh, I don't understand, I don't understand. I just listen. And they know that I will understand. And that's something I truly enjoy. From the beginning of the year, I've had quite a few Muslim females on my caseload, and I have a really good rapport with some of the Muslim boys, and they come to me whenever they're really angry or if they're really sad or something's going on. And it makes me feel really great because it means that my job is what I really wanted to do was to work for everyone, but also let these Muslim girls and boys and these Arab boys and girls know that I'm here and they've taken that and they ran with it. And I love that so much.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:13:25]:

Well, I just have to say thank you, because I see how that can be so incredibly important. I love the fact that even just within conversations among your peers, you're able to bring a different perspective and educate them as things move along as well. So that is awesome. I'd love to continue our conversation a little bit more about mental health, obviously, after the Pandemic and whatnot, it really threw everybody for a loop and how's that impacting you and your work.

Liza Holland [00:13:58]:

Well, I would say the pandemic, yes, it really did just change up a lot of life for students, for adults, for all that. And I think that my job. Every social worker in the schools are much different, I think. We don't have a set description of we have the set description of what we do, but some social workers don't focus mental health as much as other things. Some social workers focus a lot on mental health, and I think my job really does focus a lot on mental health. And I think the reason why I say that is because mental health is like the common denominator for majority of the situations and problems that are going on. So if they have attendance problem, mental health is probably the reason why. It could be the reason why they're not coming in. Maybe it's anxiety, maybe they're depressed. Maybe they just have going through something in their home and behavior. Mental health is a lot like the trauma behind the behavior. A lot of mental health is mental health is related to many things. And the pandemic has really changed for myself and for the students. I was a student in the Pandemic. I was receiving my bachelor's degree and what could have been myself going through an internship. I had to do it through zoom, and that really did stop me from being yeah, it was very difficult. It really did stop me from being able to have interactions with the students that I wish I could have had. And I did get to work at a foster care agency for my internship the year before the Pandemic. So that was something I was able to relate with families and children. But when I had my master's practicum with the schools, I'm very thankful it was not during the pandemic, and I was able to actually get to relate and see the students, but it shows how mental health and motivation has just decreased or increased. The mental health crisis has increased and motivation has decreased for our students. I mean, we are seeing that now, and we keep using the mental health, the pandemic kind of as an excuse of a reason why the student is like that. But then now the second semester, we were kind of like, no, we can't excuse that because they've already had a year and a half back into the schools. But students are just attendance is much worse than I felt like it could have ever been. Grades kids are not motivating themselves to do well because they just were sleeping through their Zoom classes. So I think that that has to do with mental health too, because a lot of these students were stuck at home for many months and stuck with their families. And I actually noticed this. I thought about it when I was their age. I was excited to leave school. I was excited to not have to wake up early and run back home and take a nap. There are students that are waiting to come back to school because they're stuck at home, and they were already stuck at home for many years. And I think if I was a high school student and the pandemic occurred, I probably would be like that too. I'm excited to see social interaction, and that also has been a problem too. We have a lot of kids with social anxiety and have a hard time making friends. And that has been a really tough part for us this year with mediations and having people not argue with each other because they have lost so many social interactions throughout that year and a half. That's been a tough part of our year. Oh, yeah.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:17:04]:

And you even see it in wider society. We're becoming more polarized and just not communicating properly, et cetera, et cetera. That's a heavy lift for you. So flipping the script on that one. Do you have a favorite story or memory that you'd like to share about your work in education so far?

Liza Holland [00:17:23]:

I would think it would be just the interactions I've had with students from the beginning of the year. There are some times where I'm trying to remember there was a specific story that I had, but it was with students that, well, my name is not that easy, so I love it when people to remember. It's easy to say it's not that easy to remember. So I think that that's a story that I have often. It's a memory for me for next year, is the students that actually do remember and say hi and Good morning and all that. Now, as we're ending the end of the year, there are memories that I will always have with specific students. Like, I have a student that gives me a nickname because she's like, I give everyone that I really like nicknames and that's just something and she's graduating and I just saw her right before I walked into my office. Those memories that I will have are like the students that I'm going to miss for sure for senior year that graduating and I didn't realize how emotional that is. That's something. When I was a senior, I was saying goodbye to my friends and it was emotional. But also I knew that I would be friends with some of them. Till now, I am still friends with specific classmates, but I look back at it now and I'm like, my teachers must have been sad when specific kids have left or our counselors. And I've only been here a year with these students, so that's something that I know that I'll always have memories of what that student called me or with them laughing with me about a situation that happened. And I think that that's something I'll always be. It doesn't matter if I'm 20 years in, I'll probably remember some of the students. I have really good memory with names, so I think that I'll always remember them.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:18:58]:

Good for you. Honestly, my kids went through Tate Street High School and one of the things that I really remember and value about that school from a parent perspective was every time I went into the school, there were administrators in the hallways through class change and whatnot, and they would have conversations with kids. They knew the names, they were like, hey, how did that test go? And the relationships they were able to build were really powerful. I know they had impact on my kids and I'm sure all the way across the board it has a lot to do with the culture of the school and if people feel valued, they feel seen, they are going to be more open to be able to learn.

Liza Holland [00:19:44]:

Yes. I love it when a student will say, you remember me. And it's because even if I meet them in September, I probably will still remember their names and it's okay if they can't remember my name. Like I said, it's not that easy to remember. It's not that common in the school. So I think that it doesn't bother me when they can't remember my name. But if I remember their names, it makes me know that. It makes them know that it doesn't matter who they are. I'll always remember them and I care. And it's something I do on purpose. Like I love to greet kids with their name because it lets them know that I was listening. I know who you are. You're not a random person in the halls. I will forget if I met you. I'm going to remember you.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:20:23]:

That is so powerful and frankly, I am so envious. I do not have that kind of knack with names. I'm the type of person that I will remember everything about a conversation and maybe the name of your pet, but.

Liza Holland [00:20:35]:

I can't come up with a name.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:20:37]:

So that's a very wonderful and special skill.

Liza Holland [00:20:40]:

I'm grateful for that. So one of the things that I.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:20:45]:

Hope to accomplish with this podcast is starting to let people know about the challenges that you face. And I'd love it if you could address what are kind of the biggest challenges and obstacles you face, especially if they're systemic, if they're things that we might be able to solve.

Liza Holland [00:21:04]:

I definitely think one of my biggest challenges is getting everyone on board. And I don't know if that's something that we can all solve as a society, but when I say on board is some families have a different reaction to getting and receiving help from a social worker or from a therapist than other families would. So I think that's definitely a problem and that I've noticed occur quite a few times, is asking a parent to allow their student receive services from a therapist and then the mental health stigma comes up and they're like, well, they're fine. There's nothing going on. And I think that that's definitely a big challenge. Another challenge would be with the families as well is like the trauma that the students come in and face. Sometimes their family isn't the most supportive and the students will learn their behavior from their family. So we have some family we have family members in the school that may come off a little aggressive and then their kids come in and then they have some behavior towards that because that's what they were taught. So that was really a challenge because we can try to unteach a student how to not be too aggressive. We can have interventions and have them talk with me and have them put into a behavior group. But if they're going home and learning from their parent that it's okay to get aggressive, then that's kind of backtracking our interventions. And I think that's a big challenge for myself and as well as teachers and counselors. But I would say something that I do notice that maybe a society can help is burnout is a big challenge for teachers, counselors, social workers. I think that life has definitely changed since I was in high school. I mean, if I was doing not very well in classes, my mom would be the one to argue with me. But now it seems like a lot of parents are arguing with the teacher and telling them that they need to help my kid learn how to do this, when it's really the kids doing the teacher can't force it in their brain. And I think that that has been a really big it is a trauma for a lot of teachers and counselors are going through it and social workers and everyone's in the school is going through it. And I think that's something that I wish people wouldn't blame the school for their child's actions like, if your child did it, we're not telling them to do it, we're not forcing them. We get a lot of parents that say, can you just take his phone away? Well, we can't just do that. We need other things than that. So I think that it's just the relationship with the outside is kind of a challenge, like focusing on how to not backtrack a student. If they're going to be gone for two months in the summer and they come back, they've done really great until May, and then they come back in the fall. And whatever we taught them last year, some kids will just end up not remembering or they see the interactions that their family has, and then they go back to their original behavior. So that has been definitely a big challenge. I think that people are becoming burnt out so quickly because they're getting arguments with parents or they just don't know how to handle arguments really. And those are really hard to get, especially from a parent. But thankfully, I haven't gotten any this year.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:24:10]:

Well, good, I'm so glad to hear that. But I can totally see that piece, and I will share. I actually had one of my kids went through some severe anxiety and depression, and through therapy, I figured out what I thought was motivational was actually putting a ton of pressure on her. And so you need to check yourselves as parents as well because teachers, honest to God, have a ton of training on how to interact with kids and all that kind of stuff. Parents really do not. And so if you're having trouble with your kids, seek out some help. Seek out new ideas and new thoughts and whatnot, because I'm an n of one in this research study, but it made a huge difference. My daughter's thriving now, but it took change on my part to be able to facilitate that happening.

Liza Holland [00:25:00]:

Yes.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:25:01]:

So, yeah, all you parents out there listening, please take note.

Liza Holland [00:25:06]:

And I think that arguments with parents doesn't mean that all the parents just don't know what they're doing either. I think that there are parents that are great parents and they come in and they really want to advocate for their kid. But as somebody that was a former student and realized as an advocate myself, sometimes we have to allow the student to learn how to advocate for themselves. So this year, I noticed a lot of students are like, can you just email this teacher for me? I'm like, no, we have to email them together and I teach them how to interact with an adult, because that's something I realized in college. You're not going to have somebody that can write you those emails for you or in the career in general if you're not going to college. And I think that that's what I noticed in high school is like, I'm advocating for myself if I can't do this assignment because of. A situation, I need to advocate for myself. And a lot of parents want to advocate for their students and I love that. I think that's a great thing. And parents should advocate for their students, but also let the student in the conversation and let them voice their opinion as well and teach their kid how to advocate for themselves too. And I think that that's something I love to see is we actually, all of us enjoy it when a teacher, if something had occurred that the parent probably should be involved in. I love seeing a parent walk in and advocate for their student because it means that they know something needs to change. And it doesn't mean they're coming in to have an argument. It means that they're coming in to voice their opinion and voice their concern. We do have a lot of times where parents are like, we don't want the student involved in this. And I get it, there's some situations that don't need the student to be involved in, but majority of them, if it involves the student, maybe we should involve the student in the conversation. And I just think that in specific situations, of course, I think that because it teaches the student that life is real and outside of high school, you're going to need to use your voice for yourself. And I'm the advocate for you right now and the way I'm advocating for you is to teach you how to advocate for yourself, if that makes sense. But that's something I truly love to do is to have them email with me instead of having me email myself.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:27:06]:

That makes a tremendous amount of sense and kind of answers that question about what would you like decision makers to know? Because I think parents need to be the decision makers in this particular realm because part of our job as parents is to give the kids skills to be able to kind of leave the nest and fly. And if you're the one that's constantly running interference there, they're never going to learn how on their own. And so I think that's a really incredibly important point for you to bring up and that it needs to be collaborative, not combative all the way around. You can be a part of a team that is looking to support the success of any particular student.

Liza Holland [00:27:52]:

Yes, exactly. And I truly believe that students should learn how to advocate before they leave high school because once you're on your own, you're your own adult. And I noticed a lot of students this year are actually really afraid of leaving high school because they realize that they're alone. And high school is a structure. We tell them what to do, they do it. But once you're on your own, you kind of have to figure out what your structure is going to be. And as a person that's not a parent, I see it as like, how did my mom tell me what to do before I graduated. And I realized with the Arab culture itself as well, I was an adult by the age of 1514. I was babysitting. I had a job with my mom and her business. I was her manager. I grew up very quickly because I'm the middle child. I had to help raise my siblings. I was babysitting other people's kids as well. I had a full time job babysitting and working with my mom's business. And I realized when I turned 18, I graduated high school, I turned 18, and I realized that life was much different than I thought it would be when I was in college, because it really is. You're on your own. My mom's not picking my classes for me. And when you're in high school, if you want to change a class, we do have to ask for permission from the parent. But in college, you can drop out, and your parents won't even have to know, and insurance is different, and you pay for your own bills. And I realized that because of what I went through. My coworkers say this a lot. They're like, you baby them. And it's not because of advocating for themselves with not in that sense. It's more of like, oh, well, we need to help them get this and this and this. And they're like, why don't we teach them how to get it without us? They need to learn how to get it without us. And just like today, we had the senior breakfast, and we had a raffle, and every time we were getting stuff at Walmart, I was saying, okay, well, they need the comforter set, the sheets, the pillows, all that. And they were saying, well, we're also telling them we're just giving it to them. Maybe we should give them one piece, and then they learn how to get the other stuff. And I think that's because I realized kids I keep saying kids because and I've told a lot of the boys this. I said, you're still a boy until you prove otherwise, you're not a man. And it's because you can be a boy until you're 29 years old. You can be a girl until you're 29 years old or whatever age, until you realize responsibility. And that's something that I wish that people would know, too, because, like, years ago, we leave, and we're adults, depending on who you are. But now there's some people that just will still be a baby or still a boy or a girl until they learn on their own, which could take years, and I think it will take years. I'm still living my adulthood life. I'm still trying to grow up. But I think that there's some parents that just do not realize that life is much different when they're 18. So if we can help them grow an adult, become an adult is, like, the biggest that's one of the biggest prizes you can do as a parent, that's one of the biggest responsibilities, I think, by the time that they're in a teenager.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:30:56]:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. And I think that even within our school system, there's a lot of opportunity for us to give students more agency and more choice, more control, more voice. I think that realistically, we are now preparing kids for jobs that don't even exist yet. And it's not so much about the content and the academics anymore. It's about how to think and how to reason and how to solve a problem and how to have a conflict on a productive way. And all those sorts of things are skill sets that they will use their entire lives.

Liza Holland [00:31:30]:

Yes, exactly. Skill sets. And we've actually talked about this with my coworkers. For next year, we would like to have an event called Adulting 101, which teaches our juniors and seniors on how to pay their taxes and pay for rent and to budget and things that we don't typically learn in school. And we do have a class now called Financial Literacy. So it does help with them learning how to do taxes. But I could think about it is I'm very privileged to have older siblings that helped me learn how to do my FAFSA. My brother was also in school when we were in college. My older brother, he was much older than I, and he helped me with my FAFSA because he was doing it for himself as well. So I was very privileged to learn from him. When people don't have that, especially, I would say, like, immigrant parents. My mom never was able to go to college. She almost didn't graduate, and I think from her high school, and she finally did. But I think that about those families, it's really hard for them to advocate for themselves because of the cultural barrier and the language barrier and having that Adulting 101 class, or it would be an event. It would be very helpful for our students. Because even myself, I think about it, I'm like, I didn't know. Well, I knew how to do laundry and do dishes, but my sister is 14 years old, and she's 15, and she still doesn't know how to she knows how to do it, but it's like we're still teaching her. And 15 is like a good age to start learning how to do living on your own, because that's when it takes a few years. But there's some kids that just don't know how to live on their own for sure. I think that that's a very big thing to think about. And now I think about it, like learning how to grocery shop, we probably have that in the adulting one on one class. Like how to get grocery shopping instead of going every single day, knowing what you want to get is probably easier.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:33:11]:

Well, I think that's a brilliant event. And reach out to CTA and make sure that they get all these parents involved so that we can be encouraging and reintroducing this concept constantly to them that they need.

Liza Holland [00:33:25]:

That's a great idea. Thank you. I didn't even think about that. I love that. Yeah. Love that.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:33:30]:

I feel like I could talk to you about this kind of stuff all day, but we've come to the end of our time. But I wanted to say thank you once again. Any last comments that you'd love to share?

Liza Holland [00:33:41]:

No, I just want to say thank you so much for having me. I love speaking about my job, and I love speaking about mental health and my perspective, and I think that everyone that was listening will understand it what I'm saying very well, because it's something that myself and I think other people go through as well. So I'm glad to be here. So thank you so much.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:34:00]:

Yeah, you have a lot of really relatable and insightful information to share, so thanks so much.

Liza Holland [00:34:05]:

Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Education Perspectives. Feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:34:15]:

Let us know which Education Perspectives you.

Liza Holland [00:34:18]:

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Haneen Abu Zaghrit [00:34:20]:

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