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Making Our World a Better Place-Sherri Rosen

When I have guest bloggers on my blog, I enjoy having people write who are doing good things in the world.  This time I met a woman through WEWORK and we connected right away.  When I found out what she does I asked her if she would write a blog about her work.,  Again, you will see that she is one of the women that is making the world a better place.  Her name is Angela Y. Leon and she works at her own company Semirosas Educational and Tutoring.  She not only works with the children but their family as well.


By Angela Y. León

Founder + Owner, Semirosas Educational Services and Tutoring

visit her website:


I grew up reading between the lines. All around me, it was clear that ‘excessive’ displays of emotion were dismissed or ridiculed. It was also clear that not winning meant complete failure. It was clear that trying was valued, but only if you won. It was clear! I internalized these facts (what I thought were facts) and they became a permanent fixture at the core of all future decisions. This was the lens through which I evaluated choices and outcomes.


First Detour


I never thought of these beliefs as detrimental or beneficial; it just was what it was. Or at least it ‘was’ until I was sitting in a master’s level class at Teachers College, Columbia University. The professor said, research shows that “Rewarding effort vs. product improves student performance.” What? That’s it; they poked the bear.


Not only did I read anything I could get my hands on regarding that topic, but I started to analyze the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behavior differently, starting with my students’ and ending with me. So, it turns out the professor and the articles were right. That slight shift in my understanding was a huge detour in my practice as a speech-language pathologist and eventually as an executive function coach and specialized tutor. Big change sometimes comes in small steps, so . . .


Second Detour


Next and final detour? My first year as a speech-language therapist in a public school in Harlem, NY. It was time to put into action all I had learned through my undergrad and grad program. Being in the trenches proved more challenging than expected, so I somewhat reverted to my comfort zone (the behaviors I grew up with). Reinforcing “A” scores on tests, 100% accuracy on homework assignments and the like made their way back into my practice.


It’s hard to explain the following moment, but I’ll try. I can’t recall the room we were in; I can’t recall the topic of discussion; I can’t recall the dialogue. All I remember is the second grader’s face. He happily shared something he did and, whatever my response was, his face changed. It changed to my face. It changed to the face I had as a child every time an adult reminded me yet again that not winning meant failure; that effort without 100% success was not success. That was it for me. I hated feeling that way as a child and I would not be responsible for making children feel that way (not to mention the limiting effects of those feelings).


Final Destination


Where did I land? I feed the whole child, not just the academic side. My practice as a tutor and professional trainer is thankfully characterized by several fixed absolutes:


  1. Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning. Keep steppin’.


  1. Motivation energizes, directs, and sustains behavior. It’s the driving force students need for persistence and high effort during difficult times. (FYI, hard times are a given in life; they’re coming.)


  1. It’s us against it! Make sure students know it’s not students against parents; it’s not parents against students; it’s parents, educators, and students as a team, AGAINST THE CHALLENGE. I’m smiling as I write this one because it’s high impact. When I share this take on our relationship, my elementary school students generally pause in awe of what’s happening and stare at my face as the emotional weight slides off their shoulders.


Time for a story . . . I was recently discussing back-to-school tools with a 4th grade student and his parents. One of the tools was a feelings toolkit that helps kids identify intense emotions and determine themselves whether they need to use calming strategies, such as deep breathing and affirmations; for example, ‘I am persistent!’ The child silently reviewed the handouts with written and pictured steps on them. This poor 8-year-old child became increasingly red in the face and, as the emotion in his shaky voice increased, he suddenly asked, “If it’s so easy, why did you get divorced?!” He went on to accuse his parents of not being open about their divorce when he was 5 years old (“I could have handled it!”) and of lying about his father being on a two-month business trip (“I knew something was off about that!”).


The room went quiet. His parents struggled to come up with an answer. After a bit of awkward silence, I turned to what I know. I told him (don’t judge me) “You and my dog don’t make a good husband-and-wife team (he scrunched up his face). Your mom and dad make a better friend team, parent team, and coworker team than a husband-and-wife team.” Without skipping a beat, he asked “Why do you call your computer Ben?” I asked if he had questions about teams and he calmly said “No”. The adults almost had a heart attack, but he was ready to move on. Team logic made sense to him; keep the “team” tool handy. It works!


So, takeaways? Thanks for asking.


Whether you’re a parent, auntie, teacher, therapist, or neighbor, motivate your kiddos to make mistakes as your team takes on the world.


About the author:


Angela Y. León has over 15 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in multiple capacities. She has provided one-on-one, small-group, and class instruction as a speech-language pathologist, private academic and Spanish tutor, and executive function coach. She facilitates workshops for students and their families, school administrators, teachers, speech-language therapists, and additional school support staff. Angela also designs functional teaching resources based on her experience with differentiated instruction and best practices.    


Visit her website:


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 at 1:35 pm and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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