Who’s In Charge Here?


Unless I am mistaken, I think it is the heart that pumps blood to the brain so that it can function properly. If this is the case then how did the brain get a hold of the keys. And another thing. Why is the heart riding shotgun when it clearly should be the one driving?

As a whole I think it is accurate to say that we are more stressed and more overwhelmed than ever before. I have to admit that I am. I also think that the same could be said for the students that we see every day.

Who let the brain wrestle the keys away from the heart?

Stop for a moment and think about your schedule, your students’ schedule and your children’s’ schedule. Is most of the time dedicated to filling the brain or is most of the time dedicated to feeding the heart? If we are honest we know it is not even close.

Now I realize I am an idealist, and I also am aware of the fact that the entire day can’t be spent in Circle Time. But I do believe that we could tip the balance a little bit more so that the heart gets some attention. Currently we are witnessing the effects of not giving the heart the attention it needs. The attention it deserves.

We are so determined to satiate our brains that our hearts are atrophying right before our eyes. Our brains are the vehicles, but our hearts are the drivers. We mustn’t forget that without the driver, the car goes nowhere.

Unfortunately, right now I see many vehicles, but not many drivers that are road ready. In fact, I am worried that if we don’t start giving the heart the attention it deserves we will begin seeing junkyards full of abandoned cars with no drivers in sight.


Just for a moment, stop and think about the best part of your day. The part of your day that look forward to the most. Now tell me who’s driving. Your heart or your brain? Don’t be fooled. Just because some of our best moments may take place at school, that doesn’t mean that the brain is driving.

I can follow posts and tweets by Todd Nesloney, Starr Sackstein or Jim Cordery and know that their days are driven by their hearts. I can read about the way Ben Gilpin, Jimmy Casas and Brad Gustafson are leading their schools and I know that they are led by their hearts.

I understand that we must educate our children and give them the tools they need to be competitive in an ever-changing world. I get that. I really do. But, I also know that when I look around at those people who are happiest and those people who are most successful, I notice that they are folks that are led and driven by their hearts and not their brain. This is no comment on their mental capabilities. They are each and everyone brilliant, but it is their Heart that got them where they are today.

We don’t need to change curriculums and we don’t need to abandon the Common Core. We simply need to start cultivating our students’ hearts and teach them that it is their heart that will get them where they want to go.

We can start by taking advantage of every single moment that our students are with us. We can start by opening up and exposing ourselves just a little bit more. We can start by making sure that we lead with out hearts.

heart teaching

And more than anything, we start by handing the keys back over to the heart. It’s time for the brain to ride shotgun.




  1. Love it, homerun again! The social curriculum drives the academic, and without that, students have a deficit in skills needed to be ready for life (in and out of the classroom): collaborative work, problem solving, advocacy, etc. Good job, JHarp!

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