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Listen: What Can Happen When A Teacher Convinces Her Students To Be Brave

Dean Rutz
The Seattle Times
Bellevue middle school humanities teacher Kristin Leong speaks during a panel after a teacher storytelling event. The Seattle Times hosted the event at the University of Washington in partnership with KPLU.

She may be an accomplished public speaker, but Bellevue teacher Kristin Leong says she's still "secretly super introverted." Getting comfortable with public performance, she tells her students, is about "faking it 'til you make it."

But Leong says she starts every year in her middle school humanities classes at the International School in Bellevue with the same promise to her students: 'all of them will be performers this year.'

"It totally freaks them out," she told the audience at a recent Seattle Times event. "I tell them, 'It's okay, because we're all just going to practice being brave, over and over again, until we actually become brave.'"

At the event, Leong told what happened when students are brave enough to open up — and when a teacher can create a space where students can feel comfortable doing so:

Leong shared this story at a recent storytelling event, "Why I Teach." The event was put on by The Seattle Times' Education Lab project in partnership with KPLU and the University of Washington College of Education. Hear the full event here:


Photo above is Copyright © 2015, The Seattle Times Company. Used with permission.

Kyle Stokes covers the issues facing kids and the policies impacting Washington's schools for KPLU.