Aligned Learning Revolution | Phyllis Cruz | Neuro Nova

Neuro Nova: Rethinking Education For The Future With Phyllis Cruz

July 04, 202436 min read

In this episode, we are thrilled to welcome Phyllis Cruz, a seasoned educator with 17 years of teaching experience spanning kindergarten through 12th grade. Specializing in Science instruction and holding a Master of Arts in Education, Phyllis excels in personalizing, individualizing, and differentiating learning experiences for her students both in and out of the classroom. Her dedication to making real connections and gaining the trust of her students has resulted in countless moments of watching them surpass their own expectations.


Phyllis shares her journey and insights on starting Neuro Nova Learning, a business rooted in her belief that the right learning environment can empower students to exceed their own expectations. This episode covers essential topics in education and coaching, including:


        Why have you started your business Neuro Nova Learning?

        How do you wish we could change the education system?

        What does your coaching look like and how does it help students?

        With 17 years in Education, why start your own business?

        What makes Wholistic NeuroGrowth learning work?

        What are the goals of Neuro Nova Learning in the future?


Join us as Phyllis Cruz shares her expertise, experiences, and vision for the future of education. This episode is a must-listen for educators, parents, and anyone passionate about personalized and holistic learning.


Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Neuro Nova: Rethinking Education For The Future With Phyllis Cruz

Becoming A Coach

Phyllis, welcome to our show. How are you?

I'm good. How are you?

Very good. What grade do you teach?

I teach high school science to 10th through 12th graders.

Why did you want to become a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coach?

Aligned Learning Revolution | Phyllis Cruz | Neuro Nova

I've been working with students and I'm working on really personalizing their educational journey in science and helping them. As I worked closer with some students one-on-one, I enjoyed the experience and seeing their growth so much that I wanted to do more with students to create a better system.

Challenges In Traditional Education

Why cannot teachers offer one-on-one? Why not in the classroom?

With 30 kids in the classroom, once you spend a lot of time with one person, a little fire breaks out in your classroom. If you can spend one-on-one time with them, then there are other students in your classroom who really have high needs, and you cannot take that away. You only have so much time in the classroom with 30 and you have about two minutes per student.

A lot of the time, as a teacher, you're going home feeling like you have not served your students because they need one-on-one help. Your heart is there to serve them, but unfortunately, you cannot because of the 30 kids, and all the higher-needs kids need your attention most of the time.

The problem is that you feel like there are some that really need your help, and you can't get to them. you feel bad and you go home emotionally drained because of it. I really feel the students' emotions when they walk in and know which ones need a little extra attention, whether it's emotional help or the other, but some of them can get it, and some of them you cannot get to in that timeframe that you have, which is why I want to work with students and help them at a deeper level.

What subject did you say you teach?

I teach science. Right now, I teach chemistry and green technology.

In your classroom, how many students are excited, energized, and intrinsically motivated to come to your class?

I would say there are a few per class who are intrinsically motivated. I bring a lot of energy because high school students come with a lot of sleepiness.

Let's talk about that.

They're very tired.

They’re sleepy. They're very tired. Why are they tired?

It’s because of their phones. They are not getting sleep at night. Some even say they got a lot of sleep and don't know why they're tired. There are a lot of the kids who are just exhausted. I think it's because as high school students, they just don't get enough sleep. They don't go to bed early. They don't wake up on time or at the right time. They're completely exhausted all the time, and it could be excessive screen use or phone use. Phones are always a problem as well.

As the teenage years come, they say that the sleep pattern shifts. They want to stay up late, but they want to sleep in. This is a pattern, and apparently, there are studies that show that they grew during that time. They want to do that because growth happens during the daytime, and they want to sleep or do something. We don't take into consideration what our body is doing biologically.

Our schools changed to an 8:35 start because of the studies. Instead of starting at 7:50 or 8:00, the school that I'm at teaches at 8:35, but the students still struggle to get there.

I think more like 9:30, even that's too early. It's around 12:00, which is when it's daytime, when it's morning for them. You have younger kids. Your kids are young. When they grow up, you will see that when they're off on the off days, you don't see them until 12:00, hitting the kitchen for breakfast.

That's so funny because I was always an early riser, even in high school.

I am, too. I cannot sleep past 6:00. I just naturally get up, but as a teenager, it's good that you're school-honored. It's really good, but I think they need more than that.

They definitely do.

Do you think COVID switched anything? During COVID time, they had like these free kind of flow versus more structure.

We still have the classes at certain times during COVID that we had to teach. I feel like there needs to be more flexibility. The thing that the students and I talk about a lot is the flexibility of school for students and teachers. They just need more flexibility because we get sick or the students are like, “It's not that I'm not going to do my work. Why do I have to sit here and do it right in this spot?” Some students get high anxiety. I have one student who comes in on my prep because it's too loud in their math class to do their math.

The kids need more flexibility than we're able to give them in the structure of an 8:30 to 4:00 PM school and the bell schedule and making them move on to the next subject every hour and a half. We have longer periods, but it does. It puts stress on them. More flexibility for the students is something that I want to change in the school systems because I believe that once we get more flexible with the students, students do want to learn. It's not that they don't want to learn. It's that one knows how all the time, but it just doesn't work for them the way that it's structured like a factory.

Once we get more flexible with the students, they will want to learn.

Everybody's different. We need to honor those individual needs, which is what a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coach does. How many students actually want to learn science when you're in the classroom? Is there a drop in the number of students who want to learn science?

What do you mean by drop? I don't teach the junior high classes.

Meaning are they excited to be in these classes or are they forced because they have to have the credit numbers?

There's a significant that are forced because they have to have the credit numbers and then the ones that you notice, the ones that want to be in your classroom because they're interested, they're engaged all the time with the material and they talk to you about it after class, they ask questions. You can definitely tell the difference. There's a split between the students who are interested in it and those who have to take it.

I work with a lot of coaches who have younger kids as well. I find that if we can get this curiosity and the drive for science at a younger age, they want to learn by the time they hit high school level when they come to your class. They want to figure stuff out. They know science is important. It's part of everyday life with them that they want to learn it. Whereas I find it too, many of my students say, “I just take it because I have to get the credit.”

They've proven that if students have a robust science program before the third or by the third grade, anytime third grade and younger, then they'll continue in the science. They're more likely to continue in the sciences and be interested in it as they get older and in high school and be a better science student. If they don't have any teachers who teach science robustly in their classrooms, then they just lose that interest, which is sad because our children are little scientists to begin with.

Parental Strategies

We're curious about everything. That's the time to foster that. Really, turn it on to the highest degree so that they can look for that. What can parents do at home to foster this curiosity at a younger age?

Parents can actually get science kits and do science with their kids and encourage them to ask questions about nature, look into things, try things, and test different things. My son loves going outside and says, “Mom, I'm doing science.” He loves to mix colors. That's science right now at a four-year-old level, mixing colors, seeing what's the next color. What do I predict? What do I think? Having the parents ask them questions, “Why did that happen?”

Simple as cooking, gardening, shopping.

All of it is science. Thinking and talking to your kids and reading books with your kids is so important to foster that creativity.

Talking to your kids and reading books with your kids are so important to foster creativity.

You have younger kids. What do you do in terms of, I know you grow something, I saw you show us some strawberries a couple of days ago. You have a garden, right?

Yes, we have six fruit trees and we have a garden. I let the kids pick out whatever they want at the garden store, and we plant it in the ground and water it. They got succulents and they love to watch plants grow and enjoy watching it. They also get to plant seeds and see what happens. After every year, we plant all the time. The kids love watching the bees. My daughter's favorite thing to do is sit and just watch the bees. She once told everybody about a big bumblebee that she saw get into one flower and the flower ended up yellow after it left.

She said, “It just loved this flower. It was his favorite flower.” She just sat and watched it for about ten minutes. Then, she watched it pollinate, and they loved talking about how they pollinated the different plants and gave us fruit. We continue that conversation all the time. It's like, “Why do we get to eat this food?” We talk about the bees and the plants and how they grow. We foster that curiosity. We love reading books. We have great books on bees, and we say Give Bees A Chance is an amazing one if you've never read it. That's a good one, especially for people who fear bees or don't want them around because they are so important to our ecosystem.

See, this is what I mean, like simple things that parents can do, as parents can do. I mean, so beautiful, too. It is beautiful for parents to grow a garden, pick from it, and make a salad, or make a fruit salad, or salad, or whatever it is, and have it with their kids. It's so simple.

The kids will eat it. They love eating it straight out of the garden.

They grew it. They know what it takes to grow that plant. They will eat it even if they don't like vegetables. One time, I planted some tomatoes in my little garden, and everybody loved the green tomatoes. I started making a salad with the green ones. It didn't really go until the red. We didn't wait for it. I took the green ones, but actually, that year, that summer, we had a green salad with them. It was very tasty. The green ones. Some of them tasted almost like it wasn't as sweet as an apple, but the consistency was like you're biting into an apple.

When it doesn't warm up enough, it just stays green. We made a lot of fried green tomatoes last year.

My whole family enjoyed it. That was just me saying, “I'm going to buy a couple of tomato plants and grow it.” I've never done it before, but it was amazing. Everybody loved it. If you're watching, summer's coming. It's a great time to plant some stuff. Are they late?

It is a little late, but you can still plant right now. It's still technically spring.

If you buy the plant, not the seed plant, go to all the stores that now already have thousands of plants. Buy a couple of them and plant them, and get your kids outside. Get them dirty. Get their hands dirty.

My sister came over and she was like, “That looks really tasty because my kids love to make mud pies.” I said, “You remember how much we loved the mud when we were kids?” You cannot keep kids out of the mud.

How did you become a science teacher? What inspired you?

I've loved science my whole life. As a child, I actually made a little club for the earth savers and we had little shirts. In my green technology class, I always tell them about that. I got a chemistry set when I was in fifth grade. I will always remember that I got a chemistry set, a microscope, and different things to look at. The microscope and chemistry set was my setup to become a scientist. I've always loved it. I do, I remember those presences the most when I think about my childhood presence and what formed me to become a science teacher and love the sciences.

As a parent, if they're listening, you earlier mentioned buy those for kids for Christmas, even buying something that they could do something with their hands.

Do something, make something, and experiment with it. The great thing about those kits is they give you little experiments to do, but then the kids like to try something different. They like to test what happens when they test these two things. You always want to encourage experimentation because once they do the kit example, you want them to think about, “What would happen?” Then they make a guess. You say, “What do you think is going to happen?” Let them try it. I always let them try it.

Even in my science classes, even in chemistry in high school, when we're done with an experiment and then they ask, they say, “Ms. Cruz, what would happen if we did this?” I say, “Why don't you try it?” They love that I let them try the next thing because for a long time in classes, they're told to do it this way and then they clean up and they cannot do anything else. They love to be able to try something new because even high schoolers are curious, “What would happen if I mix these two instead of those two?” As long as I know it's safe and not going to blow up in their face, I let them do it.

Variations are good. That's where the most learning happens because if they are asking that, they're thinking.

That's what I always tell them. I say, “If there's something that you're still interested in, ask,” and 99% of the time, I'll say yes.

What you didn't have in that classroom was this one-on-one. You always felt, as you said, empty, that you couldn't serve everybody at that one-on-one level. As teachers, we know that they need that help.

They do and a lot of them do. Some of them are doing great because they have that at home and I've met those parents, like they talk about their classes at home. The parents will come to back to school night and they'll say, “We've heard about your class. My student really likes it. They talk about it at dinner.” When they get that support and they're able to talk about it all the time, a lot of those students, they are learning about their learning. The parents are helping them at every step, encouraging them, and encouraging their mistakes.

They're experiencing the joy when they're being successful. That's when the kids don't need as much, but they still, those students know how to self-advocate and they'll ask. When they're struggling, they come up and they say, “Ms. Cruz, I don't think I did this right. Can you help me?” That's what you really need students who learn how to self-advocate for themselves. Once they can understand how to do that, they can excel at anything because they know where to get the information or how to get help when they're struggling.

Role As A Wholistic NeuroGrowth Coach

If a parent is listening, they're hearing that as a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coach, you're able to work with them one-on-one, but more importantly, what is it you do now as a Wholistic?

As a Wholistic Learning Success coach is to teach the kids how to learn and then also how to get that self-advocacy, learn from themselves, and change their mindsets. It's so much around mindset as well. When you want to gain knowledge, you will. You'll do the work that it takes. You'll get there because you want to. Sometimes, students lose that when they feel like they're failing. As a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Success coach, I help them understand what they can do and where they can go next and fill in those gaps because you lose things along the way. Once you're failing, you've lost a lot of pieces along the way. Those puzzle pieces really make the whole picture complete and filling in those gaps is really important for the students to be successful.

When you want to gain the knowledge, you will. You'll do the work that it takes. You'll get there because you want to.

You're able to fill that because you can identify it in a one-on-one personalized, customized format.

Within the classroom, you cannot identify where each student's gaps are so you base it off of an average of the whole class. With this, you get to actually get to know the student, find those gaps, fill them in, and help them along the way so that they can actually climb those stairs instead of falling at every other step.

What do you like to tell parents about your program? What would you share?

I like to tell parents that it's really based so much on individualized needs for their students, and I will personalize it based on what their students need and give their students the support that they need. A lot of students really struggle to find that support and having adults, and it's been proven time and time again that having adults' support and at least one trusted adult who really understands them and knows how to help them helps students become successful. Without that, a lot of students will fall behind or take the wrong path and not be able to get back to a path that will lead them to where they want to go.

What age group do you specialize in?

I specialize in eight-year-old to high school. Eight to eighteen because really getting into the science and math behind the science.

At an earlier age, elementary.

Just trying to get them excited about science, too. I have two different programs, one for the older kids to help them fill in those gaps that they don't have, what they didn't get when they were younger to be successful in chemistry or physics or biology, any science that they're taking in high school or junior high. For the younger kids, it's getting them excited about science, giving them experiments and enjoyment from the sciences and making those connections, like graphing the simple graphs and showing them how science is explained by math and then they understand, “Why do I need math? How the communication between science.”

This is also true for high schoolers, that communication between for science, “That's why we need to learn how to read and write.” It isn't only to understand how to follow directions but also to communicate what we've learned from our experiments. That's one that really gets lost is that science encompasses all of the disciplines, which is why it's such a good jumping point for me to teach kids younger and older, the inner disciplinaries of it, because it also brings in history on like who discovered this and when and why was that a big deal that they discovered it at this time?

I like it. Even your program is wholistic.

Yes. I like to encompass it all and bring everything together so that the students understand well. Everything works together very harmoniously. We break it up so much in school where it's like one thing doesn't seem to connect to the other things all the time.

That's why kids lose interest right along the way because they don't see the interconnectedness of anything even in math. We teach little by little. We chunk it, but then we don't give them like, “How do I apply it in my regular life?”

Why is it important?

I like your program. That's bringing science and math together. You are also working with the younger students so that you can get them excited. If I want to stress to parents who are reading, it's really easy to get our kids excited when they're young.

Yes, it is. They love it. They have this desire to learn.

They're craving it. Give them less electronics, but get them to be with nature, nature walks, as we said, planting, and shopping.

Just being outside, making things with nature. Collect things on your walk and then let the kids make art with it. Painting with the colors of the flowers that you have. All of that is it encompasses art as well. It's so much fun. Getting outside all the time every day.

I work with a lot of high schoolers myself. By high school, if you don't have this curiosity built already, you're really struggling to see what the point is. What am I doing? Why am I here? That's why they lose that whole interest and then add sleepiness to it. Forget the school.

Until they get somebody who they feel really cares, they're not going to try.

Strategies For Teenagers

If a parent with an older child is watching us right now, how can we help them? I know how hard it is to really motivate a teenager.

Yes, it really is. I would just say start with the questions. Start by making sure that they know that you're supporting them, however they're doing, and just start with those questions like, “How was school today? What did you struggle with? What did you do well in today?” They'll start opening up. It might take a few times. It might take a week or two.

That's what I was going to say. What if they say nothing?

In the beginning, they will, but when you keep at it and you keep asking, they'll eventually give up and they'll be like, “I guess I gotta answer these questions.” Then they'll start actually talking to you about it. Once they start talking, it might never stop, which would be a great thing, but it might also open it up to dialogue on like, “You're struggling in this. What can we do next? How can I help you? Do we need to ask for help?” When is it time to ask for help? When is it time to get a coach? When is it time to get a tutor? When has it gotten to the point where you're thinking we need medical help or educational help in this case because that's what we always struggle with? What do we call the doctor? In this case, we call it.

Sometimes, it's mental health, too. Sometimes, students are struggling mentally because their emotions are not quite together anymore. As you start not understanding these classes, sometimes failing a couple of tests, you feel like you're in trouble, and you cannot talk to anyone. It happens. You're right. Sometimes you have to check with the doctors too because you don't know what's going on. With our teenagers, I found that at certain times, they don't want to talk to you. Sometimes my son doesn't like talking after school, but there is a time when he'll come and he'll start talking on his own. Usually, I'm busy at that time.

That's when he does it. It's almost like he does it purposefully, but I have noticed a pattern because whenever I'm ready to talk, he's not ready to talk. We were missing an opportunity to talk like this. We were mismatched in the way that the timeframe was mismatched. Eventually, I figured out a pattern. He likes to come and ask me things when I'm busy. I had to slow down my busyness and listen to him. Instead of fighting him with him to talk to me at other times when he wasn't ready, I might as well talk to him when he's ready. Sometimes, even observing those things in the patterns with your child helps. I mean, teenage years are always up and down in moods.

They're very moody.

They fluctuate with their moods. After school, sometimes my son will just sit, and if I ask anything in any way again and again, he'll say, “It's okay. It's fine.”

They'll be very tired after school. They need that break. They need something.

They don't want to talk about it. It's okay if a parent is listening and you want to talk to them. Choose different times and see which one worked better. I don't even know yet what my son and I, like what's the best time to talk to him yet, but I know that he always comes when I'm busy.

Maybe he pretends to be busy sometimes at the right time whenever he comes, like 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM.

I have to stay busy so he'll come talk to me. Teenagers also want to make sure that like, “Would I give up?” Sometimes, they test you. They say things like, “I don't want to talk to you, but they're testing you.” As you said, if you keep at it, they'll like, “She's never going to give up, so I better talk to her.”

If they know that you care, I notice that about my students. Eventually, they start to open up because I'm always asking them, “How are you doing? What's going on today?” They open up, but it takes them a lot longer because they don't know if you're genuine and care. If they haven't had that dialogue with you in a long time, and even if you've always told them that you love them and you care, you start the dialogue. At first, they'll be like, “It’s just,” why are they doing that? They'll eventually open up because they'll be like, “This is real. It's not just something that is, I don't know, for a day.”

Final Advice For Parents

What else would you like to share with the parents who are listening?

What's so key in the kids is that they want to open up to somebody, and they hide because they're afraid of rejection. They're afraid of rejection from their peers. They're afraid of rejection from you. They're afraid of rejection because that's the way their brain is working right now. That fear of rejection makes them close up and not talk to people until they feel like they don't have a chance of rejection like you won't reject them. As a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Success coach, never reject those students, and they know from day one that you're always on their team and always on their side no matter what they're struggling with.

We feel that those parents should know that, and they do know that they're always trying to be as good as they can for us if you're their parent. That fear of failing you, getting rejected by you, or disappointing you is one of those things that hold them back as well. It's not always something that you've done wrong. It’s that they love you so much that they want to not disappoint you as being there, your child. Something that also holds them back is just that fear.

You're saying connect with them, communicate with them authentically, and take the time. They will reject you, but that's okay. Keep at it.

Keep at it because once they realize that you're always on their team, they will open up to you no matter what happens.

Start your curiosity early for science and connect math with it. Science is easy to understand. Science is what you said, too, right?

Yes, it helps the students make the connections between science, everyday real-world things, and what they're doing in their classrooms or in their studies, whether they're doing homeschool or out school, whatever it is that they're doing.

Also, you said to expose them to science. It's all around us. It's not something we need to even go by like we don't even need anything. Making dinner with you tonight is an experiment.

Have them write it down, writing down what you do. Say, “Do you want to try something different in this recipe tonight.” Have them write it down and write down what the results are. That is science. That's an experiment right there in the kitchen with you. you guys get to taste it, which is cool. You don't always get to taste things in the lab. In your kitchen chemistry lab, you always get to taste your experiments and see if it turned out.

Those are all very powerful messages to parents because as parents, we always think that. Even me, I always think like, “I need to make a big grand project with my son. That's time-consuming. I cannot do that. I'm busy.” We can make a story but these things don't even take time. We have to eat every day anyway.

We have to eat three meals a day.

Involve them. It's less work for us and sometimes it can be more work because they'll make a mess, but that's also good because you're teaching life skills along with it.

Then they'll want to help. Start helping in the kitchen, helping wash dishes. Sometimes, after helping in the kitchen, my son will be like, “I want to wash the dishes. Don't wash them.” He won't let me touch them and he'll wash them all.

Life skills for a lifetime. It's amazing.

Include them.

Invite them even if they're grumpy, even if they're sleepy, because if you have teenagers, that's a normal part, but they still want to be connected. Every human wants to be connected. Everybody wants to be connected.

They want to be connected. They want to be loved. They want to enjoy it. They want to be there. They want to be present.

Thank you, Phyllis. This was amazing. This is awesome. I really learned quite a bit. I like the way that you're connecting the math and the science. I think that's very important because I teach math. I have always loved science, too. I always thought we could create a program where kids learn all the elements in the periodic table because then by the time they're in chemistry. They already know it. They already know the symbol. They already know the numbers. Do you know how hard it is in high school to memorize those?

Literally, you're pushing to memorize, but if we start in grade three or grade two, those kids' memory is so sharp. They're like sponges. They're just absorbed, and even if it doesn't make 100% sense, they just know that there's a periodic table. These are elements that are found in the world. Sometimes, I can even find them in my backyard. I'm breathing some of these combined elements anyway. That's the oxygen and the water, I'm drinking.

One of our favorite jokes is that love is in the air. No, it's nitrogen and oxygen.

I think that program always intrigued me that the periodic table could teach kids so much before they even need it to use it content-wise. It'd be a great program too, just like time stable in math. It's the foundation.

Even using the numbers, because when you're learning your numbers, the periodic table has all the numbers. If you're learning 1 to 100, you could even start it in kindergarten.

I never thought about that. You can actually start your number system on the periodic table. Before they know one is hydrogen, they'll tell us. Thank you so much. I like it.

Thank you.

I love your program. I love your mission to serve students in a meaningful way. Having those connections is important holistically. Love it. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having me here. I've really enjoyed discussing it all with you.

Coaching Journey

Thank you. I just wanted to ask you a few questions. How was the Wholistic NeuroGrowth Training program for you?

I like the training. Like I said, I'm going a little bit slower on the posts and things like that. That is a little bit more of a struggle for me just because of my anti-posting in the past.

You're learning a new habit.

I'm learning a new habit. I'm going slow, like with the strawberries and then the kite. It's slow going, but I'm learning a new habit and then I'm also learning that I want to become a better writer, that I'm going to, I'm going to work on that, and that I'm not going to be afraid. I'm going to have somebody always read and edit my posts before I post them, too.

Share with us in the group. You can share it with Kristen and me on a group chat or our messengers, and we will always give you feedback.

Thank you.

Pretty immediate. You should try it out.

I will because I've been working on my 10. I'm at number nine right now on my 10 that I want to post.

Keep working on it whenever you see something, as you said, the bee story about your daughter. Like any of those are little moments that everybody can connect with. You can always put them out.

I like that idea. Putting that out there was a lot of fun when she really was like, and then the next person she saw, she explained the B2.

Find whatever you want to talk about within your daily life. That connects with people nicely because that's what they're living to. We talked about a teenager's sleep right now. We can talk about that. How do we help teenagers with sleep problems? How do we help them from not talking to us, connecting to us, because that's something they have a hard time with? They lose words when they're older. It feels like they don't have words other than yes, no, thank you, no. I'm like, “You got more words, come on. I know more words.” Those are posts that will help parents see that you understand them.

That's good advice.

Don't think it has to be grand from somewhere else. It's the regular stuff that you think is important. The simple stuff.

That helps a lot.

We're all forgetting the simple stuff. This is the problem in life right now. Everybody thinks there's something higher, but it's just a simple thing. It's always going back to the fundamental things. It's the simplest thing. That's why I say the most powerful thing in the world is no matter what we discover, where we go, we can go to another planet, and all this is always going to be the simplest thing. If you look at it, we need oxygen to live, we need water to survive, it's the simplest thing.

It really is. It comes back to it all the time, right?

Yeah, just the basics. Same with relationships, connections, and communication. Never going to change.

It's true. Feeling that you are like somebody cares about you.

Seen and heard is never going to change until human beings exist, connections and communication being seen and heard is never going to change.

That's true. It was funny. One of the high schoolers that I told you that I helped, she talks constantly to me. One day, she's like, “Can I just hang out in here?” My daughter and my son had come for a visit. She goes, “Can I just hang out in here? Because I don't talk to anybody waiting for the bus.” I was like, “That's funny because you never stop talking when you're around me.”

My daughter says the same thing. She says, “When I come home, I have a lot to say, but when I'm at school, I don't say much.” I was like, “You and my daughter have a lot in common. You have a lot to say to me, but you don't have anything to say to anybody else.” It was an interesting connection and interesting that the students said that as well.

What would you say to someone who is interested in becoming a Learning Success coach?

The number one in my book is that you care, that your whole desire is to help students be more successful, that you have to give up control, that sometimes I see teachers who do it because they want control. If you're somebody like that, I wouldn't say to join. If your main goal is simply to see those students succeed and see them get the joy out of learning, this is going to be one of the places where you can get to go deeper with students that you've always wanted to do in the classroom that you couldn't.

You were like a model student for me when you came in because you were working full-time. You finished the program just in the time that it's required, taking the exam.

I woke up at 5:00 AM every morning. I hadn't set an alarm for I don't know how many years, but even having kids, I don't set an alarm. I woke up at 5:00 in the morning and I'd work from 5:00 to almost 7:00 every morning, even on the weekends, to do it.

It's doable. It's because it's bite-size, you just take the steps and apply them. You can build it while you work. It means teachers don't see it as I'm stuck because many of them just say I'm stuck because they're not feeling this connection anymore with students. They feel like they're doing meaningless jobs.

Once you don't feel like it's working anymore, it's really hard to motivate your students if you're getting burned out, and I think the way the system is set up without flexibility for the students and for you people and students get burned out. I want the system to change because I want everybody to work together.

The way the system is set up without flexibility for the students and teachers makes them burn out.

One day, we're going to go. We're going to change it. In the meantime, as it goes through its turbulence time we have to make some changes outside of it. That's my goal, too. One day, our system will change and become better for everybody.

We can help it. We can be consultants to people and help guide the people who are at the top.

Message For Teachers

As I say, there's always hope for change to come. That's my prayer too. Is there anything else you want to add or tell a teacher who's in the classroom?

Just that the students do want to learn. They have been so beaten down by the system sometimes that's why it's so hard to motivate them. If you failed and you shouldn't have been held back and didn't get held back, then it makes it hard in high school when you cannot add or subtract or multiply and you're expected to do geometry.

There's no connection. If there's no connection, there's no correction. Connect with your students and that's what you're going to be doing as a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success.

That's why I'm so excited to start this journey and to work with more and more students, to help them, and to make the teachers in the classroom's lives easier, too.


Easier, for sure Thank you so much, Phyllis. We'll see you maybe later.

I know it's weird. We have such a weird schedule in my house because my husband works in the evening. That's why sometimes I make it, but then I watch those other ones. I might be able to.

If you do, I’m online.

Thank you so much. I really enjoyed this.

Thank you so much. We'll talk soon.

Thank you.

Important Links

About Phyllis Cruz

Aligned Learning Revolution | Phyllis Cruz | Neuro Nova

17 years of teaching experience from grades kindergarten through 12th grade, she is well versed in all ages and expectations. Specializes in Science instruction with a Master of Arts in Education. Personalizing, individualizing, and differentiating for students in and out of the classroom setting. Making real connections with students, gaining trust and enjoys watching them excel past expectations. Starting the business Neuro Nova Learning because she knows that if you give the students the right environment to learn and grow they will exceed their own expectations.

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Kohila Sivas

Kohila Sivas is a parent and a lifelong learner. She has been a classroom teacher at all levels and a Special Needs Instructor and is a Professional Math Interventionist, a Master NLP coach, and a #1 Best selling author.

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