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Ayodele Speaks

Ayodele Speaks

By Ayodele Harrison
I am 6 foot 2in, 300+ lbs, bald headed, Black Male Educator. I am a trained engineer turned international math educator, facilitator of equity-centered learning experiences, and educational consultant. I have over 20 years teaching and leading in public, private and international schools. After 16 years as a classroom teacher, I quit because my desire to continue growing as a teacher-leader went un-nurtured. As a result, I launched a private consulting career. I see and experience the world a little differently than most. This podcast offers you a peek into my world of thinking.
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Something Different: white supremacist culture is alive and well
In this episode, I talk about the work of Tena Okun, a Racial Equity Trainer, whose work centers around “white supremacist culture”. I discuss how I am beginning to integrate her work with mine.
September 4, 2021
Simone, Naomi, and Sha’Carri
In this episode, I talk about confidence/certainty, mental wellness and the “yips”.
September 2, 2021
Workforce Development - who are we kidding?
In this episode, I talk about what’s missing in the workforce development industry and how that is harming Black people, specifically educators.
August 26, 2021
Groundwork: Dismantling White Supremacy can wait
In this episode, I talk about how schools will never become equitable places of learning if the people running them avoid exploring their own identity.
August 19, 2021
COVID Chronicles: Back to virtual learning
In the episode, I share why I think we will be returning to hybrid, if not 100% virtual learning by Labor Day.
August 12, 2021
Building Relationships with Students: It takes more than handshakes and correctly pronouncing names
In this episode, I talk about ways I built healthy relationships with students before I meet them in person.
August 5, 2021
I don’t know why daughter is failing pre-Algebra
In this episode, I talk about a recent conversation I had with a friend who has a teenage daughter failing pre-Algebra. She can’t seem to understand why, since her daughter is testing through the roof on math aptitude assessments. I provide a possible explanation.
July 29, 2021
Let’s talk about Racial Affinity Groups
In this episode, I spend some time talking about the benefits Black educators (and their students) receive when they consistently engage in Racial Affinity Groups
July 26, 2021
Im so grateful for Summer Camp
In this short episode, I express my gratitude for all the youth Summer Camp administrators and leaders. I have a 7 year old daughter and during the summer of 2020, my household experienced cabin fever. So this summer, with camps open, my daughter has a safe place to make new friends, learn about the history of Black artists, swim and exercise all that energy God gifted her.
July 15, 2021
Beliefs, values and ideas can be trash, but not people.
In this episode, I talk about how some people feel the need to say they like you, just prior to saying how they don’t like your stance on a particular topic or the way you handled a situation. Are they afraid that if they disagree with me, I would take that as an attack on my personhood? What’s up with that?
July 8, 2021
I never wanted to be a school principal.
In this episode, I talk how there is more to leading in education, than becoming a school principals. I never wanted to be one and I’m finding many other Black men in education who feel the same way.
July 1, 2021
We need Truth and Reconciliation
In this episode, I talk about the healing that power of the Truth and Reconciliation process.
June 24, 2021
Summers Off - Don’t get it twisted, we workin’
In this episode, I talk about the incomplete truth that teachers and educators have the summer off.
June 24, 2021
Workforce Development: Is it causing more harm?
In this episode, I share a short conversation Natasha (my wife and President/CEO) and I had concerning the responsibility incubators, non-profits, and other entities have when trying to support people of color and people from under resourced communities, with entering “professional” spaces that have historically been unwelcoming to them.
May 27, 2021
I’m an awkward “Girl Dad.”
In this episode, I talk about the awkwardness of attending play dates and other social activities with my daughter and being one of 2 (or only) guy there.
May 20, 2021
Self compassion might be the most important form of self care.
In this episode, I talk about an awakening I had one day listening to the song “Cranes in the Sky” by Solange. It started me down a path of thinking that my self care practices needed to include exercising more self compassion.
May 13, 2021
Exploring our Blackness: The power of Racial Affinity Groups
In this episode, I spend a moment reflecting on my experience participating in a Black centered affinity group. Over the course of four (4) 75-min meeting, all we did was bask in our Blackness and it felt great!
May 6, 2021
Where can school leaders turn for help and support?
In this episode, I reflect on a recent Facebook post from a school leader seeking advice on how to honor/remember students who tragically died in a car accident at their upcoming graduation ceremony. I “give flowers” to our school leaders facing challenges like these every year while trying to build equitable world-class learning communities.
April 29, 2021
“Cold calling” ain’t for the faint of heart
In this episode, I talk about the necessary task all sales people and consultants do at some point in their career - cold calling. I get really nervous every time I sit down to go thru my aspiring client list. Tap play to listen to how I navigate through each call and a success story from the other week.
April 23, 2021
Access doesn’t necessarily mean equity
In this episode, I share my thoughts on a comment I heard a school board member make during a recent board meeting concerning high students having access to a wider variety of courses via the districts virtual school platform.
April 15, 2021
You ain’t recruiting Black teachers with that ad!
In this episode, I react to seeing a very deficit minded social media advertisement that was intended to invite Black professionals to start their journey towards becoming a teacher. Very disappointed. Take a listen.
April 8, 2021
Do Not Disturb: Visioning in progress
In this episode, I share about how I am using Spring Break to vision the next steps in my work with Black Male Educators. I want to design, build and lead a learning and leadership institute. I’m using the Camelback Ventures and Echoing Green fellowship applications to help me move my vision from the back of my head onto paper (or the computer screen). Writing has never been easy for me, but I have learned over the years to welcome an optimistic attitude during the process.
April 8, 2021
Transformative work requires intimacy
In this episode, I talk about how transformation begins when we start infringing upon and crossing personal boundaries. The topic of this episode comes from a passage in a book called Sexual Intelligence authored by Dr. Marty Klein.
March 25, 2021
“I wish you well” - One fiercely compassionate and life saving phrase
In this episode, I share a brief story about an interaction I recently had with a neighbor and how I used the statement, “I wish you well,” to save my day.
March 12, 2021
It’s like we’re seen as barbarians
In this episode, I answer the question, “How do you get Black Male Educators to be open, honest and authentic during your BMEsTalk professional learning experiences?”
March 4, 2021
Veteran Black Male Educators find joy and excitement in affinity! (5mins)
In this episode, I share a recording of a short phone conversation I had with one of the BMEsTalk Leadership Lab participants reflecting on his experience in the first workshop. He is an Assistant Principal in Atlanta.
February 25, 2021
Could equity-centered communication be the key to retaining Black Male Educators?
In this episode, I talk about the communication challenges Black Male Educators experience on their jobs and how the BMEsTalk Leadership Lab was specifically designed to address them. The BMEsTalk Leadership Lab is a series of five (5) virtual workshops that offers Black Male Educators the rare opportunity to learn how to and hone skills in designing and leading equity-centered learning experiences for their fellow educators, parents and students. Learn more here:
February 19, 2021
Black Love
In this episode, I reflect on my experience talking about “Black Love” with 3 other Black men from our BMEsTalk Twitter chat. Like me, they are married and have children. I also talk about the 5 Love Languages and the challenge set before me to learn to speak my wife’s love language.
February 11, 2021
American Skin: Do I support Black art?
In this episode, I take a moment to share my thoughts on Nate Parker’s movie American Skin. Before I do, I start with sharing why I was initially not going to watch the film and then my hesitation to record my thoughts after seeing it.
February 4, 2021
One Night in Miami - Black males in affinity
In this episode, I reflect on 4 Black men (Malcolm X, Sam Cook, Jim Brown, and Muhammed Ali) sharing a moment in Miami. The movie is a demonstration of compassion in action.
January 21, 2021
The Talk - my son and the police (Follow Up)
In this episode, I reflect on my wife and I sitting down to talk with my son about navigating interactions with police. Specifically, I share the equity-centered facilitation tool we used and what I learned over the course of our conversation.
January 14, 2021
Do you really want Black Male Educators?
In this bonus episode, I talk about my experience wanting to grow as a teacher -leader, but being stifled by my school administrator. Ultimately, leading me to look for a job outside of the classroom and the school I was working at. This is a common experience for Black Male Educators. I also offer a solution —>
January 7, 2021
The Talk - my son and the police
Happy New Year! In this episode, I talk about preparing to have a talk with my 17yr old son, who is a senior in high school, about how to navigate interactions with the police, if stopped in the car or on the street. I also reflect on why it has taken so long for me to have the conversation.
January 7, 2021
Steve McQueen, Small Axe and Black men holding space for one another
In this episode, I reflect on the genius of Director Steve McQueens new movie series entitled Small Axe, specifically episode 2, Lovers Rock. In this particular movie, the Black male characters hold a non-verbal space for one another, making way for healing to happen right in the middle of a house party.
December 8, 2020
Before you join a DEI committee
In this episode, I talk about DEI committees and the racial identity-based barriers that often go unaddressed. I also share two community agreements that every DEI committee should consider adopting in order to increase the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the group.
December 4, 2020
Attention White Men! It’s time.
In this episode, I talk about White men and how they adopt a “listen and learn” stance when they are invited into conversations about race, racial equity, structural and institutional racism and/or White Supremacy. Both while facilitating and participating in professional learning experiences that center around race, White men will choose to and many times positioned to just sit in listen. I challenge that stance and want to call White men in and ask that expert facilitators intentionally make space for their voice. I share why this is key for their learning, as well as the person/people they are talking with.
November 21, 2020
Parenting a 6-yr old during a pandemic (part 2)
In this episode, I provide an update on how things are going. Spoiler alert: there has been very little improvement in my daughter’s behavior. I also share a few new consequence my wife and I cooked up.
November 12, 2020
Parenting a 6-yr old during a pandemic
In this episode, I talk about my daughter’s mischievous behavior, the challenges of setting consequences, and reflect on what her behavior says about me.
November 6, 2020
Empathy is a start, but it ain’t enough! Part 2
In this episode, I talk in more depth about empathy, empathic fatigue, and need to move beyond empathy into engaged compassion.
October 29, 2020
Empathy is a start, but it ain’t enough! Part 1
This is the beginning of a two part episode on the topic of Empathy. In part 1, this episode, I define empathy and briefly share a 6-part strategy for cultivating it. In part two, the next episode, I describe empathy in greater detail, talk about the danger of empathic fatigue, and introduce the compassion. Empathy paved the way to compassion, but they are two different things. Take a listen, like, comment, share.
October 22, 2020
Nov 4th: The day after!
What are you doing to prepare for the day after the 2020 election? Racism in America. Anti-Black culture in our schools ain’t just gonna disappear with in one election cycle. In this episode, I share my thoughts about how I am preparing myself and provide some suggestions for what you can do.
October 15, 2020
First Year Teachers: Have you checked in on them?
In this episode, I talk about a phone call I received the other day from 4 first year teachers. They were nervous and not sure how to react to schools re-opening for in person learning in less than 3-weeks. Take a listen, like, subscribe, share.
October 1, 2020
Update - Leading Learning at home: Part 3
In this episode, I discuss the progress my 6yr old daughter has made in becoming a more independent, patient and preserving learner. Take a listen. Hit the like button. Leave a comment.
September 24, 2020
My interview with NYC Men Teach for their Men Teach Monday Speaker Series
In this episode, I share a recording of my interview with Mr Nathaniel Smith, Director of NYC men Teach at CUNY Queens College. He invited me to share with is Men Teach Mondays Series. Topic covered: 1. My journey into teaching, 2. Cultivating and releasing my authentic voice as a classroom teacher, and so much more. Take a listen.
September 17, 2020
Virtual Instruction is Challenging
In this episode, I talk about the challenges teachers face transitioning from in-person instruction to virtual instruction. Many were caught unprepared at last March when schools closed. Some, even after spending the spring and summer participating in professional development, still don’t feel ready. Confidence can be hard to come by.
September 3, 2020
When White male principals check in on their Black Male Educators
In this episode, I share a recorded conversation I had with a friend and fellow Black Male Educator by the name of James Price. He called me last week and wanted to share something that had never happened to him before. His principal called to check in on him as a Black Male in the wake of the state sanctioned shooting of Jacob Blake.
September 3, 2020
Jacob Blake and facilitating tough conversations in your classroom.
In the episode, I share my reaction to the state sanctioned shooting of Jacob Blake. I also share a strategy for facilitating tough conversations with and among students when they arise in the classroom.
August 27, 2020
What would you do when the camera is on?
Educators are being beamed into their students home on a daily basis. We have unprecedented daily access into homes. What do we do if we see something ‘questionable’ happening in our students homes? In this episode, Ayodele explores this topic. Last week, a parent was murdered while their child was participating in their first day of virtual learning. What would you do? What advice, policies or procedures are guiding our educator’s decision?
August 20, 2020
11 pounds, childhood obesity and my weight issues
In this episode, I share how I are struggling to ensure that my daughter stays healthy during COVID. Resources:
August 12, 2020
4 ways to center the voices and experiences of our students
In this episode, I talk about the 4 ways to center the voices and experiences of youth: 1. Performance Data 2. Survey Data 3. Interview Data 4. In-person Observation Data. Collecting, disaggregating and interrogating these 4 types of data gives an educational community the evidence they need to make decisions on how to best serve ALL students, particularly those on the margins. Contant Ayodele and Episode Resources:
August 6, 2020
Black Male Educators are not a monolith
In this episode, I talk about the start of our 4th season of BMEsTalk. I talk about the intense planning that went into designing a full season of chats for with a team of 6 BMEs - we are not a monolith, so we spent a lot of time discussing intentionality and impact. I also discuss the Aug 3rd launch of our new podcast, The Rewind presented by BMEsTalk. Tap to listen now! Resources:
July 29, 2020
What are we going to teach this year? What goals do we have for student learning amidst a pandemic?
In this episode, Ayodele moves the focus from when and how we are returning to schools, towards y’all about what should be the focus this school. Ayodele shares his framework he used to strengthen his student’s abilities to learn math. This episode will leave you with more questions than answers.  Contant Ayodele and Episode Resources:
July 22, 2020
“Sawubona” - I see you
In this episode, Ayodele shares how he builds "Brave Space" that provides an opportunity for Black Male Educators and others to show up as their authentic self.  Click on the resource link to learn more.  Resources:
July 16, 2020
Encouraging myself
In this episode, I take a moment to lead a meditation in which I share a few affirmations I lean on for encouragement. Resources: Meditation: Kindness Towards Self  May I be safe from inner and outer harm. May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy and content. May I live with ease and well-being. May whatever blocks my heart be dissolved. May I know joy and freedom. May I have food, shelter and good care. May I be free from animosity and hatred. May I know peace. May I be a good friend to myself.
July 12, 2020
Coach, I want to play!
In this episode, Ayodele takes a moment to share a few reasons why a you college student athlete (or any athlete for that matter) would return to their college/university to train for the upcoming season, amidst our current pandemic. Resources:
June 25, 2020
What if Atlanta doesn’t love me? Part 2
On June 12, 2020, Mr Rayshard Brooks was shot dead by officers of the Atlanta Police Department (APD). In this episode, I take a moment to reflect on this recent murder and dive into the 4 Is of oppression (Ideological, Institutional, Interpersonal and Internal). The four Is of oppression offer a framework to better understand the far reaching impact structural and institutional racism in American society. I then turn to talking about equity center school improvement and how it can be used to address systemic racism in schools.  Upcoming Virtual Workshops:  Black Male Educators leading school improvement In this workshop, a community of Black Male Educators will discuss: The school improvement process A systems approach to centering equity in school improvement Leading school improvement efforts from where we stand This workshop is designed for Black Male Educators ONLY. We welcome all p-12 classroom teachers, aspiring teacher leaders, aspiring school leaders, current administrators, counselors, parent liaisons, district personnel, and all other Black men interested in learning more about school improvement. Register here:
June 18, 2020
What if Atlanta doesn’t love me?
This episode is a response to a sign I saw in my neighborhood. It read, “8pm Curfew, If you love Atlanta, please go home.” I talk about the Changing the Odds report released by the Annie E Casey Foundation that sheds light on the ever widening gap between Atlanta’s haves and have-nots. Resources:
June 11, 2020
Am I doing enough?
In light of the continued uprising against the ideology of White Supremacy and structural and institutional racism, I ponder the questions: Am I doing enough? Should I join the protestors in downtown Atlanta?   Want to do more? Vote. Complete the 2020 Census. Donate to those people and organizations you believe represent your voice.  Resources: 
June 4, 2020
Cranes in the Sky
In this episode, I reference Solange’s song, Cranes in the Sky, to talk about the challenging nature of navigating emotional interruptions. This is a follow up to episode 1 - Black Male Educators aren’t safe, where I first introduced the concept of emotional self care. Resources:
May 22, 2020
1.7 million students in GA, $3.6 billion in cuts
The Georgia State Legislator is slated to cut over $3.6 billion from state agency budgets. Some say 14% or more from the budget of the GA Department of Education. What impact will this have on the 1.7 million students in GA? Resources:
May 16, 2020
Leading Learning at Home: Part 2
T.R.I.P. Thinkers (Thoughtful, Resourceful, Independent, Persistent) Critical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, and assessing and analyzing information have been identified as necessary skills in the 21st century. In this piece, I talk about how I am working with my Kindergartner to hone these skills.  I also provide a few strategies.  Resources:
May 16, 2020
Leading Learning at Home: Part 1
I talk a moment to respect on how closing of in person schooling has thrust me into leading learning for my 5 year old daughter. It’s been an exceptional experience. Resources:
May 16, 2020
Black Male Educators aren’t safe!
The title says it all.  Click and learn more.  Resources:
May 15, 2020