2016 Message to Students from Author, Dr. Hoedel

2016 Message to Students from Author, Dr. Hoedel


I waited to write this blog until everyone was back in school. If you are reading this in Arizona, you have been back in school for 5 weeks, but if you are reading this in New York, you returned to school this week. I hope the beginning of the class is going well for you.  Below you can tell me your thoughts on the class so far.

Purpose of Blog: Every week I will sit at my computer and write about a current event related to character and leadership.  In the blog, I usually provide my perspective, a video link and discussion questions. The purpose of this blog is to make a simple point – character and leadership matter today! These attributes weren’t just important in 1864 or in 1964 – they matter just as much now as they ever did.  Some of these stories will be inspirational and some will teach tough lessons. Sometimes it will be about someone who ruined his/her life with one bad decision and sometimes it will be about a selfless act that positively changed someone’s life. The joy of writing this blog is that I never know what will transpire that will become a blog post.

My Hope #1 – Read It: I hope that your teacher will share the blog with you every week. It is a great way to keep the class current and relevant. To be honest, I spend 2-5 hours every week researching and writing these blogs and I would hate it if no one ever read these posts.

My Hope #2 – Comment:  For each post, I will provide discussion questions. Respond to them and let me know what you think about the story. Be articulate. Don’t just say you disagree – say what you disagree with and back it up with a solid rationale. Keep it clean. Don’t swear or put down other students’ views.  It is a character and leadership site, so I will filter comments that are non-productive.

My Hope #3 – Be Inspired: I hope that these blogs will inspire you and that one or many of them will change the way you approach life.  I believe that students can be inspired and want to be inspired. People and stories can be the source of that inspiration.

My Hope #4 – Social Media: Using your own Twitter or Facebook pages, follow us on Twitter @CDandLeadership (use #CDandL) and/or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/characterandleadership. This will allow you to receive the posts as soon as they go live, not having to wait for class to read the posts. This will also allow you to receive these posts long after the students leave this classroom.

Your Turn:

  1. What are your initial thoughts on the class?
  2. How do you think learning leadership will help you in life?


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  1. My initial thoughts on the class is that it is very interesting as well as informational. Not only do we get to learn how to be leaders, we learn the basics of life and different ways to succeed. I love coming to this class everyday knowing that I will walk out with something new that i learned.

  2. I have taught this class for many years, and it is easily the best curriculum I have ever had the honor to share with students. This year I have been moved to serve at the attendance facilitator for two of my large California High Schools. In this new post, much of my day is spent compiling data regarding missed classes, trying to track down kids that often are at home doing nothing or worse, and relaying to them and a parent, whenever possible, the seriously detrimental impact their lack of educational effort will have on future endeavors.

    In the past month, I have been thinking how schools, not just mine, but EVERY school in this country, could turn this class into a powerful tool to connect with kids and make school a place where these kids, many who cannot relate to others on their campus, could come together in a positive setting and with a teacher’s guidance, form a supportive “family” of others that recognize their personal challenges and instead of ignoring or using them as an excuse for their behaviors, use the lessons in the curriculum to guide and foster the kind of community this country needs to strive for nationally.

    Will any district ever fund a teacher that spends half a day doing attendance duties and at least 3 periods leading these character development and leadership classes? I don’t yet know, but I will try to work toward that ideal model here and hope anyone else interested in having this curriculum be used as the cornerstone to reach EVERY kid that needs it contacts me if they need any input from someone who knows, this is the best course possible to use as a cornerstone to change the entire path of a child’s life.

    I truly hope some schools out there come to realize the importance and huge cost and labor savings employing this in class schoolwide could have on their culture and community.

  3. My initial thought the class is that it can train somebody to be a leader.
    I think learning leadership can help me better present on a presentation, and help me know what a leader should be. And the teacher says that leadership is based on serving, so I also think that I can learn how to serve on leadership class.

  4. I think this class would encourage students to look at topics and subjects in a different way. It will give different perspectives to issues which can broaden their views.
    Learning leadership will help with my character and will teach me how to deal with life issues and events. Often times our emotions can influence our actions but a good leader will use other qualities to deal with issues.

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  5. Dr. Hoedel,
    I LOVE teaching this class. The students always surprise me with their written responses to questions asked in class. Each day the kids are coming in smiling and eager to learn. I have started this curriculum in the two high schools I have worked at. Everyone these days are so worried about academics and we all seem to forget about teaching life skills to our youth. Not only do the students benefit tremendously, I believe I have learned and changed for the better and am so passionate in teaching this class. When the movie “Sully” came out I would estimate 40-50 of my students saw the movie and were so excited to tell their teacher about it!!
    Thank you!!
    Mike Pommier
    Teacher Space Coast High School

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      Mr. Pommier, thank you. You are an awesome teacher. I never forget how important the teacher is in this process, and you sir are top shelf. I also never forget how important it is to inspire students and how they want to be inspired. Keep up the great work.

  6. My intial thoughts on the class is that it is informational and helpful.
    I think learning leadership will help me in my life because I can be more informed about the world.

  7. 1. My initial thoughts regarding this class is that the teacher is encouraging and inspiring students to become a strong leader.
    2. Leadership will benefit me in my life because it will encourage me to stand up for what I believe in.

  8. I particularly enjoy this blog idea. While i may not ever be a leader (except in my own stories. but thats a different story [no pun intended]), i like the idea of helping potential leaders, well, lead.

  9. my thoughts on this class is it could have potential,i don’t know if it is fun, but it is definitely not boring. and learning leadership will help me to be more responsible and trustworthy to others around me.

  10. My initial thoughts on the class is that it is informational and helpful.
    I think learning leadership will help me in my life because I can be more informed about the world.

  11. My initial thoughts about this class is that its different, it helps you learn how to be a better person and a better friend.
    Learning about leadership will help not only me but everyone in life by, helping others to success, and leading them to become leaders on their own by teaching them to be different, help those who are in need, being there for someone who was there for you, and helped you to succeed.

  12. My initial thoughts on the class is that it will be very educational and inspiring learning opportunity for me and others.
    Learning about leadership will help me to be a leader in tough times as I grow up and get older, so that way I can essentially help others and myself when it is needed.

  13. My initial thoughts on this class was that it would be extremely difficult and boring; but now that i am apart of the class i am rather excited to be in it. it seems like it will be a fun course throughout the quarter.

    I believe that learning about leadership will help me throughout life whether it be in class projects, in out of school things, being a sports captain, or in my future occupations. Leadership is a big part of like and i am pleased that i will be able to learn more on the topic of it.

  14. Character and leadership are two amazing and helpful traits. I believe that character and leadership help you become a better person. Leadership creates an influence on others, and character lets become respectful, kind, and more! In conclusion, everyone should have these traits !

  15. My initial thoughts on the class is that I think it will be able to help us develop a better understanding of our character.
    I believe that learning leadership will help us in life because it shows people how we want to form the world around us.

  16. My initial thoughts on this class is that it will be a great experience for me. I think this class will help me learn leadership skills that will help me in life.

  17. My initial thought of the class is its going to be very educational and helpful for my future. I think it will teach me a lot about being a leader and leadership. I think that leadership will help me a lot in life. Including , helping others become a leader and maybe teach them why its important to be a leader.