Luke Burrows

The education system comes up in most, if not nearly all of the conversations I’ve had on the podcast and in previous podcasts I’ve had or well, it at least feels like that. I often wonder why as there must be a deeper reason but as Elena Calita shares it’s down to the current education system being outdated and this is coming from someone who is a teacher, as well as a leadership coach!

In my conversation with Elena, she openly shared her insights on the current education system and how we can start to offer more effective education and include personal growth within the current framework as the system isn’t going to change anytime soon which I find crazy and sad but not surprising.

Elena is an advocate for the need for a holistic approach to education that considers the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of students and believes that addressing these aspects is essential for students to reach their full potential and become effective leaders in the future, whatever they decide to go on and do and for what it’s worth I wholeheartedly agree with her, and would add that it’s not only about becoming effective leaders but being better human beings first.

One of the key points Elena points out is the importance of parents and the home environment in reinforcing and supporting learning and personal growth. She acknowledges that while schools and colleges play a significant role in education, it is equally crucial for parents and the home environment to be actively engaged in their child’s development. When there is a lack of reinforcement at home, it becomes a greater challenge to teach personal development concepts and ideas in schools and support students fully.

To address this, Elena engages in conversations with both parents and students to find common ground and understand their motivations and perspectives and even offers specific programs that support families with this which is vitally important.

Elena brings personal growth and leadership to the classroom and complements this with local workshops that are tailored for families, job seekers, and anyone interested in personal development. Elena aims to provide these resources for free, allowing individuals to access the wisdom that will help them, find new jobs, improve relationships, and overall change their lives for the better.

In our conversation, Elena admitted that has encountered pushback from fellow teachers who perceive certain practices, such as breathing techniques and meditation, as “woo-woo.” However, she has the scientific data and results behind these practices and their connection to greater health and well-being. Elena believes that the culture of the education system must change if we want to move forward, and believes in a system that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit.

When asked about the feedback she has received from her students, Elena shares that they appreciate personal development time in their curriculum. They have begun referring to it as “therapy time” and actively seek it out when they are struggling with challenges. Elena takes pride in the fact that her students recognise the impact her teachings have on their mindset and behaviour.

Furthermore, Elena shares the connection between education providers and local government and believes that leaders of these institutions can influence and demonstrate the value of effective education to local government, parents and the wider community which will highlight its impact and go some way to changing the system. However, changing the system is not something that is easy or will happen overnight but demonstrating the value of more effective education is one of the first steps to take.

Elena’s ultimate mission is to change the culture within the education system, which she acknowledges is a long-term mission. She believes that technology has helped this process by highlighting the negative effects of its overuse and prompting discussions on its responsible use. Elena aims to integrate personal development and leadership education into the training of new teachers and staff to create a more holistic approach to education.

Finally, we discuss Elena’s own personal growth journey where she shared that she has always been inclined towards changing mindsets and helping people improve. She pursued a Masters in Psychology but found that traditional therapy and counselling did not provide the desired results in a timely manner. This led her to the realisation that coaching offers a more holistic and efficient approach to personal growth and leadership.