My name is Hayley Christilaw.  I live in Ontario, Canada.  I am a wife, mother of four and a teacher.  I have been involved with the education system for the past 17 years.  

I chose to teach part time, trying to balance raising my children while maintaining my career. Two years ago, I left teaching.  

I went to work each morning feeling trapped and I knew I needed a break from it.  

All I could see were the needs and struggles schools were facing on a daily basis and I didn’t know how to change them.  

So, I left for a while and took a step back. 

While I was off, the discontent with the education system never left me.  

My oldest son, really began to struggle with school and it fuelled my quest to bring positive change to a broken system. 

That’s when I started Teaching with Tenderness.  

I knew that I wanted to inject the system with love, compassion and positivity. 

1.  What do you do?  

I want to be able to bring positive change to the education system.  I want to help educators create classroom environments that nurture the souls of their students with love and compassion!

2. Why is doing what you do important to you and the world?

I believe that teachers and schools are doing the very best they can, with the tools they have, to educate our youth. 

But, I do see a few areas that need tweaking. I don’t want to add anything extra, to a plate that is already so very full. 

This is not about extra lesson plans or marking, but it is about creating an environment in classrooms that nurtures and loves the young souls with which we are entrusted. 

It is challenging some old ways of thinking about students and the teaching culture. It is about learning and demonstrating along side our students, the importance of love, compassion, trust and respect. 

If we could create this environments in our classrooms, imagine the ripple effect it could have on our world. I think this is the missing piece of learning that truly prepares students for the "real world"!

3. Who is your ideal client and how can you help her/him?

My ideal clients are teachers.  The educators that go to work every morning wanting to make a difference.  

They can see the good in their students and they love them, but they have forgotten to do that for themselves.  Sometimes teaching can be a very thankless job.  Most teachers don't see it as a job, it's a lifestyle.  

One that they never really leave or shut down from.  

This can be exhausting if they are not doing things to build themselves back up.  

I want to help teachers rekindle the love affair with themselves.  

We remind parents to look after themselves, so they can be better for their families.  

Educators need to treat themselves with the same tenderness.  

I want to be able to help them develop lasting relationships with themselves, so they can go and create unbreakable bonds with their students.  

I believe this is the most important aspect of teaching.  

In order to teach kids to care, they have to believe we care about them and teachers need to feel this same love.  You can't give what you don't possess! 

4. Who or what inspired you to start your own business?

I started this business for a variety of reasons. I didn’t grow up longing to become a teacher.  I went to university and acquired an honours degree in business.  

After those four years ended, I still didn’t know what job I wanted to pursue.  My future husband suggested teachers college and the rest is history.  He saw qualities in me, that I was not aware of myself, at the time.  

I was super fortunate and was offered a full time contract, as soon as I completed school.  I jumped head first into a grade 3/4 classroom and treaded water, barely keeping myself afloat, for that year.  I still had lots of professional growing ahead of me, but I enjoyed the time I spent with my students.  

I was able to stay in that grade for a while, which allowed me to improve and find tune my practice, with each new class. Then, I had my first son and that experience made me a more thoughtful teacher.  I began to see each of my students as someones son or daughter.  

They were not just children, they were precious souls that meant the world to their parents.  

I began treating all of my students, with the love and care, that I wanted my son to receive, during his day at school.  I accepted kind gestures from the my students with grace.  

The hug hello, the thoughtful picture that was created just for me and the exciting story that had to be shared from the night before, were invaluable gifts that I received daily.  I was enjoying the profession and realized that it had been the right career path for me.  

I was meant to work with kids, but I began feeling that something was missing from the curriculum. 

This feeling of unrest was accompanied by a drastic change at school for my son.  He went from a boy who looked forward to class, to one that cried and refused to get out of the car and start his day.  

I was baffled by this new behaviour and to be honest, school has been an uphill battle since then.  I believe this change occurred because it was the first time in his life, that he saw himself as less than.  

He chose to believe a fictional story about himself, based on lack of educational ability and self worth.  His self confidence was shot and we are still trying to build it back up.  My eyes are not covered by blinders, when it comes to my sons behaviour.  

He is a ball of energy and doesn’t fit the traditional model of school very well.  He needs lots of movement and some freedom, but these needs are hard to meet in a regular class.  I am not blaming the school for his situation, but I tell it because there are MANY students in this predicament in MANY schools.  

Every child is born with a unique gift and I believe that everyone has some form of brilliance. I see some form of brilliance in all my students. Whether they grow to be a wonderful parent, they show us love through a kind gesture, or they simply provide another perspective. 

All babies are born perfect and brilliant and I believe we “educate” it out of them. 

One of my favourite students was a boy that performed horribly on his report card, but he would go home at night and pull apart a radio and rebuild it perfectly. This is a brilliant gift that is not assessed by school. 

He has great value in the world, but school does not value his brilliance. We are all born with an important purpose and we need to nurture our small souls so they can share it with the world.  This is why I created Teaching with Tenderness.  

If we can create an environment in our schools that is rooted in love, compassion and trust, then we can reach all students, regardless of academic ability or subject matter.  

I want to help as many teachers as possible establish this loving atmosphere in their classrooms. 

5. What are your top 3 lessons you've learned while building your business?

The top 3 lessons I've learned while trying to build this business are;

1.   You have to step out of your comfort zone and just go for it.  
2.   There will always be people that don't see your vision, don't talk to them!
3.   Keep your vision close and nurture it until you are ready to share it with the world.

6. What do you do on the "shit hits the fan" days?

Honestly I turn to as many spiritual practices as I can remember to do.  

I try to remember to forgive the situation and try to see what it is trying to teach me and learn from it.  I also call my best friend and thank God for her!  

She is always able to let me vent without judgement and is able to talk me off a "ledge".  She isn't afraid to tell me what I need to hear in a loving way.  

I am so grateful for her wise guidance and friendship.  If she isn't available, I try to find some form of inspiration to ground myself.  

A Super Soul Sunday interview, a helpful quote or listening to a self-help audio book will usually help me get back on track.  

It takes conscious effort though.  It sometimes feels like it would be easier to just give up and go back to my old ways, but I know that would never make me happy.  

So I just keep moving forward!

7. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

I am really just starting out myself, but I guess my best advice is to find someone or something that you can take along for the ride.  

It is not easy to step out of the norm and go for something new, even if you know it's what you were born to do.  

We all need a cheerleader that will help keep us moving forward.  

I am super fortunate to have a few people in my life that will do that for me, but it doesn't have to be a person.  

It can be a quote, a book, an interview that you can listen to or it could just be a recording of yourself that you create.  

You have to know where to go to boost yourself up when you want to give up.  I immerse myself in spiritual practice as often as I can.  

It helps keep me looking forward and believing that I can be a part of this change that needs to happen!

8. What was the best advice you've received?

The best advice that I have received so far is probably to just have faith and just go for it.  

Quit trying to control it all and just ride the wave.  

I know with every fibre of my being that this is the work that I am suppose to be doing.  I get so passionate about it.  

I can see myself talking to teachers and helping them be the best versions of themselves.  I don't know how the opportunity will come or when, but I do know that it will when the time is right.  

So I just keep learning, expecting and practice being the change that I want to see happen!

Where to find Hayley Christilaw?

Social media links:  

Teachers Pay Teachers: Teaching with Tenderness
YouTube link: Teaching with Tenderness

© Her Unscripted Life with 2017 ● Your Trusted Spiritual Business Coach and Social Media Strategist for Spiritual Entrepreneurs - Helping You Get Your Greatest Work Out to the World, Make You Influential & Get Paid Being You! 

P.S. I'm a visionary and I look at the big picture so please excuse any grammar or spelling mistakes if there're any.

Photo credit Pinterest.