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A Place They Love

Anyone who has ever known me well enough knows that I love to write. As a teenager, I wrote songs. They weren’t very good, but I found them to be fun and exciting. This love for writing expanded to English classes, blogging, and handwritten poetry and journaling. I’ve always found joy and freedom in writing.

Writing for educational reasons (to reflect, connect, and share) started right after the 2019 Teach Better Conference. I listened to a lot of great folks, two of which spoke to my core when they said to stay true to who you are and forget the haters. I didn’t (at the time or even now) have haters, but I knew I had to stay true to myself, what I valued, what drove me, and my mission.

I had to follow my heart.

After Teach Better, I began to blog. I began mindfully reflecting on what was going on in my educator life and my classroom, and shared resources and reflections that I made. It was around January 2020 that I realized there was a theme running through all the blogs: make school a place that students love.

Now, just because a theme is noticed, doesn’t mean anyone should write a book. I noticed the theme and thought, “A book idea? Nah, probably not.” My girlfriend (now my wife!) had other encouraging words. “Do it! You’re not off in your thinking, and what you are writing is good. Go for it!” So I did.

While my wife gave me the encouragement needed to start, there was also that voice in the back of my head saying “Be true to you.” This message — that school should be a place kids love — is my heart. It’s my drive and dedication. My motivation and inspiration. My mission as an educator is to make school a place that kids love. It was evident as this was reflected in my writing.

Writing a book about anything, let alone school culture, is a daunting task. But for me personally, the hardest part was making sure the message was coming across clearly. This meant lots of editing. No one tells you how much editing and revising you have to do as an author. (On another note: if authors have professional editors and go through multiple rounds of editing, why are we deducting points when students make a simple typo? Food for thought.) Editing became the most nerve-racking task of all. It was a freaky feeling the first time I got a notification that not only had my publisher read my work, but they also had feedback. It can be scary, but it’s actually for the best. My work is obviously better now and is “book ready”. I found in the end that this process was actually comforting to me. It was like I was Eminem getting to work with Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. Dope!

A Place They Love: Creating a Healthy School Culture and Positively Impacting Students focuses on building a healthy school/classroom culture through principles that are timeless. Principles such as: calling every student by name, eating lunch with students, making your classroom fun, building positive relationships, letting students lead the learning time, and much more. As I have noticed, through my own practice and experience, when we focus on and strive to implement the tips from the book, students are happier, more content, more at peace, and more successful. There are ideas in this book that will inspire any educator, regardless of what subject and grade they teach, to work differently, think creatively, and to show empathy and kindness to students and others.

This book is meant for teachers, along with a special chapter just for administrators. Regardless of your role, if you work at a school, this book will benefit you. This book challenges teachers, primarily, to change their thinking and evolve and grow in their practice. By speaking directly to the teachers, the message of the book also impacts the most important stakeholder: students. Since teachers work firsthand with students, the students are impacted the most when teachers put these tips and ideas in place.

I think that this book can tremendously impact teachers, which in turn impacts students. That’s another reason for writing the book: impacts students in a positive way. This can be in all areas: academics, behaviors, regulating emotions, etc. This book will mention throughout it that we should be educating the whole child. This book can help you reach the whole child in a way that you might not have thought was possible.

I’m excited that I have partnered with EduMatch Publishing to help make this project possible. A Place They Love is scheduled to be released on Friday, October 14, 2022.

Elijah Carbajal is the author of A Place They Love: Creating a Healthy School Culture and Positively Impacting Students, through EduMatch Publishing. The audience, teachers primarily, are taken through Elijah’s journey and evolution as an educator. The reader gets to learn from Elijah and other guest authors about what can be done today to make school a place that students love. The book will challenge the reader to think bigger, work and teach differently, and to expand our creativity. There is also a heavy focus on building positive relationships with students. Check out A Place They Love, available Friday October 14, 2022 on EduMatch, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

(Front cover of A Place They Love by Elijah Carbajal)

About the Author

Elijah has been teaching in the state of New Mexico since 2014, currently working in the Albuquerque Public School district. He enjoys podcasting as the host of The Shut Up And Teach Podcast. Elijah is the author of A Place They Love: Creating a Healthy School Culture and Positively Impacting Students, through EduMatch Publishing. He strives to make school a place that students love to be at by creating fun, safe, and engaging experiences and environments for all students. By challenging the norms of what education should look, act, and feel like, Elijah has created exciting opportunities for authentic learning to take place. Outside of the classroom, he can be found hanging with his wife Tracey, listening to or creating music, exercising, reading, or chilling with his cat, Nala.

Twitter: @carbaeli

Instagram: @carbaeli

Facebook: Elijah Carbajal

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