Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev

Rise and Brine with Ryan Dalton

February 20, 2023 Kosta Yepifantsev Season 2 Episode 57
Rise and Brine with Ryan Dalton
Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
More Info
Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
Rise and Brine with Ryan Dalton
Feb 20, 2023 Season 2 Episode 57
Kosta Yepifantsev

Join Kosta and his guest: Ryan Dalton, Teacher at Avery Trace Middle School, Social Worker, Educator, Activist, Facilitator and Co-Founder of the ATMS Pickle Club

After 10 years of living in Cape Town, South Africa working with homeless youth, Ryan found his way back to the United States, settling in the Upper Cumberland with his two daughters Maya and Tiege.

In this episode: The origin story of ATMS Pickle Club and how it became the most popular club in the Middle School's history, Ryan's career in education and social work and how we can help teachers to grow and thrive in 2023 with a special call to action from our host Kosta Yepifantsev.

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

Find out more about ATMS Pickle Club:
https://www.facebook.com/ATMSPickleClub
https://www.instagram.com/ATMSPickleClub/

🥒 ATMS Pickle Club's Pickle Festival:
🗓 Saturday, April 29, 2023
⏰ 10 AM – 4 PM
📍 230 Cavalier Dr Cookeville, TN 38501
🖥 https://www.facebook.com/events/s/upper-cumberland-pickle-festiv/3232906353691980/

Find out more about Kosta and all the ways we're better together:
http://kostayepifantsev.com/

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kosta and his guest: Ryan Dalton, Teacher at Avery Trace Middle School, Social Worker, Educator, Activist, Facilitator and Co-Founder of the ATMS Pickle Club

After 10 years of living in Cape Town, South Africa working with homeless youth, Ryan found his way back to the United States, settling in the Upper Cumberland with his two daughters Maya and Tiege.

In this episode: The origin story of ATMS Pickle Club and how it became the most popular club in the Middle School's history, Ryan's career in education and social work and how we can help teachers to grow and thrive in 2023 with a special call to action from our host Kosta Yepifantsev.

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

Find out more about ATMS Pickle Club:
https://www.facebook.com/ATMSPickleClub
https://www.instagram.com/ATMSPickleClub/

🥒 ATMS Pickle Club's Pickle Festival:
🗓 Saturday, April 29, 2023
⏰ 10 AM – 4 PM
📍 230 Cavalier Dr Cookeville, TN 38501
🖥 https://www.facebook.com/events/s/upper-cumberland-pickle-festiv/3232906353691980/

Find out more about Kosta and all the ways we're better together:
http://kostayepifantsev.com/

Ryan Dalton:

Young people shouldn't be put in a position to fail. And I want to see kids set up for success. I think a lot of times what happens is failing schools end up getting the worst of the worst teachers too, because nobody wants to work there. And if everybody kind of runs away, then it can never sort of be transformed.

Morgan Franklin:

Welcome to Better Together with Kosta Harvard. Yepifantsev, a podcast on parenting business and living life intentionally. We're here every week to bring you thoughtful conversation, making your own path to success, challenging the status quo, and finding all the ways we're better together. Here's your host, Kosta Yepifantsev.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey, y'all. This is Kosta and today I'm here with my guest, Brian Dalton teacher at Avery trace Middle School, social worker, educator and activist. After 10 years of living in Cape Town, South Africa, working with homeless youth, Brian found his way back to the United States, settling in the upper Cumberland, with his two daughters, Maya and Tasia. Ryan, you've created the most popular club in Avery trace middle school history. Will you give us a brief origin story of how this started?

Ryan Dalton:

It was a total accident. First of all, when we're talking about the ATMs pickle club, so it's literally a club about pickles. I love it. Yeah. So I had a student who he's a current eighth grade student. And last year, I would go down and hang out when the kids are in lunch and stuff. And I would see him and he would his tray would always on the days that they have pickles in the cafeteria, his tray would always be full of pickles, like piles of pickles, amount of pickles. And then he would have them in his pockets throughout the day. And he would pull them out start eating the pickles. So that was just a random thing that I knew about him. And last school year, over Christmas break. I went to slice here in town, and they have really good pizza, a pizza, and they have a dill pickle pizza. And so yeah, and I didn't know that at that point. So I'd see this thing and I try it. And I was like, this is actually amazing. Like, I've always liked pickles. I never thought about having it on a pizza sauce, send a text to his mom. And I was like the student's mom and I'm like, Hey, do you mind showing Caden this pickled pizza? I think you would really love it. And so he was like, Oh my gosh, I would love to try that. So I said, Alright, when we get back from break, I'm gonna buy one for lunch. So I got one of these pickled pizzas. When we got back from Christmas break, and two other colleagues and Caden and another friend of his, we all went to my room during lunch and ate this pickle pizza. And we were like, We all loved it. And they're talking about how great it is. And they were like, What are other cool things we could try? We're all pickle lovers, you know? So it was it was just kind of like conversation. And then somebody was one of them was like, oh, we should start a pickle club. Yeah. And I was like, oh, yeah, that'd be funny. And so as a joke, total joke. I printed out these shirts that said ATMs pickle club. And they came and I handed them out to that small group of people. And the next Friday, we all wore them. And all the kids were like, I want to be in the pivotal club. What's the pickle club like they were, they were really going for it. So kinda, I just started amping it up kind of still as a joke. And I got a pickle costume. And I started wearing it in the hallways be like join the pickle club. And, and so I started a Google forum for kids to sign up. And within one day, over 100 kids signed up and now Yeah, within like three days, we had over 300 kids who signs out insane. Yeah, good. So you Yeah, so it. I mean, it's like,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

what what do you guys do? Like, what are the meetings like? Well,

Ryan Dalton:

so that's what's kind of funny. We did this and then, like, I have, like, 300 members. And it's like, now we have to have a meeting. I'm like, what did we do exactly what you just asked me? And I'm like, I'm not really sure. So I created like a alma mater song. Actually, I sat with our music teacher, she created it, but we kind of did it together a little bit, but she wrote the words and we talked about different things about vehicles. She didn't even like pickles. And she wrote the song for us. So it's like a real like old school sounding alma mater. So we really we just met in the auditorium a bunch of kids were like, bringing pickles. I brought some pickles for us to try. I was wearing a pickle suit and we sing the alma mater, we chanted about pickles. We talked about what we might do as a bagel club. And yeah, it just took off from there.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So like your end goal for the pickle club or essentially what you're trying to accomplish is what

Ryan Dalton:

I don't even know like there's really no end goal per se but I would say the goal is like there's no end goal every day every day is the end goal kind of like it's the the goal is at this point now is just to have fun to be inclusive. We everybody's included, anybody's invited. You don't have to like pickles to be in the club.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I love that though. I mean, I love the fact that your your end goal is no goal and it's just the Making sure that you have a vehicle so that everybody can be together, you know, in a positive way, of course, yeah. And

Ryan Dalton:

it's Middle School is such a hard age. Oh my god, it's so hard. That's why I enjoyed teaching this age because yeah, I get it. I remember it. I it's just, it's a time of life where the kids kind of, especially in seventh and eighth grade, I say that I think their brains just kind of fall out. They surrender to the hormones, and their bodies are changing. It's so hard. I mean, it's really so hard. They don't know why they're angry. They don't know why they're upset. A lot of times, yeah, so they just need these outlets. And I think right now, in some ways, in this country, we've taken a lot of the fun out of school. And I mean, I think you can make math class fun, I think you can make all types of curriculum fun. But in general, there's been these active initiatives of sort of taking the arts out of school and kind of taking sports away. Yeah, here and there. And a lot of fun has been removed from squats. So

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I mean, why would you want to take fun out of school? Because I mean, kids don't, at most of the time, want to go to school. So if you make it less fun, they're gonna want to go even less?

Ryan Dalton:

That's a great question. And that's what I would love to ask the people who are doing it. But yeah, I mean, it's, I think they look at funding and things like that. And, and they think that money could go to other things, rather than these certain programs. But pickles, pretty, pretty easy, pretty cheap. And pretty funny, just so random. So I think it's just something that it's a good outlet. It's silly, it's funny. It's something that like any angle of a kid could get behind any kind of like, I don't know, we attract kind of all groups of kids from the like, real sort of smart kids who are in all the honors classes to like the sporty kids to just the random kids who don't have another place. Everybody's kind of can meet in the middle with picnic. I

Kosta Yepifantsev:

love it. I love it. So tell me about your journey. And I want to go all the way back to the beginning, because you've been an educator for how long

Ryan Dalton:

so I'm a social worker, undergrad. And while I was doing social work, studying social work in Cape Town, University of Cape Town, I was placed at a school. And with my work in Cape Town, I worked with homeless youth, I saw a lot of times the breakdown was at it was something to do with a school. This is in South Africa. Yes, Cape Town, South Africa. My interest really, I started becoming interested in school and what's going on there. And every kid's story of how they ended up on the streets that I was working with, I would say probably like 95% of the time, the turning point was something to do with school, they didn't have the school uniform. So they were kicked out. They, like got in trouble in school got expelled. They like just something related to school, the content was too hard. And they were getting in trouble because they were acting out because they didn't know what to do. When I was placed at a school doing social work. I got a more in depth look at like the schools in South Africa. And I ended up teaching one class a week for five years there at a little Elementary School sixth grade. Well, I guess that would be middle school here. What

Kosta Yepifantsev:

was it like working with homeless youth in South Africa? It was did it what 10 years?

Ryan Dalton:

Yes, I was 10 years there. Was that like, it was it was amazing. I mean, it was really, I say like, besides the time I spend with my current biological kids now, it's like, the best time I've ever had in my life

Kosta Yepifantsev:

is, I mean, how big is the problem in South Africa? How many homeless kids are there? I mean, because like, the only reason I asked that question is because in the United States, I don't I see homeless people, but I don't see a lot of homeless kids.

Ryan Dalton:

I don't know currently the exact numbers. But I would say in the 1000s. And the the difference in Cape Town, which is one of the things I thought were the thing that sort of led me to advocacy and activism was the bigger structure that allowed kids to live on the streets, the difference in Cape Town, unlike a place like Uganda, or Rwanda, a place that's like been just like, demolished by the AIDS pandemic more war torn or something like that. The difference in Cape Town is that those kids were kind of choosing to be on the streets. And yes, they come from communities that were have difficulties gangsterism poverty, drug addiction, all that stuff is bad in the communities. At some point, there was a choice where they were allowed to be on the streets and like society, just kind of let them but they would have family, a lot of them would have families at home. And it might not be like the most functional family but they had families, a lot of them to go to, whereas in other countries you see more like kids who are on the street, usually a lot of times orphan or maybe their whole family lives on the street, right? Um, Cape Town was a little different in that sense had

Kosta Yepifantsev:

their kids survive. I mean, I just I'm trying to like wrap my head around it up. somebody being homeless indicated the same time, like how do they even survive

Ryan Dalton:

if they survive and like kind of group mentality. So they have these little groups. And it's not like gangs per se, but some of them are also like gang affiliated or in weird ways, which is weird because the the groups themselves in the town spin downtown are like their own little groups, and they kind of control little areas. And so it'll be like the Green Market boys or the long street boys, or it's like Lord of the Flies, it really is. And they survive by being a part of a group, usually. And then it's like, whatever they depending on the group in the area, it's begging, like long street was the big clubbing area of Cape Town. So they survived kind of on the nightlife of Cape Town, whereas Green Market Square, they have the market in the daytime for tourists to come in. So they survive by like begging, they're stealing, robbing whatever

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you ever go to, like New Orleans, or New York. And you know how like in New York, those kids on the subway cars, like they do the dances and stuff, and then you give him money. And yeah, and then like New Orleans, they do the gentleman's and everything. Do you ever think like, are those kids homeless? Like, do they have a family that they're gonna go back to? Or do they live in a shelter? Or something like that? Or does that that idea never cross your mind when you're in the US?

Ryan Dalton:

Um, when I'm here, I think poverty here in America is very different than the poverty that I saw over there. And so I always kind of question everything. And I wonder, like, what's going on with these kids lives or whatever. I know that this country doesn't allow child homelessness in the way that South Africa did at that time. I lived there. So you

Kosta Yepifantsev:

were working with homeless youth for 10 years. And then you got a job at a school for five years working in teaching? What did you teach

Ryan Dalton:

over in Cape Town? So I was placed at that during my university college years University. Nice. University. Yeah, I was doing social work as well. So I did individual and group therapy with some of the students. And they have this course that had like, just come out that one of the first years I was there called Life orientation. And it is actually an incredible course. It was mandatory K through 12 curriculum. And it literally is like, everything about life orientation. So it covered everything from like, sex education, money, like racial inequality, type stuff, all that kind of stuff, just like anything. You might success skills, anger, strategy, like Coping with Anger, anything that you need in life, it was in that course. And a lot of the teachers were really intimidated by it, because they themselves needed it per se. Like they, they didn't know how to teach it because they sort of never had it and kind of needed it. This teacher at that school was like, Hey, would you mind teaching this to my class? And I was like, No, I wouldn't mind at all I would love to. So I did it. The one year, the year after my internship was over there, I came back and taught that class once a week, and they really enjoyed me doing that. So I just continued that for five years. And it was really my introduction in like classroom teaching. I worked at an after school program in high school here, but that was my first sort of classroom teaching experience. And my first year it was 47 kids in the class and 47/6 graders. And it was Yeah, I mean, you learn classroom management really quickly.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

But you grew up in Cookeville, though, correct. So you decided I'm leaving Cookeville? And I'm going to South Africa.

Ryan Dalton:

Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, I was kind of

Kosta Yepifantsev:

like, you just like, throw a dart in there.

Ryan Dalton:

Kind of Yeah, like it was sort of, that's kind of what I did. I went with the youth program and, and I kind of just did kind of throw a dart. And I was in Cape Town for three months, and then India for three months. And when I was in Cape Town, I met the kids who lived on the streets there. And it just like I connected with them, and I thought like, well, this is this will be a good next thing to do. And I moved back there to work with them full time. So eventually

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you leave Cape Town, and you move to New York City. Yeah, Brooklyn. Yeah,

Ryan Dalton:

I was I was back here in Tennessee for like a year and a half. I was doing freelance writing just the kind of I didn't know what was next year, I was doing that just to make a little money. And I was like, I love writing and I hate writing for other people

Kosta Yepifantsev:

have tried to wear CPT.

Ryan Dalton:

So I was like, I want to, I wanted to get my Master's because I'm an undergrad in social work, psychology stream, and I wanted to get my masters and I also wanted to get back to just working with youth because that's what I really love. And I found out about the New York Teaching Fellows, and so I was able to get my master's degree while doing full time teaching. So yeah, I went up to Brooklyn and worked in a school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. While I was pursuing my master's degree, and then ended up living in teaching there for four years,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

so how do you get to a retrace Middle School? And how much different? Is it based off of like the experience that you've had in teaching in Brooklyn teaching in South Africa? And I'm just curious, like, what's it like?

Ryan Dalton:

Well, so I went from Brooklyn to when I had my first daughter who's about to turn seven. She was three months old, we ended up moving to Montgomery, Alabama, where my brother worked for Equal Justice Initiative. Bryan Stevenson, I was there teaching in high school for four years. And I will say, both of the schools that I've taught at in America before a retrace were failing, like on failing schools list, the school culture was different than schools that you see around here. And

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I would, would you think,

Ryan Dalton:

I loved it? It's like, Yeah, I kind of that's my kind of vibe. Like, I like it. I, I feel like the underdogs. Yeah. But I also, you know, I feel like kids, young people shouldn't be put in a position to to fail, right. And I want to see kids set up for success, right. And I think a lot of times what happens is failing schools end up getting the worst of the worst teachers too, because nobody wants to work there. And if everybody kind of runs away, then it can never sort of be transformed. Yeah. So it was a choice. I did it on purpose, like to work at schools that are on failing lists and things. And I loved it. And I love the students. I love my colleagues. I love the work I was doing. And so yeah, you can then imagine, I guess, like every Chase was a step down. And but I love it equally in different ways for different reasons. And yeah, but it's very different than any school or sort of youth environment that I've worked in.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

What's it like to be a public school teacher? In 2023? Do you feel like you're properly equipped, I

Ryan Dalton:

feel like I'm equipped. I do not necessarily feel supported by the broader system. But I definitely feel equipped. But that's also I think, because of my background, teachers are asked a lot these days. I mean, we're asked to be social workers, counselors, all the things along with teaching and then teaching very specific things in specific ways these days. And my I think I'm at a, at an advantage, having a background in social work. Because I, I see education in a different way. And I see the students in a different way. And a lot of the like, sort of social emotional stuff. And the issues that I see students going through, I understand it on a deeper level. And I am able to kind of respond to what's going on, on a deeper level than react to what you see. My

Kosta Yepifantsev:

wife's best friend is a teacher in Bradley County. So I think right by Chattanooga in that area. And when she comes over, we talk a lot about some of the frustrations that she has as a teacher. And I mean, it would be hard for me to see kids who don't who aren't supported by parents. And I think the feeling that she gets, and she doesn't say this, but it kind of resonates as she's talking. Do you ever get the feeling like you're going one step forward? And two steps back?

Ryan Dalton:

Yeah, it can. It can be like that. Um, and I would say on the frustrations that I feel, I would say 9.999 repeated decimal times out of 10. It's not the kids. It's the adults. Okay. Yeah. The parents, adults, all adults, adults. Yeah. Well, yeah. I mean, colleagues, people making decisions at a district level. Yeah. People making decisions to state national level. Yeah, parents like, but it's usually the adults because kids are still kids. They're kind of just products of their environment at the moment, and they're still very, you can still, like see change, and things come in them. But yeah, like, I would say most of my frustrations come from adults. And I'm not saying that kids aren't don't cause Oh,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

sure. Yeah, of course mean their kids. Yeah, but they get a pass because they're still growing up. Yeah. Like, like we were talking earlier, you actually don't become an adult and you may or may not be held accountable to the same degree until you really turn 30 You gotta like develop a frontal lobe, you know, until then you're like, you know, it's all jelly up here, you know?

Ryan Dalton:

Yeah. And I think that's, that's what is, is. I think a lot of adults forget that. And a lot of a lot of the issues I see in the classroom are even if it looks like it's the students that are the problem, it's really not,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

but like, okay, obviously the public school system is made up of adults, you've been in the public school system a long time you've been teaching at every trace for how long?

Ryan Dalton:

Yeah, well, you did ask me how long so this is my third year at every trace. And this would be my 11th year in America. And if you add the five years in South Africa that I just taught, like once a week,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

so here's the question of the day. Do you feel supported by the public school system? And are we giving our children the tools to succeed? Or are we giving our children the tools to score well on standardized tests?

Ryan Dalton:

So I'll answer those separately. So do I feel supported by the system? No, absolutely not why I don't think I could ever feel supported in a profession that so egregiously under pays the professionals, I agree with you on that. And I'm not saying, and there's that whole thing, like we're expected to be like, I'm not in it for the money, which I'm not like, literally, I would be doing something else if I was in it for the money. But um, I, you could still be a professional, and be good at this and make money that you deserve.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

You guys are as teachers, you guys are supporting and developing the future of our country. This is this, I've said this at least 25 times on this podcast, teachers should be paid more than, than doctors and lawyers, they should be the number one paid profession in the United States, because your job it makes or breaks us as a society because you're developing the future of our country. I just don't understand it.

Ryan Dalton:

i So me, I have, at this point, 16 years of teaching experience. Yeah, I have a master's degree. Yeah. Someone at my level in a profession, or any other profession should be making pretty good bucks and not and I'm not 100,000 Plus, but I'm, I'm pretty good at what I do. Like, I'm pretty good at what you did.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

You created a pickle club accidentally. But yeah, well, I mean, I think there was at least some intentionality behind it, and you pulled 300 students in, but

Ryan Dalton:

yeah, it's like you, you wouldn't see that. And money is not everything. But I think if you pay people what they deserve, then you create a more competitive environment. And a lot of these things that people complain about, because you know, you hear all these complaints about teachers and this and that, well, then if you treat it more like an actual profession, a competitive profession, than those who aren't performing in the way they should, you know, shouldn't shy Oh,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

exactly. Shouldn't wouldn't be in the profession. Yeah.

Ryan Dalton:

And so it's, it's wild to think about that I spend more time with people's kids than they actually do waking hours, at least in a day in a school year. I mean, I spend from I get to school, on purpose to kind of hang out in the halls and greet the kids, when they come in, I get there at seven, I dropped my own kids off at 650. So I could be at a retrace at seven to hang out downstairs, see the kids greeting when they come in, make sure they're doing okay, when they come in, I'm there from seven until three something to four. And I was spending that whole day with the kids. And really, then they go home, they go to their extracurricular activities, they dinner and they're off, you know, in their rooms or whatever. Teachers often spend more times more time with people's kids than the parents themselves. And that's not like some weird, like, Haha, but it's like, I would want to pay the person spending time with my kids very well.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So here's the question, then why? Because governor, Governor Lee just put out a budget $3.3 billion for the transportation department roads, bridges, infrastructure, I get it. That's important. But why Okay, fine. Take that $3.3 billion, and give it to teachers and raise them to be the highest paid salaries in the United States attract the best talent from all over the United States. And you know, what, maybe some of those majors that are, you know, wanting to be engineers may think, you know, what, maybe I'll be a teacher, you know, what I'm saying? Like, why, what's the what is the the the hidden plan for why they don't want to pay teachers?

Ryan Dalton:

Well, I think I mean, if you look historically in this country, it I think it goes back to patriarchy, and misogyny. I mean, like all the sort of professional jobs that were once considered a woman dominated job teaching, social work, care, nursing, caregiving, all of those things are people who are incredible people who are doing some of the most important work in society and paid the least when it comes to professional jobs that you need degrees for. So in some sense, I think it comes down to that it comes down to still this historical injustice that hasn't been rectified here in this area. And then I think it also comes down to in this state we're seeing like the total dismantling of public education It seems intentional. And there is a political agenda behind that. And it's, it's scary because public education is a wonderful thing. It's a great thing. Yeah. That you can send your kids for free to be educated, for other people to teach them the things that you don't even know or don't want to teach them like algebra and geometry, like most parents I talked to don't want

Kosta Yepifantsev:

to listen, I hated geometry. I mean, Algebra all day, you know? Yeah, I'm good. But geometry from my brain doesn't work like that. Yeah, we are.

Ryan Dalton:

And thank goodness, there's people who are willing to, you know, yeah, teach that. But yeah, I think that's part of it as well. There's just this sort of real, there's become a sort of hostile political movement against public education and against teachers.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So because you're maybe different than some than the majority of teachers that you work with. Do you ever feel like you are in somewhat of a hostile environment? Like, do you feel like you just creating something like a pickle club puts you on a radar in a bad way?

Ryan Dalton:

Well, I the pickle club? Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. Funny radar. Um, I will say, you know, I grew up here, right. And so it kind of gives me a different leverage, I would say, but I do I, a lot of my thoughts and ideas and beliefs are very different than people in this area. And I do think, I do think at times, it sort of puts me out there, but it's also something that I'm not scared of. And it's also just how I want to be because how I conduct myself on a daily basis is making decisions that I feel like are in the best interest of the kids, and in the trying to support kids in the best way I can. And that doesn't always look how people around here might want it to look, but it's I'm going to support the youth and support the kids. And, um, yeah, I mean, I think that definitely probably rubs some people the wrong way. But um, it also is important, I think,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

yeah, absolutely. So before we finish up, though, I just want to tease out one more thing. Is there anything else that as a as a school system, we can do better to support teachers? Because you're because I've talked to a lot of teachers, and you're the first one that's letting it letting it roll? Let it roll? Yeah. So just keep going. Because I want to know, because

Ryan Dalton:

I want to know, as a system or as like society,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I mean, as a system for let's just talk about Putnam County, what can what can Putnam County schools do better for teachers, if the citizens of Putnam County got behind a specific mission and said, you know, what if we could do if we can't raise wages, because there's not, there's just not enough money to crowd fund, you know, millions and millions and millions of dollars to raise wages? What's something else that we can do as a community to help our teachers in Putnam County that the school system isn't doing?

Ryan Dalton:

I mean, I'm gonna reiterate even though you said if you can't pay teachers what they deserve, that's, that's gonna be my number one, okay, go in there. Pay people what they deserve, no matter what the job is. Yeah, I think minimum wage should be raised. So anyways, that's all other things.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So what we'll do, here's what we'll do, we'll we'll put a call to action taken upon from my other my other podcasts a call to action. So at the end of the semester, every parent, give your teacher $50 You know, or if you can't give them 50 Give them 20. If you can give them 20, give them something, but at the end of the semester, give that teacher something special for taking care of your child for more hours. And you did for for four or five months. How long is this semester? Four months?

Ryan Dalton:

Well, semester? Yeah. 18 weeks? So

Kosta Yepifantsev:

yeah. So give him something to say I appreciate you because teachers need more money. And this is how we're going to do it. Yeah, right here first

Ryan Dalton:

and with the so if we can't pay if we can't pay more, which is whatever. I think there's simple ways of supporting teachers in our classrooms. Because we're underfunded and whatever. A lot of times, some things we constantly constantly need are just things like tissues, toilet, or what's it called Paper towels, cows, menstrual products, deodorant, indeed, in middle school, like when Yeah, all kinds of stuff because my, my closet is just full of whatever kids might need. Sure, they can get it there. Um, so anything that type of day to day things, chapstick, whatever it may be, that we can help the students with. That's, that's a easy way that people can support just drop off some tissues and stuff because you'd be surprised how many tissues we go through. But I think also, a huge thing that people could do is voting for people who support public education and voting for Pete People who support teachers. Absolutely. Um, so I mean, you mentioned Governor Bill Lee. He was, you know, openly, not in support of public teachers for the voucher bill. Yeah. Yeah. And, and it's like, that's I don't know, if people actually realize what would happen if public education is destroyed in the way they're trying to do it? Because they like, where are they going to send their kids? Yeah, private school is expensive. Right? Exactly.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And public school is there to provide guardrails on ideologies. It provides balance. Yes. So have both a boat of all free thought and freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, and freedom of everything inside the school system. Correct. So everything is balanced. When you take away that balance, then the scale can get tipped in either direction. Any direction, any direction. Yeah. All right. We're gonna wrap up with the pickle club. And we're going to talk a little bit about the pickle festival. So I want to ask what can we do to support the pickle club?

Ryan Dalton:

The the pickle club? You can I mean, we are on Facebook and Instagram. So if you want to just even just follow us follow our shenanigans, you can do that. It's ATMs pickle club. Nice. And any of those. Also YouTube, we have a weekly cooking show. So check that out. With pickles. Yeah, every, every week, every Monday we really set a different thing is cooked with pickles. Um, I mean, we were always doing random things that could be funded. And I just pull stuff together if it's not, but like, we're I was asked to do a pickle pep rally on an upcoming special day, we have a school. And so I'm like pulling funds together for that. But you know, there's always something we're doing that's silly and fun. Um, but yeah, just I don't know. I think just enjoying the fun. The Pickle festival is a great way to support

Kosta Yepifantsev:

and what is the pickle festival just briefly explain what it is and when it is and where,

Ryan Dalton:

okay, so it is April 29 at every tray sports fields. And it is just all pickle everything. We're gonna have different pickle vendors, we have all kinds of random vendors who have signed up. We have a soap company that's going to be doing like pickles soap, we have like, wax melts that are like little pickle wax melts, and whatever. And then food vendors, slice peas and games, they became our big deal sponsor, so they like gave us quite a bit of money to do to do this. And then we have other sponsors on there. But it's just gonna be a fun day, we're gonna have helicopter rides from the football field. And then all the money we're doing it also as a fundraiser, and all the money's gonna go back into those sports fields where it will be. I was it's in there in big need. Yeah, I couldn't even really see the kids play football, because of the way it's all set up. And I'd really like to be able to watch them, you know,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

just think about what you've accomplished. So you took a club of 300 kids and you've and you've found a way to fill the gaps in your school to help improve the conditions for the students and you're talking about you know, the funding going back to the football fields. Like that's a big deal. And you did that industriously on your own no one else really. I mean, obviously, that the student you were talking about gave you the idea for the pinnacle club, but still you did on your own. We always like to end the show on a high note. Who is someone that makes you better when you're together?

Ryan Dalton:

I cannot say someone I cannot say some to and that is definitely my daughter's I'm better person with them. They're like the love of my life. I love them. I mean me like tearing up talking about it. But yeah, there's nobody in the world I'd rather be with. We'd love spending time together and yeah, that would be them.

Morgan Franklin:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev. If you've enjoyed listening and you want to hear more, make sure you subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. Leave us a review or better yet, share this episode with a friend. Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a Kosta Yepifantsev Production. Today's episode was written and produced by Morgan Franklin post production mixing and editing by Mike Franklin. Want to know more about Kosta visit us at kostayepifantsev.com We're better together.