Building a Culture of Belonging for Adults

March 18, 2024

To be effective in their work, teachers must feel safe and respected in diverse environments. Creating a culture of belonging with safety, recognizing diverse voices, and shared purpose is crucial, as the brain is wired to identify threats to our sense of safety and belonging, often resulting in fear and anxiety.



If teachers are to be fully present and effective in our work, it is vital that we feel safe in all respects in the environments in which we work. Features of a culture of belonging include recognizing and respecting the voices of colleagues that present with social and personal identities that may not be viewed as mainstream. Working in an environment that fully appreciates diversity offers a true sense of belonging. The brain is wired to identify threats to our sense of safety and belonging. This may manifest as fear and anxiety. Join the discussion that outlines the three key components necessary for adults to have a strong sense of belonging: safety, vulnerability, and shared purpose. 

with Tamara Sheesley Balis

Tamara Sheesley Balis is currently the Head of School at Greenspring Montessori School and the Executive Director at the Greenspring Center for Lifelong Learning in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland. With an extensive background in Montessori education, school administration, and childhood development, her passion is elevating and supporting high quality education in Baltimore and beyond.

Tamara is a Montessori teacher-trainer, consultant, speaker, national conference presenter, and serves as the host of the Voices in Montessori podcast.  She is also the writer, narrator, and producer of “Bringing Out the Brilliance in Your Infant: Montessori at Home” DVD and is a leader for the Greenspring Center for Lifelong Learning’s year-long Leadership Mentoring Community. Tamara began her education career with Teach for America. An educator for 29 years and a Montessorian for 24 years, Tamara spent nine years in the classroom before stepping into school leadership. Tamara is AMS-credentialed in Early Childhood and Lower Elementary, and is currently earning her master’s in education in Integrative Education from The Institute for Educational Studies (TIES) through Union College.

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