Episode 8: With Jeremy R (Give Your Self a Break, Be Kind and Give Your Feet Some Air)

Meet Jeremy, a kindergarten teacher in Salt Lake City.

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On this episode of Jonah Asks, meet Jeremy. A Kindergarten teacher who lives in Salt Lake City, Jeremy believes in the power of kindness.

Topics of discussion:

  • growing up in the desert
  • identity: being bilingual and brown in rural areas
  • -teaching and building trust
  • teaching on Zoom
  • mental health and depression
  • meditation and silence
  • letting your feet breathe

It was an open and relaxed conversation.

Please enjoy responsibly.


Upon picking her up from preschool, Rebelle Harmony has no socks. What happened to the socks?

Jonah knows Ryan. Jeremy knows Ryan. Jonah meets Jeremy on Zoom.

How did Jeremy meet Ryan?

Bernie Sanders’ campaign in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2016.


Jeremy worked with kids in an after-school program (ages 7–14) and gradually realized he would like to teach younger children. Gravitated toward their kindness. Jeremy is in his sixth year of teaching.


Teaching on Zoom with 5 and 6 year-olds— starting in late March.

Trying to keep things alive and human while teaching on Zoom. Little children need to be around each other. The internet lag — communicating with 2-second-lag-time.


interlude: Calexico with Iron and Wine “He Lays in the Reins”

Jeremy grew up in the desert in Western Utah.

Jeremy’s dad was a rancher. Jeremy was one of three students and his elementary school was a one-room schoolhouse. Jeremy’s family moved to Montana for junior high and high school.

Open landscape of the desert. The night sky.


The dramatic landscape switch from the open desert to the forest in Montana. Jeremy is one of twelve children. He’s the second oldest. The family lived in a trailer for some of the time. Jeremy often had to take care of his siblings.


Jeremy went to Westminster College in Salt Lake City and thought about aviation as a career. Jeremy started school in 2007, just as the economy was tanking. Jeremy changed major to Spanish and Latin American Studies. Jeremy taught himself to read Spanish. He spoke it growing up, but never had an academic background in Spanish.


Identity and multiple parts of self. Jeremy is bilingual. He studied Spanish Literature. Can you be your authentic self as a Kindergarten teacher?

After a few years of experience, Jeremy feels like he can be more genuinely himself as a teacher.

Barefoot walking and trail running — memories of childhood. Jeremy wears minimal shoes or sandals most of the time.


How is Jeremy holding up during the pandemic?

Social media is tough for Jeremy. He can find himself down rabbit holes. He’s put limits on himself with social media and increased his meditation practice.

Jeremy went through a divorce a few years ago. Changing ways of thought about waiting. Attempting to see waiting as an opportunity.


Jeremy focuses on building trust and safety with his young students. They can’t learn if they don’t feel safe. Adults are just grown kids. We all need kindness and to feel safe.


Mental health and anxiety.

What is depression? An inability to reach out or accept and process emotions. Reaching out to others. Accepting your emotions instead of denying them or avoiding them. Parenting toddlers. Sitting through the waves of emotions.

Be kind to yourself first so you can then be kind to others. How to help your three year-old through big feelings, crying fits, tantrums, etc. Emotions as waves and helping them get through the waves.


A story from Jeremy’s first year of teaching and dealing with a trauma-effected little boy.

Being a teacher means meeting students where they are and gaining their trust…especially young children who have dealt with traumatic home lives.

School The school system has to start with the individual relationship between student and teacher. Building trust. Safety and security. Building trust.


Jeremy started his own podcast, Jeremy Says.

Jeremy has a gigantic family and hopes to reconnect with some of those family members through his new project.

The purpose of this podcast is to connect with my family from a distance — let’s connect or reconnect! Get to know about me and my journeys as a Latino, Mexican-American, male, brother, ex-Mormon polygamist, divorced, tattooed, educator and world traveler.

Check it out!


Being Different and Embracing Difference

I talk about being Jewish and how being an “other” at a younger age helped him define his identity and his ability to listen to his own voice and not conform to mainstream ideas of race and gender.

Jewishness became a defining part of my identity when I was made to feel different because of it in a heavily Catholic town. By being “othered” in many social and athletic situations, I was able to resist peer pressure and conformity later.


Violence — Uncontrolled emotion turns to rage: Violence is usually trauma that hasn’t healed and will be passed along if it isn’t dealt with.

closing: Calexico with Iron and Wine “He Lays in the Reins”

Thanks as always for listening.

Share to anyone with ears, rate on i-Tunes and subscribe to Jonah Asks to keep this project going.



Jonah Hall makes Jonah Asks, a podcast about being human. Conversation-interviews with friends and friends of friends about how to live on Earth in 2020.

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Jonah Hall

Jonah Hall makes Jonah Asks, a podcast about being human. Conversation-interviews with friends and friends of friends about how to live on Earth in 2020.