Dr. Tanya McCoss-Yerigan's Blog
I am a lifelong learner who has worked with children, parents, teachers, college/university faculty, and community members.  I guess you could say my career has been spent educating others.  They call us professors.  That's a big "profess".  As though we know everything.  The truth is, I have spent most of my career sifting through information and trying desperately to stay current with the research.  I've done this not so I could "profess" but rather so I could FACILITATE the learning of myself and others.  It is only with a sense of humor that I call my blog "The Unordinary Professor".  I will do my best to share information important to children, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, grandparents, and educators.  Basically, I will share what my experience tells me might be of interest and relevance to you.  In return, I hope you will share with me too.  I look forward to learning WITH and FROM YOU!     



by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 01/25/16

Greetings Brave Students!
Yesterday several of you committed to taking the sugar and processed food challenge.  Here is where you put action to it.  Let us know who is joining us and who is supporting from the sidelines.
Today, I started out with grapefruit and coffee...a little tart without sugar but it tasted great!  I used to put a couple of heaping teaspoons of sugar on it.  So, it still an adjustment for me.  For dinner, I had fresh ground peanut butter, celery, and berries.  I mentioned that planning can be a little bit harder when eating clean so I put a couple of chicken breasts, peppers, and onions in the crock pot early this morning.  I think it will be a great Fajita supper.  We will be using romaine lettuce instead of processed wraps.  I am feeling great!  Oh, I am having my usual pot of coffee throughout the day though.  I am off-setting that with 80 ounces of water per day!  GOOD LUCK!!!!!

To post, click the comment button on the bottom right of your screen.

Are you FED UP?

by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 01/10/16

After a life-changing session with my learning community, I am FED UP. Over the course of the past two weekends together, we have watched and discussed the documentary "Fed Up". The emotions that were evoked within all of us included anger, embarrassment, shock, surprise, guilt, and so many more. The manipulation of our diets (and health) in exchange for big company profits is ridiculously fraudulent. When you add to it that much of the marketing is directed at children, it is no less than unconscionable. I urge each of you to get your hands on this video and share it with anyone and everyone who will watch it. It is no less than, as I said above, "life changing".

The video ends with a challenge. The challenge is to try and eat real food that is not processed. Basically, you want to eat things that are in their original state without man-made additives such as sugars and other fillers.  Ideas include nuts, meats, fruits, and vegetables.  A few of my grad students and I are going to try this for a week and report how we feel.

If you'd like to join us, please post below with your name and anything you'd like to say.  To read or add a comment, click on the COMMENTS button on the bottom right.  Clicking on that link will actually take you into the posting area.  Be sure to check into the blog daily to share how things are going and read how everyone is progressing.


by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 09/29/15

I know National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is celebrated in January but I appreciate them every day. Before I begin, I would like to apologize for the length of this writing. I share these thoughts with a heavy heart. I am not a political person and am not one that likes controversy of any sort. I am simply the wife of one officer and the mother of another. Although I am proud they are law enforcement officers, in photos I must hide their identity and departmental patches. I must always be fully aware that showing their faces or revealing their location (especially on social media), may make them a target of someone who does not value their service or perhaps their lives. It is with this said, that I come out of my very private shell to share. I am not an activist or do I care to be but it is becoming very difficult to sit among the silent majority. I can’t complain about the treatment of our law enforcement officers, if through my silence, I passively am not standing up for them.

So, as I was saying, I am ever-careful not to make them a target of someone who does not understand their sacrifice. Sacrifice. It is a word thrown around all too easily when it should be a word selectively used for the brave and their valor. Yes, it should be reserved for those who do what most of us cannot imagine doing. It should be a word reserved for those who have selflessly chosen to stand between safety and harm, security and danger, prey and the predator, the weak and the strong, the bad and the good, and between right and wrong. I am not saying that others of us do not sacrifice, because we certainly do. I am simply saying it is a word I have come to see portrayed in the selfless acts of my husband, my son, and all of their law enforcement brothers and sisters (locally and across the nation) whether it be the sheriff, the chief, a deputy sheriff, a police officer, a patrolman, or a dispatcher. Their sacrifice cannot fully be defined or confined into words. Although I will try, I begin knowing I will not be able to do it justice. I share not in the hopes of starting a tirade of inflammatory commentary but quite the contrary. I share in the hopes of honoring every man or woman who wears, has worn, or will wear a badge. I share in the hopes of educating those of you who do not know the person behind that badge.

Officers are a human being who have simply selected a career which requires them to charge when the rest of us flee. This is where the controversy is born. It is born because there is someone willing to charge and to intervene. To stop those who otherwise would get away with unthinkable things. It is those who, if not for these men and woman of the badge, would go without accountability. Yes, the controversy is born out of a position that requires accountability from each of us and themselves. Today, far too many people do not like to be held accountable for anything or to anybody. If you are one of the radicals, your mind has already begun to spin an uninvited response to these words. Undoubtedly, a response that will attempt to leverage a stance against me with some rare instance of officer misbehavior, specifically use of excessive force. Let me disarm you before you waste your energy. I fully agree with you! An officer who is racist, thinks they are above the law, or thinks he or she is judge/ jury himself must be held accountable just the same as you or I. Actually, they should be held to an even higher standard of discipline. For they, are our role-models. Yes, I said these are rare because it is true. Let me share an example. In 2012, it was estimated across the United States there were over 53 million law enforcement contacts with citizens. From these contacts there were 2080 sustained complaints of excessive force. That is roughly .0039%. Any researcher and data analyzer would say that percentage (less than ½ of a percentage point) is extremely low in comparison to the number of contacts. With that said, even though low, it is unacceptable and should be zero. Again, I agree. We should have zero tolerance for officers who act or believe they are above the law. Rather than allow this to demean an admirable profession, divide communities, and perhaps even a nation, why can’t people work towards a peaceful response and resolution. Rather than blindly chastising an entire profession and its professionals, carefully and through proper channels, weed out those unworthy of the badge. Why can’t we give back the respect and prestige these officers deserve? Why don’t we have the ability to see them (and their families) for their service and sacrifice?

I wrote this in honor of my husband, my son, and all of you who serve by their sides locally and across the nation. It is a mere glimpse from this wife and mother's perspective. Thank you for taking the time to read...


by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 12/11/14

About a year ago I came across an excellent blog called Practical Tips for Productive Living by Marc and Angel Hack.  This morning I was reading their most recent blog post “10 Tough Truths Happy People Aren’t Afraid to Face” and decided to share some thoughts with you.  

One of the ten truths that really stood out for me was the “people will love you and people will dislike you”.  This is what they had to say about it:  “And most of the time, it will have nothing to do with you.  How others treat you is their karma, how you respond is yours.  Love them anyway.  Be kind because it’s who you are, not because they have to earn it.  The hardest people to love are often the ones who need it the most anyway.”

These are wise, wise words.  For some, they are words that can take a lifetime to understand or integrate into one’s life or beliefs.  For others, these words will never be understood or attained.  The writing reminds me of what I wrote in relation to my experiences in living without my oldest son, Clint.  When someone loses a loved one, you would think those around them are kind and loving.  The truth is…many people are not.  The truth is…when you lose someone you love, it can also bring out the worst in you.  Without clarity of thought, these two runaway freight cars of undesirable behavior can lead to a train wreck of emotions.   

When you lose a child or anyone you love, you aren’t given a choice in their fate.  You are forced to live without them.  I hate that helpless feeling of being powerless, and I never want to return to it.  It’s from this hatred that I’ve learned to take back control over myself and, more importantly, my thoughts and perceptions.  It's sad that it took the ultimate devastation to allow me to see with such clarity. 

What do I see?  What have I learned?  I’ve learned to control the negativity that wants so desperately to take over my brain and replace it with love, kindness, and compassion.  I’ve learned to share love with those I love and those that love me, but I’ve also learned to love those who seem to know no love.  I’ve learned to extend kindness to those who are easy to be kind to and also those who are not.  I’ve learned to give compassion to those who are compassionate to me and, more importantly, those who haven’t been compassionate.  Yes, these are all choices.  It isn’t our talents or abilities that will ultimately define who we are; it’ll be the choices that we make. 

I choose happiness and a positive perception.  You will never find real happiness when you are more concerned with what others think of you.  Worse yet, you will never be truly happy when what "they" think matters more than what "you" think.  Couple this with the fact that the opinions that cause us the most stress, are generally from acquaintances or strangers and not even those who love us.  My brother and his wife have told me for years to concentrate on the opinions of those who genuinely matter.  I've heard the message but never understood why I couldn't take what they've said to heart.  I recently figured it out.  I realized that the problem is that everyone "genuinely" matters to me.  What I've had to discover is that they don't matter MORE than those who love me...including myself. 

What's this all mean?  It is simple.  I no longer find myself concerned with whether people like or dislike me.  I am more concerned with being a good person and being comfortable in knowing who I am.  Much like Marc and Angel state in their blog post, whether or not someone likes you “Most of the time it will have nothing to do with you”.  

In short, be a good person and concern yourself with whether or not one person likes you.  That person is YOU.  Odds are high that if you like yourself, those that matter will too!

To read the other 9 of the “10 Tough Truths Happy People Aren’t Afraid to Face”,


by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 11/19/14

The fact is that most people think they are good listeners but, in reality, are not!  Good listeners are supposed to really pay attention to what the speaker is saying.  Our ability to be "good" listeners is probably the most important skill we can have but also one we take for granted.  Ask yourself if you have any of the following "bad" listening habits?
-Do you find yourself mentally criticizing or judging what the other person is saying?
-Are there times when you secretly think the speaker is wasting your time?
-Do you try to look like your listening when you're really not?
-Are you preparing your response while they are still speaking?
-Do you highjack the conversation with your own story or ideas?
-Do you give solutions or advice when it wasn't asked for?

If you said YES to any of these, you may want to sharpen your listening skills.  Click on the link below and take a 1-minute inventory.  Hurry...find out your score?


Whatever your score, the good news is that it CAN be improved.  Wait...if it can be improved, it can also become worse.  Listening, just like any skill, must be refined through practice.  You don't have to go crazy with the development of a full scale self-improvement plan.  Just start with one person and/or one listening skill.  Maybe you decide to make better eye contact, stop what you're doing to give full attention , avoid creating a response while they are still talking, or  maybe you just decide not to give advice unless you're asked.  Whatever it is and whoever it is with, make being a GOOD listener a priority.  I guarantee people will notice and appreciate your efforts.


by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 11/07/14

Our fall days are numbered.  In fact, today, it feels as though they may have come to a screeching halt.  Weekends are what we look forward to but yet they seem to go by so fast.  Often times, we are still feeling stressed and tired come Monday.

A few years back, I wrote an article for Savor Magazine about enjoying fall with fun dates.  It doesn't matter if you are single or married, with our without kids.  Take advantage of our last few days of fall by taking that special person in your life on a date!  You will be amazed at how much less stress you'll feel.  Now, the next question...Will I be able to get my husband out of his deer stand for our "date"?     5 Great Fall Dates


by Dr. Tanya Yerigan on 11/07/14

I always used to wonder why I was so tired and fairly useless around 3:00 PM. As it turns out, according to brain research, most of you probably have similar time periods during the day.

Did you know that if you sleep well, you will think well? This month, I shared the book Brain Rules with my graduate students. In the book, John Medina gives a great deal of usable information on our brains. One of the most fascinating to me is regarding sleep. Although the research is unclear as to how much sleep an individual person needs, on average, it is around 7 hours a night.

Research on the subject of sleep can be confusing but one thing researchers seem to agree on is the fact that “sleep loss cripples thinking in just about every way you can measure thinking”. As a result, many companies are introducing nap time into their daily work schedules. Yes, I said it “naps” for adults at work. How would that go over with your employer? Dr. Onyeaghala (my dean), if you are reading this, let me know if I can take a nap at 3:00.

It is fascinating that some of the companies instituting such policies are recognized as the most innovative, successful, and progressive companies in existence. According to Rosekind (a NASA scientist), people’s performance can improve 34% in just 26 minutes of napping.

Now think about our schools. If naps are good for adults, what would they do for students? Have you ever tried to teach a child who is tired? Useless battle isn’t it? Well, it is good to know that some of our more progressive schools are also listening to top brain researchers and doing things such as starting school later in the morning. I haven’t heard of any providing nap time beyond early elementary but maybe they’re out there.

If you want to learn more, check out John Medina’s book “Brain Rules”. It is a good read and resource.

What do you think about this subject? Share your thoughts with someone today.

Dr. Tanya Yerigan
(click on the image)
McCoss-Yerigan, T. (2014). No ordinary son. Granite Falls: Infinitely Yours Publications.
Yerigan, T. (Fall, 2008). Five great fall excursions, Savor Magazine, 11.
Yerigan, T. (2013). Probe, Present & Prescribe.
Yerigan, T. & Krepps, L. (2010). Do teachers impact literacy strategy implementation in content area classrooms? Journal of Instructional Pedagogies.1-18.
Yerigan, T. (2007). Getting active in the classroom. Journal of College Teaching & Learning,5(6), 19-24.
"PROF"essional Development for YOU!
McCoss-Yerigan, T. (2015).If you could see what I see.