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TeacherStories.org celebrates teachers and the important role they play in our lives and communities. Do you have a teacher story that you would like to share? https://teacherstories.org/submit-story
Feb 22, 2022
na'im madyun's "ode to teachers"
na'im madyun reads a short story about a second grader named Ellis and her friend Coolidge, who prayed that their 3rd grade teacher WOULDN'T be the aging Mrs. Nimble. The prayer wasn't answered, but by the end of the year, with Mrs. Nimble as their teacher, they offered another prayer -- that she wouldn't retire. It's an ode to teachers, madyun says--one that provides insight into the journey that led him to become a teacher himself.
Jan 12, 2022
Powerful Lessons from Julie Hasson's Collection of Teacher Stories
Julie Hasson and Ken Futernick discuss some of the powerful lessons learned from the teacher stories she writes about in her new book, Safe, Seen, and Stretched - the Remarkable Ways Teachers Shape Students' Lives. Julie shares an inspiring story about her own teacher, Mrs. Russell, who, Julie says, laid the foundation for everything she has achieved. Julie also tells the story of an engineering student who recalled what it was like when he and his elementary school classmates first got a chance to play volleyball with the "big kids." They'd hit the ball so hard and it got so rough that eventually the younger ones quit playing. But a teacher noticed what was happening and, "in all his genius," suggested a different way to play the game. He challenging them to hit the ball back and forth at least twenty times. To meet the challenge, the students taught one another how to keep the ball in the air, and from then on, at every recess, they all played a new version of volleyball -- the "the infinite game," they called it. It was here, as a young elementary student, that this engineering student first learned the power of collaboration, a practice he says is serving him well as an aspiring scientist.
Oct 27, 2021
History Education, Civics, and Student Advocacy - Seeking Common Ground
Guests representing diverse political perspectives find some common ground on these controversial questions: - What does high-quality history and civics education look like in a democratic society? - What should teachers, particularly those who teach history and civics, be teaching our children? - Do new state laws, like HB3979 in Texas and SB623 in Tennessee, that restrict what teachers can talk about with their students strengthen or weaken our democracy? - Should students learn about civics by solving real problems and working with government representatives? Guests include: - Ace Parsi, Director of Outreach and Engagement for Educating for American Democracy - Amber Northern, Senior Vice President for Research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Danny Diaz, Director of UCLA's History-Geography Project and a former high school history teacher
Oct 12, 2021
To Protect Democracy Keep Controversies, Current Events, and Politics in the Classroom
Is it appropriate – even a good thing in this time of intense political division -- for social studies teachers to bring politics, current events, and highly controversial issues into the classroom? Diana Hess is a former social studies teacher, now Dean of the College of Education at the University of Wisconsin, and a nationally recognized expert on civic education. Drawing upon extensive research on classroom practices, she argues that in a democratic society these topics must be part of the curriculum and that teachers can (and most often do) discuss them without being partisan.
Oct 11, 2021
Honest History And Civicmindedness For Younger Learners
A junior high school teacher, her school principal, and a teacher educator weigh in on critical questions about history and civics education in the era of fake news, social media, and heightened political pressure. -What does high-quality history and civics education for younger students look like and how can it help protect our democracy? - Why should teachers promote civic mindedness and not just facts about how government works? - Should all of American history be taught, including systemic racism and other anti-democratic structures? - Should teachers attempt to make students feel guilt or discomfort about America's past? - Can history about current events and controversial topics be taught in a non-partisan manner? - How can school administrators support teachers who teach the whole American story? Guests include: - Tracy Barnett, History Teacher, Hopkins Jr. High School, Fremont, California - Corey Brown, Principal, Hopkins Jr. High School, Fremont, California - Dr. Jennifer Hauver, Associate Professor of Education, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia
Sep 28, 2021
Teaching In The Era Of Fake News And Hoaxes
The explosion of fake news, "hoaxes," and social media make it increasingly difficult for students to tell the difference between fact and fiction. And today's students, like the rest of us, can easily fall victim to "motivated reasoning" -- the tendency to believe what they want to believe, not what the evidence points to. The educators in this episode discuss the challenges this poses for educators and for our democracy. They also recommend pedagogical strategies that invite students to share their views, without recrimination, about controversial topics and that help students develop opinions based on reasons and evidence. Panelists include: * Wayne Journell, Associate Professor of Secondary Social Studies Education, University of North Carolina, Greensboro * Jennifer Hauver, Associate Professor of Education, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia * Victor Rios, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sep 20, 2021
Preserving American Democracy - Adequate and Equitable School Funding
Panelists on this episode argue that inadequate and inequitable funding of our public schools pose a dire threat to American democracy. That's because students in under-resourced schools, those who tend to be poor and people of color, are less able to participate in the democratic process. Panelist Derek Black, author of Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and The Assault on American Democracy, claims the assault by those who want to dismantle public education is not intended merely to maintain the status quo, but "to make the status quo even less equitable than it already is." Panelists offers their unique perspectives on the problem and the steps school districts, states, and the federal government can take to solve it. The full panel includes: * Derek Black, Professor of Law, University of South Carolina School of Law * Preston Green, Professor of Educational Leadership and Law, University of Connecticut * Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer, PDK International * Sanaa Kahloon, Student, Harvard University
Aug 31, 2021
Architect Geoff Prentiss Pays Tribute to His Design Teacher, Leslie Laskey
Geoff Prentiss attributes much of his success as an architect to his "enigmatic" college professor of design, Leslie Laskey, with whom he stayed connected for nearly 50 years. "Frightening" is how Prentiss described his first class with Laskey, but he was intimidating because "he wanted you to be open to things you didn't know." "He was a great teacher," Prentiss says, "because he focused on the the big picture, which is about awareness and perception and moving the creative ball forward...and you and how well you were doing it." Laskey died two months before this recording at the age of 99. Reflecting on the loss, Prentiss says, "His presence, that teacher, that person who was so strong and manipulative in his own way, charming, caring in how own way, he'll never go away...The important think is, 'How do I carry that forward in my life?'"
Aug 25, 2021
Teaching Restrictions in Texas - A Threat to our Democracy?
In June 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill (HB 3979) that restricts what teachers can do in public school classrooms. Teachers can no longer be required to participate in training about race or sex stereotyping. Teachers can longer promote the idea that racism or sexism in America is, or has ever been, systemic. It requires teachers who discuss current events to “explore the topic from contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.” It prohibits schools from giving academic credit for student’s “political activism, lobbying, or efforts to persuade members of the legislature or executive branch at the federal, state, or local level to take specific actions by direct communication.” These guests join host Ken Futernick in a conversation about the effects this law (and similar ones in other states) will have on student learning and democracy: Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District Mary Gonzalez, Representative of the Texas State Legislature, representing House District 12 Lakeisha Patterson, 3rd grade teacher, Deepwater Elementary School near Houston
Aug 19, 2021
Democracy and our Schools - The Power of Civic Engagement
Three civic education experts -- Joseph Kahne, Alejandra Frausto, and Eve Vankley express their concerns about the current state of American democracy and explain how real-world civic engagement in schools prepares young people, regardless of their political orientation, to work together in finding the common good and to participate meaningfully in democratic life. They also address efforts by some public officials to limit civic engagement and recommend ways that educators and policy makers can strengthen and expand civics engagement in our schools. Additional resources for educators are available at www.ed4democracy.org.
Jul 25, 2021
Democracy And Schools - Education For Character
This episode is part of our series on what schools can do to help save our democracy. Guests include Dr. Marvin W. Berkowitz, McDonnell Professor of Character Education at the Center for Character Education and Citizenship at the University of Missouri at St. Louis; and Dr. Kashina Bell, Deputy Superintendent for the School District of University City in St. Louis, Missouri. Both talk about character education -- what it looks like, how it's done, and why it's vital to our democracy. "I think the concept of the common good as a concept is an endangered species in democracies," Dr. Berkowitz says. "Every educator affects kids' character. And we want them to do it intentionally and positively and effectively...There is no moral future without moral children and there's no democratic future without democratic children. Education is a critical piece of that." Speaking about her former role as a school principal, Dr. Bell says, "I inherited a school that was really forgotten about.…
Jun 20, 2021
"A Mutual Admiration Society" - Jennifer Futernick's Tribute To Bruce Stewart
Bruce Stewart is a life-long educator who dedicated his career to social justice and high-quality education for all. As a history teacher and guidance counselor at Walter Hines Page Senior High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, he led the effort to desegregate the school 1963. Stewart became a Quaker educator and later served as Head of School at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. from 1998 to 2009. In this episode, Jennifer Futernick, a former student of Stewart, surprises Bruce with a tribute to the profound impact he had on her life and countless others.
May 10, 2021
David Berliner's Teacher Story - "A Hug For Jennifer"
David Berliner, one of this country's preeminent education scholars, tells the story of a teacher named Jennifer, whose classroom he visited many years ago. "I like visiting classrooms," Berliner says, "in part because they are so difficult to understand. It is an enormous intellectual challenge to make sense of teachers and students with curriculum materials in a classroom setting...[Observing teachers] is a bit like trying to study what comes out the end of a funnel–without much confidence that you know all about what went into the funnel. It’s hard to figure out the ingredients—the stuff that makes a classroom hum or fail." The day Berliner observed Jennifer, he became frustrated with her treatment of a student, but he ended up giving her a hug after realizing he had jumped to the wrong conclusions. After speaking with Jennifer, he said, "I learned a lesson about the importance of understanding the intentions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of the persons you intend…
May 6, 2021
Peter Boykin was inspired to teach by his great-great grandfather - a slave, a cadet, and a teacher
Peter Boykin, a history teacher in Detroit, Michigan, recounts the amazing story of his great-great grandfather named Johnson Chestnut Whittaker who was born into slavery in 1858 and was the subject of a book and TV movie titled, Assault at West Point. Whittaker would later become a teacher and a principal, which inspired Boykin to become an educator himself over a century later. Takia Maxxwell, one of Boykin's former students, also pays tribute to her former teacher, describing the impact he's had on her life. This story begins over 150 years ago (and perhaps well before that) and reminds us that Johnson Whittaker's impact (like so many teachers) lives on for generations.
Apr 30, 2021
Three Teachers of the Year Share Stories about the Power of Teacher Leadership
Three of America's finest teachers -- Justin Johnson from Illinois, Eric Hale from Texas, and Juliana Urtubey from Nevada -- were selected to represent their respective states as Teachers of the Year, in part because of their extraordinary influence as teacher leaders. Each one is also a policy fellow for Teach Plus, an organization that empowers teachers to take on leadership roles with education policy and practice. Teach Plus President and CEO, Roberto Rodriguez, also joins the conversation about teacher leadership and how it strengthens school systems and improves outcomes for students. Each teacher also offers a recommendation on what can be done to ensure that schools systems, like the ones they work in, have the capacity to provide equitable, high quality education to all students.
Apr 26, 2021
The Life-Changing Impact of Just a Few Words
Dino Luna was about to become a pilot but switched careers after accidentally falling in love with teaching. Now a veteran educator, Luna reflects on what it takes to be of service to his colleagues as an instructional coach. He also shares a touching story about a former 5th grade student who took time, years later, to tell him about the profound effect he had on her life. Turns out it was just a few kind words of encouragement. "You never know what simple thing you will do that will have a profound impact," Luna says.
Mar 25, 2021
Psychology Professor Malik Boykin Teaches About Prejudice and Invites Us to Dance for Freedom
Malik Boykin (aka Malik Starx) is an accomplished musician and a professor of psychology at Brown University where he teaches a course on stigma and prejudice. Boykin shares two transformational teacher stories--the first from second grade when he was sent to the principal's office for raising questions about Christopher Columbus. His second story is about Dr. Jaia John, his social psychology professor at Howard University who carved out time at the start each class for students to share a poem, a personal story, or even a musical performance that had some relation to the course content. Inspired by Dr. John, Boykin became a social psychologist and, like John, encourages his students to share something personal at the start of his classes. One of his students, Gabrielle Tanksley, describes what it's like to be one of Boykin's students, and she reads an extraordinary poem she shared recently in class. Starx wrote and performed "Dancing for Freedom," the soundtrack play…
Mar 5, 2021
The Power of Stories and Early Relationships
When 4th grade teacher Miriam Marecek turned down the lights and lit the reading candle, magic happened. Pediatrician and journalist Perri Klass describes what it was like being one of Ms. Marecek's students and the impact it's had on her life and professional career. Now, as national medical director for Reach Out and Read, Dr. Klass, promotes reading aloud, together, starting at birth. In this episode she says, "If children grow up in literacy, rich environments, if there's a lot of back and forth...they will, by the time they come to school, understand how books work. They will understand how print works. They will understand all kinds of things about stories and sequence that will help tremendously with learning to read. This is about growing up, enjoying the back and forth around early literacy in books with the other people in your family." Learn more about Dr. Klass and her book, A Good Time to Be Born, at www.perriklass.com.
Mar 3, 2021
Three Educators Reflect on How to Teach about the Insurrection
Like most Americans, these three veteran teachers were horrified as they learned about the insurrection at the nation's Capitol on January 6th, 2021. But each of them had to decide how to address this highly controversial topic with their students. What's the proper role for a teacher with an event like this? What if some students' parents or the students themselves supported the insurrection? Is there any way to talk about this and other controversial topics with very young students? Listen in as each teacher reflects on these and several other challenging questions.
Jan 19, 2021
Marty Brandt's Teaching Career Revitalized by a Former Student's Gratitude
Until one of his former students, Daniel Osorio, nominated him as Teacher of the Year, Marty Brandt considered himself "just another guy" -- a high school English teacher who would never become the educator he hoped he would become when he entered the profession. Daniel recounts the time when Mr. Brandt had asked his students to write their own ending -- any ending they wanted -- to The Great Gatsby. "I had never been engaged like that before," Daniel says. "It was really the catalyst to feeling like...man...I could really do this if I wanted to." Daniel says he uses much of what he learned from Mr. Brandt in his own work now as a professional filmmaker and even as a mentor to a group of East San Jose rap artists. "I have become their Marty Brand," helping them to grow as artists and as people. After Daniels's nomination and the subsequent award Mr. Brandt received as one of California's best teachers, he realized that he was more than "just a guy." That realizatio…
Jan 18, 2021
Teacher of the Year, Sean Bui Gave Up a Law Practice to Change Lives
After practicing law for several years, Sean Bui, the son of Vietnamese and Filipino immigrants, suddenly realized that he didn't love his job. What he really wanted to be was a teacher and to make a difference in young people's lives. But this career shift presented a daunting challenge. Growing up, Mr. Bui's parents and grandparents had only endorsed three career paths -- medicine, engineering, and law. And now, after successfully following one of them, he wanted to quit to become a teacher. Telling them about his decision was "one of the scariest conversations I've had in my life," Mr. Bui said. But to his surprise, they and his wife (also a teacher) wholeheartedly supported his decision. Several years later, as a teacher of business law and English Language Development (ELD) in a Bay Area high school, Mr. Bui is recognized as one of California's teachers of the year. Three of Mr. Bui's students share appreciations in this episode, making it clear why he deserved th…
Jan 11, 2021
Don Dumas Makes History Relevant to All of His Students
As a high school student, Don Dumas didn't feel he mattered because the curriculum was disconnected from his experience. "I was kicking and screaming on my way toward graduation," he said. But Joyce Suber, a Black high school English teacher, took notice, introduced him to books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Manchild in the Promised Land, and urged him, Dumas says, to use his experience "for your own elevation and your own self-realization for who you are and who you want to be." Now, as I high school teacher himself, he was recently recognized as one of five teachers of the year among 40,000 educators in San Diego County. Dumas says he tries to emulate what he learned from Ms. Suber--most importantly her belief in all of her students. "She never gave up on us," Dumas, said, despite frequent suspensions, expulsions, and run-ins with the law. "She never let us believe we couldn't achieve more than what our circumstances dictated."
Dec 30, 2020
6th Grader Launches Her Own Podcast - About Politics!
Eleven year-old Kaia Bali recently launched her own podcast called, "Through a Gen-Z's Eyes," because she is worried the current state of politics and our country's future. In this episode of Teacher Stories, Kaia talks about being a podcast host, her favorite episodes, and the one (surprising!) person she'd most like to interview. Also joining us is Sam Mahr, Kaia's sixth grade teacher who's supported her podcasting efforts and was Kaia's first podcast guest. "You won't meet too many students like Kaia," Mr. Mahr says. "She's an amazing young kid, extremely smart, extremely hard-working, and very mature for her age...It's not often you see someone as young as Kaia curious about politics and social justice." Kaia and Mr. Mahr share their views on how politics and other controversial topics should be treated in the classroom.
Dec 15, 2020
Teachers Tom Courtney and Rachel Petrivelli Connect with Families
After 22 years as a public school teacher, Tom Courtney finally hits his stride after discovering the virtues of the authentic connections he has created with his 5th grade students' families. Mr. Courtney, also known as "The Minister of Fun," conducts home visits and and holds monthly student and family get-togethers like star night, ice-skating night, opera night, and library night. Mr. Courtney, joined by his student teacher, Rachel Petrivelli, say the benefits of family connections are invaluable. One of the them is that "we don't have classroom management issues," Courtney says. They get strong support from parents because they, like their students, implicitly know that their teachers care about them. Sadly, the 2020 pandemic forced Mr. Courtney's district to conduct all classes remotely via Zoom. It has also temporarily eliminated home visits and all of the after-school events Mr. Courtney would have had with his students and their families. But Mr. Courtney and Ms. Petri…
Nov 11, 2020
Chris Hasegawa on the "art" of teaching science
Chris Hasegawa, a highly accomplished teacher educator, describes what great science teachers do to help students understand and love this subject. "You have to make yourself a little bit vulnerable," he says, and to elicit joy in what you're doing. The art of teaching is being able to teach people that don't learn the way that you learn and who may not enjoy school the way you did. Chris also shares stories about three teachers who made a difference in his life. One of his best teachers was a former student who had been addicted to drugs and later thanked Chris for not giving up on him. "When you work with teachers Mr. Has, can you tell them to continue to be flipped off," which is what this student had wanted to do when Chris pestered him about his drug problem. "Continue to express to those kids that they really are worth your trouble and convince them that they really do have a problem and they need to get help," the student said.
Sep 27, 2020
Fred Shoemaker's Wisdom about Teaching, Learning, and Life
Fred Shoemaker is considered one of America's best golf teachers, but in this provocative conversation about teaching, learning, and life you'll discover how his success has come by helping students discover their own capacities for performance and enjoyment and not by fixing what's wrong with their golf swings. Much of what Fred has learned can be applied to parenting, coaching, and classroom teaching at any level.
1 hr 12 min
Aug 31, 2020
Four College Students Reflect On Being Black in School
Four Black college students talk about their unique experiences in public schools, sharing stories about their teachers and professors, the curriculum they were exposed to, and the structural racism they periodically encountered along the way. They also suggest ways that schools can promote equity and anti-racism, by hiring and supporting teachers of color, for instance, and enabling new and veteran teachers to examine their own biases and to learn about culturally responsive pedagogy. This episode of Teacher Stories features music by Black Artist KLM.
1 hr 12 min
Aug 19, 2020
Rob McClurg Reflects on his Teaching Career and the Teachers Who Shaped his Life
Rob McClurg, a wise and extraordinarily accomplished elementary school teacher, shares stories from his own classroom, the privilege of being an educator, and a few of the teachers who shaped his life. Rob describes his current work as a volunteer educator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and at the Soledad State Prison.
Aug 18, 2020
Lisa Godwin shares a story that she had kept secret for 20 years
Lisa Godwin waited 20 years before telling anyone about a traumatic childhood experience. She credits a first grade teacher and a guidance counselor for helping her cope and eventually overcome this painful episode in her life. Now, as North Carolina's Teacher of the Year, Lisa has found the courage to share her powerful story with educators and parents. She offers wise advice for teachers and for others who may have experienced similar trauma.
Aug 17, 2020
Black Teacher Project Director Micia Mosely Reunites with Former Student, Belinda Bellinger
Before founding the Black Teacher Project, Dr. Micia Mosely taught high school history in San Francisco, California. As a beginning teacher, Micia worried that she was unable to fully connect with and help Belinda Bellinger, one of her students, who was struggling emotionally and academically. Unbeknownst to Micia, Belinda graduates from high school, earns a bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and eventually becomes a middle school English teacher. Decades after their first time together in high school, the two accidentally reunite in an educational workshop and a new personal and professional relationship is born. In this podcast episode, Micia and Belinda reflect on the paths that brought them back together and what it means now to collaborate as colleagues. They also share offer insights into the Black Lives Matter movement and its significance for the education community.
1 hr 11 min
Aug 8, 2020
An Education Marked by Opportunity and Inspiration and by Roadblocks and Racism
Dr. Sharon Tettegah, a Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, shares stories about her life and her most memorable teachers. Growing up in Wichita Falls, Texas (a completely segregated community) all of her teachers were Black. Here, she received an excellent education and was two grade levels ahead of her classmates when, as a fifth grader, she and her family moved to San Francisco. She soon moved across the Bay to Oakland and was fortunate to have had teachers who recognized her potential and desire to learn. But she also encountered racism at school in the form of low expectations and negative attributions. "Education," Dr. Tettegah discovered, was "about assimilating to whiteness." She sees the Black Lives Movement as an opportunity for educators to confront systemic racism, a process that begins by examining one's own biases.
Jul 27, 2020
Teaching Abroad, Josh Gaston Learns to Navigate Cultural Divides
Unsure what to do with his life, Josh Gaston decides to become a teacher of English -- first in Asia and then in other countries around the world. His stories are about navigating the striking, but sometimes subtle, differences in local teaching practices and cultural norms. In Korea, for instance, where students were accustomed to lectures, he had to figure out how to get students to work in small groups. In Uzbekistan, he wanted to give a voice to his female students, but his male students tended to dominate class discussions. He had to walk a fine line because his superiors warned him not to question local norms regarding gender. Josh has no regrets about his career choice and encourages others to consider teaching abroad. But, he says, "Be prepared to have your world shaken a little."
Jul 24, 2020
Teaching History Through Troubled Times
An unexpected letter from one of her students reminds Tracy Barnett that her approach to teaching history, at least for this 8th grade student, has paid off. The student said she acquired a keen new interest in history and, just as importantly, came away from Ms. Barnett's class knowing that she cared about and believed in her students. "It's the most affirming thing I have ever heard!" Tracy exclaimed.
Jul 17, 2020
Victor Rios' Teacher Saved His Life
At age 14, Victor Rios' best friend is shot and killed. Afterwards, Victor thought, "I am going to end up dead like him or in prison for life." But Victor turns his life around after having a high school technology teacher named, Ms. Russ. He goes on to college, earns a Ph.D. in sociology, and becomes a professor at U.C. Santa Barbara. In this extended podcast episode, Dr. Rios reflects on his extraordinary life, the critical role teachers can play in students' lives, and the support teachers need to be successful, especially with students, like him, who grow up in poverty. Near the end of the interview, Victor also speaks about the Black Lives Matter movement and the opportunity it presents for educators to help students learn about this "cultural revolution."
Jul 14, 2020
Never Again Will Kathryn Isaacs use the Phrase 'Merely a Teacher'
When Kathryn Isaacs was in 8th grade she proudly read an essay aloud in class, comparing her very demanding teacher, Mr. Del Rossi, to the Wizard of Oz. At the end of her essay, she describes him as "merely a language teacher" and learns a painful, but important, lesson about the ways people often talk about teachers. To discover the ultimate irony of the story, find out what Kathryn does now for a living. Kathryn also reflects on the uncertain future posed by the pandemic and on the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jun 19, 2020
An Inspired English Teacher Confronts Two Crises: COVID-19 and an Act of Hate
Jason DiGioia, an English teacher in Denver, Colorado recalls two teachers who contributed to his love for writing and literature. Following in their professional footsteps, Jason explains how he encourages his own students to discover life lessons in the books they read. Because of the pandemic, Jason and his colleagues are learning to cope with the sudden closure of their school, and the effect it's having on the social and emotional well-being of his students and colleagues. He also shares a chilling story about how, in the midst of the current protests over racism and social injustice, his school became the victim of a chilling act of hate.
Jun 17, 2020
Heartbreak, Love, and Resilience: A Teacher's Apology to her Students
When COVID-19 hit the state of New York, many teachers, including Ms. Jackie Rooney, a high school social studies teacher, were suddenly separated from their students before they had a chance to say goodbye. Despite the heartbreak, Ms. Rooney found a way to reconnect to her class. In this podcast episode, she shares a heartwarming letter of apology and reads some of her students' responses. But the pandemic isn't the only crisis affecting her work as a teacher. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minnesota, she shares her thoughts about how educators can confront racism and police brutality with their students.
Jun 11, 2020
Award-Winning Filmmaker Pays Tribute to his High School Drama Teacher
Mike Barnard's first high school theatre audition was a disaster, but he finds the courage to try again and lands a part in another production. With the support of his drama teacher, Jim Lund, Mike develops confidence and acting talent and eventually becomes a leader within the school's drama community. Years later, Mike becomes an award-winning filmmaker, an achievement he traces back to his teacher, Mr. Lund.
Jun 5, 2020
Teaching and Learning During the Pandemic - No Silver Linings for Some
Many of the teacher stories published here about teaching and learning during the pandemic point to silver linings -- positive and often unexpected outcomes that have emerged in the midst of this health crisis. In this episode Ken Futernick, founder of Teacher Stories, says, "We need to hear stories of hope but just as importantly we, especially those of us in a position to make a difference, must hear stories about people--especially children, who face unbearable obstacles--those for whom there are no silver linings." Ken offers suggestions on what many of us can do to make a difference.
Apr 30, 2020
The highs and lows of teaching amid the pandemic with Rachell Auld
While most schools across California and the nation are closed due to the pandemic, Rachell Auld, a high school biology teacher, must find ways to connect and teach her students. In this podcast episode, Rachell describes the challenges and rewards of teaching, learning and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this podcast episode, you'll learn: - What Rachell is grateful for (1:30) - How students are coping (3:22) - What Rachell thinks students should consider doing with their time right now (6:30) - The rewards of virtual teaching (9:30) - What Rachell is doing to help struggling students (12:05) - How this crisis is fostering resilience (15:20) - The silver linings of this pandemic (17:51) - What Rachell's colleagues are doing to stay connected (20:00) - What Rachell hopes for the future (23:00) If you enjoyed this story, please view a video Teacher Story with Rachell, "Finding One's True Calling" on our website, www.TeacherStories.org.
Apr 20, 2020
High School Engineering Teacher Uses 3D Printers to Protect School Volunteers
Carmen Garvis left her job as an engineer in 2004 to become a high school engineering teacher. One of her priorities has been to encourage young females to choose a pathway in science. Carmen describes how she helped a bright, but shy, student find her voice. Carmen also explains how, during the COVID-19 crisis, she and a few of her her colleagues are using 3-D printers to produce face shields for the school volunteers in their district who are preparing student meals.
Apr 20, 2020
Bilingual Students Band Together to Help School Stay Virtually Connected
When Crawford High School in San Diego closed due to COVID-19, many of the school's families lacked internet access and the technology that would allow their children to participate in online classes. With the help of a teacher, a group of students banded together, reached out to parents, and helped solve the problem. Pictured here is Tina Tran, student body president, working on their outreach plan.
Apr 11, 2020
One Student's Journey from Afghanistan to a Better Education in the U.S.
Just fourteen years old, Mahboba Ansari fled Afghanistan and the Taliban for a better life and a better education. She landed in Modesto, California in 2016 unable to speak English. Just four years later, with the support of her high school social studies teacher, Lindsey Bird, Mahboba was accepted into the University of California at Davis and will begin classes in fall 2020. Lindsey and Mahboba talk about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons that they hope will be learned.
Apr 10, 2020
What It’s Really Like Homeschooling During a Pandemic
Megan Sargent, an experienced homeschooling parent, describes "a perfect storm" -- a recent day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when she and all three of her children were crying at once. While little academic learning took place that day, they all learned important lessons about relationships, kindness, and forgiveness.
Apr 3, 2020
Beginning Teacher Survives Her First Year During COVID-19
Life as a beginning teacher is hard, and many quit within a few years. Valerie Sujanani is not only a first year teacher with 30 second grade students, the closing of her school due to COVID-19 has forced her to teach and support her students online-a challenge she and most of her colleagues were not trained to do. Listen to Valerie's story to find out how she's managing during this crisis and whether she will return for a second year.
Mar 30, 2020
Special Education Teacher Adjusts to New Reality to Meet Student Needs
Landi Tessman, a special ed teacher in the Minneapolis area, describes the profound impact the coronavirus is having on her students and the challenges she and her colleagues face educating students while their schools are closed. She also shares lessons of hope that are emerging from the crisis.
Mar 6, 2020
Tavis Danz Follow Up Interview on Mindfulness
In a previous podcast Mr. Danz, shared a story about teaching Mindfulness to his 5th grade students. In this follow-up interview Mr. Danz, some of his students, and his principal respond to concerns raised by author, Alfie Kohn in another teacher story podcast, who worries that trendy concepts like mindfulness, like other trendy ideas, grit, are often used simply to get students to be compliant -- to tolerate situations that shouldn't exist in the first place.
Jan 6, 2020
Dean Lesicko's Third Grade Teacher Makes a Home Visit—Fifteen Years Later He Finds Out Why
Dean Lesicko has spent much of his 30+ years as an educator supporting "marginalized" youth. That may not have happened were it not for Dean's 3rd grade teacher, Ken Meberg.
Dec 17, 2019
What Makes a Good Teacher? A Conversation with Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn (alfiekohn.org) has written extensively about teaching, parenting, education, and schooling. In this thought-provoking podcast, Alfie says we must be clear about our shared, long-term goals for children before we can describe what good teachers do in the classroom. If we want thoughtful, life-long learners, then we would want teachers who encourage their students to be questioners and challengers and in control of their learning -- not passive receptacles of facts.
Dec 2, 2019
Teaching Mindfulness to Fifth Graders—What Do Parents Think?
Tavis Danz is a fifth grade teacher and has incorporated "mindfulness" into his classroom to enhance academic, social, and emotional learning. But he has occasionally worried that the parents of his students might disapprove of this approach. When he received an email from a parent with the subject line, "Mindfulness, " he thought his worst fear was about to be confirmed.
Nov 17, 2019
From The Rodeo to University President
Robert Nelsen was content to work on his ranch in Montana and to ride in the rodeo. As "punishment" for being a "smart ass," Nelsen's high school teacher made him apply for college. Now Dr. Nelsen is now president of one of California's largest public universities.
Aug 19, 2019
Karina Figueroa-Ramirez Could Relate to Her Latinx English Teacher
Until becoming a teenager, Karina Figueroa-Ramirez had never had a teacher who shared her cultural background or looked like her. That changed when she was assigned to a Latinx English teacher in 7th grade who supported Karina's interest in books, who listened to her, and who challenged her to imagine a different future. Nearly 20 years later, in a very different educational setting, Karina is paying forward the gift she received from a caring and inspiring educator. She also remains in touch with this teacher who has since retired.
Jun 30, 2019
Emili Danz Uses Performing Arts to Transform Lives
Emili works with a teacher in South Central Los Angeles who helps a young, angry high school student deal with her emotions--through dance. This teacher story is about trust, the freedom to fail, and how the arts can transform lives.
Jun 30, 2019
Drama Teacher Helps Efrain Solis Find His Voice
During high school, a time in his life when he was desperately trying to blend in (and perhaps go unnoticed), Efrain Solis was encouraged to take center stage. Now a professional opera singer, he shares how his special high school drama teacher, Jeannette McMahon, helped him discover his—baritone—voice.
Jun 30, 2019
The Passion of Brian Rankin's High School Physics Teacher
Brian Rankin's high school physics teacher lies on a bed of nails. He then places a cinder block on his chest and asks Brian to smash it with a sledge hammer -- all to demonstrate a key physics principle to his students. Brian is now a physicist using laser technology to solve real-world problems.
Jun 30, 2019
John Lescroart: Typist to New York Times Best-Selling Novelist
John Lescroart is a New York Times best-selling novelist who says that he might be still be a typist in a law office--or, possibly, homeless were it not for his English teacher, Father Stadler at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. TeacherStories.org celebrates teachers and the important role they play in our lives and communities. Please share this story with your friends! Do you have a teacher story that you would like to share? https://teacherstories.org/submit-story Find more inspiring teacher stories: WEBSITE: https://www.teacherstories.org INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/inspiringteacherstories TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/teacherstories3 FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/InspiringTeacherStories
Jun 29, 2019
Bob Futernick: How One High School Art Teacher Launched a Career in The San Francisco Arts Community
Bob Futernick, former Associate Director of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, sends a thank you note to his high school art teacher -- 50 years after taking his class. TeacherStories.org celebrates teachers and the important role they play in our lives and communities. Please share this story with your friends! Do you have a teacher story that you would like to share? https://teacherstories.org/submit-story Find more inspiring teacher stories: WEBSITE: https://www.teacherstories.org INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/inspiringteacherstories TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/teacherstories3 FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/InspiringTeacherStories
Jun 29, 2019
How Nikki Ahrenstorff's Life was Transformed by Gary Childs
Nikki Ahrenstorff believed that her high school was "reserved for a special group of people" and that she wasn't part of it. That changed when she took an English class with Mr. Childs.