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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
Truth for Teachers is designed to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators and get you energized for the week ahead.
Jun 26, 2021
Better than normal: How to craft an inspiring vision for the new school year
This special bonus episode explores how we can find a more sustainable way to teach in coming school year. Because while it’s natural to hope for “getting back to normal” after so many constantly-shifting expectations ... we know that “normal” wasn't really working for all teachers or kids. What would it mean to truly reimagine education--not just talk about it--and create a way of teaching and learning that is BETTER than normal? Let's counter the "lost year of learning" narrative and find a more strengths-based, empowering perspective on the challenges ahead. In this episode, we're talking about how to focus on what's most impactful with students and streamline the rest. You'll walk away with new clarity about priorities, which will give you confidence in your teaching practice and empower you to set boundaries for better work/life balance. Want to attend the live event on July 11th where you can chat with other educators on YouTube Live about this topic? Sign up here! If you want to learn more about the programs I mentioned at the end, click the links below: * 40 Hour Teacher Workweek (doors close July 15th) * 40 Hour Leadership for Administrators * 40 Hour Instructional Coaching
Jun 15, 2021
The 40 Hour Workweek is here...for teachers, admins, AND instructional coaches
Systemic problems need systemic solutions. Here's what's new to support your school in creating better work/life balance. Click here to skim the transcript instead of listening Click to learn more about: * 40 Hour Teacher Workweek * 40 Hour Leadership * 40 Hour Instructional Coaches
May 16, 2021
EP228 Preparing to regroup after a stressful school year...what comes next?
LAST EPISODE OF SEASON 13! Education is in a time of transition. We’re not quite to the point of post-pandemic teaching, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Moving forward, there’s going to be a lot of talk about what expectations to keep and what to let go of, and it’s critical to reflect: * What parts of pre-pandemic teaching do we want to return to? * What parts of remote and hybrid learning are here to stay? * What do we want the future of education to look like? The summer plan I’m suggesting in this episode to help you regroup includes 3 elements: * A mental vacation (taking a break from thinking about work) * Reflecting on what you learned about yourself and your teaching * Daydreaming and reimagining the future We all need a time of recovery and preparation between school years. And this summer, it's going to be more essential and than ever before to process how the past year has shaped our identities…not only as educators, but as humans. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes. Learn more about the 40 Hour Workweek, 40 Hour Leadership for administrators, and 40 Hour Instructional Coaches.
May 9, 2021
EP227 Five things teachers wish their admins knew
There’s a big focus now on the teacher attrition and shortage crisis. So what does that mean for the teachers that stay? How can schools keep their best teachers and attract more folks to the profession? I believe there are leadership principles that any administrator can internalize and apply to immediately help their faculty feel better supported and create more manageable expectations. I’m going to share some of these solutions in today’s episode, through the lens of what teachers have told me they wish their administrators understood: * Teachers are craving autonomy and respect for their professional judgment. * Teachers need uninterrupted planning time in order to be at their best for students. * Teachers need administrators to have their backs, and support them when their professionalism is undermined. * Teachers need school leaders to provide the necessary support and resources for students to be successful, OR adjust expectations to align with reality. * An organized, efficient school leadership team with clear priorities has a tremendous positive impact on the entire school. When you believe that it’s possible — and desirable — for educators to do a great job for kids AND center their own work/life balance, that belief will color how you perceive your school’s operations. You will naturally filter all information and decision-making through that perception, and make decisions based on sustainable practices rather than urgent stop-gap measures. If you’d like to see systemic changes in the way your school operates, I’ll be releasing the new 40 Hour Leadership program for principals, APs, and other school leaders this summer. Click here to learn more: https://join.40htw.com/leadership Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
May 2, 2021
EP226 Seven takeaways from this school year that simplify teaching from now on (with Amy Stohs)
What made teaching easier and more sustainable this school year, and how can we carry those principles over into next year? Those are the questions I'm exploring in this podcast episode with my guest, Amy Stohs. She is currently a 2nd grade teacher in Northern Virginia, and was named Teacher of the Year in 2019 while she was teaching 6th grade. Amy’s experience is unique in that she has now taught both elementary AND middle school in a pandemic, so she’s experienced the challenges of working with both younger and older students in face-to-face and hybrid learning. Her experience is also unique in that she’s been an active participant in my 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program for the last few years, and I’ve been really impressed by the ideas and resources she shares in that community. So at the start of this school year, I reached out to Amy and asked her to join the 40 Hour team, and help create the adaptations for the program for remote and hybrid learning. If you’re part of 40 Hour or the 40 Hour Grad Program and you’ve loved the remote/hybrid bonuses, you’re about to hear directly from the teacher who brainstormed them with me. Amy’s going to share 7 principles that helped simplify her teaching and make her work more sustainable: * Do what HAS to get done, not what you WANT to get done. * Backward design your classroom management: figure out the goal, then decide what action steps will get you there. * Go slow to go fast. * Instead of always doing your best, ask “What do I have to give today?” * When you’ve tried it all, try one thing. * Shift focus from finding something new and different to doubling down on what we know kids need. * Look for moments of joy and find the fun. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Apr 28, 2021
Power through with...release of regrets
This was the most challenging school year of almost every educator’s career. We’re used to certain aspects of the work getting easier over time, but there were so many new challenges in 2020-2021 that even the most experienced teachers often felt like it was their first year all over again. You had lots of personal and professional growth, of course … but somehow you’re feeling less confident in your abilities now than ever before. It’s a very weird dichotomy, to feel like you worked so hard and learned so many new things, yet there’s no sense of a commensurate payoff. So what does it look like to wrap up a year feeling like this? How do you get a sense of real closure? I think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re all experiencing various levels of collective grief right now. There’s a sense of loss for what we’ve missed out on: “regular” school, being close to family and friends, traveling, vacations, and our normal way of life. Some are also grieving deeper losses for any number of reasons, and not being able to process those losses in our normal ways is also painful. The thing about grief is that we each experience it differently. And, there are many different phases and types of grief which people might cycle through. Some days, I’m content. I’ve made peace with the limitations I have in my life right now and the things I love that are unavailable to me currently. I feel content and able to embrace my new routines for as long as I need to. Other days, I’m simply resigned to these new routines. I’m restless and frustrated. Sometimes I’m deeply sad. I have moments when I feel hopelessness and helplessness that won’t ever seem to end. But that’s the other thing about grief, right? It doesn’t feel the same forever. The ups and downs are all a natural, expected part of the process. So if that’s how you’re feeling as the school year draws to a close, know that you are not alone in experiencing those mixed emotions. There’s a surreal quality to the end of this school year, because many of the activities and face-to-face goodbyes that create closure have changed or been eliminated. Traditions have been altered. Not shutting down classrooms with our colleagues and celebrating together in the usual way makes it harder to emotionally and mentally transition into summer. On top of that, the excitement for summer may also feel a bit muted, with fewer plans to look forward to. And throughout all of this, there’s this sense that maybe you didn’t do a good enough job, because you could have done MORE. The what-ifs start to swirl: Would that student have passed if I’d done A,B, and C? Would that parent have been on my side if I’d offered X, Y, and Z? Would that kid I yelled at have participated in our Zoom meetings if I’d done a better job connecting with them? All of our lowest moments of the year circle around in our heads: the mistakes made, the opportunities missed. And this year that feeling is intensified because of all the limitations in how we were able to reach our students. The number of kids who were disengaged and not making learning gains is probably much higher for you this year than any other in your teaching career. My encouragement to you is to avoid dwelling on the losses. Don’t focus on the things you could have done, or wish you had been done differently. Don’t torture yourself by imagining how much better everything would have been if only certain conditions had been different. Your kids’ learning gains this school year are NOT an accurate measure of your abilities or theirs. Their learning (or lack thereof) is NOT reflective of your worth, or theirs. You’ve been teaching through a crisis. And if you’re reading this, that means you’ve made it this far. That’s worth something. It’s worth a lot, in fact. I hope you will look back on this school year as a test of resilience and fortitude that you have passed. You did it. You got through the sudden and expected transition from the style of teaching you’re used to, and fully immersed yourself in something completely different and nowhere near ideal for you or your students. You’ve faced limitations and setbacks and confusion with the best you were able to give at the time. And now you will face the end of the school year with that same determined attitude. This is a time for patience and flexibility. It’s a chance to learn to be soft-hearted toward ourselves and others when our basic instincts want to flare into anger and indignation at having to deal with problems we never signed up for. This is a time for going inward — to stop looking for validation from outside sources, to stop seeking out others’ approval — and make peace within ourselves. It’s a time to let go of regrets and “could-have-should-have” anxiety. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. Open yourself up to repairing the harm done via honest conversations and apologies where needed. Make peace in every way with what’s already done, so you can have a fresh start moving forward. Give grace toward yourself and everyone around you. This is a time for more humility and patience and understanding than ever before. With time, we can let go of regrets and what we hoped would be, and practice radical acceptance of the experience we are currently having. That is the BEST possible way to position ourselves to move forward and face whatever comes next. I hope the previous 6 weeks of Wednesday emails in my “Power Through” series helped encourage and energize you through the spring months. You did it, my friends. You’re powered through, and you’re almost at the finish line for the school year. And I’m not going to leave you now! Here’s how we can stay connected: #1 I’ll continue sending my Sunday night emails with free encouragement and practical tips (sign up here.) #2 My Truth for Teachers podcast will continue to release new free episodes through the end of May. The regular episodes are longer than the “Power Through” ones (about 20-40 minutes usually) and there’s a blog post transcript for each one. We take a break each summer and then resume with new episodes in August. #3 You can connect with me regularly on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. (My most personal reflections are on IG.) #4 I’ll have a free webinar over the summer to help you counter the “lost year of learning” narrative and craft an inspiring, achievable vision for next school year (more on that soon!) #5 The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program is open to new members from June 15th-July 15th. If you want a full year’s worth of ongoing support, encouragement, and practical resources for streamlining your workload, 40 Hour is the place to get it. Our community focuses on professional development AND personal development, so you don’t have to navigate any aspect of the new school year on your own. Thank you for supporting me, and supporting my work. Each time you listen to one of my podcasts, visit my website, open my emails, engage with me on social media, purchase one of my books/courses/printables, or tell a fellow educator about my resources … know that it is so appreciated! I’ve chosen this work because I want my ideas to make a difference for teachers and kids, and it’s an honor to have your time and attention. More great stuff for you is on the way! Want to start this series from the beginning? Sign up for the Power Through series emails on this page here.
Apr 25, 2021
EP225 To solve for ALL kids, start with ONE...
When a problem seems insurmountable, try creating change one name at a time. Because if you can solve a problem for one person, that means it IS a solvable problem ... and you can solve it for the next, and the next. In this episode, I’ll share how often the solution to big problems is solving smaller ones. You’ll hear NYT bestselling author Dan Heath share a short case study from Chicago Public Schools that illustrates how this name-by-name approach worked for reducing dropout rates. And, I’ll share an intuitive 8 step approach you can use to tackle big problems like student engagement or work completion. You can practice solving for individuals first, and notice patterns in what your students need in order to scale those solutions. There’s something powerful about knowing that even if you can’t solve every problem for every student, you CAN help solve THIS thing for THAT kid. This is how we make progress. And, this is how we create better systems: by designing those systems for individuals rather than trying to force individuals to fit into the systems. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Apr 21, 2021
Power through with...reflecting
There are few things more frustrating than working hard and not seeing a ton of results. It’s even worse when your hard work is unappreciated, and you’re criticized for not doing enough or for doing things wrong. When you’re trying your absolute best to teach well in a pandemic, the reality is that your best might not always be good enough. Sometimes what you’re able to give really isn’t sufficient. Of course you feel inadequate, when you know what you’re capable of under optimal circumstances, and also know you’re not working with anything even close to optimal circumstances. So the only options are to try to single handedly compensate for all the adverse circumstances and perform at a superhuman level every day, or adjust our expectations. You know which choice I’m going to advocate for. I want you to let go of the “shoulds” and regrets about this school year. I want you to celebrate the small wins, instead of focusing on all the things that aren’t happening. I’m going to talk more on that next week. For now, I want you to focus more on who you are becoming, instead of what you are able to do (or not do) for your students. Ask yourself, Who do I want to be on the other side of pandemic teaching? What kind of teacher — and what kind of human — do I want this experience to shape me into? Because in our rush to figure out logistics and lessons and activities … we can’t forget that who we ARE is more impactful than what we DO. Our beliefs, values, and worldview shape the way we interact with kids and impact every decision we make, from classroom management to curriculum. Unpacking our identities and the “who” we bring to the classroom can be a grounding force that holds us steady through change. Of course, you don’t have the time or mental bandwidth right now for a deep meditation on who you are as a person and a teacher. And as always, I’m encouraging you not to make this more complicated than it is. Self-reflection is a continual process, and it’s often more about letting go instead of trying harder. Focus on showing up as your true, whole, healed, essential self … letting go of any thoughts, beliefs, and actions that don’t serve the highest good. At your core, you are loving, patient, kind, and compassionate. You are full of life and energy and purpose. All the traits that are counter to that are simply baggage and coping mechanisms you’ve picked up along the way in your journey through life in a very challenging world. They’re reactions you’ve developed as a result of fear, emotional wounds, defensiveness, prejudice, biases, outside expectations, and so on. Growing as a person can be an act of returning to yourself and embracing who you really are, instead of trying to constantly change or improve yourself. Your very existence, your presence in the classroom, has value. And the more that you show up with an open heart and mind, free from limiting beliefs about yourself, your students, and your school, the more your essential self will shine through. So as you plan what you need to DO for kids … don’t forget to think about who you need to BE. Your essential self — who you are at your core — is exactly the person your students need this year. Sending you much love and support. Sign up for the Power Through series emails on this page here.
Apr 18, 2021
EP224 Deciding what matters: Authentic teaching through setting boundaries (with Gerardo Munoz)
How do you develop confidence in your teaching when you’re constantly hearing about everything you’re doing wrong? How do you know what you should and shouldn’t be focusing on, and discern what’s a good use of your time and what’s not? And most importantly, how can you be sure you’re showing up as the person your students need you to be? Answering these questions is a personal, lifelong journey, and I think the answers from my guest today will really get you thinking about how to answer those questions for yourself. I’m talking with Gerardo Muñoz, a teacher of middle and high school social studies who was named Colorado’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. Gerardo is here to share how his teaching identity has been shaped over the years, and how he’s learned to prioritize what matters most. He discusses how he’s developed the confidence to live and teach authentically, and ways he supports his students in also truly being themselves: “I'm like every kid's hype man. I think that most of what we bring into our classrooms as teachers is the work that we've done on ourselves. That happens before we can work on our students. And so, I have to create a mindset in myself that says, ‘Every single young person in this room is exactly who they are supposed to be’. My job is not to change their personalities; my job is not to make them different humans. My job is to help them identify their strengths, and help them gain skills and behaviors that are going to amplify who they are.” Gerardo then shares how he was on the verge of quitting the profession back in 2017, and what practices from the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program enabled him to not only stay, but to thrive. We talk about setting boundaries, and not being flattered into saying yes to everything. When you know what you’re truly, uniquely good at — what matters deeply to you and what really lights you up — it becomes much easier to say no to obligations that pull you away from those priorities. Confidence and authentic teaching are inherently intertwined, and the work we do on ourselves is what helps us uncover what to focus on. As Gerardo says, “Our lens becomes our practice, so we need to interrogate that lens.” Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Apr 14, 2021
Power through with…reframing
We’ve all had moments this school year when making it to summer felt impossible. You might even be feeling that way right now: like your job has just taken everything out of you, and you have nothing left to give. Being in that headspace is very normal, and it’s fine to allow yourself to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. You don’t have to talk yourself out of your feelings, ignore what your body is telling you, and push through no matter what. (There’s a difference, after all, between pushing through and powering through. Pushing through, at least to me, means doing it regardless of how you feel and just get it done with no regard to the outcome. I see powering through as tapping into the source of your energy and motivation to see things through with strength. We want to power through, not push through.) The determination to power through comes partially from reminding yourself that the way things are now is temporary. No circumstances stay the same forever. I guarantee that you will not be dealing with this exact same set of problems in the fall — your workload will change, your students will change, and YOU will change. Some of it will be for the better and a few things will change for the worse, but it will be DIFFERENT. You will not feel exactly like this every day for the rest of your teaching career. Recognizing the temporary nature of our problems is a technique I learned when studying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The most influential CBT strategy for me has been learning to recognize my own distortions in thinking that create problems, and then reevaluate them in light of reality. (I’ve actually written an entire book about this, called Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching. If you want to do a deeper dive into what I’m about to share, check that out.) A pessimistic viewpoint is that problems are permanent, pervasive, and powerless. That means they will never go away, the problem is the same everywhere so you can’t escape it, and you are powerless to do anything about it. An optimistic viewpoint is that problems are temporary, specific, and changeable. The circumstance will not last forever, it’s specific to this particular situation and is not something you’ll have to face everywhere all the time no matter what, and you have some control over how you respond to the situation in order to make it better. Dr. Martin Seligman’s research has shown that we can train ourselves to be optimists. Or, if you prefer, you can train yourself to be a realist. A realist sees things as they really are, which means giving an appropriate weight to the good stuff that’s happening and not allowing our lizard brains to only focus on potential threats and problems. You don’t have to choose a negative framing for your situation: “Teaching is just completely untenable for me. It’s never going to get better, and in fact, it’s only going to get worse. There’s no point in trying to find another teaching position where I can have better working conditions, because it’s terrible everywhere and I probably couldn’t find another job anyway. The whole profession has gone to hell in a handbasket and there’s nothing I can do about it.” While you are entitled to think these thoughts whenever you wish, I think it’s obvious what kind of depressed feelings that choice will create. A realist would examine those thoughts, and consider what else might also be true: Is there any way to know for sure that teaching is always going to be too demanding and miserable for me forever? Of course not. Is it absolutely true that there are no schools that have better working conditions? Nope. Things will never get better? No, we don’t know that for sure, either. Once we recognize that this pessimistic viewpoint — that the current situation is actually permanent, pervasive, and powerless — is not really true, we can choose a more accurate perspective. For example: “Teaching is super tough for me right now. Next year will have different challenges, and they could be better or worse. The situation in each school was so unique this year, so I know what I’m going through isn’t exactly what everyone else experienced — there ARE some things that can be done to make things better for teachers and kids, because those things are actually happening in tons of classrooms all over the country. I don’t have control over as many factors as I’d like, but I do have some choice in __, __, and __. So I can focus my attention on the things I can do to make this situation more bearable, and set myself up to have better choices in the future.” So you don’t have to worry about how you’ll be able to keep this up until retirement, or even for just a couple more weeks. You can handle ANYTHING for just today. Focus on what you need to do just for now. And then tomorrow when you wake up, remind yourself, “It’s not going to be like this forever — things can change at any time. I can handle the current situation, just for today.” Repeat until you’ve powered through to the finish line. Because while you may not feel like you have the strength to get through ALL the school days right now...you also don’t NEED the strength for all the school days right now. All you need is strength for today. And if that feels like too much, focus on just the strength for right now. Just this moment right here. And then in the next moment, focus just on that second in time, too. Keep doing that, one moment after another. We’re powering through this, together. Sign up for the Power Through series emails on this page here.
Apr 11, 2021
EP223 A powerful way to help kids (and ourselves!) with time management
Constantly issuing reminders and following up with kids is exhausting. Helping kids understand how their brains work and explore ways to funnel their focus, time, and energy is fascinating. So, how do you approach time management through this lens? The teachers who are most successful at managing their time don’t see doing so as a burden. And, they don’t see mismanaging their time as a failure: it’s part of the experiment of learning what works for them and what doesn’t. They’re constantly trying out different approaches according to their moods and the changes in their workload, and adapting for new changes and preferences. It’s not something they try to figure out once and for all. Having this perspective on your own time management naturally flows over into the way you treat students. You no longer expect them to just “buckle down and get it down” since you’re aware of all the mental tricks and productivity hacks you yourself use to follow through on tasks. Y…
Apr 7, 2021
Power through with...resilient thinking and planning
The uncertainty and constant changes have been one of the most stressful parts of this school year. Nearly every teacher I know has invested countless hours into setting up a system for one approach to learning, only to find out that everything’s going to be completely different the following day … and then it’s all going to change again two weeks after that. Resilient pedagogy (as defined by Joshua Eyler) is “a combination of course design principles and teaching strategies that are as resistant to disruption and to change in the learning environment as possible.” The idea is that the essential qualities of your lesson plans will be in place, no matter what changes in the way you deliver instruction. A resilient approach to teaching requires us to SIMPLIFY and SCALE DOWN. You’re not going to be able to offer kids all the resources and options you wish you could … and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything in our world right now is limited and restri…
Apr 4, 2021
EP222 Bring back joy by teaching outdoors: A how-to guide for any classroom
What if this is the perfect time to normalize outdoor learning and make it a permanent part of how we do school? What exactly does outdoor learning look like, and how can we provide equitable access to it? These are questions I’ve been mulling over for quite some time, and I’ve collected some fantastic photos, links, resources, and case studies to help you find a way to bring your classes outside. I’ll share a bit of the history of the “open air schooling movement” from the 1900s and 1910s, when the fear of tuberculosis and later the Spanish Flu created a shift in how some children were educated. We’ll touch briefly on the historical (and current) inequities in how outdoor learning is offered, and examine how to bring classes outside even in areas where nature access is limited. You’ll then hear 2 case stories directly from the teachers who made outdoor learning happen in their schools (a high school teacher in Texas and a first grade teacher in Massachusetts). Outdo…
Mar 31, 2021
Power through with...relationship reconnection
Has your workload created a huge strain on your family, friendships, and/or marriage/partnership? Being a teacher often means making an impossible choice: when you’re focused on your loved ones, you feel like you’re neglecting your students. When you’re focused on your students, you feel like you’re neglecting your loved ones. Trying to add on your own wellbeing and self-care just compounds the guilt. My encouragement to you today is to think about the relationships you have that enhance your confidence, wellbeing, and energy levels. Who are the people whose presence is caring and life-giving to you? How can you choose to prioritize interactions with those folks? You might strengthen those relationships through a quick daily text message, or a deeper conversation on the phone while you’re cleaning or exercising. You might be having a cup of coffee together every other week, or carve out some time each Friday night to be together. This isn’t just about how good it fe…
Mar 28, 2021
EP221 Three ways to make social-emotional learning REAL for students (with Dr. Byron McClure)
How can we make SEL more than a buzzword? School psychologist Dr. Byron McClure is here to go beyond what’s trendy, and give an honest overview of the mental health and socio-emotional support students really need from us right now. Byron shares 3 specific practices you can do with kids to address their social-emotional needs on a daily basis in your classroom. You’re probably familiar with restorative conversations, daily check-ins, and morning meetings ... but Byron frames them in a larger context that taps into the real power behind the practices. Listen as Byron shares some of the history of SEL and what elements have been intentionally obscured and overlooked. We’ll examine how to keep SEL from being “touchy-feely fluff that doesn’t prepare kids for the real world.” The key is to be action-oriented, and ground the work in culturally affirming practices, justice, and equity. We can help students understand ways that privilege is showing up, and ways they might be abl…
Mar 24, 2021
Power through with...rest
I know what many (most?) of you are being asked to do right now is NOT reasonable or sustainable. And because you could never have enough time and energy to do everything that kids need right now, the solution could never be for you to just work harder. We are still in a pandemic. This is not a “normal” school year. Regardless of how much districts want to pretend we can hold to the exact same expectations as last year, we cannot. Of course you’re distracted and panicky and overwhelmed and unfocused at times. Of course your students are the same way. We can’t be expected to accomplish what we normally accomplish because our world is not functioning as it normally does. Rather than trying to keep our frantic pace and be productive like nothing has changed… What if we allow ourselves space to explore different approaches, and give ourselves permission to have adjustment periods for continually changing routines? What if we choose time for disconnecting from the ou…
Mar 21, 2021
EP220 How to use podcasts in the classroom (with Listenwise)
“Better listeners are better learners,” says my guest Monica Brady-Myerov. She’s the Founder and CEO of Listenwise, an award-winning listening skills platform and the sponsor for this episode. Monica explains that audio is a powerful tool for equity and differentiation, because most kids have a much higher listening comprehension level than reading comprehension. You can bring authentic stories and primary sources to your students via audio, helping to build empathy and personalize information that might be difficult to connect with through just words on a page. Not only are podcasts a great way to build students’ content-area knowledge, but audio instruction also helps strengthen their listening comprehension skills. Monica shares examples of how teachers are incorporating podcasts into their instruction. She also explains the features of Listenwise which make it faster and easier for teachers to find high-quality audio content to use with students. There’s a free version…
Mar 17, 2021
Power Through: A special 6 week Wednesday series on Truth for Teachers
Need something to look forward to in the final weeks of school? This new Wednesday morning podcast series will provide 5 minutes of audio encouragement and sound therapy instruments. It's designed for you to listen mid-week to get re-energized. If you'd also like a written version/transcript, sign up for the 6-week email series of free bonus teaching support + encouragement here. In my experience as a teacher, this time of the school year always felt uniquely challenging. It’s like the finish line is in sight, but not close enough to feel motivating yet. Student engagement drops off drastically, and it’s right at the point where you’re panicking that there’s still a ton of content you didn’t teach yet and you need your students to ramp UP, not DOWN. I can only imagine how that feeling is magnified for the 2020-2021 school year. My intuition is telling me that for educators, the next few weeks are going to be about powering through and making the very best of a difficult s…
Mar 14, 2021
EP219 Processing pandemic teaching: An honest, healing conversation (with Pernille Ripp)
“I've never worked so hard in my life to try to reach students, and yet never felt like such a big failure. That carries a lot of emotional weight. But when we are dismissed to ‘just figure it out’, we're not actually given credit for all of the incredible work that has happened.” Those are the words of my guest Pernille Ripp, a 7th grade ELA teacher, author, blogger, keynote speaker, and passionate advocate for education. We are here to hold space for you to process the heaviness of the past year. Pernille illuminates some of the common emotions that come from teaching in a pandemic under the weight of so many expectations, and talks about the impact on her own mental health. We’re offering this conversation to you not as advice and how-to tips, but as a release valve for the pressure that so many educators are feeling. We’re dismantling the narrative that kids have “lost a year of schooling” and are “falling behind,” and examining how teachers have been the eas…
Mar 7, 2021
EP218 Ten tips for teaching critical thinking + information literacy (w/ LaGarde & Hudgins)
Want to develop your students into digital detectives? Join me as I talk with Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgins, who are co-authors of the book Fact vs. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking In the Age of Fake News, and also a new book coming out in July 2021 called Developing Digital Detectives. This is the second episode in our 2 part series about media literacy. Episode 216 with Peter Adams of the News Literacy Project shares how educators can be informed media consumers and advocates for truth. This is an important first step, because we can’t teach skills to students if we don’t have those skills ourselves. In this episode, we’re doing a deeper exploration into how to support students in information literacy. Jennifer, Darren, and I will talk a bit about big picture issues, like making time for instruction on digital literacy, and how to teach kids to think critically about conspiracy theories when those conspiracy theories are widely believed among the community you teach…
Feb 28, 2021
EP217 Good things ARE happening: How to find thoughts that feel better
In a time where there’s so much to be sad or upset about, we have the power to choose thoughts that feel better. And, we can actively look for evidence that those thoughts are true and that good things are happening. In this article and podcast episode of Truth for Teachers, I'll share a couple of examples of how this has worked in my own life and work, and how it might be useful for you, too. I’ll also outline 4 specific steps you can take to choose a better-feeling thought about something that’s bothering you right now, whether it’s personally or professionally. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Feb 21, 2021
EP216 How to be an informed media consumer + advocate for truth (with the News Literacy Project)
investing in our own news literacy is one of the best things we can do for kids. But with so much disinformation, how can we as educators ensure what we're finding and sharing is accurate? Join me as I talk with Peter Adams. He's the head of the education team of the News Literacy Project, a national education nonprofit offering nonpartisan programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the digital age. We'll begin by talking about why information (and misinformation) is more prevalent. Peter gives a brief overview of how extremists of all kinds have become better networked and influential, and how hate groups and conspiracy theorists have leveraged our polarization to promote their own agendas. Then we discuss: * How we can identify point-of-view or propaganda in our news sources * Why objectivity does not mean staying neutral * What's actually news-worthy ("How come the media isn't talking about this?") * The difference between a conspiracy and conspiracy the…
Feb 14, 2021
EP215 When no one’s showing YOU grace, make space instead
Extending grace shouldn’t be a one way street. And yet, many educators feel like they are constantly told to accommodate students and families while they themselves are held to rigid, unrealistic standards. When you start to feel the resentment and frustration building, here are 3 shifts that can help: * Instead of giving grace, think of giving people space to be themselves. Rather than trying to fit people into narrow boxes, expand the space you offer so folks are free to be inconsistent in how they think, feel, and behave. It's natural to have good days and bad ones, low moods and high moods. Allowing students and families space to move back and forth between these states of being can ease your stress and resentment. * Stop making your work look effortless, and invite folks into the process. Teachers in general — and women especially — are conditioned to make everything we do look easy and natural. But this often backfires because it causes people to expect even more of u…
Feb 7, 2021
EP214 Simplify your blended learning workload (with Dr. Catlin Tucker)
Need practical tips for doing “fewer things better” in a remote/hybrid setting? Check out this episode with Dr. Catlin Tucker. We’ll talk about simplifying assessment, virtual station rotations, student engagement, and more. We’ll also discuss specific steps teachers can take to advocate for more realistic expectations for themselves and their students. Check out the blog post/transcript with links to my favorite resources from Catlin here. You can also join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes. Learn more about Catlin here: https://catlintucker.com Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Catlin_Tucker Check out Catlin's blended learning courses here: https://catlintucker.teachable.com/?affcode=685936_arhw3kaz
Jan 31, 2021
EP213 The breaking point that led to my sabbatical (and what’s next)
The spring and summer of 2020 were some of the darkest times of my life, both personally and professionally. In this episode, I want to offer a bit more of myself and my journey with you: * My struggle with depression and anxiety * Professional burnout and lack of motivation * COVID and the disillusionment of offering solutions for schools when there aren’t any good ones * Where my train metaphorically derailed and I lost sight of the destination * The choice to cut out non-essential obligations and go offline in December * The response (and pushback) to my sabbatical announcement * Why I’ve never seen stepping away from work as a weakness (this wasn't the first or last time) * How I used my time offline in December * Why the sabbatical was not a cure-all, and coming back was harder than anticipated * The path back: finding the spark of inspiration and nurturing it into a roaring flame Thank you for allowing me these weeks to heal, breathe, regroup, and clarif…
Jan 24, 2021
EP212 The train's leaving the station. Are you on board?
For 2021, I want to have a single-minded focus on the destination ahead. A train can’t go in multiple directions at once. So, what is my mission? My contribution? What is the thing I can be doing right now in the world to make it a better place? I want to decide that and get on board the train. I’ve wasted far too much time hanging around the station, arguing with naysayers and trying to persuade people (who don’t want to be persuaded) that they should come on board. I believe this moment in time is meant for us to map out the next stop, holler out “all aboard,” and start moving down the tracks…regardless of how many people are with us. Other folks can always hop on at a later stop if they want, or catch the next train. They can also spend the rest of their lives grumbling at the station. They can even board a train heading in the opposite direction. Don’t let any of their choices stop YOU from where you need to go. Get really clear on the destination you want to hea…
Oct 18, 2020
EP211 Find the small good things. Take the next right steps.
This is a deeply personal podcast episode, so if you’re new here, I encourage you to revisit previous eps that are probably going to be more helpful and along the lines of what you’re hoping to get. This one is all over the map: part inspirational, part confessional, part political, part visionary. I've decided to end the podcast early, for reasons that will be apparent as I share what’s on my heart here. I will not be back with another episode until at least January 2021. In the meanwhile: Find the small good things. Take the next right steps. Focus on who you want to become through the remainder of this pandemic. What kind of person will you be on the other side of these challenging times? What kind of educators do we want to be? What kind of nation do we want to be? Vote accordingly. Sending you all love, support, and solidarity until next time. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with o…
Oct 11, 2020
EP210 How to be quietly subversive and make the standards meaningful (with Dr. Robyn Jackson)
What happens when you’re asked to follow bad pedagogy or teach topics that seem irrelevant for kids? You can do exactly as you’re told...or you can quietly subvert the system, and find ways to do what’s best for kids. Listen in as Dr. Robyn Jackson and I talk about ways that we’ve done this in our teaching practice, and how we’ve supported other teachers in doing the same. We speak the quiet part out loud in this episode: the best teachers don’t just follow directives without question — they’re NOT doing everything they’re told, because a lot of what they’re told to do isn’t good for kids. You don’t have to settle for just “getting through” boring curriculum and test prep. You can be actively looking for ways to get yourself excited about what/how you need to teach and make the learning meaningful for kids so they’re more engaged, too. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to conne…
Oct 4, 2020
EP209 For the teachers who are not okay right now...
I decided to scrap the topic I had planned for this week and speak to the teachers who feel like they’re drowning. I know what's expected right now of many kids, families, and teachers is not humanly possible on a long-term basis. And in this episode, I want to counter the system-wide gaslighting that is occurring. What many (most?) of you are being asked to do right now is NOT, in fact, reasonable ... and the solution is not for you to simply work harder. We are still in a pandemic. This is still crisis distance learning. This is emergency hybrid teaching. Regardless of how much districts want to pretend we can replicate normal, we cannot. Resist the pressure to perform at optimal levels when we are not working in optimal conditions. Pushing yourself to work harder when your body's calling for rest will not help you get ahead. That approach is part of the old paradigm which has to fall away and be replaced with a way of working, teaching, and learning that is humanized and center…
Sep 27, 2020
EP208 The best ideas from the Distance Learning Playbook: An uplifting convo with Doug of Fisher & Frey
“We didn't forget how to be teachers. It’s the same passion, engagement, and relationships — you already know how to do that. What we have to learn is a few tech tools, so that we can accomplish the teaching moves that we want, but we did not forget how to teach ... Human beings know how to develop relationships, and sometimes they develop from a distance.” Listen as I talk with Doug Fisher (of Fisher & Frey) about the most important ideas from their new book with John Hattie called “The Distance Learning Playbook: K-12 Teaching For Engagement and Impact in Any Setting.” The book is based on the classroom experiences of a diverse group of more than 70 teachers this past spring. I ask Doug to sum up their most important takeaways, the things that surprised him, and the best practical ideas that came out of these teachers’ experiences. We talk extensively about the best ways to get kids to show up to distance learning and complete their work, as well. Doug shares specifi…
Sep 20, 2020
EP207 Do you hold these 3 limiting beliefs about students?
If you're frustrated with kids who don't seem to be putting forth any effort, this episode can help you shift your mindset and think about the problem in new ways. We’ll examine 3 limiting beliefs that are a very common part of many people’s worldview, and look for ways to choose perspectives that are more constructive and helpful. When you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING, sometimes the missing piece is to change the way we think about the problem...and this episode can help you choose thoughts that serve you (and your students) better. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Sep 13, 2020
EP206 Humanizing your classroom so kids are known, valued, respected, & safe (with Dave Stuart Jr.)
When teaching from a distance — either 6 feet away or remotely — it can feel challenging to get to know your students well. "The top thing we can do with overwhelm is return to our strength, return to our knowledge, return to our experience. Every teacher in the world knows ways of connecting with students and humanizing a classroom. These things don't perfectly translate to a classroom with social distance or an online learning space...but they do transfer." -Dave Stuart, Jr. Relationships aren’t EVERYTHING, but they ARE “one of the most valuable currencies” in the classroom, according to Dave Stuart Jr. Listen in as we talk about practical ways you can make sure your students feel known, valued, respected, and safe. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Sep 6, 2020
EP205 When doing your best just isn't good enough...
Sometimes what you’re able to give is not sufficient. It’s frustrating when you know what you’re capable of under optimal circumstances, but also know you’re not working with optimal circumstances or anything close to it. So the only options are to try to single-handedly compensate for all the adverse circumstances and perform at a superhuman level every day, or adjust our expectations. In this episode, I’ll share about choosing kinder, gentler self-talk, and showing ourselves grace so we can extend that grace to others. I’ll also share a guiding question that I’ve been thinking about since March: Who do I want to be on the other side of this pandemic? What kind of person do I want this experience to be shaping me into? This episode will help you let go of the “shoulds” and regrets about 2020, and celebrate the small wins instead of focusing on all the things we haven’t been able to do. There is a great peace that comes with focusing on who you are becoming inst…
Aug 30, 2020
EP204 Differentiation: What new opportunities are possible now?
Breakout rooms are transforming how we do one-on-one conferencing and small group work. There are so many things we CAN’T do right with kids, so in this episode, I’m exploring the new opportunities for differentiation which may not have been possible in pre-pandemic teaching. You’ll hear from a diverse group of 5 teachers from around the world who each share a quick summary of how they differentiated this past spring, and how they’ll build on that experience this school year. If you’re looking for manageable, sustainable ways to meet kids’ individual needs in remote or hybrid learning, you’ll find lots of creative structures here. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Aug 23, 2020
EP203 Feeling like a first year teacher again? Remember these 5 things.
When the learning curve is overwhelming (especially with technology), these 5 guiding principles can help: * Start with the outcome you want to achieve, and choose the best tool accordingly (rather than vice versa). * Approach technology as a tool to support learning, not the focus of the learning itself. * Use tech to enhance, not dominate, what you’re already doing. * Use what you love and don’t abandon what works for the next shiny new thing. * Be willing to learn through experimentation rather than a formal training. Listen in on this encouraging, motivating episode that reminds you how to shift focus away from the overwhelming array of options and things you DON’T know how to do, and recenter on what you DO know. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Aug 16, 2020
EP202 How to plan activities that work for in-person, remote, AND hybrid instruction
Adapting a flexible, resilient pedagogy will allow us to roll with any changes that might come, and will carry us through to post-pandemic teaching, as well. The goal? To emerge from this school year with more equitable, sustainable, and relevant ways of teaching and learning. So what exactly does flexible resilience pedagogy look like in practice? I’ll share some tips to help you plan ONE set of activities for every lesson, and use them for face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction. I’ll also share 11 practical strategies to help you find a manageable, sustainable approach to planning instruction this year, no matter what changes might come in your teaching context. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Aug 9, 2020
EP201 Freedom dreaming & who we need to BE for kids this year (with Tanesha Forman)
In our rush to figure out logistics, we can’t forget that who we ARE impacts how we teach more than anything else. Unpacking our own identity and the “why” we bring to the classroom can be a grounding force that holds us steady through change. Listen in as I have a laid-back yet energizing conversation with Tanesha Forman, a middle school teacher entering her 15th year in the classroom. She shares how her daily classroom work is a reflection of her own learning, identity, and growth, and how she uses that self-reflection to support students in being fully seen and known in her classroom. Tanesha also shares how she’s planning for both curriculum and socio-emotional learning in the coming school year through a reflective, anti-bias/anti-racist lens. We talk about disrupting power structures, and Tanesha shares her “freedom dream” in which kids and teachers can fully be themselves in school. If you want to surround yourself right now with the inspiration of folks who are re…
Aug 2, 2020
EP200 How to plan for the first weeks of school when everything feels uncertain
Whether you’re with kids face-to-face daily or a few days a week or totally online, I think it’s fair to say that your lessons for back-to-school this year are not going to be what you wish they could be. You probably won't be able to do what you did in previous school years. The sooner you can accept that, the easier it will be to plan because you won’t be spending so much energy shoehorning in activities that just aren’t going to work. The sooner you can accept that the start of this school year is not going to be optimal for you or your students, the easier it will be to see things in a really clear-headed way and find the best possible solutions. In this epsiode, I'll share the WHY and HOW for keeping your lesson plans simple for the first couple of weeks. As you get more answers from your district about what's expected, you'll be able to do build in more activities and experiences for kids. But, you don't have to have it all figured out before the first day of school.…
Jun 24, 2020
Flexible resilience: My manifesto for the coming school year
I’ve been thinking a lot about where I personally can add the most value, and how I can offer support and resources in the way I do best. I’m going to share part of my manifesto here with you. These are my beliefs and goals that will shape the work I do around the changes coming this fall to our schools. You will see these perspectives interwoven into every resource from me this coming school year — emails, blog posts, podcast eps, social media posts, 40 Hour Workweek resources, and so on. Specifically, I'll share: * The importance of time to rest and regroup before preparing lessons for the coming year * Why you shouldn't wait for your district to finalize plans before you speak up about your needs * How to seek out the overlap between what's best for teachers and what's best for kids * How radical acceptance can prepare you to create much-needed change in our schools * Ways a flexible, resilient pedagogy can simplify your workload and help you support students more…
Jun 4, 2020
A message of hope + call to action
If you've been feeling like you can't make a difference right now, listen in for how you can stand up for racial justice and create positive change. I'll share why I am hopeful that uprising we're experiencing as a nation is leading us toward racial healing and equality, and what YOU can do to help. You have the power to uncover and root out discriminatory practices in your classroom, school, and district. There are actionable steps you can take starting today to do an informal "equity audit." The goal is to name and interrupt patterns of bias + racism in the way we do school, and it's one of the most impactful choices you can make as an educator who wants to create a better world for our kids. Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/a-message-of-hope-call-to-action-for-justice/
May 10, 2020
EP199 Ending the school year virtually + crisis classroom closeout tips
We’re wrapping up Season 11 of the podcast in this episode, and talking about how to wrap up the school year, as well. The usual end-of-year activities won’t quite fit the bill right now, so I’m sharing how other teachers are creating closure for the year, even when they can’t be face-to-face with their students. I’ll also share a crisis classroom closeout process if you only have a few hours to shut down your room: * Download the PDF here * Get the editable checklist in a Google Doc here Season 12 of the podcast will begin in August, and I’ll check in periodically over the summer with bonus episodes and announcements to keep you in the loop. Thank you for listening, sharing, subscribing, and reviewing the podcast! Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
May 3, 2020
EP198 Three sneaky ways perfectionism is holding you back (even if you think you’re not a perfectionist)
Perfectionism is not always about needing things to be perfect. It can look like an “all-or-nothing” mentality that keeps us from creating the change we want. My working theory is that everyone struggles with perfectionism, it simply manifests differently for different people. We all have our things that we are extremely particular about. Even folks who are super laid-back or happily disorganized or go-with-the-flow still have very defined preferences for certain aspects of their life. I think it’s the root word “perfect” that throws people off. Very few people actually try to make everything to be absolutely perfect with no flaws at all times. But, we do all sometimes have the belief that things have to be a certain way in order for us to be content or satisfied. Things have to match out personal standard in order to be acceptable — and that’s a sneaky form of perfectionism. In this episode, I’m going to share 3 thought patterns that you may recognize, explain how…
Apr 26, 2020
EP197 Creating systemic change and solving problems before they happen (with Dan Heath)
How do we reimagine schools and use this interruption to our lives to create a better normal post-pandemic? My guest in this episode is Dan Heath, a New York Times bestselling author of 5 books, the most recent being “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen.” This book is a MUST read for anyone who’s curious about how to create systemic change or how to improve our daily lives through pro-active problem-solving. Dan explains why we spend more time and resources fixing problems than preventing them. He gives concrete examples of people and organizations that have gone “upstream” to identify what’s creating havoc and fix things there, BEFORE the problems come to them downstream. We have an unprecedented opportunity right now for change in many areas: healthcare, the economy, the environment, and so on. Every part of our lives and society have been touched, and will be changed ... and it’s up to us to envision a better “new normal.” If you loved EP1…
Apr 19, 2020
EP196 Some parts of teaching are BETTER with remote learning. Here’s how to leverage that.
Crisis distance learning has improved teaching and learning in some surprising (and not-so-surprising ways) over the last couple of weeks. There’s no doubt that it’s been stressful trying to make the transition so abruptly, but I thought it might be helpful to do an episode on the positives some folks are seeing, too. Whether you secretly prefer remote teaching or if you just wish you were back in your classroom again, this episode will help you focus on the potential benefits of teaching from home. You’ll learn some emerging best practices and positive reports from teachers about their experiences with distance learning to help you make the best of this time. You’ll also hear a call-to-action: observe and document which practices are getting good results (or perhaps better results than face-to-face instruction) for your students. You don't have to figure out now how to carry this over to next school year, but having a record of what you're seeing to prove the benefits of…
Apr 12, 2020
EP195 How to stop being annoyed by personality differences (with Kara Lowentheil)
Spending a LOT of time in a confined space with the same people day in and day out can exacerbate tension. If you’re finding yourself increasingly agitated, impatient, and annoyed by the folks around you, this episode can help! I’m talking with Kara Loewentheil, who has a B.A. from Yale and J.D. from Harvard Law, and works now as a Master Certified Coach. She's the host of the iTunes top-rated self-help podcast "Un-F Your Brain," which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and she has been featured in outlets like Marie Claire, Mind Body Green, MSN.com, and The Huffington Post. I love to occasionally have folks with a perspective outside of our education bubble come on the show to give us a broader perspective. We recorded this prior to the pandemic, so you won’t hear us address that, however, I decided to run the episode this week because I think our conversation is going to be more relevant now than ever. As we’re stuck inside for weeks on end with other humans, th…
Apr 5, 2020
EP194 Yes, work/life balance IS possible when teaching from home
Work/life balance doesn't mean creating a total separation between teaching and everything else. It’s about integrating work with the rest of your priorities in a way that allows you to give appropriate time and energy to each. Balance IS possible and worth striving for, even when teaching remotely from home for the first time. If you feel like you're tied to the computer 24/7 and working more now than ever before, these 11 reminders and practical tips can help. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Mar 29, 2020
EP193 12 ways to connect with kids when teaching remotely
During distance learning, look for small, simple ways you can center kids’ physical and mental well-being, which will, in turn, be energizing and uplifting for you, as well. I’ve collected 12 types of ideas from members of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club to give you some insight into how other K-12 teachers from around the world are facing the challenges of teaching remotely. Read the whole list here. Regardless of how much (or how little) contact with your students you’re able to have, and how much (or how little) academic instruction is happening, these ideas can help you prioritize relationships with your students and stay connected. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Mar 22, 2020
EP192 Schools are closed. This is our chance to reimagine them.
A sudden switch to teaching remotely is so difficult to manage. But what if it allows us to let go of all our previous assumptions about what we “have” to do with kids? If schools can simplify the curriculum, cancel standardized testing, and put kids’ socio-emotional wellness first right now ... why can’t we do that all the time? In this episode, I’m offering encouragement to help you let go of the pressure to do remote learning the “right” way. There is no right way because what we’re trying right now has never been done before on such a large scale. If you’ve been feeling anxious about how to make everything work, listen in for some reassurance and clarity. This might just be the beginning of a profound and deeply-needed transformation of the expectations placed on teachers and students. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers'…
Mar 17, 2020
5 calming reminders about what matters most during pandemic panic & school closures
With all the COVID-19 upheaval in our world right now, I wanted to do a special check-in with you. We are all struggling with the uncertainty, but this episode shares 5 things I know for sure. I've added calming background music, so this is ideal to listen to when you're anxious and having trouble focusing on getting anything done. I hope it's reassuring. Be safe and well! Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Mar 15, 2020
EP191 How to motivate and engage reluctant learners (with Dr. Robyn Jackson)
“You can break motivation barriers for disengaged students by recognizing that motivation is an investment decision. Students have time, attention, and effort, and they are making a decision every single day about whether they want to invest those things in our classrooms or in something else. Making your classroom worth investing in is about creating a space where students’ time, energy, and effort will be rewarded.” --Dr. Robyn Jackson Join us as Robyn and I do a deep dive into her quote above. We’re tackling whether there is such thing as a kid who doesn’t want to learn, and then working through the 4 causes of student disengagement (instructional, institutional, interpersonal, and internal.) Robyn explains in-depth how teachers can identify and address each cause in practical, relatable ways. We camp out for quite a while on the topic of interpersonal barriers, because there’s a powerful approach there which can be used to re-engage a reluctant learner. Robyn explai…
Mar 8, 2020
EP190 Healthy teacher lunch ideas that are quick prep and decision-free
Lunch can be a surprisingly big stressor for teachers: figuring out what to pack, being scheduled for a 10:30 am lunch slot when you’re never quite hungry, having to scarf down a whole meal in 15 minutes or less, or not getting a break for lunch at all. So, by popular request, this episode is all about ways to simplify and streamline. Some of the main strategies we’ll explore include: * Make convenient containers easily accessible * Keep a variety of snack choices to mix and match for lunch * Make green smoothies or protein shakes * Prep veggies as soon as you bring them home * Batch your lunch prep * Make (almost) every dinner give you two days’ worth of lunches * Create a set of go-to meals for dinner to be used as leftovers * Eat the same lunch daily or eliminate it altogether * Try to reduce the additional lunch prep you handle for family members Learn how to invest a bit of time in creating a simple plan, so that figuring out a healthy lunch is one less…
Mar 1, 2020
EP189 How to transition out of teaching (with Daphne Williams of Teacher Career Coach)
What career options are available for teachers? Is it true that other industries don’t value education degrees or teaching experience? What else is possible when you feel like the “only” thing you know how to do is teach? Daphne Williams of Teacher Career Coach is on this week’s episode to provide guidance to those who are considering a career move outside the classroom. Together, we destigmatize the desire to find another career, and help teachers process the unwarranted embarrassment and guilt that can come with leaving teaching. You’ll also learn: -Why teaching has prepared you for a multitude of other careers -How to translate your experience from classroom to corporate so potential employers understand the value of your skills -What types of industries frequently hire former teachers -How (and when) to apply for positions in the 2020 job market -How to find work when you live in a rural area or small town -Why you should do the math on how much you’re making…
Feb 23, 2020
EP188 What are your secret rules for how everyone else should behave?
Sometimes a relatively minor issue — like students not remembering to put their names on their papers — can create an outsized reaction in us. That’s certainly been true for me — as a new teacher, I couldn’t believe I was having to remind the kids AGAIN to write the proper heading (yes, friends, on EVERY assignment). The real source of my frustration wasn’t no-name papers, though. It was my belief that students should have internalized all classroom procedures early in the school year, and would therefore not need any more reminders after that. Turns out, this expectation is neither factual nor realistic. It was my own secret rule — an expectation that only existed in my mind, but wasn’t true for everyone else around me. Secret rules are the reason why the exact same behavior can elicit annoyance in one person, and not in another. When you are aware that everyone has their own set of secret rules, it becomes far less frustrating when people don’t follow yours.…
Feb 16, 2020
EP187 Eight simple ways to move toward a zero-waste classroom (with Heidi Rose)
“Our end goal isn’t to be perfect consumers; it’s just to have a different mindset about our relationship with the world. In my classroom, the relationship to the planet that I'm modeling is what's going to have the biggest impact. That's what's going to stick with the kids more than one little tip or trick that I use for reducing waste.” In this episode, you’ll hear 1st grade teacher Heidi Rose of Zero Waste Classroom share how she’s shifted her mindset and daily practices toward a greener teaching practice. You’ll learn small actionable steps you can take to raise students’ consciousness about their consumption and reduce the amount of trash generated in your classroom. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Feb 9, 2020
EP186 Is your “invisible throne” creating power struggles and unnecessary work?
We’ve all had moments where we lose our temper with students and pull rank to get them to comply. So how do you shift from micromanaging, controlling, and punishing students to supporting and guiding them? How do we learn to lead our students instead of ruling over them? In this episode, I’ll share how the model of fear-based obedience begins at the top of the school system hierarchy. There are folks seated on invisible thrones who issue senseless mandates to teachers, who then follow suit, replicating that pattern to the powerless citizens of their classroom kingdoms. That damaging pattern does not have to be replicated with YOUR students. I’ll share how to notice when you are attempting to rule over students from an invisible throne, and shift your approach without berating or judging yourself (which would only reinforce this same mentality of “bad behavior” which needs to be shamed or punished). Learn how to recognize when you’re not responding to students from the wi…
Feb 2, 2020
EP185 Using inquiry to help kids develop critical consciousness (with Jess Lifshitz)
How can you design learning experiences that help kids understand themselves and their place in the world? A 5th grade teacher shares how she creates inquiry experiences that help kids develop understandings about personal identity, bias, moving beyond a single story, and seeing what isn’t there (critically studying history). I’ve asked Jess Lifshitz to come on the podcast because I love learning from her on Twitter, and I wanted to amplify her work so more teachers can use inquiry, reading, and writing to help students better understand create positive change in the world beyond the classroom. Jess shares, “I’m constantly looking at the models around me of the humans that I want my students to grow up to be and asking, “What did they have to learn to be that kind of person?’ We see people stand up for strangers in the supermarket, and I think to myself, ’What was that person taught that allowed them to become the kind of adult that's going to stand up for someone else…
Jan 26, 2020
EP184 When you're doubting your abilities as a teacher...
You can’t just positive-think your way into confidence: real confidence comes as a result of consistently taking action, and seeing growth in yourself over time. When I started my podcast 4 years ago, I wasn’t confident about it. At all. In fact, I was very self-conscious about my voice, my accent, my ideas, my theme song, my introduction. You name it, I doubted it. And that’s how it should be — how can you be confident about something you’ve never done and aren’t great at yet? I didn’t have the confidence yet because I hadn’t yet built the capability. But, I believed in my own ability to grow and improve. I knew I COULD have the capability if I kept showing up. With each mediocre episode I worked so hard to produce, I got better at it. Things began to come easier to me, and I was happier with the end result. I saw my growth, and THAT’S what gave me my confidence as a podcast host. In this episode, I share my encouragement to you: to build your confidence as…
Dec 21, 2019
10 personal things I learned about myself this decade
As we move into 2020, I’m sharing some very personal self-reflections about the course my life has taken over the past 10 years, and new insights I've had about who I am and what I need in order to thrive. A few of the things I touch on in this stream-of-consciousness episode: * Learning to set boundaries * Becoming a "people person" * Why I chose the direction I did for my business * What marriage looks like for me now * Why we don’t have kids * What I've learned about my creative process I wrap up by sharing the personal development work I want to focus on as the new decade begins. I would love to hear your self-reflections and what you’ve learned about YOURSELF over the past decade! You can share with me and other Truth for Teachers listeners in our private Facebook community here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/ Happy New Year! I'll be back with the next "official" episode on Jan 26th.
Nov 17, 2019
EP183 How one teacher set boundaries and stopped bringing work home
Jessica H. shares how she balances home and work: “I realized that being a good teacher came at a really high price for me, at the expense of my family, relationships, and health. One day I decided that that price was higher than I was willing to pay. So I asked, “If I were to thrive — not just survive, but thrive — in my professional life, what would that look like? What would I have to do (and stop doing) to thrive?” I encourage you to listen for specific things Jessica’s done to create boundaries and consider how you could find approaches that work for you. We’re not prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach here. My hope is that Jessica’s story will inspire you to think outside the box and figure out a schedule that allows YOU to have clearer boundaries between home and work and more time for self-care. If you want to learn more about the new 40 Hour Fast Track (a 6-week program I’m offering in January), go here: 40htw.com Click here to read the transcript and…
Nov 10, 2019
EP182 The Weekend Effect: Why your time off is worth fighting for (with Katrina Onstad)
The history of the weekend is a fascinating one, and author Katrina Onstad is here to tell us why (and how) workers’ rights have evolved over time. She shares the ancient concept of rest from working hours, and describes how the encroachment of work on our personal lives changed with industrialization, and changed again now that technology keeps us connected 24/7. Katrina also shares some systemic changes we can make in schools to fight the culture of overwork, and shares practical things you can do to get the benefit of “the weekend effect” and maximize your time off to create a true break. To learn more, get Katrina's book, "The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork." Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Nov 3, 2019
EP181 Four things your school psychologist wishes you knew about sped referrals (with Dr. Rebecca Branstetter)
Why does it take so long to test kids for special education services? What are you supposed to do in the meanwhile? And what exactly does the school psychologist do all day? Dr. Rebecca Branstetter of The Thriving School Psychologist Collective is here to share the hilarious stories and inside scoop on the role of school psychs. They’re trained to do far more than just test kids, and your school psychologist can be a fantastic resource: “School psychologists aren’t the gatekeepers to special education. We want to do so much more than just test. We want to be part of the school community. Think of us as your consultants and thought partners before you think of us as special education assessors”. If you’ve ever been frustrated with the special education referral and testing process, listen in to discover what’s happening behind the scenes, and what you can do (with the support of your school psychologist) to help your students. Click here to read the blog post and partic…
Oct 27, 2019
EP180 Real talk on communicating with difficult colleagues at school
Do you have co-workers who are passive-aggressive, controlling, or even outright bullying others when you’re supposed to be collaborating? Are you appalled at some of the things that come out of some coworkers’ mouths, but always feel caught off guard and aren’t sure how to respond? This is an off-the-cuff episode where I’m speaking to you directly from the heart, giving the same advice I’d give to a friend. Listen in to hear some approaches I’ve used when communicating with difficult colleagues. Click here to read the blog post and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Oct 20, 2019
EP179 Out the door by 4: Streamlining Friday afternoon planning (Rebecca’s coaching call)
In this coaching call, a 25-year veteran teacher explores why it’s taking her so long to get out the door on Friday afternoons when she’s trying to plan for the following week. Rebecca shares, “I’m a really good teacher, but with as long as I take to plan lessons, I should be one of the best in the world!” Together, we explore ways to streamline her planning process so she’s spending less time fitting the pieces together and hunting for good activities. We also examine her Friday afternoon routines to look for ways she might be wasting time, and try to find tasks she can move to other time periods to allow her to start her weekend at a decent hour. Rebecca’s coaching call ends with 3 actionable takeaways, one for reducing the time spent planning lessons, one for prioritizing coworker conversations without staying late, and one for re-allocating work hours to make sure she’s out the door by 4 on Fridays. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discus…
Oct 13, 2019
EP178 How to act (rather than react) and stop wasting class time when kids are off-task
Are you constantly losing instructional time to minor disruptions and off-task behavior? What if you shifted your focus from eliminating misbehavior and interruptions to maximizing learning time? When the goal is to eliminate interruptions, you feel like you have to address every single one so it never happens again. When the goal is to maximize learning time, you can choose a more constructive response that keeps the majority of the class on-task. This approach will reduce the wasted class time spent on lectures about the rules and arguing with kids over what you’ve told them to do. Here’s how to plan your responses in advance so you’re not constantly exploding in frustration over minor things. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Oct 6, 2019
EP177 Rage Becomes Her: Supporting students — and ourselves — in expressing our full range of emotions (with Soraya Chemaly)
“Men and women are far more alike than they are different. And yet in our society, all of the emphasis is put on the difference. Everybody feels anger, everybody feels sadness, and it makes no sense to be gendering these feelings. As a matter of fact, not only does it not make sense, it is definitively harmful to people and to society.” “As girls, we are not taught to acknowledge or manage our anger so much as fear, ignore, hide, and transform it. Boys learn early on about anger, but far less about other feelings, which handicaps them—and society—in different ways. Socially discouraged from seeming feminine (in other words, being empathetic, vulnerable, and compassionate), their emotional alternatives often come down to withdrawal or aggressive expressions of anger. There's no reason why all children can't learn to be kind and considerate to other people in exactly the same way.” “What would it mean to ungender our emotions? What would the world look like if all of us w…
Sep 29, 2019
EP176 Radical acceptance: How to deal with teaching frustrations you cannot change
How much energy are you wasting complaining about or resisting reality? Radical acceptance can help you deal realistically with the facts of the situation (rather than the story you’re telling yourself about the facts) and sitting with the discomfort of the present moment instead of insisting it shouldn’t be happening. Radical acceptance doesn’t mean you approve of the problems you’re facing or deem other people’s inappropriate behavior as okay. You don’t have to ignore your own needs, let people walk all over you, ignore a problem, or tell yourself it’s okay that something awful is happening or has happened to you. Rather, it’s a principle you can practice to bravely see all that you are, and all that the people around you are. You can take constructive steps to improve working conditions while practicing radical acceptance of your current reality. You can change your self-talk from “I can’t believe this unfair thing is happening” to “It IS happening, and I a…
Sep 22, 2019
EP175 Four myths about great teaching debunked (with Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy)
Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy and I are breaking down misconceptions about what effective instruction really looks like. Listen in as we discuss the truths that often get buried among these myths: MYTH #1: Traditional teaching methods should be replaced with more innovative, student-centered approaches. MYTH #2: Lessons should be as creative and fun as possible to increase engagement. MYTH #3: Including elements of students' cultures in your lessons is the best way to teach a diverse group of kids. MYTH #4: Planning great lessons always takes a lot of time and preparation. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Sep 15, 2019
EP174 Eight ways to move out of overwhelm when everything feels exhausting
What happens when even looking at your to-do list makes you want to shut down? How do you get yourself re-energized when basic adulting feels like too much? I’ve found it empowering to have a menu of choices — or a toolbox — I can go to when I experience those feelings. It’s a collection of strategies I can pick from which have worked in the past, so I can choose whichever one feels easiest to me at the time. In this episode, I’m sharing 8 approaches that work for me: * Give yourself permission to stop doing and thinking * Choose self-comfort or self-care * Get out of your head and regain perspective * Tap into your vision, legacy, and long term goals * Dump the stress by planning and batching tasks * Eliminate tasks and go back to basics * Ease your way into productivity mode with quick wins * Tackle the task that’s creating the most anxiety Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here…
Sep 8, 2019
EP173 Breathe for Change: Tools for teacher well-being and mindfulness
The best way to help students be more empathetic and self-aware is for us to first develop these qualities in ourselves. Dr. Ilana Nankin has created wellness, yoga, and mindfulness resources specifically for teachers through her organization called Breathe for Change. Ilana is spearheading a movement of educators who want to embody principles of wellness and healthy socio-emotional development in order to teach those things to students authentically. Listen in as she shares how teachers can get support in establishing or deepening practices of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and other tools for well-being and carry those practices into the classroom. Share your thoughts on the episode and collaborate with other listeners in our NEW private group on Facebook! Click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/. You can also leave a comment on the blog post/transcript for this episode here:http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/breathe-for-ch…
Sep 1, 2019
EP172 Some things a teacher shouldn't be "neutral" about...
Your worldview shapes your classroom management and curriculum choices, whether consciously or not. Let’s examine and question the belief that “neutral” is the only ethical position for us to take, and interrogate whether being neutral is even possible in certain contexts. To be true advocates for our students and have strong, authentic relationships with them, we have to fully embrace and support their identities, and be willing to take a stand when they are discriminated against, bullied, or marginalized. Click here to get recommendations for anti-bias and anti-racism resources, including books, podcasts, free curriculum materials, and more. Share your thoughts on the episode and collaborate with other listeners in our NEW private group on Facebook! Click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/. You can also leave a comment on the blog post/transcript for this episode here: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/neutral-pol…
Aug 25, 2019
EP171 Teach Like Yourself: Why YOU are the person your students need most (with Dr. Gravity Goldberg)
What if being your best in the classroom didn’t mean changing yourself or “fixing” things that are wrong with you? What if you didn’t need gimmicks to hook students into your lessons, and the key to engagement was more about being interested rather than interesting? Join educational consultant and author Dr. Gravity Goldberg as she shares what it means to “teach like yourself.” We’ll explore how to go from predicting failure to building on success, and tap into your personal power in the classroom. Share your thoughts on the episode and collaborate with other listeners in our NEW private group on Facebook! Click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/. You can also leave a comment on the blog post/transcript for this episode:http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/authentic-teaching/
Aug 18, 2019
EP170 Five ridiculously unhelpful things I’ve said to students
Our automatic reactions — the things we say to kids without even realizing the words are coming out of our mouths — are usually things we’ve heard from other adults. Often our parents or our teachers said those things to us. We can make a conscious choice to change the script by examining the ineffective and unhelpful things we say to kids. In this episode, I'm sharing 5 of the phrases I'm most embarrassed about using in my classroom, and what was more effective for me to say instead. Share your thoughts on the episode and collaborate with other listeners in our NEW private group on Facebook! Click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/ You can also leave a comment on the blog post/transcript for this episode here: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/unhelpful-things-teachers-say/
Aug 11, 2019
EP169 The workshop model: beyond the basics (with Jen Bengel)
Workshop-style teaching generally has four basic parts: an opening, mini-lesson, work time, and debriefing. You can use the workshop model with ANY age of students and ANY subject area. My guest today is going to do a deep dive into an ELA or reading workshop model. This is most commonly used in grades 1-5 but kindergarten can also follow the model, and it works well at the secondary level. A lot of what we discuss should be helpful no matter what subject you’re using it for: * How to keep a mini-lesson mini * What the other kids are doing while you’re conferencing with students or teaching small groups * How to assess and take grades on what students are doing during the workshop. Listen for practical advice from Jen Bengel, the owner and creator of Out of This World Literacy™️. She has spent 10 years in public schools as an elementary teacher and a literacy coach, and has spent the last 7 years as a full-time curriculum developer and professional developer. Jen train…
Aug 4, 2019
EP168 Tell yourself a better story this school year
The new school year is a fresh start, and the perfect time to let go of old stories and thought patterns that aren't serving you well. You can examine the stories you're telling yourself to see if they're really true, and decide if the stories you’re choosing are making your work feel more or less stressful. In this episode, you'll learn how to train yourself to differentiate between the facts and the story you’re telling yourself about the facts. When you get locked into one story, practice asking yourself, "What else might be true about this situation? What might be happening that I haven’t considered yet?” Through this process, you can choose the stories that help you rather than discourage you. Share your thoughts on the episode and collaborate with other listeners in our NEW private group on Facebook! Click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/. You can also leave a comment on the blog post/transcript for this episode here: http://thecornerstone…
Jul 21, 2019
Summer Series Pt 4: Purpose
In the last episode of our self-development summer podcast series, we’re talking about living with PURPOSE. This is not just about the things you want to do or accomplish. Living with purpose is also about recognizing and appreciating what you’ve already done, and making time for just being, rather than always rushing forward to accomplish the Next Big Thing. If you missed our special summer series emails, it’s not too late to get them. I’ll send you one written message to go with each of the 4 podcast episodes. The emails are designed to be short, powerful reminders to help you make the most of your summer break. Just click here to sign up: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/summer-2019-series/ And if you want to participate in the NEW Truth for Teachers Podcast Community on Facebook, join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/members/
Jul 7, 2019
Summer Series Pt 3: Authenticity
We’re taking a break from school-related topics as we continue our special summer series. These 4 episodes in June and July are designed to be a short time together for us to reflect, think deeply, and go big picture. In this episode, we’re talking about AUTHENTICITY. Is it time to get real with yourself that there are certain things you’re just not going to pressure yourself to do? Are you conforming to outside expectations about what’s most important, or determining those things for yourself? Make sure you sign up for the special summer series emails! There’s one written message to go with each of the 4 podcast episodes. The emails are designed to be short, powerful reminders to help you make the most of your summer break. Just click here to sign up: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/summer-2019-series/ Also: there are just a few more days to join the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s a great community of teachers who are focused on w…
Jun 23, 2019
Summer Series Pt 2: Alignment
"There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first." --Jim Morrison Take a break this summer from thinking about work, and let’s do some big picture reflection on life together. In part two of this summer series, we’re talking about ALIGNMENT, and what it means to live in alignment with what you really believe and who you really are. We'll talk about doing our part (imperfectly) to make the world the place we believe it should be. Make sure you sign up for the special summer series emails! There’s one written message to go with each of the 4 podcast episodes. The emails are designed to be short, powerful reminders to help you make the most of your summer break. Just click here to sign up: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/summer-2019-series/ Also: the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is open for early bird access (with early bird bonuses) from now through June 30t…
Jun 9, 2019
Summer Series Pt 1: Presence
In this special 4 part summer series, we're focused on self-development instead of professional development. Every other week in June and July, I’ll bring you a short episode to help you focus on what matters most. I’ll also share some things that have been on my heart that might be otherwise off-topic for a teaching podcast. If you normally listen to the podcast on 1.25 or 1.5 speed, I encourage you to go down to 1.0 for these 4 summer episodes. This series is not about consuming as much information as fast as possible — which is certainly a fine goal in other contexts. This series is about savoring the time, and being present with yourself for each moment of it. Let this be a short time together to reflect, think deeply, and go big picture. We’ll explore a different word each time. In part one, we’re talking about PRESENCE through immersion in both silence and healing sounds. How can you create short, regular rituals in your life where you enjoy the benefits of silence,…
May 26, 2019
EP167 Five summer traps to avoid so you can slow down and rejuvenate
This is the last episode of Season 9! I want to leave you with a short and sweet message to help you get more enjoyment out of your summer break. The summer seems to stretch ahead of us endlessly now, but we all know how quickly it will actually fly by. So, I’ll share a bit about my summer plans, and then tell you about 5 traps I’ll be working to avoid — and that I hope you’ll be aware of, too — in order to slow down, be present, and rejuvenate before fall. There will also be a summer 4 part podcast series I'm releasing this summer that is non-teaching related! Learn more about sign up by the biweekly messages here: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/summer-2019-series/ If you want to take my free intentional connectivity challenge mentioned in this episode, click here: https://bit.ly/2rt67zP You can also get on the wait list to join the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club this summer: 40htw.com Click here to read or share the transcript and aud…
May 19, 2019
EP166 How Kim Lepre trimmed 15 hours off her workweek
Kim Lepre is a 7th grade English teacher and the founder of the Teachers Need Teachers podcast. She’s also a Beginning Teacher Mentor and Ed Tech Specialist in her district, and a Level 2 Google Certified Educator. How has Kim managed to make time for all of that? She made a significant reduction in her workload during her 13th year of teaching. That’s when she joined The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. I’ve invited Kim on the podcast to tell you exactly what she changed in her mindset and habits to allow her to reclaim around 15 hours a week, which she now uses to support other educators, spend time with her family, take care of her physical health by regularly working out, and a number of other activities that really mean a lot to her. I think you’ll get a lot of practical, actionable advice from Kim! Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
May 12, 2019
EP165 Overcoming mom guilt / dad guilt
What happens when you spend more time with other people’s kids than your own? Parenting guilt is real, and there’s no easy solution when it seems like family gets short-changed when you focus on students, but students get shortchanged when you focus on family. In this episode, we’ll explore what creates mom guilt and dad guilt, and how those two things can manifest differently. We’ll also talk about how the unrealistic standards placed on parents can make it feel like you’re never doing enough. Learn how to make choices from a place of compassion, both for yourself as a parent, and for your students’ parents (rather than assuming you need to compensate for the things you believe they should be doing but aren’t). Then you’ll hear directly from 4 teachers who have found solutions and created clear boundaries between family and work. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
May 5, 2019
EP164 How do you know when it's time to quit teaching?
I think there comes a time for many educators to re-evaluate whether the work they’re doing is something they’d like to continue. You might wonder: * Do I have another 10, 20, or 30 years in me, and if not, at what point do I begin the transition into something else? * Is the quality of life I want possible in this field, or within this particular classroom-based assignment? * What are the trade-offs I’m making financially and in terms of time if I stay? * How could my life be different if I pursued another path? * What are other ways I could use my expertise and experience to make a difference? These are incredibly tough questions to answer, particularly when you see teaching as your “calling” and life’s purpose as many of us do. You don’t quit a calling, right? To even consider doing so can feel like a personal failure, as if you don’t care enough about your students and couldn’t hack it anymore in the classroom. If that’s how you’re feeling, this ep…
Apr 28, 2019
EP163 I was a disengaged student who nearly failed high school
This is not a guest interview — it’s my story. That kid in your class who learns differently and feels impossible to reach within the structures of how we do school? That kid could have been me. That kid who has side conversations all the time and doesn’t follow directions? That kid could have been me, too. That kid who skips class and seems totally disinterested in your lessons — the one who’s flunking out and doesn’t seem like they’ll ever amount to anything? That kid could have *definitely* been me. Listen in as I publicly share my own journey as a student for the first time. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Apr 21, 2019
EP162 My best advice on 10 sticky situations in schools
I get a lot of listener-submitted questions that could be tough for me to offer advice on without knowing the specifics. I’m going to answer a bunch of them in this episode from a big picture perspective, and give you my single best piece of advice on each topic. We’ll cover sticky situations like administrators who play favorites, releasing control to student teachers, supporting colleagues when morale is low, lack of student motivation, kids who can’t handle choice, anxiety over teacher evaluations, forced collaboration with colleagues who over-complicate things, and more. Check out this quick-paced episode for some practical advice. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Apr 14, 2019
EP161 Thriving as an introverted teacher (with Betsy Potash of Spark Creativity)
An introvert isn’t necessarily quiet or shy. For an introvert, being alone provides the energy that’s needed to enjoy being with people. (For an extrovert, being with people provides the energy that’s needed to enjoy being alone.) It’s all about what energizes you. So if you’re an introverted teacher, how can you take some of the spotlight off yourself in your instruction, avoid the energy drain that may arise when collaborating with colleagues, and find moments in your day to be alone and rejuvenate? Check out this blog post/podcast interview with Betsy Potash of the Spark Creativity podcast as we discuss our experiences as introverts in the classroom. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Apr 7, 2019
EP160 Fewer things, better: 4 beliefs to help you focus on what matters most
There are 4 core beliefs that can help you strengthen the courage to focus on what matters most: ✔️I am worthy of change and better is possible for me right now ✔️I set my own expectations in life and in teaching ✔️I know what’s important and allocate time accordingly ✔️I ensure my needs are met to prevent overwhelm and exhaustion. When you’re overwhelmed with all expectations and responsibilities placed on you, the most important step is to STOP and get clarity. Figure out what matters most so you can do fewer things, better. Of course, it can be tough to give yourself permission to let things go, and difficult to say NO to others. That's where these 4 core beliefs come into play, because once you've internalized them, both clarity on what matters AND the courage to take charge of your time become possible. Listen in on this week's podcast episode (which is based on my new book, “Fewer Things, Better”) to learn what each of these 4 beliefs could look li…
Mar 31, 2019
EP159 No, you don't have to consume yourself to light the way for others
Let’s debunk 10 of the most annoying — and dangerous — teacher platitudes. In this episode, I’ll share my thoughts, along with the opinions of other educators from a great discussion on my Facebook page. If there’s a common saying in education that’s always sort of bugged you, but was so popular you felt like you must be the ONLY one concerned, this is going to be super validating and empowering! Listen in as we question these platitudes and consider some more accurate truths that allow you to define the role of a teacher for yourself. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Mar 29, 2019
Get my new course FREE when you pre-order the book!
On April 10th, I’m releasing my new book, “Fewer Things, Better”! To celebrate, I’m giving away a FREE course + downloadable workbook to EVERYONE who pre-orders a Kindle or paperback edition of the book. The course will help you implement the ideas in the book and reflect on how you want to be spending your time. Each exercise in the downloadable workbook will give you a clearer understanding of your priorities so you can develop an actionable plan for what “fewer things, better” looks like in YOUR life. Just go to FewerThingsBetter.com. You’ll find the link there to pre-order your copy on Amazon, which means you’ll have your Kindle or paperback copy on release day (April 10th!) After you pre-order, return to FewerThingsBetter.com to claim your free bonuses. You can download the course and start going through the downloadable workbook right away if you want. I am so excited to get this book into the hands of teachers and am so grateful for your support!
Mar 24, 2019
EP158 We got this: Cornelius Minor on teachers as agents of change
“We live in a specific kind of America that offers an okay education for some kids, and then a totally subpar education for other kinds of kids. That our country—and specifically our education system—has been defined by intergenerational inequity really bothers me. And so much of my message is around how we disrupt that, how we can begin to look at the things that have plagued us for generations and begin to take those things apart. We cannot be okay with the way things are. It’s just too dire for too many kids. We can’t make excuses by saying, ‘Well, this is how we've always done it,’ or ‘I’m just a teacher. What power do I have?’ Yeah, I'm just a teacher, and we have a whole lot of power. The most important thing to me is to be able to step back, look at my practices, customs, and traditions, and do the kind of action research that's going to lead to change. That really matters a lot to me. I don't have to wait for city hall to say, ‘Let's do this thing.’ I…
Mar 17, 2019
EP157 The Warm Demander: How to raise expectations (and have students rise to meet them)
How do you SHOW students through body language, facial expressions, and tone that you believe in their ability to succeed and won’t settle for less than they’re capable of? Every teacher knows to hold kids to high expectations, and develop with students. The warm demander stance isn’t anything new — it’s an equity approach developed by Judith Klenfield back in 1975. But figuring out how to make the “warm demander” approach feel authentic and natural within your teaching style can be tricky, so I thought it might be helpful to talk about what worked for me and a few of the educators I’ve learned from. In this episode, I’ll break down a few examples of what both “warm” and “demanding” could look like in the classroom so you can get a mental picture. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Mar 10, 2019
EP156 Five syndromes that overcomplicate your teaching—here's the cure
Do you relate to any of these 5 mindsets? They’re super common, but make it harder to draw boundaries and prevent us from doing the most impactful work: ✔️Shiny object syndrome ✔️Imposter syndrome ✔️Project manager syndrome ✔️Superhero syndrome ✔️Martyr syndrome Check out this week’s episode to learn more about each syndrome—and discover the cure for each one, too. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Mar 3, 2019
EP155 How to curate an easy teaching wardrobe that’s comfortable and feels like “you”
The secret to getting dressed quickly in the mornings and feeling comfortable (and confident!) all day long is to have a closet that consists ONLY of things that make you feel like YOURSELF. Today, I'll share 3 steps to creating a signature style, in which you'll start with what's already in your closet. These tips will help you find your signature style that will keep things simple in the mornings without taking away your ability to be creative and express yourself. Beyond your signature style, I'll share ways on how to clean out your closet so it mostly consists of the items you'll wear on a regular basis, how to buy clothes you'll actually wear, and how to go super minimalist. The goal is to discover your style that you feel comfortable in — day in and day out — for your teaching wardrobe and for what you wear in your free time, as well! Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Feb 24, 2019
EP154 My current book-writing process (and what scares me about book #5)
Whether you're interested in publishing your own books or just curious what happens behind the scenes of mine, today I'll be sharing how I write and publish books! Currently, I'm finishing up book #5, which is called Fewer Things, Better. I receive questions about book writing often, and since I'm so close to publishing, I thought it would be interesting to talk about my writing process and how I publish, especially in relation to the inspiration and challenges from FTB. We'll dive into the writing process for that book and I'll reveal what question I'm answering for teachers, as well as the general questions behind my other books. This spring, I'll be sharing excerpts from the book here on the podcast so you'll get to hear more of what it's about. To get notified when the book is released, visit fewerthingsbetter.com. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Feb 17, 2019
EP153 Why teachers are historically overworked & undervalued, and how to disrupt the pattern (with Jenn Binis)
There's no doubt that teacher compensation, along with the unrealistic demands of the profession, are both hot topics right now. How did we end up here? How do teachers across the country effectively make changes? We need to understand the societal norms, institutional structures, gender dynamics, and other factors that got the teaching profession to what it is today in order to advocate for change. Join me today in an interview with Jennifer Binis, podcaster and curator of @Edhistory101, for an edu-history lesson you never knew you needed! She hopes to spread the important message to educators that we are obligated to understand the historical perspective of the teaching profession so that we can interrupt the damaging patterns present today. I hope you'll find her message inspiring! Click here for a list of Jennifer's recommended resources. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Feb 10, 2019
EP152 Six ways to (mentally) leave work at work
Sometimes, it feels like we’re always working because we’re always thinking about work. It's like we never truly get to relax and decompress. Today, I'll give you my 6 best suggestions, along with some practical advice from other teachers in the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club, on how you can mentally leave work at work. Check out these unique ideas to find ways to turn off your "teacher brain." Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Feb 3, 2019
EP151 What’s considered “enough” lesson support to help kids be successful? (Ericka's coaching call)
The questions of What is enough reteaching? Am I doing enough in my lessons? Are my interventions sufficient? tend to weigh perpetually on teachers. I think it’s really hard to find the answers. Standards-based grading sometimes requires you to keep re-teaching and supporting kids until they achieve mastery. And of course, no one wants to be accused of giving up on kids. In today's episode, you can listen in on a coaching call I did with a teacher named Ericka about this topic. She teaches 6th-8th grade science, but the conversation we have will feel familiar to all teachers. The pressure to offer "more" is endless, and we have limited time and resources. And, kids aren't robots who can be programmed to master grade level standards in a pre-defined period. They're not going to all master the same content at the same time, no matter how awesome our lessons are. Sometimes what kids need most from us is not more engaging activities or endless re-teaching. Sometimes what they need has…
Jan 27, 2019
EP150 How to keep overbearing, micromanaging parents from stressing you out
A listener asks, "How do I stop focusing on parents and worrying how they will affect my job security and my choices as an educator? How can I teach without constantly feeling like I'm being watched, analyzed, judged, and monitored by parents, and/or how can I let go of the fact that they are and I can't change it?" Join me today as I tackle these listener's questions with a focus on understanding parent mindset and motivation. Truly knowing where the parent is coming is a key step in addressing your mindset so that you can be pro-active and not feel like you're always waiting for the next "attack." Have a question for me about teaching, mindset, or motivation? Click here to submit your question for the podcast here! Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Jan 20, 2019
EP149 Living an organized life (with Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365)
Lisa Woodruff of the Organize 365 podcast is a former classroom teacher who now teaches organizational skills for a living, including practical tips and mindset organization. Lisa's podcast episodes are focused on the home, but she also has episodes on classroom organization. Lisa is passionate about helping people get organized so that they have more time to do whatever they were uniquely created to do, which is different for every single person. Today, we'll discuss many different ways that organization works and the steps you can take to organize, but we'll also talk about the mindset of an organized teacher. If you struggle with keeping your classroom papers organized, click here for Lisa's Teacher Workbox which is a system she created to help you find a manageable way to handle all the papers that come across your desk. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Jan 13, 2019
EP148 Letting go instead of trying harder
We're kicking off Season 9 of the Truth for Teachers podcast with the transformative practice of letting go — a small mindset shift that can transform your teaching and also your personal life so that you can reclaim your essential self. This practice is about releasing things that aren't serving you well. It's about letting go of all the things we think we need to do in order to be a better teacher, a better parent, a better partner ... and acknowledging that you don't have to become anything other than you. Join me today as we explore ways to release yourself from expectations or habits and focus on loving and accepting yourself. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Nov 18, 2018
EP147 Always feel rushed in class? How to let go of the GOOD to make time for the GREAT
Wrapping up Season 8 with this episode! Always feel days and weeks behind in your lesson plans? Let's talk about doing fewer things, better, and eliminate things from your schedule. This episode is perfect for teachers who want to learn how to take control of their instructional time in every way possible so they feel less rushed and have time for the things that really move the needle for kids. You can shift your mindset from that of the frazzled, rushed, over-scheduled teacher to that of the truly productive one. For my FREE resource called "Goodbye, Teacher Tired," which might be helpful to you as you figure out what this looks like in your life, click here or visit teachertiredchallenge.com. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. Truth for Teachers will be back for Season 9 in mid-January, but keep an eye out for informal eps and casual updates from me in the meantime. --Angela
Nov 11, 2018
EP146 Habits of self-care when you have no time
This episode is for all teachers who put everyone else’s needs before their own, never have enough time or energy for everything, and know they need to prioritize self-care but can't stick to any self-care habits long-term. A lack of time and energy is one of the biggest problems teachers are facing. Day in and day out, I see how much work teachers are having to do with so few resources and so little support. We always hear, "Do it for the kids..." but what about taking care of teachers? Join me today for a message that is passionately on my heart: There is no direct correlation between the number of hours you work and your effectiveness as a teacher. I'll explore how self-care can be as simple as 5-minute habits embedded into your day, and not another time-consuming thing to make your life more complicated — just simple habits dispersed throughout your day. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. If you want help planning self-c…
Nov 4, 2018
EP145 When you can’t (or don’t want to) stick to routines: How to create flexibility within structure (Amy's Coaching Call)
Today's episode is coaching call with Amy, a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. We're talking about what happens when you create routines for your planning time and nterruptions keep popping up, making you feel like that you never use the planning time in the way that you intended. We also discuss what to do when you create really effective routines that work awhile, and then stop working because either your preferences or your circumstances have changed. We're also talking about being intentional about what you're saying yes to and knowing the reason WHY you're saying yes. Click here to listen to the audio, or read the transcript the coaching call.
Oct 28, 2018
EP144 Why are most teachers white women, and how can we attract and support a diverse faculty?
Join me today as I interview Dr. Travis Bristol, where we discuss how we can attract, support, and build relationships with diverse faculty members, and the importance of that for ALL kids and teachers. Our focus today is on the individual classroom teacher, and the things that you can do to ensure your school culture is one that truly believes in hiring and supporting a diverse faculty. Travis is a former teacher and currently works at UC Berkley. A big part of his research agenda is centered on practices and policies that support teachers of color. Listen in, as you'll understand exactly why I’m so honored to have him share his experience and research with us here on the Truth for Teachers podcast. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Oct 21, 2018
EP143 Who else is dealing with anxiety & drowning in work?
Today's episode centers on educators who feel like they're drowning in work and struggling with anxiety. I'll walk you through different aspects of teacher anxiety and help you figure out a new way to think about your work, and also help you to think in ways that FINALLY create freedom from anxiety and overwhelm. When you're feeling anxious, there’s nothing better than hearing reassurance from someone who understands what you’re going through, validates your feelings, and helps you work through those feelings in a practical, uplifting way. Today's episode will offer a sort of "virtual mentorship," so whenever you’re feeling isolated, discouraged, and unsupported you can listen to practical encouragement and reassurance. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. Click here for the full set of audio messages and digital tools that I created called Finally Free: The teacher toolkit for conquering anxiety and overwhelm. You'll get to h…
Oct 14, 2018
EP142 A crash course on trauma-informed teaching
Trauma is an epidemic right now, affecting kids across racial and socio-economic lines. And I'd bet that every teacher is working with kids that have experienced trauma. Most kids who have experienced trauma will not receive any kind of special services or counseling, but they will show up to the classroom, and you'll be expected to understand and manage all of the complex emotions and behaviors that come with them on your own. Join me today as I give you an overview and solid foundation for understanding trauma-informed teaching practices. You'll learn ways how trauma impacts students and what we can do as teachers to support kids without carrying the weight of that trauma ourselves. Listen in for specific dos and don'ts to make it easier to navigate this in your classroom, so you can build better relationships, prevent conflict, and teach students effectively. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Oct 7, 2018
EP141 Twelve ways to deal with colleagues who constantly complain
In this episode of the Truth for Teachers podcast, we're talking strategies for dealing with complainers at work so negative colleagues don't impact your enthusiasm for the job. Whether it’s in the teacher’s lounge, staff meetings, or just passing one another in the hallway, even a short conversation with a negative teacher can be totally draining. Everyone complains occasionally and no one is going be positive all the time ... this episode targets constant complaining or venting. Ultimately what we’re talking about here is dealing with people who are nonstop, chronic complainers, or people who rarely, if ever, are looking for solutions, and they will likely shoot down any ideas you offer because they’re just wanting to complain. I’m going to share 12 ways you can head off chronically complaining coworkers at the pass! Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Sep 30, 2018
EP140 Five habits that help me automate & simplify my life
By now, you've probably heard me talk a lot about strategies for work-life balance and productivity as a teacher. Join me today in this episode of the Truth for Teachers podcast where I personally reflect on what those principles look like in this season of life currently. I’ll share five choices I’ve made that are essentially habits now, and they help me to automate and simplify my life. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas about ways that you can do the same in order to focus on your biggest priorities! Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Sep 23, 2018
EP139 How to keep teaching from ruining your marriage
In this episode of Truth for Teachers, we're talking about how to keep teaching from ruining your marriage (or any relationship you have with a significant other). I can’t tell you how many emails I've gotten over the years from teachers telling me that teaching is ruining their marriage. I’ve heard of husbands giving their wives ultimatums: It’s either teaching or me. And I’ve also heard from many 40HTW club members over the years that they have used strategies from the club to reduce their workload, which has ultimately helped them strengthen their marriage and have more time to spend with their partners. This episode will use a slightly different format, as I’ve asked club members to share some of the things that they are doing to preserve their marriage and keep teaching from coming in between themselves and their partners. Join me today as I’ll be sharing some of the advice that they’ve written, and also play a couple audio clips so you can hear things in their o…
Sep 16, 2018
EP138 Five ways to simplify prep for substitutes
Do you feel like it’s less work to go into school sick than to write plans for a sub? If I wasn’t contagious, I showed up to my classroom every day, because planning lessons for six subject areas and prepping/organizing all the materials was a massive job. The solution? To remember that unexpected absences aren’t really unexpected: We know they’re going to happen from time to time. So even though you don’t know when, you can still do the bulk of your preparation in advance, and set up your expectations and routines to make things go more smoothly. In this week's episode, I share 5 tips to help you simplify prep for substitutes, and how you get ready-to-use sub plans I've created. Click here to see the emergency sub plans AND get one day’s assignments for FREE. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Sep 9, 2018
EP137 Why great teachers get saddled with the biggest workload (and how to advocate for yourself)
Join me today and listen in on a conversation I had with Shawnta Barnes, where she shares her very honest and transparent thoughts and feedback on why really great teachers get saddled with the biggest workload. This is an episode that I've been wanting to do because I have experienced this situation myself, where my class list was loaded up with the most challenging kids, only because the administration said, “You can handle it.” And ... I know this happens in schools all across the country, where teachers are almost being punished for their effectiveness or are expected to pick up other people's slack. While there might not be any instant solutions to this known problem, Shawnta and I will talk about some specific things you can do to advocate for yourself. Click here to read or share the condensed transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Sep 2, 2018
EP136 Ask me anything: Quick answers to 12 teacher questions
In this week's episode, I'm excited to try this new episode format because I get a lot of questions from teachers which I haven't been able to answer up until now. Either I don't have enough information or knowledge to answer, or I don't have enough to say that would fill an entire podcast episode. And sometimes, the question is just so specific to that person that it wouldn't make a good episode for everyone else. I think this will be a really fun way to cover a wide variety of topics in a short amount of time and still give you a lot of value. Basically, I’m going to give my BEST piece of advice for each scenario. All of these questions came from Instagram. If you want to ask a question, go to my Instagram Story Highlights, or fill out the form at truthforteachers.com. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Aug 26, 2018
EP135 Real talk on how to make differentiation less time-consuming
One of the issues I’m most passionate about is making teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable, so I’ve gathered a group of educators to create a Productivity Roundtable. Joining me are five members of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club’s graduate program. They have done a tremendous amount of work in experimenting with various productivity strategies in their classrooms and creating systems and routines that work well for them and their students. Since they teach at different grade levels and subject areas, in different types of school settings and communities, in a diverse set of locations throughout the United States, you’re going to hear what works with a variety of teaching contexts and teaching styles. This time around, we’re talking about how to manage differentiation. During the roundtable, we’ll move past “differentiation” as a buzzword and talk about what’s happening in real classrooms. Each roundtable member will share how they differentiate instr…
Aug 19, 2018
EP134 Five things I’m embarrassed to tell you
In this episode, I decided to put myself out there and tell Truth for Teachers listeners some facts that are embarrassing for me to admit. I've heard podcasters in other niches do this episode format, and I felt like I knew them much better afterward. I also related to a lot of what they shared — it made me feel less alone to hear someone else admit the things that a lot of people think or feel, even if we're not always talking about it. Click here to read or share the condensed transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Aug 12, 2018
EP133 A quick trick to lessen anxiety during the first weeks of school
We are back from our summer hiatus and kicking off a new season of the Truth for Teachers Podcast! Are you in the middle of the back-to-school craziness or preparing for it? It's that time of year for a lot of you, and I know a lot of teachers begin to have back-to-school nightmares or trouble sleeping due to this very high-pressure time. There are so many things at the start of the school year that are unknown or unfamiliar and completely out of your control. That stress can come from feeling like you have to prove yourself and worrying that you're not doing enough. And there is the pressure of having a new group of kids and their parents or even any changes in personnel at your school. So it’s natural to try to handle that by controlling as many things as possible, or oppositely, bending over backward to be likable or worry how to win your kids over. Join me today for a quick trick that you can use to lessen your anxiety during those first weeks of school. Learn to shift your fo…
Aug 5, 2018
A few changes coming for this season…
Season 8 of the podcast will be back next Sunday, August 12th! Here’s a quick sneak peek of what you can expect and what will be different. If you’re ready for a back-to-school message now, check out these previous episodes in your podcast player: EP100—What if my students don’t like me and we don’t connect? Overcoming the back-to-school teacher jitters EP101—Stay reflective on the WHY and avoid comparison: Your classroom does not have to be Pinterest-worthy S4 EP1—Five back to school time traps and how to escape them S2 EP1—How to turn back-to-school anxiety into excitement
Jun 28, 2018
I *am* podcasting this summer (just not here)...
We're in between seasons of the Truth for Teachers podcast, but I have lots of new info and ideas for you in the meanwhile. I'm highlighting the best excerpts from interviews I've done on other educators' podcasts in the last few weeks. Listen in here as we chat about mindset, balance, wellness, productivity, and time management. Want more? Check out the full interviews on these podcasts (each is producing new episodes throughout the summer, so you'll find lots of other great episodes, too): Always a Lesson with Gretchen Bridgers: http://alwaysalesson.com/155-bonus-edition-interview-angela-watson/ Teach 4 the Heart with Linda Kardamis: https://teach4theheart.com/delegate-meaningful-classroom-jobs/ Spark Creativity with Betsy Mork: http://www.nowsparkcreativity.com/2018/06/episode-041-teacher-mindset-happiness.html Teacher's Aid with Jon Harper and Mandy Froelich: http://www.bamradionetwork.com/teachers-aid/4693-how-my-teachers-find-the-time-to-teach-sleep-live-and-love Dr.…
May 20, 2018
EP132 How to make a (realistic) plan for summer that will leave you feeling rejuvenated
The first few weeks of summer are almost always blissful, and the time seems to stretch ahead endlessly. We have plenty of days off in which we can afford to take it easy and not worry about getting things done. But in the back of your mind, you always know what’s coming. You might be like many teachers, who start off the summer with a list of 500 things they hope to get done. So you’re stuck in that horrible place of procrastination limbo, where you’re not motivated enough to get things done but you’re also not fully relaxing. And at the end of the day, you haven’t really enjoyed yourself AND you also haven't gotten anything done. Join me today as I discuss how to prepare for school over the summer through 5 easy steps that will leave you feeling refreshed. Click here to read or share the condensed transcript and audio, participate in the discussion, or get the FREE template for your end-of-summer vision.
May 13, 2018
EP131 What would life look like if you valued your time as much as you value your money?
This week on the Truth for Teachers podcast, join me as I talk about what your life would look like if you gave the same level of thought and consideration to the way you spend and value your time, as to the way you spend your money. I'll discuss why we don't value our time as much as our money and how to turn that mindset around by investing our time like we do money, and planning to make time instead of hoping to find it. Your time is valuable because YOU are valuable! Click here to read or share the condensed transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. The new cohort of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is opening up for early bird access June 5th! Get on the waitlist today and I’ll send you some free resources to help you start figuring out ways now to be more intentional with your time.
May 6, 2018
EP130 Hacks, tips, and tricks for digital organization & saving time with tech (Productivity Roundtable)
Join me today for the second session of the Productivity Roundtable, a group of master teachers gathered together to hash out some of their toughest challenges and also to share what’s working. These educators teach at different grade levels and subject areas, in different types of school settings and communities, in a diverse set of locations throughout the United States. So you’re going to hear what works with a variety of teaching contexts and teaching styles. This time around, we’re talking about how to use tech to actually save time instead of letting it create more work for you. During the roundtable, we’ll discuss how to keep track of and organize the teaching ideas and resources you find online, email management and digital communication, and their favorite tech tools for saving time as a teacher AND the tools they help them organize their personal lives at home. So, let’s jump in.
Apr 29, 2018
EP129 How to take charge of your teaching evaluation
My guest on the Truth For Teachers podcast today is Jennifer Ansbach, a National Board Certified™ English teacher. She is currently in the classroom teaching high school, and she’s also the author of the new book Take Charge of Your Teacher Evaluation. Teaching observations are stressful, but you can do more than just survive them, and actually take charge of your teaching evaluation. Jennifer will share what a healthy teacher evaluation looks like and her practical and encouraging advice on the three things you can do to take charge! Click here to read or share the condensed transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Apr 22, 2018
EP128 Daily routines makeover: How to maximize your time at school so you can work less at home
Join me today as I help one teacher make over her daily schedule so she can maximize her time in school and work less at home based on a coaching call that I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Have you ever wondered how time slips away from you and the entire day is gone? Listen in as I walk Amara, a 3/4 French Immersion teacher from Winnipeg, Manitoba, through each element of her non-instructional time and look for ways that she can streamline and simplify. As you listen in, I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions I’m asking Amara as you are going to be able to relate to her challenges because they’re common to almost all teachers. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Apr 15, 2018
EP127 Four steps to deconstructing your classroom in just ONE day
The end of the school year can feel super crazy because it means lots of close out tasks for the teacher. We’ve got tons of paperwork, plus bulletin boards to remove, supplies to label and pack away, cleaning, and more. You as the TEACHER have plenty of things to do. But often, the kids don’t. Standardized tests are done, gradebooks have been closed out for the year, and often our students feel like they’re just biding their time until summer break. In today's episode, listen in as I discuss a simple 4-step system I created for closing out and deconstructing your room in a single day, and pace yourself so the rest of your end-of-year tasks don’t feel so unmanageable. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. Click here to view my done-for-you system for end-of-year close out on sale now.
Apr 8, 2018
EP126 How YOUR response to student behavior can change the trajectory of a child’s life & disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline
One of the toughest parts of teaching students who enter our classrooms with a lot of personal and behavioral issues is that feeling of helplessness that comes from working with them. You might feel that there is nothing you can do to reach that student, or that you have no control over the situation at all. It’s a frustrating situation for sure, but today, I discuss why you have far more power and influence than you may think through having a restorative mindset versus a punitive mindset, and choosing as a school community to approach behavior problems through a lens that is focused on long-term solutions which restore a child to wholeness rather than punishing or criminalizing kids for their behavioral choices. Join me today on one of the most important episodes I've ever done. Listen in on your time — it might shift your perspective in a way that literally changes the trajectory of a child’s life. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the d…
Apr 1, 2018
EP125 Seven ways for teachers to beat the Sunday blues
Have you ever wasted half the weekend worrying about the week ahead? Even if you love your job, you might still wake up on Sunday mornings with a feeling of dread and spend the evening in a total state of anxiety simply because there are so many pressures associated with teaching. Join me today for 7 tips to help you relax, enjoy your time off, AND be more productive. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. Want more resources for tackling the Sunday blues? Check out the Finally Free teacher toolkit for conquering anxiety and overwhelm.
Mar 25, 2018
EP124 Four ways teachers with chronic pain or illness can maximize their productivity
Almost everyone will experience the challenge of struggling with chronic pain and illness at some point in the career, whether it be from a difficult pregnancy, recovering from a surgery, or dealing with an issue that is more ongoing. On today's episode, I have four key productivity strategies and work/life balance advice that I think will be helpful for teachers with chronic pain or illness to maximize productivity. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion.
Mar 18, 2018
EP123 Gretchen Rubin on how teachers can use the 4 tendencies to help students (and themselves) to meet goals & expectations
I’m talking today with New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin. I’ve learned so much from Gretchen's research on happiness from her book The Happiness Project, and I’ve studied her work on habits from the book Better Than Before. Gretchen’s latest book is called The 4 Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too). I invited her on the show because the four tendencies are not just another personality type: They’re about how people tend to respond to and meet expectations. When I first heard about the tendencies, I immediately saw the application to our work in the classroom, because it’s such a challenge to figure out how to get students to meet expectations. Listen in as Gretchen and I talk about understanding students’ tendencies — as well as our own — so we can be more productive and accomplish the things that really matter. Click here to listen to the audio, or read o…
Mar 11, 2018
EP122 Your #1 job when you don’t feel motivated (don’t stress over anything else!)
What do you do when you’re just not motivated to get things done? Many of us try to force ourselves to be productive and slog through the day. Today, I'll discuss how I'm experimenting with a different approach. My #1 job — and yours — when we just don’t feel motivated to get anything done, is to GET ourselves motivated to get things done. And that means taking a break from the to-do list to focus on things that get us energized is PART of your work and productivity, not a break from it. Click here to listen in on the discussion, read summarized points, or participate in the discussion.
Mar 4, 2018
EP121 How to streamline assessment & spend less time grading (Productivity Roundtable)
One of the issues I’m most passionate about is making teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable, so I’ve gathered a group of educators to create a Productivity Roundtable. Joining me are five members of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club’s graduate program. They have done a tremendous amount of work in experimenting with various productivity strategies in their classrooms and creating systems and routines that work well for them and their students. Since they teach at different grade levels and subject areas, in different types of school settings and communities, in a diverse set of locations throughout the United States, you’re going to hear what works with a variety of teaching contexts and teaching styles. The topic for our first productivity roundtable is streamlining the grading and assessment process. They’ll share their best hacks and time-saving tips related to grading and assessment! Click here to listen to the audio, or read or share the highlights from t…
Feb 25, 2018
EP120 Engagement, excellence, & equity: A conversation with Regie Routman
Join me today for an interview with Regie Routman, as we discuss engagement, excellence, and equity in the classroom. Regie has over 40 years of experience teaching, coaching, and leading in diverse schools across the United States and Canada, and has been publishing books since 1988. Regie is among the top five people who have influenced my teaching practice and philosophy, and having her on the show was such an honor. Click here to listen to the audio, or read or share the highlights from the interview and participate in the discussion.
Feb 18, 2018
EP119 Why I let 2 kids’ behavior ruin my school year (and what I wish I’d done differently)
In this episode, I'm sharing one of the biggest mistakes I made as a teacher. I have a feeling it’s something you’ll be able to relate to, particularly if you have a couple of students who you just don’t feel like you are equipped to handle. The choices I made took a bad situation and made it worse. I'll share what I wish I'd done differently, how I ultimately changed my approach, and what YOU can do to prevent the same problem from happening to you. Want free resources to help you enjoy your work, even when it's super challenging? Visit https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/unshakeable and enter your email address. I'll send you a downloadable calendar with ONE simple, actionable step you can take each day to enjoy teaching more. I'll also send you a link to join the online book community for my book Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day...No Matter What. Join more than 9,000 teachers who are sharing ideas around how to infuse more joy into their teaching and stay…
Feb 11, 2018
EP118 A stress-free system for summarizing student progress & generating awesome report card comments
The biggest pitfall that most teachers face with report card comments is overcomplicating the task, which creates overwhelm. I want to help you keep this super simple, so I created a 5-step formula for generating report card comments for ANY student. The end result? A positive, empathetic, and truthful set of comments that will be helpful for parents and facilitate their cooperation as you work together to help their children succeed, with you spending half the time! Join me today as I discuss a new resource I created for my TeachersPayTeachers store, the Stress-Free System for Report Card Comments: Generate comments in half the time! It's available now to purchase or preview and at a discounted price through March 1, 2018. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio or participate in the discussion. Click here to view my new report card system resource in my TpT store.
Feb 4, 2018
EP117 Three trends from the positivity movement that are stifling teacher growth
There are a lot of trendy phrases from popular culture and the positivity movement which have infiltrated our thinking and practices as educators. They are helpful with a great deal of truth to them. However, I think we’ve gotten a little bit out of balance with the positivity movement and the rallying cry to be supportive of one another as teachers. Join me today as I discuss three trends from the positivity movement, comparing their truths and how we can take them too far. I believe that we need to be having these critical conversations about the issues and challenging one another to do better. Moving past truisms and getting real is the only way we are going to shift school culture to truly be about what’s best for kids! Click here to read or share the transcript and audio, take a pledge or participate in the discussion.
Jan 28, 2018
EP116 How to create a morning routine that gets you energized to teach
There's a lot of talk about the importance of morning routines; however, it's not something that I commonly hear discussed in teaching circles. I think for most of the educators, having to be at school so early means that a morning routine is basically just getting yourself and your family out the door as quickly as possible and making sure you're in that classroom before your students are lined up outside your door waiting for you. Join me today in listening to why morning routines are so important for teachers, and how to create a morning routine that works for you through intentionality and new habits. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio, download a free morning planner, or participate in the discussion.
Dec 17, 2017
BONUS EXTENDED EPISODE: How to trim 3 (or more!) hours off your workweek starting NOW
In this special extended episode between podcast seasons, I’m sharing practical time-saving strategies and simple mindset shifts that will help you: * Reduce your workload * Eliminate the unnecessary * Automate processes * Delegate responsibility to students * Get more done in less time * Create a sustainable work schedule From lesson planning to grading, you’ll walk away with lots of ideas for small changes that add up to big results, and get a fresh dose of motivation for the new year. It’s so simple to create change that you can try out just ONE of the dozens of approaches shared and save an hour a week, right away. There’s something for every teacher here–don’t miss out! ----------- Want more support with productivity? Click here to learn about the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club, which is open to new members from Dec. 30th-Jan. 9th.
1 hr 4 min
Nov 19, 2017
EP115 Goodbye, "Teacher Tired": 5 days to doing fewer things, better
What do you want your life to look like? When you look back on it all at the end, what do you want to feel like you've accomplished? How do you want to have spent your time? What will be your legacy? Those are deep questions for sure, and most of us just don't have the time or energy to try to answer them. It's not because we don’t care. We're just too tired to take a step back and try to figure out a better way. And yet, getting clear on what matters to you could change everything about the way you use your time and where you focus your energy. Even though "there’s no tired like teacher tired," a few changes in your mindset and habits can totally transform that. I created a free challenge called "Goodbye, Teacher Tired" with five of the most important things you can do to stop feeling tired all of the time and maximize your time, and energy and focus. Listen in to get a summary of the five steps covered in the challenge. You can sign up for the challenge and participate in the…
Nov 12, 2017
EP114 Seven ways teachers can push past imposter syndrome
Have you ever felt like an imposter? Or the feelings that you have no idea what you're doing as a teacher or that you're not capable of doing everything that needs to be done? If you can relate to any of those feelings, you might be dealing with a phenomenon that’s commonly known as Imposter Syndrome. It’s that feeling of being a fraud, an almost panic-inducing sense that at any moment, other people are going to figure out you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing and have no business being given the level of responsibility you have. This is a real thing, and it can be paralyzing. On today's episode, listen in as I share some strategies from personal experience that help with countering Imposter Syndrome and managing the self-doubt. I’ve chosen seven specific things that have been helpful for me over the years, and I hope they’ll be helpful for you, too. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio, or participate in the discussion.
Nov 5, 2017
EP113 How teachers can conquer anxiety, overwhelm, and the pressure to always do more (with Dan Tricarico)
During today's episode, I am excited to feature an interview with Dan Tricarico as part of my Truth for Teachers podcast. Dan and I met when we were both speaking at a conference a couple of years ago, and I remember walking away from the conversation with him thinking, “This guy is the real deal.” That’s the phrase that stuck in my head because he just came across to me as being so grounded and so sincere in everything he said -- he was truly passionate about everything we spoke on and had a pure heart for helping kids and teachers. Last February, I was out in San Diego for another conference, and he and I sat down together and hashed things out a bit. We’ve been working for the past 7-8 months on creating something together that addresses teacher anxiety. It’s called Finally Free: The teacher toolkit for conquering anxiety, overwhelm, and the pressure to do more. Today, we’re going to give you some of our favorite mindset shifts and advice from the toolkit and talk abou…
Oct 29, 2017
EP112 How to earn trust with families in poverty & empower parents as education partners (with Tamara Russell & Sarah Plumitallo)
Listen in on the second half of my interview with Tamara Russell and Sarah Plumitallo on building trust and relationships with families! I've invited two current teachers, Tamara Russell and Sarah Plumitallo, onto my Truth for Teachers podcast to talk about what they're doing with their students.These two ladies are in the trenches, so to speak, on a daily basis and they share about their work on social media, which is where I first connected with them. We’ve had countless conversations about an issue we’re all very passionate about, which is education equity, and I invited them both on the show so that more educators can learn from their experiences. Our conversation ended up running for over an hour! For the first time ever on Truth for Teachers, I've decided to air almost the entire interview and split it into two episodes. The first half hour of our conversation was focused on classroom-based work, and the last 20 minutes was focused on building trust and relationships with…
Oct 22, 2017
EP111 Three things real teachers focus on in high poverty classrooms that actually get results (with Tamara Russell & Sarah Plumitallo)
Today I've invited two current teachers, Tamara Russell and Sarah Plumitallo, onto my Truth for Teachers podcast to talk about what they're doing with their students. This is something that I hope to do on the show more often because it’s just another angle of expertise that I think is important for you to hear as a teacher. These two ladies are in the trenches, so to speak, on a daily basis and they share about their work on social media, which is where I first connected with them. We’ve had countless conversations about an issue we’re all very passionate about, which is education equity, and I invited them both on the show so that more educators can learn from their experiences. Our conversation ended up running for over an hour! For the first time ever on Truth for Teachers, I've decided to air almost the entire interview and split it into two episodes. The first half hour of our conversation was focused on classroom-based work, and the last 20 minutes was focused on buildin…
Oct 15, 2017
EP110 6 ways to stop worrying about problems before they happen
In today’s episode, I’ll talk about 6 steps to stop worrying about problems before they happen. Teachers are faced with an enormous amount of stressors throughout their days, weeks, and school years. Just the possibility of being moved to another grade level or school (and in some cases having no position at all) will keep the teacher's lounge abuzz with nervous energy and speculation about who's retiring, who's taking leave, and what's going to happen to everyone else. You see, anxiety, worry, and apprehension are completely useless emotions because they're based on potential problems in the future. Unlike fear, which is a response to problems we're facing in the present moment, anxiety does not produce anything positive. And, anticipating problems is an especially dangerous habit in the field of education, where policies and procedures seem to change on a dime for no apparent reason and against all logic. Listen in today to discover ways to consciously set our minds on the pres…
Oct 8, 2017
EP109 How to reduce work hours & streamline parent communication without looking like a slacker (Kristen’s coaching call)
The episode of the Truth for Teachers podcast featured here is a free coaching call I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Her name is Kristen, and she’s a year 4 teacher in Australia, which is equivalent to 4th grade in the U.S. Kristen is in her sixth year of teaching and feeling like she’s spending way too much time communicating with parents and answering emails, and also feeling nervous about what cutting back on the amount of time she spends on these things and other tasks might do to her reputation in the school. Listen in today to the second half of this conversation where we’re focused on email communication and giving yourself permission to stop correlating hours worked with effectiveness. Click here to read this podcast online or download it to listen on the go.
Oct 1, 2017
EP108 4 teaching mistakes that drained my energy (and the solutions that changed everything)
I am always looking for ways to save energy. I shared in my book Unshakeable that energy is one of our most precious resources because unlike time, energy does not naturally replenish itself. We have to be intentional about how we use our energy. If we don’t pay attention to the things that drain it and do less of those things and pay attention to things that are energy-giving and do more of those things, we’ll find ourselves feeling depleted all the time. Today I’m going to share with you 4 habits and practices that drained my energy as a teacher for years, and I’ll share the solutions I uncovered that completely transformed the way I approached my work. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio, or participate in the discussion. Click here for the no prep, collaborative learning strategies resource we discussed.
Sep 24, 2017
EP107 6 simple ways to infuse growth mindset into daily classroom routines
Growth mindset has been a buzzword in education for quite awhile and I think a lot of teachers and kids are already familiar with it. But I’ve noticed a pitfall that seems to occur fairly often: growth mindset is introduced to students near the beginning of the year and then the curriculum demands seem to take precedent. When you have so many skills you have to teach and so many standards for kids to master, it’s hard to remember, much less make time to talk about growth mindset. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can infuse growth mindset into what you do on a daily basis. Join me today and listen in for these regular practices that help you ensure students will be willing to try new things, stick with hard tasks and not give up, push themselves to do their best work, and believe in themselves and their own ability to learn. Click here to read this podcast online or download it to listen on the go. Here's quick access to the resources I recommend in today's podcast:…
Sep 17, 2017
EP106 3 beliefs that damage teacher relationships with black male students (and how to connect instead)
The majority of the Truth for Teachers podcast episodes are on topics that will help improve your teaching practices with ALL of your students, but in some cases, I like to talk about specific student populations. It’s okay to focus for ONE episode on meeting the needs of English Language Learners, or students with special needs. And it’s okay to focus for an episode on students of color. In this case, I chose to focus even more specifically on that: to talk about black males in particular. My guest today, Principal Kafele, is a black male himself and is a nationally-renowned authority on his work with black male students. There’s a tremendous amount of research showing that many black males in the United States are facing unique challenges and are underserved. We do a disservice to our students if we pretend that the outcomes that our students experience from our school system are all the same regardless of race. Our black male students can do better, and we can do better by th…
Sep 10, 2017
EP105 How to move out of the day-by-day lesson planning trap and think big picture (Rachel's coaching call)
In this coaching call with a teacher named Rachel, I think you'll recognize a very common dilemma for teachers: spending exorbitant amounts of time doing lesson planning, and still feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing from day to day. If you're caught in a trap of planning every night for the following day, forgetting to do certain things with students even though it’s in the plan, and constantly running out of time before getting to finish the lesson...this episode can be a game changer! Listen in as Rachel and I tackling all of these problems. Her lesson planning process is essentially done in three steps, and you’ll hear me articulate each of those steps as we go through them, because I think it’s a good model to follow. Certainly it's not the only way to plan lessons, but I think many teachers have never heard another teacher explain exactly how she plans, and everyone’s process is unique. It's fascinating to listen in on her process, which sounds great in t…
Sep 3, 2017
EP104 When experienced teachers are suddenly deemed ineffective: How to adapt or exit gracefully
I receive emails on almost a daily basis from veteran teachers who are completely overwhelmed at how the job they signed up for 20, 30, or 40 years ago is nothing like the job they are being required to do today. I want to amplify the voices of teachers who are experiencing this, let them know they're not alone, and talk about what can be done. My hope is that this is episode will be useful to you even if you're NOT facing this situation yourself, because every teacher works with at least one colleague who is in a similar place. You might actually be feeling frustrated with these teachers, believing that they are not pulling their weight and aren't changing with the times. So I hope this episode will strengthen the relationships between you and your colleagues as well. If you ARE that teacher--someone who changed children’s lives year after year and are suddenly finding the expectations on you to be exhausting and impossible to meet, I want you to know these 9 things shared in toda…
Aug 27, 2017
EP103 Five total participation techniques to make every student an active learner
In this episode I'm talking with Persida Himmele about how teachers can provide access to higher-order thinking opportunities for all students. We'll go through 5 specific examples which you can use in your classroom today. Learn why calling on students should be the last thing you do to find out what kids know, and how total participation techniques are a simple way to engage all students equitably. Click here to access the free resources and printables we discuss: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/total-participation-techniques/
Aug 20, 2017
EP102 How to get student buy-in for your class cell phone policy (Jim's coaching call)
Listen in on a coaching call I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. His name is Jim, and he’s entering his 4th year of teaching. Jim works on a grades 7-12 campus and is a high school geometry and 7th grade honors math teacher. The questions that Jim submitted to me were mostly about getting student buy-in with room arrangement and routines/procedures. But the part that I wanted to share with you here on the podcast is where we do a deep dive into getting student buy-in with a cell phone policy. Like most teachers, Jim already has most of the solution inside of him, and it’s just a matter of helping him uncover the different parts of that solutions and put them together. Notice how each of his responses to me is like a clue which leads us to the next piece of the puzzle, until we have the whole thing assembled. It’s a really fun process to participate in and I think it will be fun for you to listen to, also. What we’re doing in this conversation is…
Aug 13, 2017
EP101 Your classroom does not have to be Pinterest-worthy: Stay reflective on the WHY & avoid comparison
This is the time of year when classroom set-up photos are everywhere. Each photo we see has more clever ideas and adorable decorations than the last. These images are inspiring and creative and so much fun to look through…but they can also be incredibly anxiety-producing. How do we each stay focused on our OWN vision for our OWN classroom and not get sucked into comparing ourselves to others? Listen in as I share how I've grappled with this issue over the years. Click here to read or share the transcript and audio, or participate in the discussion: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/avoid-comparison/
Aug 6, 2017
EP100 What if my students don’t like me and we don’t connect? Overcoming the back-to-school teacher jitters
The first day jitters are real, and most teachers have butterflies the night before. I think it’s okay to embrace that a little bit: give yourself a set amount of time to do some productive worrying. But the best advice I can give is for you to shift your thinking to a different line of questions. When you get stuck on your own insecurities, focus less on believing in yourself and more on believing in your kids. That’s what will empower you to transform lives. Listen in on this episode as I share how to change your thinking.
May 14, 2017
S5EP15 Season 5 Wrap Up: Use your summer to tackle time-wasting practices and rethink what’s necessary
The episode you’re about to hear is a free coaching call I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s a combination of instructional coaching and life coaching all sort of rolled into one, where I’m answering teachers’ specific questions about productivity and balance and managing it all. This particular call is a teacher named Claire who teaches special education. She works with kids in grades K-6 and actually splits her time between 2 schools, so she’s at one school with one group of kids in the morning and another in the afternoon. Claire’s initial question is about how to use her summer to get ahead for fall when she doesn’t know the needs of the students in her classroom. Her caseload can change a lot from year to year and that makes it difficult to plan ahead. So we talk through some systems she and any teacher can create during the summer that will make the following school year easier to manage. We talk about getting digital files organ…
May 7, 2017
S5EP14 How to respond to rude, disrespectful student attitudes (with Robyn Jackson)
Today we're going to talk about the little things students do that are rude, disrespectful, or just annoying. The things that don’t necessarily warrant some kind of consequence, but that you don’t want to let slide every time. How should a teacher respond to eye rolling, teeth sucking, muttering under the breath, and so on? What do we do about bad attitudes? I don’t want to settle for trite rehashed info, so I reached out to Robyn Jackson because I knew she could take this conversation to a deeper level. Robyn was a National Board Certified English teachers in Maryland, just outside of Washington DC, and has since been and administrator, adjunct professor, consultant, and speaker. She’s been championing equity, access, and rigor for over 15 years. Robyn is seriously one of my favorite experts in the education space, because she has a deeper understanding of human behavior and motivation than anyone else I know, and she always keeps it real. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing h…
Apr 30, 2017
S5EP13 The simplest way to stop feeling overwhelmed and overscheduled
I want to use this episode to dive more deeply into a topic that I’ve touched on quite a few times, which is problem of overwhelm. Overwhelm is a huge issue for just about everyone, but particularly for teachers. I want to help you understand an important contributing factor that a lot of people underestimate or just don’t give much thought to. Once you understand what’s creating or worsening your feeling of being overwhelmed, the solution because clear, simple, and pretty straight forward. Listen in as I share how you can avoid overscheduling yourself, and create more margin in your life through building in buffer time. Want to give your feedback on Season 5 of the podcast? Let me know what you liked and what you want changed here!
Apr 23, 2017
S5EP12 How to find balance with social media and still be a connected educator (April’s coaching call)
The episode you’re about to hear is a free coaching call I conducted with a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s a combination of instructional coaching and life coaching all sort of rolled into one, where I’m answering teacher’s specific questions about productivity and balance and managing it all. This particular call is with a 5th grade teacher named April. April’s challenge right now is with trying to find balance and intentionality during times of year that are super demanding, such as parent conference week. As we get into the conversation, we dig deeper into her social media habits, and exploring how her desire to learn from and connect with our educators is sometimes swallowing up more time than she intends, and interfering with her ability to get a good nights sleep and stay in balance. You’ll hear me mention a free intentional connectivity challenge, and if that’s something you’re interested in joining, you can sign up here and join us!
Apr 16, 2017
S5EP11 Hacking project-based learning: tips for management, assessment, & more from Ross Cooper & Erin Murphy
For many teachers, PBL is a very different way of facilitating learning, where kids are identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. It’s an incredibly powerful, effective, and cross-curricular way for kids to learn. But it’s not always simple to plan, and manage, and assess, so we’re going to talk about some practical teaching strategies. We’re also going to look at how to address some of the pitfalls that students face. PBL is incredibly rigorous, or should be, and we all know that kids aren’t always excited about rigor and working hard--they can’t just pass a test at the end of the unit and be done. With PBL, kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, interact with its lessons, collaborate with each other, and assess themselves and each other. It’s pretty complex stuff. It’s a tough juxtaposition with the “fill in the bubble” standardized testing mentality that most are expected to juggle simultaneously. I have two guests on th…
Apr 9, 2017
S5EP10 How to figure out if you should change schools (and other big teaching decisions)
This is the time of year when many teachers are facing huge decisions about their careers. You may not be sure if you’re even going to have a job next year because your teaching position has been cut. Your decision might be whether to look for another teaching job, or find a different career altogether. Others of you are wondering: should you stay home with your kids, or save up for another year first? Should you try to get a job in another school? Should you ask your principal if you can take that open spot in another grade level? Should you apply for that position as an instructional coach or an administrator? In many ways, these are deeply personal questions that no one can advise you on. There are so many factors to consider and only you know them all, and understand the relative importance of them all. So rather than give you advice about what to do, I’m going to teach you my system for making these kinds of big decisions. I’ve changed schools 5 times and grade levels 3 t…
Apr 2, 2017
S5EP09 Which aspects of teaching can you eliminate to free up more time? (Taylor’s coaching call)
Today I’m going to let you listen in on a coaching call I did with a 9th and 10th grade ELA teacher named Taylor. Like all the teachers I’m conducting these free coaching calls with, Taylor completed a year in the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club and has made really strong progress in work/life balance. Before joining the club, she worked around 80 hours a week, and she’s not working around 55-60, for a net savings of 20-25 hours a week. So she’s obviously doing a lot of things right when it comes focusing on what’s most important and letting go of the rest. However, Taylor is now committed to being a class advisor, and that’s causing her to work a lot of additional hours. As we talk, it becomes clear that she’s going to have to eliminate some things from her schedule. But she’s getting stuck on figuring out what she can realistically say no to when it comes to grading, which is what takes up the majority of her time. And, she’s having a hard time saying no to students…
Mar 26, 2017
S5EP08 Re-imagining classroom spaces and schedules with Jodi Fletcher
If you’re a regular listener of Truth for Teachers, you know I like to focus on very practical, actionable strategies that every person listening can implement. Today’s episode is going to be a slight departure from that. This episode is a chance to dream, to imagine new possibilities, to rethink everything about the way your school day is structured. I’m going to be talking with Jodi Fletcher, a principal whose team had a vision for a really innovative way to support kids in personalized learning and project based learning. Listen in as she tells the story of what that dream looks like now that they’ve made it a reality for 500 kids.
Mar 19, 2017
S5EP07 Ten things every white teacher should know when talking about race
86% of teachers in the U.S. are white. Most of you listening to this episode are therefore white. Conversations about race are super prevalent right now and for many white people, and it feels like stepping onto a minefield. They have literally no idea what to say, or feel like they don’t understand the history enough to contribute much to the conversation. Or, they say something they think is totally valid but inadvertently offend people of color in the discussion or get their own feelings hurt because they feel “attacked”, vowing to never, ever enter another conversation about race again. This can’t happen, teacher friends. It really hurts my heart to see so many misunderstandings in our country around race right now, particular when it’s among white teachers who are shaping the next generation of minds. Teachers are smart, kind, educated people tasked with raising up young people to be leaders. We cannot be ignorant about race or avoid talking about it. I’m going to s…
Mar 12, 2017
S5EP06 How to hold onto hope in a dismal school climate (Daniele’s coaching call)
Today I’m going to let you listen in on a coaching call I did with a 3rd grade teacher named Daniele. Like all the teachers I’m conducting these free coaching calls with, Daniele completed a year in the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club and has a really good understanding of how to be intentional in her teaching and maintain a positive, productive mindset. However, as we progressed through the conversation, it became clear she’s dealing with a whole lot of things that are completely out of her control, things that are increasing her workload and stress level exponentially. About halfway through the call, I think we got to the real heart of the issue, which is that morale at the school is really faltering right now and it’s incredibly hard to hold onto hope every day and keep doing the work when the school climate is filled with a constant low-grade anxiety. Daniele’s given me permission to record our conversation and share it here with you so that if these are issues you’re…
Mar 5, 2017
S5EP05 Preventing bullying in the classroom (with Dr. Marcie Beigel)
Today I’m talking with Dr Marcie, a child behavioral specialist and author of the book Love Your Classroom Again: Realistic Behavior Strategies for Educators. She’s also the founder and director of Behavior + Beyond. I was introduced to Dr Marcie’s work when I heard her speaking about bullying prevention on a local news channel here in New York City where we’re both based, and am really excited to have her here on the podcast to share tips on this with you all, as well. Listen in as we talk about the difference between meanness and bullying, and how we can support students who are being bullied AND those who are doing the bullying.
Feb 26, 2017
S5EP04 Twelve structures to keep kids focused when using the internet in class
Today I want to talk about one of the most common problems teachers face when integrating technology into their lessons, which is keeping kids focused and accountable. It can be really challenging to get kids to listen to directions once they’re on their devices, and hard to make sure they’re focused on the assignment when there’s so many other things they can be doing online. So, let’s look at some ways to be pro-active and set kids up for success. We want to make it as simple as possible for them to be more productive and focused with their time online.
Feb 19, 2017
S5EP03 Four ways time management habits get derailed and how to get back on track (Kendall’s coaching call)
Every couple of episodes on this season on the Truth for Teachers podcast, I’m going to be featuring coaching calls. I’m answering teachers’ specific questions about productivity, balance, and managing it all. Think of it as instructional coaching and life coaching rolled into one–and you get to listen in! In this episode, I’m talking with Kendall, a grade 4 teacher in Alberta, Canada. Kendall has made a tremendous amount of changes to her workflow and is doing really well with time management overall, but there are a few areas where she’s having trouble sticking to her habits and best practices. Listen in as we work through these common issues that you might be grappling with, too.
Feb 12, 2017
S5EP02 From burnout to Teacher of the Year: Pam's story of loving her job again
I got an email a few months ago from a woman named Pam Gresser. She wrote, “I’m starting my 20th year teaching and 2 years ago, I didn’t know how much longer I could go on. I read your book ‘Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day…No Matter What’ and it truly changed my whole attitude!” Obviously Pam’s email made a big impact on me as the author of the book, but I also wanted to learn more about what, specifically, she did to create change in her life. How exactly does a teacher go from being burned out and feeling like she wanted to quit teaching to being recognized as teacher of the year? Listen in as I talk with Pam Gresser about how she became unshakeable in her enthusiasm for teaching, and how you can, too. Join the Unshakeable book community here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UnshakeableSummerBC/
Feb 5, 2017
S5EP01 Teachers, you are on the front lines as defenders of truth. Our students need you.
I can’t begin a new season of a podcast called TRUTH for teachers without acknowledging the changes that have occurred since Season 4 ended two months ago. I think we had all hoped that after the US election, some of the division we were feeling in our country would die down a bit, and the constant political drama and onslaught of outrageous, embarrassing news would trickle down to a more manageable pace. This...did not happen. And it’s tiring. I know this. I know that it is wearisome to hear about serious issues all the time. It is tempting to want to return to the days when our social media feeds were mostly pictures of babies and puppies, when we collectively questioned the popularity of the Kardashians, and the most controversial nationwide debate was whether that dress was blue or gold. But we’ve been TOO comfortable. No matter who you voted for, no matter where you stand on the various issues, we need you now to be a warrior for truth. We need you to be a thinking, acti…
Dec 4, 2016
S4EP18 Season 4 Wrap Up: Habits are stronger than willpower, and creating change is easier than you think
Season 5 will be back in February, and I want to leave you with some powerful ideas for the weeks ahead. Right after the holidays, we tend to be thinking about resolutions, new habits, getting healthier, making better choices...and most of this just turns out to be wishful thinking. We don’t stick with it. In this episode, we'll explore why that is, and how creating change is probably easier than you think.
Nov 27, 2016
S4EP17 Leonard Sax’s Truth: What teachers need to know about the gender gap, disengaged boys, and girls in crisis
Today I’ve invited Dr. Leonard Sax to the show. Leonard is board-certified in family medicine and currently practices in suburban Philadelphia, and also has a PhD in psychology. I was introduced to Leonard’s work when I heard him on NPR, and was just fascinated by his insights about how schools are failing boys. As I dug deeper into his work, I realized that Leonard also has done a significant amount of work around "girls in crisis." So, I've invited Leonard on the show to talk about what we as teachers need to know about overcoming the gender gap in schools so we can break down gender stereotypes to support every child.
Nov 20, 2016
S4EP16 Five of your trickiest teacher co-worker problems solved
This is an “Ask Angela Anything” style episode where I attempt to answer 5 coworker-related questions in 15 minutes. However, I’m going to format things just a little differently. Instead of reading specific teachers’ questions, I’ve identified 5 problems with co-workers that people typically ask me about. So I’ll share these 5 basic scenarios, and hopefully if you’re facing any of them, you’ll be able to apply the advice, regardless of the particulars of your situation.
Nov 13, 2016
S4EP15 How to undo your classroom management mistakes
Listen as I share the story of a classroom management mistake that made a huge impression on me many years ago. We all have examples of procedures and routines that we know are wildly inefficient...but who has the time and energy to figure out a better way and retrain the kids? In this week's episode, I’ll tell you my personal philosophy on this: It’s NEVER too late to change something that’s not working. Not in your classroom, and not in your life. You don’t have to wait for next year and an entirely new group of kids. You can–and should–modify your procedures, expectations, and teaching strategies ANY time they are not effective, at ANY time during the school year. Listen in to learn how.
Nov 6, 2016
S4EP14 How to use Genius Hour to transform student motivation & ignite creativity (with AJ Juliani)
Genius Hour is a movement to empower kids to uncover their passions, skills, and strengths through designing projects they care about. In this week's episode, I'm bringing you the best of Genius Hour--what the most effective teachers are doing in this area, and HOW they’re doing it so you can learn from their experiences. So, I’ve invited AJ Juliani to share his observations. AJ has created an entire online community of educators discussing Genius Hour, as well as an editable Genius Hour journal and an online Genius Hour course for teachers. Visit geniushourmastercourse.com to learn more from AJ and get started!
Oct 30, 2016
S4EP13 Four ways to stop procrastinating and get things done
I’ve spent a lot of time observing what causes procrastination and what prevents it because this is such a deep and pervasive problem for me personally. It’s something I have always struggled with, and will probably always struggle with. I haven’t found that procrastination is something you can conquer once and for all. Like just about all decisions that involve staying healthy and being productive, your day by day choices matter a lot. For most people, there will never be a day when you wake up and don’t feel pulled to be lazy, or eat junk food, or skip the workout, or leave the house a mess. So, in this week's episode, I'll share 4 things you can do to make it easier to overcome those feelings of procrastination when they strike.
Oct 23, 2016
S4EP12 Nine ways to make your commute more productive and enjoyable
I LOVE my alone time in the car, and also the time I spend walking to my destinations. I have so many good options for things to listen to and do that the time just flies by. So, I wanted to share some of those options in hopes of inspiring those of you who currently dread your commute or are just looking for some ways to make it more interesting.
Oct 16, 2016
S4EP11 Ten tips for avoiding technology overwhelm
There’s one complaint about technology that I hear from almost every single person I talk to: it’s just plain overwhelming. There’s too much to learn. There are too many options. It’s always changing and I’m always behind. Between ed tech for your classroom and the technology you use in your personal life, there’s always going to be a massive amount of tools you wish you could explore and master. Here’s what to do when it all starts to feel overwhelming.
Oct 9, 2016
S4EP10 Dan Tricarico’s Truth: How to create focus, simplicity, and tranquility in the classroom
Dan Tricarico is a high school English teacher in California, and the author of two books, the most recent being “The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom.” Listen in as Dan and I discuss how teachers can change the classroom energy even when kids bring chaos, and more importantly, how we can cultivate serenity within ourselves.
Oct 2, 2016
S4EP9 How to fight disillusionment when the school year isn’t going as planned
The first roadblock of discouragement tends to hit a little sooner than most teachers are expecting. You might be surprised when it only takes a week or two of school before that great plan you had for the year seems to fall apart: all your prior confidence feels like naivety, and your preparations feel totally pointless, as if you’d been planning lessons and procedures for a fantasy world. Here’s what I want you to know when you hit that point.
Sep 25, 2016
S4EP8 Five classroom management questions in 15 minutes (Ask Angela Anything)
This season, I thought it might be fun to structure the Ask Angela Anything episodes a little differently, and answer a couple questions briefly in one episode. In fact, I’ve challenged myself to answer 5 questions in 15 minutes--quick and to the point. Listen in as I discuss transition tips, classes that have a hard time quieting down, reward systems, and more.
Sep 18, 2016
S4EP7 What to do when a student constantly refuses to work
Though it’s a common problem that happens in pretty much every classroom in America, there isn’t any clear cut solution. Obviously you want to make the work as meaningful, authentic, and relevant as you can, and build rapport with students. But there are some kids who just aren’t going to focus and get their work done no matter how much of a personal connection you’ve tried to make with them, or how much choice you’ve given in the assignment. In this episode, I'll share how I respond to these students, and what you can do to keep disengaged learners from stealing your enthusiasm for teaching.
Sep 11, 2016
S4EP6 Why teacher-authors don’t give everything away for free (and neither should you)
Every now and then I get a comment saying, “It's a shame that teachers charge money for everything now. I remember the days when teachers would give everything away for free.” Sometimes they even add insult to injury by saying, “If you really wanted to help teachers, if you really cared about kids, you wouldn't charge for this,” as if anyone who wants to make a difference is supposed to do it for free and the only people who deserve to get paid are the people who AREN’T helping others. Listen in as I explain in a deeply personal way why teacher-authors like myself charge for our work, and why it's so important to respect copyright.
Sep 4, 2016
S4EP5 Zaretta Hammond’s Truth: Supporting and advocating for students in poverty
Zaretta is the author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, and has so much helpful info to share about supporting students in poverty. Listen in as we discuss the pedagogy of poverty, and how an individual teacher can make meaningful connections with students despite the drill-and-kill focus so prevalent in many Title I schools. Zaretta gives practical suggestions for any teacher who wants to understand his or her students better.
Aug 28, 2016
S4EP04 How to deal with a principal who just doesn’t “get it”
Today’s episode is inspired by a lot of different emails I’ve gotten from teachers about a wide range of problems with administrators. Some of these teachers feel like their principals place too much emphasis on testing and try to standardize teaching so there’s no freedom for teachers or kids. Others simply don’t feel supported by their admins; they feel like workhorses who continually have more demands stacked on their plates without any acknowledgment or appreciation of what they do. Listen as I share what an individual teacher can do to create change, shift school culture, and advocate for him- or herself as well as for students.
Aug 21, 2016
S4EP03 Overcoming decision paralysis: how to make better choices more quickly
We have a paralyzing number of choices in our culture today. In teaching you may get hung up on decisions like: What planner or grade book should I buy? Should I use interactive notebooks with my class? Would I be better off with this whole class quiz app or should I find another one? Which desk arrangement would be best for the types of activities I’m doing with kids this week? Today’s episode will help you make better decisions, make them more quickly, and feel comfortable sticking with them after they’ve been made (instead of second-guessing yourself.)
Aug 14, 2016
S4EP02 Ten things you should throw out in your classroom NOW
As a new teacher, I was totally a hoarder. I didn’t believe I had the resources I needed to teach, and therefore had to hold onto everything that crossed my path in order to be able to make do. I learned to have the mindset of abundance which makes it possible to clear away the clutter and get rid of things, and you can do it, too! This episode will help you mentally prepare to take a new approach to what you keep and what you don't, starting with 10 things you should toss out right away.
Aug 7, 2016
S4EP01 Five back-to-school time traps and how to escape them
If you're feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and exhausted by not only the long hours but also the physical labor of rearranging and setting up a classroom, please know that this is very normal, and it will get better! I tended to work 70-80 hour weeks or more during those first two weeks of school--I wanted to do things right the first time and from the start, rather than having to go back and finish or redo things later. I considered my long hours at BTS as an investment of time--doing things today that would create more time for me later. However, there are things you might get sucked into doing this time of year that waste time, or actually create more work for you in the long run. These are 5 back-to-school time traps that you want to avoid, and how to escape them.
May 14, 2016
S3EP20 Season 3 Wrap Up: 6 simple steps to your best summer ever
As season 3 draws to a close, I'm challenging you to decide what you want your life to look like a few weeks from now when school begins again. Use the 6 steps shared in this episode to create that vision and determine actionable steps to make it a reality. Have a great summer--season 4 will begin in August!
May 8, 2016
S3EP19 The rest of my journey from teacher to teacherpreneur
In last week's episode, I shared how I got started as a teacher, educational consultant, instructional coach, and author. This week, I'll share the rest of my story: how I got into (and out of) professional speaking, the new opportunity that changed everything for me, and what direction I'm going in next. You'll hear mistakes I made along the way and challenges that forced me out of my comfort zone. I'll also share practical advice and inspiration if YOU'RE thinking about making a change in your career or just want to look for ways to impact education beyond the four walls of the classroom.
May 1, 2016
S3EP18 The start of my journey from teacher to teacherpreneur
Wrong episode playing this week? Please refresh the podcast feed. :) If this episode were a movie on the Lifetime channel, it would be called Behind the Scenes: The Angela Watson Story. I'm going to be very transparent and vulnerable in this episode, and share details that I haven’t shared publicly before to take you behind the scenes in my career from new teacher to where I'm at today. I’ll start by sharing how I got started as a teacher, educational consultant, instructional coach, and author. You'll hear mistakes I made along the way and challenges that forced me out of my comfort zone. I'll also share practical advice and inspiration if YOU'RE thinking about making a change in your career or just want to look for ways to impact education beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Apr 24, 2016
S3EP17 Intentional connectivity: why my phone no longer controls me (& how you can take charge, too)
Almost every teacher I talk with feels like it’s impossible to turn off his or her brain at night and rest. Teachers feel like there’s always too much to do, too many things to remember, and not enough time for any of it. Being more intentional about your connectivity habits is the easiest, fastest, most powerful way I can think of to change that. I finally broke my connectivity addiction after running myself into the ground last summer...and it honestly shocked how simple it was to rewire my brain so that I no longer craved those constant interactions online. 3 basic habits enabled me to make (and maintain) the change. I created these habits by paying attention to when I was tempted to check my phone or go online, and noticing how I felt when I did or didn’t indulge. And now during the month of May, I want to invite you to join in and do this intentional connectivity challenge together. Let’s stop using our devices to waste time on unintentional breaks and procrastination,…
Apr 17, 2016
S3EP16 Eight keys to avoiding teacher burnout (Part 2)
This episode picks up where we left off last week in examining eight keys to help you regain your confidence and avoid burn-out. These are principles that helped me stay in the teaching profession at times when I didn't think I could take another day. They are based on what I've seen happen in my own life and in the lives of other teachers who overcame feelings of hopelessness and frustration and regained their enthusiasm for teaching.
Apr 10, 2016
S3EP15 Eight keys to avoiding teacher burnout (Part 1)
My inbox is typically bursting with messages from overwhelmed teachers. Help! I can't do this! I feel so inadequate—it's just too much for one person and I don't think I can teach anymore. The situation is so bad—I'm thinking of just quitting. Each person who has contacted me was searching for the same thing: reassurance that their feelings are normal (they are), encouragement that they can handle the responsibilities (they can), and a reason to believe that the rewards of teaching outweigh the costs (they do). This week and next, we’re going to look at eight keys to help you regain your confidence and avoid burn-out. These are principles that helped me stay in the teaching profession at times when I didn't think I could take another day. They are based on what I've seen happen in my own life and in the lives of other teachers who overcame feelings of hopelessness and frustration and regained their enthusiasm for teaching.
Apr 3, 2016
S3EP14 Ten tips for conveying bad news in a parent-teacher conference
It’s the conversation we all dread: telling a parent their child a) is failing a subject, b) needs to be tested for a disability, c) doesn’t have any friends, or d) all of the above. Your stomach is twisting and turning just thinking about having to confront the parent. So, what do you do? Here are a 10 tips to help you share bad, difficult, or sensitive news with a student’s parent and get the best possible outcome.
Mar 27, 2016
S3EP13 Six ways to prevent your students from misbehaving for other teachers
There are few things that annoyed me more as a teacher than picking up my students from P.E. or lunch, or having a small group return from a resource room pull-out class only to discover that some students had been completely out of control while they were gone. With some classes I taught, it seemed like the moment I was out of sight, there was almost guaranteed to be an incident of disrespect to another teacher, a physical altercation between students, or something even worse. The good news is that while you can’t control what happens when you’re not around, there’s quite a bit you can do pro-actively to prevent the problem from reoccurring and to open the lines of communication between you and other teachers. Listen in as I share 6 strategies to help you do just that.
Mar 20, 2016
S3EP12 Stop overworking Future You: why NOW is the perfect time to make changes in your classroom
One of the big principles that we’re always coming back to in The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is that implementing small changes right away is more effective than hoping you’ll feel like implementing big changes later on. We often make the mistake of assuming that our future selves will somehow be less stressed and busy and more disciplined and productive, and therefore we’ll able to handle making positive changes LATER. The problem with that logic is that those qualities of being less busy and more productive later don’t just happen on their own. This summer or next year only seem like they will be slightly less crazy than right now because all the unexpected interruptions, emergencies, and new obligations haven’t cropped up yet. Unless we’re actively taking steps now to set our future selves up for success, things really aren’t going to change very much. In this episode, I'll share how to break that cycle, and embrace the fact that your willingness to adapt what you…
Mar 13, 2016
S3EP11 Four ways I sabotaged my success as a teacher (and how my thinking has changed)
There’s no question that being a new teacher is tremendously stressful. But when I reflect on my teaching practice and how it evolved over the years, I realize that I created a lot of my own stress simply through the way I chose to perceive my work. The mindset that I held toward my students and their parents, as well as how I viewed my role in the classroom, often made an annoying incident feel maddening, and a challenging situation feel impossible to overcome. Today, I’ll share four specific ways I sabotaged my own success as a teacher, as well as how and why my thinking changed over time.
Mar 6, 2016
S3EP10 Ten simple ways to create more class time for instruction
Every teacher needs more class time. And every year, it seems like there’s more and more content that needs to be covered and less time to teach it in. Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can create more time for teaching. There are lots of things happening in our classrooms that either waste time or just make lessons take longer than they need to. If you struggle with lesson planning because you just don’t have time to teach everything you’re supposed to, these easy tips and productivity hacks will help you maximize every moment with students.
Feb 28, 2016
S3EP9 Responsible rewards: using the “now-that” principle
In last week’s episode, I explained why ‘reward’ isn’t a bad word and argued my case for why rewards can be an integral part of your classroom. If you have a problem with rewards or just want to know why I think rewarding students is appropriate, check out EP9 for the the WHY. In this episode, I’m going to share the HOW. I’ve found that the most effective way to use rewards with students is by creating a culture of appreciation in the classroom and using unexpected now-that rewards. Listen in to learn more.
Feb 21, 2016
S3EP8 Should teachers reward students for doing what they’re “supposed” to do?
I wanted to do an episode about how to reward students responsibly--in a way that considers the long term results and the type of character and work ethic we’re building in kids, not just how to get compliance here in the moment. And I realized that before I could do something like that, I needed to first address the question of whether teachers should be rewarding kids at all. “Reward” has become a bad word in many education circles. In this episode, I'll tell the story of when I was called out by a district administrator for giving what she felt was an inappropriate reward, and explain why I’m advocating for the return of the reward, anyway.
Feb 14, 2016
S3EP7 Let go of expectations around testing so it feels less stressful
Listen in as I answer the following question from a Truth for Teachers listener: "We teach students and prepare them for exams--of course we have some expectations around their performance, and begin to feel frustrated when they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We may start questioning the purpose and the quality of our work. So my question is, how can I let go of expectations--those 'shoulds' and 'supposed tos' around testing and results?"
Feb 7, 2016
S3EP6 Six ways to make lesson co-planning more efficient
Lesson planning is too important (and too challenging / time-consuming) for you to try to do all of it on your own. It’s wonderful to utilize the experience of other teachers and time-tested instructional strategies so you don’t have to spend as long planning out your lessons. However, many teachers plan with their grade level or subject area teams and find it’s not working particularly well: either the meetings consume massive amounts of time or personality conflicts keep the endeavor from being productive. In this episode, I'll share 6 strategies to help you efficiently co-plan your lessons.
Jan 31, 2016
S3EP05 When is it okay to say you've done ENOUGH for a student?
Listen in as I answer the following question submitted from an exhausted teacher: “How much is enough time to give to each student? There are students who have behavior problems, academic challenges, IEPS, family problems, those whose parents you need to catch after school or speak with the principal about...it never ends! Student issues, dealing with emails, and talking with parents is so time consuming. When is it ok to say 'enough, I've done all I can and need to move on'?
Jan 24, 2016
S3EP04 Five things I learned from quitting my teaching job twice
Some of you are barely making it through the school year, and the idea of going into school each morning just makes you sick with stress and anxiety. You want to quit more than anything but have no idea what the alternative would be. I get it. I have been in your shoes. Others of you still love teaching, but you’re feeling an itch to do something different. You want to make a greater impact for kids, or you want a flexible schedule, or just feel like there’s something more out there for you. I’ve been in that position, too. You see, I’ve quit teaching twice: once because the school environment was so toxic that I hated my job, and once because I wanted to shift into a different role in education. I’ll share both of those stories with you in this episode, along with 5 things I learned that might be helpful if you’re thinking about quitting for either reason.
Jan 17, 2016
S3EP03 How to support kids who don't take ownership of their learning
How do we get kids to go from saying “Just tell me what to do!” to truly taking ownership of their work? In this episode, you'll learn 6 strategies to help get kids on board with the sometimes daunting task of student-directed learning.
Jan 10, 2016
S3EP02 The lies teachers tell themselves (and how to uncover the truth)
In last week’s episode, I shared 10 growth mindset shifts you can take to enjoy teaching more, and gave examples of negative, fixed mindset thoughts that can reframed into something that helps you perceive your job as less stressful and more meaningful. This week, I want to go deeper with that, and talk to you about how the story you tell yourself about teaching is probably not true, and ways you can choose to see things differently. You can reframe your work to recognize and appreciate what a tremendously important job you are doing every single minute of the day.
Jan 3, 2016
S3EP01 Ten ways to cultivate a growth mindset & enjoy teaching more
As much as we’d like to believe that we’re growth mindset oriented, most of us (myself included!) will likely discover upon reflection that there are old fixed mindset thought patterns that we haven’t quite let go of. Fortunately, we can examine these self-defeating thoughts and replace them with growth mindset thoughts that are empowering and energizing. See if you can recognize yourself in any of these 10 fixed mindset traps, and practice exercising a growth mindset instead.
Nov 8, 2015
S2EP15 Season 2 Wrap Up + Balancing Teaching & Family During the Holidays
It’s always tough to strive for great teaching AND a great personal life, but that battle seems to ramp up exponentially during the holidays. If you’re feeling pulled in a million different directions, check out the tips in this episode which help you prioritize and make time for what’s most important.
Nov 1, 2015
S2EP14 Five attention grabbers that refocus kids quickly
Have you lost patience for refocusing your class and fallen into the trap of just barking at the kids (“No talking!”) or pleading with them (“I'm waiting for quiet!”) all day long? Ironically, it’s more tiring to keep repeating your request for silence, since nagging kids puts us in a bad mood and the kids just tune us out, anyway. Here are 5 ways to grab kids' attention in a fun and engaging way.
Oct 25, 2015
S2EP13 You can’t do it all, but where can a new teacher really cut corners?
Everyone knows that a new teacher is not going to perform at the same level as a 30 year veteran. But which areas are most important to focus on? Learn how to figure out where cutting corners is okay, and how to minimize the impact on students.
Oct 18, 2015
S2EP12 Lisa Dabb’s Truth: Thriving--not surviving--with support from a virtual mentor
Do you wish you had more support and encouragement from other teachers in your school? Consider virtual mentorship! Lisa Dabbs shares why she's so passionate about new teacher mentoring, and how you can get involved (as a mentor or mentee) in her New Teacher Mentoring Project.
Oct 11, 2015
S2EP11 How teachers can beat the October Blues
If you’re feeling completely discouraged right now and don’t know how you can possibly make it until June, that is completely NORMAL! In this episode, I'll share why October can be such a tough month for teachers, and how to gain the perspective you need to push forward with confidence and enthusiasm.
Oct 4, 2015
S2EP10 Extreme student behavior--7 traps to avoid when NOTHING seems to work
What do you do for a student who continually chooses to misbehave? What happens when you feel like you've tried everything, and you're starting to turn into the type of teacher you never wanted to be? Here are 7 traps to avoid when dealing with extreme student behavior.
Sep 27, 2015
S2EP09 How to prioritize teaching tasks when EVERYTHING seems urgent
The foundation of using your time effectively and being efficient is knowing how to prioritize your tasks. In this episode, I'll share 7 guiding principles to remember when figuring out what to get done first.
Sep 20, 2015
S2EP08 Can a teacher really work a 40 hour week and do a good job?
Whenever I mention a 40 hour workweek for teachers, people tend to have one of two objections. Either they think it’s not possible, or they think it’s not aspirational—that you can’t do a good job in 40 hours a week, so you shouldn’t even try to attempt that as a teacher. In this episode, I'll share my own experiences and observations, and share ways you can cut 10+ hours of your workweek.
Sep 13, 2015
S2EP07 Getting real about grit: 6 things every teacher needs to know
“Grit” is a huge buzzword right now that’s used to refer to perseverance and resilience. Many schools are rushing to adopt grit curriculums and character education programs so they can teach their students about how to put in the effort and determination that’s needed in order to be successful. But here’s the thing about grit. I’ve done a lot of research on this topic, and I’ve seen grit get a lot of pushback because it’s been misused and misinterpreted. And while I believe in the value of teaching grit to students, I think we as educators have the responsibility to be informed about what being “gritty” really means, and what it doesn’t mean.
Sep 6, 2015
S2EP06 How can I keep my team’s positivity and innovation from alienating coworkers? (Ask Angela Anything)
A TfT listener wonders how to cope when her cohesive team is mocked by other teachers in the school. How can collaborative groups of teachers prevent their positive, innovative attitudes from wedging a divide between them and other colleagues? In this epsiode, I share 6 tips for extending a bridge to distrustful co-workers and reaching out to isolated teachers who may be interested in joining the collaborative spirit.
Aug 30, 2015
S2EP05 James Sturtevant's Truth: How to build relationships with students through personal stories
High school teacher and author of "You've Gotta Connect" James Sturtevant shares practical, concrete ways he builds relationships with students in his social studies classroom. Listen as James helps you find ways to share YOUR stories and personal life in your classroom using a template he calls “Show and Tell."
Aug 23, 2015
S2EP04 How to be pro-active with uninvolved (and overly-involved) parents
You can tell from your very first interaction with some parents that there will be challenges ahead. Every teacher encounters both "helicopter parents" as well as those who are impossible to get in touch with. In this episode, you'll learn how to plan ahead and avoiding being caught off guard when parents don’t fit your expectation of the Perfect Amount of Involvement. Learn how to do everything you can to contribute to a good working relationship with your students’ parents, and go the extra mile without taking forever to get there.
Aug 16, 2015
S2EP03 How to figure out what you really NEED to buy for your classroom
August and September are very expensive months for educators as we try to navigate all the back-to-school advertisements. So where should you spend your money in order to get the most bang for your buck? Create a budget, then consider the 3 reasons to buy that are given in this episode.
Aug 9, 2015
S2EP02 7 beliefs about teaching routines that will cause you to lose your mind
The ninety-millionth time you’ve reminded kids PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR PAPER, you might feel like you’re about to lose your mind. Chances are good that your frustration is stemming from one (or more) of 7 mental traps. Once you identify and root out these unhealthy, unproductive beliefs, you’ll find the process of teaching routines far less frustrating.
Aug 2, 2015
S2EP01 How to turn back-to-school anxiety into excitement
Have the back-to-school nightmares started for you yet? Are you feeling a sense of dread over losing your family time? Learn how to channel your anxiety into excitement by shifting your focus to 3 awesome things you'll be gaining when the new school year begins. For the transcript, links to recommended resources, and to share your thoughts on the show, visit TheCornerstoneForTeachers.com/S2EP2.
Jun 24, 2015
BONUS Extended Episode: How YOU can build a positive school culture, no matter where you teach
BONUS extended episode! Join Jimmy Casas, Krysta DeBoer, Hope King, and Amber Teamann as they share a behind-the-scenes glimpse into schools that have reflected carefully on school culture and created systems that work. Learn practical, actionable tips for supporting kids and colleagues, winning over negative co-workers, creating change in toxic school environments even when no one else is supporting you, and more. Highlights include: (5:45) What a positive school culture looks like (21:00) How school leaders can support staff and how teachers can support one another (35:35) How to work with colleagues who are negative and don't share the positive vision (40:00) The #1 thing teachers in positive school cultures do to keep it all about the kids (48:45) What one individual teacher can do to create change even in a toxic school culture
May 31, 2015
EP24 Season 1 wrap-up and reflection
In the final regular episode of Truth for Teachers until season 2 begins in August, I'm taking a moment to reflect on my first five months of podcasting. I'll share which episodes resonated most with listeners (and which ones didn't), my plans for changing the podcast in the fall, and an idea for some bonus extended episodes I'd like to try. I'll also share some final thoughts to remember as you approach the end of the school year and summer. Please share your thoughts on Season 1 here in the survey: http://bit.ly/1Req2ck. Thank you for listening and for your feedback!
May 24, 2015
EP23 How to share your teaching expertise & get paid for it
Looking to earn extra money this summer? Why not create long-term passive income for yourself through sharing your teaching ideas! In this episode, you'll learn how you can establish yourself as an expert in the education field and start getting paid for your teaching ideas and resources. Explore different possibilities that can help you not only earn extra income to support your family, but also help other teachers and impact education on a greater scale.
May 17, 2015
EP22 How use summer to re-energize your teaching and yourself
Summer break always goes by quicker than we imagined, leaving a long list of tasks undone. Learn how to create time for the things that matter most to you in life, and schedule in activities that are energizing for you as a person and as a teacher. You'll also discover 3 exciting online PD events I'm supporting this summer--I hope to connect with you there!
May 10, 2015
EP21 How to keep from giving up on apathetic students (Ask Angela Anything)
You can’t lose sleep over disengaged students, but you can’t give up on them, either. In this episode, I’ll share how to overcome the feeling of powerlessness that comes from working with unmotivated students, and break free from the trap of trying to nag and shame them into working harder. Learn where to focus your energy--and how--in order to make the greatest difference for the greatest amount of kids. Truth for Teachers has been nominated for a Bammy Award! The Bammys are designed to honor all that's good in American schools and seek to elevate the public perception of educators. If you enjoy the podcast, you can cast your vote here now through the end of the week. Thanks for your support!
May 3, 2015
EP20 Speaking out about race, poverty, riots, and our students
In this episode, I'm digging deep into the systemic issues and misplaced outrage that are holding back our youth in impoverished communities. Learn what you can do to make sense of what's happening and educate your students about it, too. These issues affect ALL of us, and we all have the ability (and responsibility) to work for change.
Apr 26, 2015
EP19 How to balance test prep and authentic learning
You’re a teacher, not a tester. In this episode, you’ll learn strategies for staying focused on what’s really important, both in your mindset and your daily practice. Discover specific, practical tips for getting creative with test prep so it feels more like the authentic learning activities that matter most.
Apr 19, 2015
EP18 Vicki Davis’ truth: The courage to speak out about injustice
Don’t be afraid to make your voice heard and stand up for what’s best for kids. Listen and be inspired as teacher/author/speaker Vicki Davis of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog challenges classroom teachers to speak with boldness and create change in our education system. Your voice is needed and you can make a difference!
Apr 12, 2015
EP17 How to reconnect daily with the reasons why you teach
When the reality of teaching doesn’t match what you envisioned at the start of your career, it’s easy to lose sight of reason why you chose this profession. In this episode, I’ll share 3 specific strategies for reconnecting with your initial motivation and the inherently rewarding moments in education. Learn how to be truly present in your classroom by celebrating your accomplishments, focusing on the kids you’re making a real difference for, and reframing your work to recognize and appreciate the magnitude of what you do.
Apr 5, 2015
EP16 Ask Angela Anything: Classroom clutter--what to keep and what to toss
Is your classroom overflowing with stuff? Are you holding onto random materials and supplies “just in case” you need them one day? In this episode, you’ll hear how I was once forced to pare down my classroom to the most essential items, and the incredibly impact that had on my teaching. You’ll learn strategies for deciding what to keep and what to toss out, and how to be more selective about the materials you allow into your classroom.
Mar 29, 2015
Ep 15 Figure out what’s “good enough” and be satisfied with it
Do you feel constant guilt about not giving 110% to every aspect of your work? Do you worry that no matter how much you do, it’s never enough? Discover 3 strategies for breaking free from perfectionism, guilt, and obsession over minor details in your teaching practice. Learn how to identify an appropriate, healthy stopping place in your work and cultivate a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.
Mar 22, 2015
EP14 Dave Burgess’ truth: Collaborating with colleagues who don’t support your creativity
Have you ever shared a great teaching idea with a co-worker who immediately shot it down and discouraged you from thinking outside the box? Listen as Dave Burgess of “Teach Like a Pirate” fame shares how you can express your creativity even when co-planning with colleagues who are reluctant to innovate. Discover how collaboration can be used to improve your teaching practice, not standardize it.
Mar 15, 2015
EP13 How to be unshakeable in your enthusiasm for teaching
Passion cannot be faked. Students can tell when we’re just going through the motions. But how can you summon the energy to teach with passion when there are so many distractions from what really matters? And if you barely have time for taking care of yourself, how can you have anything left to give your students?
Mar 8, 2015
EP12 How to cope when a parent just doesn't like you
Are you feeling discouraged by a parent who seems impossible to please? You can develop a realistic, productive outlook on relationships with students’ parents. Learn how to maintain a professional and positive attitude and keep criticism from stealing your motivation.
Mar 1, 2015
EP11 How to keep teaching when your personal life is falling apart
When you’re experiencing deep personal loss or serious problems at home, it’s difficult to be the teacher you want to be. Learn how to minimize the negative impact of your stress on students and manage your energy levels so you can bounce back more quickly.
Feb 22, 2015
EP10 A.J. Juliani's truth: overcoming frustration due to constant change
New standards, new assessments, new leadership, and more...just when you think you’ve mastered the game, there’s a brand new set of rules. Listen as Education & Tech Innovation Specialist A.J. Juliani shares how constant changes are impacting teachers. You’ll learn 3 practical tips for managing change, and discover how to channel frustration into innovation.
Feb 15, 2015
EP09 Avoiding discouragement in a thankless job
Teaching involves a lot of hard work that is rarely acknowledged. Learn strategies for staying encouraged despite a lack of appreciation, and stay focused on your personal vision.
Feb 8, 2015
EP08 How to approach teaching with a spirit of adventure
Don’t let the hard parts of teaching steal your sense of accomplishment and keep you from recognizing the magnitude of the awesome work you’re doing. Learn how to push through constant distractions and fear of failure to experience the adventure of watching your students learn and grow.
Feb 1, 2015
EP07 Find & embrace your unique classroom management style
There are a dizzying number of effective ways to lead a classroom. How can you figure out which style is right for you? Learn from a mistake I made in emulating another teacher’s management techniques, and develop the confidence to make decisions about what works best for you AND your students.
Jan 25, 2015
EP06 How to stop being overly critical of yourself
Many teachers are far too hard on themselves and constantly feel guilty about things they’re not doing. You can make 3 small changes that will create a dramatic shift in how you think and feel about yourself. Learn how to change your mindset and move from self-criticism to self-acceptance.
Jan 18, 2015
EP05 Motivate students to take ownership of their learning
Are you working harder than your students? Learn practical strategies for making the learning really matter to kids so they’re self-motivated in the classroom. You’ll discover how to inspire kids to give as much energy and effort in the classroom as you do!
Jan 11, 2015
EP04 Gain energy from kids instead of letting them drain you
The flow of energy in a classroom is often one way, with the teacher constantly giving and students sitting by as passive recipients. But kids can be your greatest motivator and energizer! Discover how to create a reciprocal energy flow through connecting with and enjoying your students.
Jan 4, 2015
EP03 Dealing with negative co-workers
These simple tips will help you head off chronically complaining coworkers at the pass. Learn how to redirect unproductive conversations and prevent co-workers’ negativity from stealing your enthusiasm for teaching.
Dec 30, 2014
EP02 Beat the Sunday night blues
Do you get a sense of dread on the weekends thinking about all the work ahead? Learn how to beat the Sunday blues by increasing your productivity, and turning off your “teacher brain” so you can truly relax and enjoy your time at home.
Dec 27, 2014
EP01 What is Truth for Teachers?
Welcome to my new weekly podcast, designed to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators and get you energized for the week ahead. In this episode, I'll share more about who I am and how I hope to use Truth for Teachers to support and empower you in your work.