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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.
|Apr 21, 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.
|Apr 14, 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 like for YOU.
|Apr 07, 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.
|Mar 31, 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 29, 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 can look at the inequitable outcomes in my school, in my department, in my class, and I can address those things in a really intentional way using action research or inquiry.”
Listen to this week’s episode for more from Cornelius Minor on re-writing the teacher hero narrative and disrupting the status quo.
|Mar 24, 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.
|Mar 17, 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
✔️Project manager syndrome
Check out this week’s episode to learn more about each syndrome—and discover the cure for each one, too.
|Mar 10, 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!
|Mar 03, 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.
|Feb 24, 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!
|Feb 17, 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."
|Feb 10, 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 nothing to do with academics at all.
|Feb 03, 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!
|Jan 27, 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.
|Jan 20, 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.
|Jan 13, 2019|
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.
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 18, 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.
If you want help planning self-care habits, I have a free guide which I created that I can give you. Click here to access it immediately and have a copy sent to your email inbox for reference.
|Nov 11, 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.
|Nov 04, 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.
|Oct 28, 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 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 hear my words of encouragement which you can listen to anytime you’re feeling anxious about all the things that need to be done.
|Oct 21, 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.
|Oct 14, 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!
|Oct 07, 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!
|Sep 30, 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 own words.
|Sep 23, 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.
|Sep 16, 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.
|Sep 09, 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.
|Sep 02, 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 instruction, and then move into how we can make differentiation more scalable. We’ll finish up by talking about their differentiation fails and mistakes, and some traps or pitfalls they think teachers should avoid as they look for ways to differentiate.
|Aug 26, 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.
|Aug 19, 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 focus to help build better relationships that are centered on what kids really need from you!
|Aug 12, 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
|Aug 05, 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:
Teach 4 the Heart with Linda Kardamis:
Spark Creativity with Betsy Mork:
Teacher's Aid with Jon Harper and Mandy Froelich:
Dr. Will Show Podcast with Dr. Will Deyamport:
Also, check out this episode of the EDpiphany podcast called "How to make teaching a sustainable, lifelong career." A teacher named Kirsten talks about how she used the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club to reverse burnout:
|Jun 28, 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.
|May 20, 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!
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 13, 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.
|May 06, 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!
|Apr 29, 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.
|Apr 22, 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.
|Apr 15, 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.
|Apr 08, 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.
|Apr 01, 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.
|Mar 25, 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.
|Mar 18, 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.
|Mar 11, 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!
|Mar 04, 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.
|Feb 25, 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 connected to their purpose.
|Feb 18, 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.
|Feb 11, 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!
|Feb 04, 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.
|Jan 28, 2018|
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
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.
|Dec 17, 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 discussion by visiting the original post here.
|Nov 19, 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.
|Nov 12, 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 about some ideas that will really make a big difference in how you feel.
Dan and I are making one of the modules in the Finally Free toolkit available to you for free. It’s Module 1: Freedom from Comparison, which is designed for you to listen to when you’re feeling not good enough and comparing yourself to others. You can go to finallyfreetoolkit.com to learn more about the toolkit, and scroll down to the preview where you can download the audio and PDF for that first module on comparison right now.
|Nov 05, 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 families.
|Oct 29, 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 building trust and relationships with families.
Tune in today to our conversation centered around classroom ideas that teachers can focus on in high poverty classrooms that actually work!
|Oct 22, 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 present reality and remind ourselves that the majority of problems we anticipate never happen.
If you struggle with teacher anxiety and found this episode helpful, I want to let you know about a new resource that you may want to check out. It’s the first new product I’ve made for teachers in three years. I’ve partnered with Dan Tricarico to create this toolkit which is a collection of audio resources called Finally Free: The teacher toolkit for conquering anxiety, overwhelm, and the pressure to do more.
|Oct 15, 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.
|Oct 08, 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.
|Oct 01, 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.
Here's quick access to the resources I recommend in today's podcast: Dr. JoAnn Deak's Fantastic Elastic Brain book, Carol E. Reiley's Making a Splash growth mindset book, free online brain songs, and a more structured, complete 10 lesson unit that I've created that is a best seller on TeachersPayTeachers.
|Sep 24, 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 them.
The question of HOW to do better is what we’re going to tackle today in my interview with Principal Kafele. Listen in to his message on helping students succeed by connecting with them, understanding them, and building relationships with them so that we can meet their needs better.
|Sep 17, 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 theory, and try to figure out where the breakdown is happening.
I hope this helps you identify missteps in YOUR planning process so you can streamline a bit like Rachel!
|Sep 10, 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 today's episode.
To share this with other teachers (or get a printable PDF), go to:
|Sep 03, 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:
|Aug 27, 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 partially about ironing out the details of the cell phone policy, about partially about figuring out which areas of the classroom to give kids ownership of, and where we need to provide more leadership and modeling.
The value of this episode is in helping you ask YOURSELF the right questions, because honest self-reflection is what's going to get you to the right result.
|Aug 20, 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:
|Aug 13, 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.
|Aug 06, 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 organized, getting procedures in place, and so on.
I then challenge Claire to figure out 2-3 of her biggest time-wasters and use her summer to figure out a better way. It’s very hard to find the time and mental bandwidth to take a step back during the school year and analyze systems, so summer is really perfect for that. And when she told me what her biggest time suck is, when she talked about collecting data on student progress and grading their writing, she had a really big aha moment that I think is going to resonate with you in a powerful way, too.
Claire and I dug really deeply into how to analyze if something really has to be done, if the things we perceive as mandated are in fact requirements, and analyze teaching practices through the lens of whether they’re actually effective for kids rather than if they’re the way they’ve always been done, and they way everyone else does them. I love that moment in our conversation and I can’t wait to share it with you.
At the end of the call, I mention a free on-demand video series I've created to help you plan out how to use your summer. You can sign up for that here:
|May 14, 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 her speak in person a few times just hang on her every word--there’s so much good info there. She has this lovely way of uncovering the root problem and also sort of calling you out on your own mess instead of allowing blame-shifting.
Grab a notepad when you listen to this one, because you’re going to want to take notes!
|May 07, 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.
|Apr 30, 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.
|Apr 23, 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 the show today to help us explore these issues--they are the co-authors of the new book Hacking Project Based Learning: 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom. You’ll hear from Erin Murphy, who is an assistant principal and certified literacy specialist in the East Penn School District in Pennsylvania, and Ross Cooper, who is the Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12 in the Salisbury Township School District in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Erin and Ross are passionate about inquiry-based learning and have supported countless teachers in implementing it, through not only their school-based work but also through the PD and workshops they conduct. I’m really excited to have them here to help us move past the jargon and buzzwords, and talk about the realities on doing PBL with kids.
|Apr 16, 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 times, and relocated to other parts of the country for work twice.
And I always felt confident about the choices I made because I created a system that helped me think through every aspect of the decision and weigh the options not just on an intellectual, rational, logical level, but also on an emotional and heart level. Listen in as I share my process.
|Apr 09, 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 when they ask her to do extra things for them.
Listen in as I talk with Taylor about how to figure out what can realistically be eliminated from a teacher's workload in order to free up more time.
|Apr 02, 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 26, 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 start here, today, by sharing what I know now as best as I can, because if I wait until understand everything fully, there will never be an episode about race on Truth for Teachers. And this can’t wait. I want every white teacher, particularly those who teach black and brown students, to understand some fundamental truths. These can completely transform your relationship with your students, their families, and the community you teach in, and I hope you’ll be open to my words in light of that.
This episode is for those who are frustrated with conversations about race right now, and also for those who want to have hard conversations, want to support their students, want to step up as advocates and allies, but just don’t know how to talk about racial issues and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. I hope the information I share today will help you feel more confident in having those tough conversations that are so, so important, and empower you to be a more culturally responsive teacher.
|Mar 19, 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 facing in your school, hopefully our thoughts will give you some encouragement.
|Mar 12, 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.
|Mar 05, 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 26, 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 19, 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 12, 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, actively involved citizen. We need you to teach students to THINK.
Be okay with discomfort. Have the hard conversations instead of discussing “safe” topics that are less controversial.
Let your choices be guided not by fear or fear of discomfort, but a love of truth.
Don’t make decisions by asking yourself, “Am I allowed to do this?”
Instead ask yourself, “Is this the right thing to do?”
|Feb 05, 2017|
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.
|Dec 04, 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 27, 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 20, 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 13, 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!
|Nov 06, 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 30, 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 23, 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 16, 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 09, 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.
|Oct 02, 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 25, 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 18, 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 11, 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.
|Sep 04, 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 28, 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 21, 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 14, 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.
|Aug 07, 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 14, 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 08, 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.
|May 01, 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, and stop allowing them to keep us from fully enjoying and experiencing our lives. We don’t have to settle for a lifetime of feeling controlled by our devices. We can make connectivity into something better, something more intentional, and we can do it together.
Sign up here--it's free!
|Apr 24, 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 17, 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).
|Apr 10, 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.
|Apr 03, 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 27, 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.
|Mar 20, 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.
|Mar 13, 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.
|Mar 06, 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 28, 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 21, 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 14, 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.
|Feb 07, 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 31, 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 24, 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 17, 2016|
S3EP02 The lies teachers tell themselves (and how to uncover the truth)
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 10, 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.
|Jan 03, 2016|
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 08, 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.
|Nov 01, 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 25, 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 18, 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 11, 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.
|Oct 04, 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 27, 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 20, 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 13, 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.
|Sep 06, 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 30, 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 23, 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 16, 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 09, 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.
|Aug 02, 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.
(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
|Jun 24, 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 31, 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 24, 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 17, 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 10, 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.
|May 03, 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 26, 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 19, 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 12, 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.
|Apr 05, 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 29, 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 22, 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 15, 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 08, 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.
|Mar 01, 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 22, 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 15, 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 08, 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.
|Feb 01, 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 25, 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 18, 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 11, 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.
|Jan 04, 2015|
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 31, 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.
|Dec 27, 2014|