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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
31 minutes | a month ago
EP211 Find the small good things. Take the next right steps.
This is a deeply personal podcast episode, so if you’re new here, I encourage you to revisit previous eps that are probably going to be more helpful and along the lines of what you’re hoping to get. This one is all over the map: part inspirational, part confessional, part political, part visionary. I've decided to end the podcast early, for reasons that will be apparent as I share what’s on my heart here. I will not be back with another episode until at least January 2021. In the meanwhile: Find the small good things. Take the next right steps. Focus on who you want to become through the remainder of this pandemic. What kind of person will you be on the other side of these challenging times? What kind of educators do we want to be? What kind of nation do we want to be? Vote accordingly. Sending you all love, support, and solidarity until next time. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
18 minutes | 2 months ago
EP210 How to be quietly subversive and make the standards meaningful (with Dr. Robyn Jackson)
What happens when you’re asked to follow bad pedagogy or teach topics that seem irrelevant for kids? You can do exactly as you’re told...or you can quietly subvert the system, and find ways to do what’s best for kids. Listen in as Dr. Robyn Jackson and I talk about ways that we’ve done this in our teaching practice, and how we’ve supported other teachers in doing the same. We speak the quiet part out loud in this episode: the best teachers don’t just follow directives without question — they’re NOT doing everything they’re told, because a lot of what they’re told to do isn’t good for kids. You don’t have to settle for just “getting through” boring curriculum and test prep. You can be actively looking for ways to get yourself excited about what/how you need to teach and make the learning meaningful for kids so they’re more engaged, too. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
19 minutes | 2 months ago
EP209 For the teachers who are not okay right now...
I decided to scrap the topic I had planned for this week and speak to the teachers who feel like they’re drowning. I know what's expected right now of many kids, families, and teachers is not humanly possible on a long-term basis. And in this episode, I want to counter the system-wide gaslighting that is occurring. What many (most?) of you are being asked to do right now is NOT, in fact, reasonable ... and the solution is not for you to simply work harder. We are still in a pandemic. This is still crisis distance learning. This is emergency hybrid teaching. Regardless of how much districts want to pretend we can replicate normal, we cannot. Resist the pressure to perform at optimal levels when we are not working in optimal conditions. Pushing yourself to work harder when your body's calling for rest will not help you get ahead. That approach is part of the old paradigm which has to fall away and be replaced with a way of working, teaching, and learning that is humanized and centered on well-being rather than accomplishment. You deserve grace and compassion. Give those things to yourself when no one is giving it to you. Rest tonight. Rest this weekend. Rest is necessary for your survival and you don't need to apologize for it. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
EP208 The best ideas from the Distance Learning Playbook: An uplifting convo with Doug of Fisher & Frey
“We didn't forget how to be teachers. It’s the same passion, engagement, and relationships — you already know how to do that. What we have to learn is a few tech tools, so that we can accomplish the teaching moves that we want, but we did not forget how to teach ... Human beings know how to develop relationships, and sometimes they develop from a distance.” Listen as I talk with Doug Fisher (of Fisher & Frey) about the most important ideas from their new book with John Hattie called “The Distance Learning Playbook: K-12 Teaching For Engagement and Impact in Any Setting.” The book is based on the classroom experiences of a diverse group of more than 70 teachers this past spring. I ask Doug to sum up their most important takeaways, the things that surprised him, and the best practical ideas that came out of these teachers’ experiences. We talk extensively about the best ways to get kids to show up to distance learning and complete their work, as well. Doug shares specific examples, and says, “When you move to higher levels of engagement — where kids drive the learning, where they set their goals, they monitor their progress, they reflect on what they've been learning — that’s when we see them show up and participate.” If you need to hear a positive outlook and some inspiration about distance/hybrid learning right now, I think you’ll really enjoy this conversation: “I did not sign up to be this distance teacher. But right now our kids need us. We're still a school. We still have a job to do. Together, we will get through this pandemic and we will be better, as a result, when we come back.” Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
17 minutes | 2 months ago
EP207 Do you hold these 3 limiting beliefs about students?
If you're frustrated with kids who don't seem to be putting forth any effort, this episode can help you shift your mindset and think about the problem in new ways. We’ll examine 3 limiting beliefs that are a very common part of many people’s worldview, and look for ways to choose perspectives that are more constructive and helpful. When you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING, sometimes the missing piece is to change the way we think about the problem...and this episode can help you choose thoughts that serve you (and your students) better. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
45 minutes | 3 months ago
EP206 Humanizing your classroom so kids are known, valued, respected, & safe (with Dave Stuart Jr.)
When teaching from a distance — either 6 feet away or remotely — it can feel challenging to get to know your students well. "The top thing we can do with overwhelm is return to our strength, return to our knowledge, return to our experience. Every teacher in the world knows ways of connecting with students and humanizing a classroom. These things don't perfectly translate to a classroom with social distance or an online learning space...but they do transfer." -Dave Stuart, Jr. Relationships aren’t EVERYTHING, but they ARE “one of the most valuable currencies” in the classroom, according to Dave Stuart Jr. Listen in as we talk about practical ways you can make sure your students feel known, valued, respected, and safe. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
16 minutes | 3 months ago
EP205 When doing your best just isn't good enough...
Sometimes what you’re able to give is not sufficient. It’s frustrating when you know what you’re capable of under optimal circumstances, but also know you’re not working with optimal circumstances or anything close to it. So the only options are to try to single-handedly compensate for all the adverse circumstances and perform at a superhuman level every day, or adjust our expectations. In this episode, I’ll share about choosing kinder, gentler self-talk, and showing ourselves grace so we can extend that grace to others. I’ll also share a guiding question that I’ve been thinking about since March: Who do I want to be on the other side of this pandemic? What kind of person do I want this experience to be shaping me into? This episode will help you let go of the “shoulds” and regrets about 2020, and celebrate the small wins instead of focusing on all the things we haven’t been able to do. There is a great peace that comes with focusing on who you are becoming instead of what you are able to do. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
EP204 Differentiation: What new opportunities are possible now?
Breakout rooms are transforming how we do one-on-one conferencing and small group work. There are so many things we CAN’T do right with kids, so in this episode, I’m exploring the new opportunities for differentiation which may not have been possible in pre-pandemic teaching. You’ll hear from a diverse group of 5 teachers from around the world who each share a quick summary of how they differentiated this past spring, and how they’ll build on that experience this school year. If you’re looking for manageable, sustainable ways to meet kids’ individual needs in remote or hybrid learning, you’ll find lots of creative structures here. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
EP203 Feeling like a first year teacher again? Remember these 5 things.
When the learning curve is overwhelming (especially with technology), these 5 guiding principles can help: Start with the outcome you want to achieve, and choose the best tool accordingly (rather than vice versa). Approach technology as a tool to support learning, not the focus of the learning itself. Use tech to enhance, not dominate, what you’re already doing. Use what you love and don’t abandon what works for the next shiny new thing. Be willing to learn through experimentation rather than a formal training. Listen in on this encouraging, motivating episode that reminds you how to shift focus away from the overwhelming array of options and things you DON’T know how to do, and recenter on what you DO know. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
25 minutes | 3 months ago
EP202 How to plan activities that work for in-person, remote, AND hybrid instruction
Adapting a flexible, resilient pedagogy will allow us to roll with any changes that might come, and will carry us through to post-pandemic teaching, as well. The goal? To emerge from this school year with more equitable, sustainable, and relevant ways of teaching and learning. So what exactly does flexible resilience pedagogy look like in practice? I’ll share some tips to help you plan ONE set of activities for every lesson, and use them for face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction. I’ll also share 11 practical strategies to help you find a manageable, sustainable approach to planning instruction this year, no matter what changes might come in your teaching context. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
43 minutes | 4 months ago
EP201 Freedom dreaming & who we need to BE for kids this year (with Tanesha Forman)
In our rush to figure out logistics, we can’t forget that who we ARE impacts how we teach more than anything else. Unpacking our own identity and the “why” we bring to the classroom can be a grounding force that holds us steady through change. Listen in as I have a laid-back yet energizing conversation with Tanesha Forman, a middle school teacher entering her 15th year in the classroom. She shares how her daily classroom work is a reflection of her own learning, identity, and growth, and how she uses that self-reflection to support students in being fully seen and known in her classroom. Tanesha also shares how she’s planning for both curriculum and socio-emotional learning in the coming school year through a reflective, anti-bias/anti-racist lens. We talk about disrupting power structures, and Tanesha shares her “freedom dream” in which kids and teachers can fully be themselves in school. If you want to surround yourself right now with the inspiration of folks who are reimagining schools through their daily work, this episode is a must-listen. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
16 minutes | 4 months ago
EP200 How to plan for the first weeks of school when everything feels uncertain
Whether you’re with kids face-to-face daily or a few days a week or totally online, I think it’s fair to say that your lessons for back-to-school this year are not going to be what you wish they could be. You probably won't be able to do what you did in previous school years. The sooner you can accept that, the easier it will be to plan because you won’t be spending so much energy shoehorning in activities that just aren’t going to work. The sooner you can accept that the start of this school year is not going to be optimal for you or your students, the easier it will be to see things in a really clear-headed way and find the best possible solutions. In this epsiode, I'll share the WHY and HOW for keeping your lesson plans simple for the first couple of weeks. As you get more answers from your district about what's expected, you'll be able to do build in more activities and experiences for kids. But, you don't have to have it all figured out before the first day of school. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
32 minutes | 5 months ago
Flexible resilience: My manifesto for the coming school year
I’ve been thinking a lot about where I personally can add the most value, and how I can offer support and resources in the way I do best. I’m going to share part of my manifesto here with you. These are my beliefs and goals that will shape the work I do around the changes coming this fall to our schools. You will see these perspectives interwoven into every resource from me this coming school year — emails, blog posts, podcast eps, social media posts, 40 Hour Workweek resources, and so on. Specifically, I'll share: The importance of time to rest and regroup before preparing lessons for the coming year Why you shouldn't wait for your district to finalize plans before you speak up about your needs How to seek out the overlap between what's best for teachers and what's best for kids How radical acceptance can prepare you to create much-needed change in our schools Ways a flexible, resilient pedagogy can simplify your workload and help you support students more effectively Why I believe the work we're doing this school year will be some of the most important of our careers 5 core beliefs that will guide the work I do this coming school year, and the ways I'll offer support Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned. Join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes. I'll be back with the first episode of season 12 of the podcast on August 2nd.
13 minutes | 6 months ago
A message of hope + call to action
If you've been feeling like you can't make a difference right now, listen in for how you can stand up for racial justice and create positive change. I'll share why I am hopeful that uprising we're experiencing as a nation is leading us toward racial healing and equality, and what YOU can do to help. You have the power to uncover and root out discriminatory practices in your classroom, school, and district. There are actionable steps you can take starting today to do an informal "equity audit." The goal is to name and interrupt patterns of bias + racism in the way we do school, and it's one of the most impactful choices you can make as an educator who wants to create a better world for our kids. Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/a-message-of-hope-call-to-action-for-justice/
12 minutes | 6 months ago
5 FREE ways to join the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek this summer
Want PD for teacher productivity but don't want to pay out of pocket? We've got you covered. The upcoming school year is going to be different than anything we’ve faced before as educators. I know that as a teacher, you’re going to need more support in managing your workload and staying in balance. The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek has already helped more than 32,000 teachers take control of their time, and the program is getting brand new updates for this summer’s cohort. 40 Hour is online professional development for teacher productivity, designed to help you find a sustainable way to teach. Each month throughout the yearlong program, you’ll get timely practical resources for getting organized, streamlining your workflow, and staying focused on what really moves the needle for kids. The Full Year program is only offered once a year — it starts in July, and with early bird access beginning June 7th. You can’t join YET, but I wanted you to have a heads up now about alternative ways to get funding. That way if paying out of pocket isn’t a good option, you can plan to have the $149 covered when the club opens next month: Apply for a scholarship. We’re TRIPLING the number of scholarships for the upcoming cohort — 60 applicants will get to join the club for free! — and extending the application period through May 25th. See if your school has unused PD funds that must be spent by June 30th. With conferences and speakers cancelled, there may be money for professional development right now that wouldn’t normally be available. We’ll make sure the invoice shows a May or June date, and get you enrolled before the fiscal year ends. Ask your admin about enrolling in online PD for the coming school year to support you in the new teaching expectations. Even with budget cuts, there is always funding allocated to PD that must be used for only that purpose. Most districts will be prioritizing online PD next year instead of face-to-face, and 40 Hour is one of the most affordable options available. Get DonorsChoose funding. 40 Hour is a recognized PD provider with DonorsChoose, and you can raise funds to help you learn best practices for maximizing instructional time. We have verbiage you can use to help create the project and explain how it benefits kids. So If you teach in a public school in the United States, you can create what’s called a “special project” and solicit donations for PD just like you would for any other DonorsChoose request. The project must be fully funded by July 15th, 2020, in order for you to join with the July cohort. Ask friends or family to sponsor you. We have quite a few members who received their membership as a present. If you have an upcoming birthday or other celebration, tell folks that this course is the gift you need most. Gift certificates are available now for purchase. Whether you’ll be teaching remotely, working on a staggered schedule, using a hybrid model, or some other new reality … you won’t have to figure out what next school year is going to look like on your own. This program will connect you with emerging best practices and a community of other teachers who are committed to being truly intentional with their time and staying focused on what matters most. And the best part? Whenever the fall-out from this crisis is behind us and social distancing is no longer a concern for schools in your local area, you’ll STILL have access to all the resources you need. The July 2020 cohort is also going to get all the “regular” materials which are designed for face-to-face instruction, so you can utilize them as soon as they’re relevant. That’s because this program is designed to help you simplify throughout your teaching career — no matter what or where or how you teach later on. Yep — you keep your access to all the materials AND the Facebook group indefinitely, and can revisit them anytime! Go to 40htw.com to learn more about how to join at no cost to you, or sign up to be notified when we begin enrolling for early bird access on June 7th. I hope you’ll decide to join us this summer. None of us have all the answers, but we’re smarter together, and I’ve seen firsthand how innovative this community of teachers has been since day one. I’m willing to do the hard work of finding the emerging best practices and work-arounds for you next year, so you can cut through any mixed messages and impossible-sounding expectations to find a sustainable way to teach. Your mental, emotional, and physical health are more important now than ever, and I’m not giving up on my quest to help teachers stay in balance and show up as the best version of themselves each day. It’s not going to be easy, but we can do this, together.
15 minutes | 7 months ago
EP199 Ending the school year virtually + crisis classroom closeout tips
We’re wrapping up Season 11 of the podcast in this episode, and talking about how to wrap up the school year, as well. The usual end-of-year activities won’t quite fit the bill right now, so I’m sharing how other teachers are creating closure for the year, even when they can’t be face-to-face with their students. I’ll also share a crisis classroom closeout process if you only have a few hours to shut down your room: Download the PDF here Get the editable checklist in a Google Doc here Season 12 of the podcast will begin in August, and I’ll check in periodically over the summer with bonus episodes and announcements to keep you in the loop. Thank you for listening, sharing, subscribing, and reviewing the podcast! Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
18 minutes | 7 months ago
EP198 Three sneaky ways perfectionism is holding you back (even if you think you’re not a perfectionist)
Perfectionism is not always about needing things to be perfect. It can look like an “all-or-nothing” mentality that keeps us from creating the change we want. My working theory is that everyone struggles with perfectionism, it simply manifests differently for different people. We all have our things that we are extremely particular about. Even folks who are super laid-back or happily disorganized or go-with-the-flow still have very defined preferences for certain aspects of their life. I think it’s the root word “perfect” that throws people off. Very few people actually try to make everything to be absolutely perfect with no flaws at all times. But, we do all sometimes have the belief that things have to be a certain way in order for us to be content or satisfied. Things have to match out personal standard in order to be acceptable — and that’s a sneaky form of perfectionism. In this episode, I’m going to share 3 thought patterns that you may recognize, explain how they’re actually tied to perfectionism, and give you some strategies to shift your thinking. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
47 minutes | 7 months ago
EP197 Creating systemic change and solving problems before they happen (with Dan Heath)
How do we reimagine schools and use this interruption to our lives to create a better normal post-pandemic? My guest in this episode is Dan Heath, a New York Times bestselling author of 5 books, the most recent being “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen.” This book is a MUST read for anyone who’s curious about how to create systemic change or how to improve our daily lives through pro-active problem-solving. Dan explains why we spend more time and resources fixing problems than preventing them. He gives concrete examples of people and organizations that have gone “upstream” to identify what’s creating havoc and fix things there, BEFORE the problems come to them downstream. We have an unprecedented opportunity right now for change in many areas: healthcare, the economy, the environment, and so on. Every part of our lives and society have been touched, and will be changed ... and it’s up to us to envision a better “new normal.” If you loved EP192 on reimagining schools and want more inspiration for how to move forward, I think you’ll find this episode fascinating. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
25 minutes | 7 months ago
EP196 Some parts of teaching are BETTER with remote learning. Here’s how to leverage that.
Crisis distance learning has improved teaching and learning in some surprising (and not-so-surprising ways) over the last couple of weeks. There’s no doubt that it’s been stressful trying to make the transition so abruptly, but I thought it might be helpful to do an episode on the positives some folks are seeing, too. Whether you secretly prefer remote teaching or if you just wish you were back in your classroom again, this episode will help you focus on the potential benefits of teaching from home. You’ll learn some emerging best practices and positive reports from teachers about their experiences with distance learning to help you make the best of this time. You’ll also hear a call-to-action: observe and document which practices are getting good results (or perhaps better results than face-to-face instruction) for your students. You don't have to figure out now how to carry this over to next school year, but having a record of what you're seeing to prove the benefits of now vs the traditional ways of doing school may be helpful to you later in creating permanent change. If that feels overwhelming, then just pick one thing. What’s one thing you’re doing differently right now that’s working better for you and your students, which you might be able to use in future school years? Keep evidence of that. Experiment with it, a lot, to learn what works and what doesn’t. See where your observations take you in your practice. Listen in now for some inspiration and ideas to get you started! Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
29 minutes | 8 months ago
EP195 How to stop being annoyed by personality differences (with Kara Lowentheil)
Spending a LOT of time in a confined space with the same people day in and day out can exacerbate tension. If you’re finding yourself increasingly agitated, impatient, and annoyed by the folks around you, this episode can help! I’m talking with Kara Loewentheil, who has a B.A. from Yale and J.D. from Harvard Law, and works now as a Master Certified Coach. She's the host of the iTunes top-rated self-help podcast "Un-F Your Brain," which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and she has been featured in outlets like Marie Claire, Mind Body Green, MSN.com, and The Huffington Post. I love to occasionally have folks with a perspective outside of our education bubble come on the show to give us a broader perspective. We recorded this prior to the pandemic, so you won’t hear us address that, however, I decided to run the episode this week because I think our conversation is going to be more relevant now than ever. As we’re stuck inside for weeks on end with other humans, the concept of not being annoyed by personality differences takes on a whole new meaning, right? I hope this episode will be helpful to you not only in your work but in your personal life, as well. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
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