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Dear Teacher,

When was the last time you were genuinely excited about your own professional growth? For me, I am the type of person who listens to educational podcasts on my commute, downloads audio books for all of those times I walk the family dog, and gets overly excited about the next conference I am going to attend. I accost my colleagues with all of the ideas I have and initiatives I want to spearhead. I send book-chapter-sized emails to six people I think might be interested in the topic (spoiler: they’re not).

To put it mildly, when it comes to teaching, I’m intense (Just like Aimee Skidmore describes herself in episode 006 of the podcast). Pedagogically, I am turnt up and taking it to the next level, but my colleagues are dashing into their classrooms when they see me coming. They get into their cars just a little faster when they see me heading to the parking lot. And, I’m sure, they have even faked a phone call or two so that they could avoid just one more conversation about best instructional practices.

It makes me wonder, “Am I putting too much pressure on my colleagues?”

Joining me on this episode are my two good friends, Deanna Lough and Marisa Thompson. At the time of the recording, the three of us had not met in real life, nor had we talked with one another in real time. Just like really good friends sometimes refer to one another is “a brother from another mother” or “a sister from another mister,” whatever cool rhyming version there is for “teachers who do not teach at the same school, yet they are closely aligned and genuinely enjoy one another’s company,” that’s us.


As we were building our respective Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) online, we saw an opportunity to connect through the Voxer Walkie Talkie App (Apple App Store | Google Play) that went beyond what we were all experiencing on Twitter. What started out as an experiment among colleagues teaching in different locations, quickly blossomed into friendship. Even though we weren’t connecting face-to-face in real time, we were still genuinely getting to know one another.

MarisaThompson headshot

[By the way, I don’t like that it’s called a walkie talkie app because we have transformed its use into something so much more than people trying to update one another on various pieces of a project we are all co-laboring on together. We have found a way to communicate remotely that has more heart than we could have imagined when we started out.]

As you listen to the episode, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that this is pretty much functioning as an extended commercial for Voxer (though I am not receiving any revenue from them for making this episode). But what I hope you hear is that you are not limited to your brick and mortar location. If you are experiencing a set back, disconnect, or difficult circumstance where you teach, there is hope. There are ways you can reach out and connect with good people, teachers who care just as much as you do, and can offer a listening ear even though you may be timezones apart.

To hear more stories of hope, subscribe to the Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! podcast.

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Deanna loves connecting with other educators online through Twitter. She invites anyone to reach her the following ways:

Creator of #PLNedchat, Marisa also loves connecting with other educators Twitter and through her blog She invites anyone to reach her the following ways:

As for me, the host of the show, if you are currently working in education and have EVER thought about leaving, or right now, you’re a classroom teacher looking for the nearest exit, I want to hear your story. Please, find me at…

QUESTION: Are you the kind of teacher who puts too much pressure on your colleagues working in your building/department? In what ways? Comment below.

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