“Does My Principal Even Want to Hear My Ideas?” with Dr. Christina Podraza

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If you’re a teacher with ideas and you are looking to connect with your principal about getting them in motion, this is the episode for you.

Back in February of 2019, I posed a question on Twitter that got a lot of attention. It sparked an ongoing conversation with on of the administrators initially tagged in that Tweet. that conversation has brought us to this episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! Continue reading ““Does My Principal Even Want to Hear My Ideas?” with Dr. Christina Podraza”

“Am I Putting Too Much Pressure on My Colleagues?” with Deanna Lough & Marisa Thompson

 

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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?” Continue reading ““Am I Putting Too Much Pressure on My Colleagues?” with Deanna Lough & Marisa Thompson”

“Am I Present at Home?” with Aimee and Rob Skidmore & Lindsey Frieden

Dear Teacher,

If you’re like me, you struggle with knowing how much time, effort, and energy you should give to the job. My lessons are never good enough. I worry that I have not given enough to assessing my students’ progress. And I am constantly tinkering with my craft to make it just a little bit better. When I give so much of myself to the job, I don’t leave time for the other parts of my life that matter. I have missed moments loved ones. There have been plenty of occasions where I am in the same location with my family, but I am NOT present with them.

As my wife and started having children, this started to eat at me more and more. And a few years after my first child was born, I started to ask myself, “Am I Present at Home?”

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Shortly after launching Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! Aimee Skidmore (@skidmoreaimee) sent me an email sharing about the time that she almost walked away from teaching. She included details about how it affected life at home, so I reached out to her and Rob inviting them on the podcast to talk about how that difficult time for Aimee was also a difficult time for her loved ones at home.

Aimee has been teaching Language Arts for over 20 years, and Rob does work in international development, which caused a few moves over the years. At present (and I get the impression that they plan to stay), they are in Geneva, Switzerland. A few years ago, Aimee stepped into the role as Head of English in her middle school, and as she invested herself in this new position, things started to grow dim rather quickly. Continue reading ““Am I Present at Home?” with Aimee and Rob Skidmore & Lindsey Frieden”

“Am I Allowed to Have a Life?” with Dave Stuart Jr.

 

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Dear Teacher,

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have a roster full of students who are at differing levels of ability. And it’s your job to get ALL of them to an acceptable level of proficiency. As the year unfolds, to do this, you realize that you need to stay at work a little later, take home a few more assignments to grade, get up just a little earlier in the morning to be in the classroom for a few more minutes to get it all done. Tired, and leaving your classroom after the sun has set for the third day in a row, in a flash of sudden anger, you say, “Am I allowed to have a life!?”

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In this episode, you will hear from teacher, content creator, and professional developer, Dave Stuart Jr. Several years ago, Dave started a blog that turned into a website, which developed into a couple of books, and eventually lead to the creation of a couple of online courses.

Believe it or not, a few years into the job, Dave actually quit teaching! For many of us, this is hard to believe. But after you hear his story, you will get a clearer picture of the why behind Dave’s writing, speaking, and professional development workshops. You will hear about how Dave figured out how to set limits on himself, two teacher archetypes to avoid, and why you should write an Everest Statement right now. And, as mentioned in the podcast, here’s the first chapter of Dave’s book, These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most.

If you want to connect with Dave, and get more details about his story, CLICK HERE.


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“Am I Valued?” with Andy Milne — Episode 3

 

 

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Dear Teacher,

When you got your first job, did you get the most undesirable position in your department or grade level? What about passed up for a position because the other applicant had more seniority? Have you presented ideas at meeting only to get shot down?

Our guest for this episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! is National Health Teacher of the Year, Andy Milne. He’s a teacher at the top of his game! Outside of his teaching duties, he also runs the website slowchathealth.com and is a sought after public speaker. And though he presents as very “put together,” he’ll be the first to tell you that things weren’t always that way for him. For a time, he questioned whether he was a good fit for the job.

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Seven years into the job, feeling undervalued at the school where he was teaching at the time, he walked away. And that time away gave him the perspective he needed. He eventually made his way back to the classroom, and he has some great perspective to share about his journey.

If you want to connect with Andy, and get more details about his story, CLICK HERE.


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“Don’t You Trust Me?” with Nancy Erwin — Episode 2

 

 

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Dear Teacher, 

When it comes to what you believe is the in the best interest of the students enrolled in your class, have you ever asked this question: “Don’t you trust me?”

Nancy ErwinIn today’s episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! we are going to hear Nancy Erwin’s story about the first few years of her teaching career. As a first grade teacher, when her district made Nancy and her colleagues administer assessment after assessment (which included a lot of hand scoring), she wondered if this is really all there was to teaching, or if there was something more.

At one point, she stepped away from the classroom, and Nancy took the time to reflect, “Should I keep going?”

Hear the rest of Nancy’s story HERE.


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More Encouragement, Less Judgment

One thing that always seems to surprise young teachers when they are starting out is just how much time they give to the work. It’s tough. Being a teacher requires grit, the capability to hang in there and stick to it. And the less experience one has on the job, the more time, thought, and energy must go into the effort of preparing and delivering quality instruction.

When I entered the profession, the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act was in full swing. That meant there were student proficiency targets, and if schools, departments, and teachers weren’t achieving those targets, something was wrong and some aspect(s) of what you were doing in the classroom was going to go through an uncomfortable change. Teaching without these extra layers of accountability is already dynamic and complex enough as it is, so you can imagine that those early years for me involved long nights of reflecting, assessing student work, and planning instruction. Continue reading “More Encouragement, Less Judgment”