“Am I Burnt Out or Demoralized” with Dr. Doris A Santoro

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Dear Teacher,


If you’re like me, the middle of the fall semester is the most difficult time of the year. And it was my plan to release this episode last month, but October. Just before we entered the month of November, I learned of a new acronym (Just what Education needs, right?). It’s DEVELSON. That’s D-E-V-E-L-S-O-N. It stands for Dark Evil Vortex of Late September, October, and November. I don’t know of a more fitting acronym for education for this time of year.

If there is a season that makes me question whether or not I am going to stay in the classroom, it is this time of year. It was October of my seventh year of teaching when I came very close to the decision to leave the profession for good. Everything we are expected to do as teachers (which includes those expectations we place on ourselves), seem to collide into one six-week window, and for many it becomes too much.

doris-santoroIn this episode of DEAR TEACHER, DON’T GIVE UP! I talk with Dr. Doris A. Santoro, a philosopher of education and chair of education department at Bowdoin College. As a professor of education she conducts empirical research to study, and theorize about, the moral and ethical sources of teacher dissatisfaction and resistance. She wrote the book Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Staywhich is a wake up call! All educators need to read this book!

Connect with Dr. Doris A Santoro:

For the past year, as I have interacted with educators on social media, I have seen periodic calls for teachers to exercise self-care to avoid burnout. And depending on the situation, especially one where a teacher is heaping unrealistic expectations on themselves, this is needed advice. But is self-care enough for those situations where teachers are being asked to give all of their time and energy to parts of the job that do not involve teaching or working directly with the students? It’s not. Keep listening to find out why.

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

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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, contact me

QUESTION: What are some other ways teachers can better connect with their principals and administrators? Comment below.

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“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”

5 Ways to Nudge Students to Engage with Outside Reading

My previous post gave 4 factors to persuade teachers to start giving outside reading assignments. I am sure, however, that you still have concerns about your students’ motivation to complete an assignment like this while avoiding the temptation to cut corners and cheat. I share in those concerns.

Over the years, though, I have come up with ways to steer students to complete their outside reading assignment faithfully. I still have to guard against apathy and students who insist on cutting corners instead of doing the work, but I have drastically reduced the amount of energy I spend on keeping watch over this behavior. And I would like to share these tips with you! Continue reading “5 Ways to Nudge Students to Engage with Outside Reading”

Tired in My Bones

Yesterday was the first day of school. I was ready. It went very well. My students had a good time. Even though it was good, I’m tired. So tired.

I even had quite a bit of coffee. It didn’t matter. I’m. Just. Tired.

I wanted to have something more profound to say. Something insightful. Something inspiring.

All that comes to mind is, “I’m tired in my bones.”

How about you? How did the first day of school in Fall 2017 go? Share in the comment section below.

My Top 3 Apps to Get Through the Whole School Year

If you’re anything like me, daily organization is a challenge. Additionally, I am also challenged with consistency–being able to stick with something for an entire year. I tend to get excited about an idea I want to put into my classroom right away. I am full of enthusiasm when I launch the idea, but then it eventually falls out of focus. It usually ends with the next big exciting idea that comes along, and the cycle starts all over again.

Thankfully, I have found a few FREE mobile apps that have really been a remarkable help at keeping me organized and focused through an entire school year. Apps I can trust to really help me, deliver long-term, broad use, and are user-friendly.

Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a technophile teacher. You won’t walk into my classroom and see blinking tech hanging off my body with my students pointing their phones at me as part of a lesson. But the easy-to-use tech I’m about to tell you about can be downloaded to your mobile phone and easily integrated into the flow of your day. 

Continue reading “My Top 3 Apps to Get Through the Whole School Year”

Getting Students Beyond Superficial Revision

You’re about to get into today’s lesson: revising a first draft. Before you say the words, you can feel the collective groan gathering strength. When you finally come out with it, they are ready to revolt: “Today we’re going to revise your writing assignment!” And there it is.

They complain. They grunt violently. They look for pitchforks and other pointy objects to take up against you. And one student in the corner quietly Snapchats a selfie of an ice bag on her head. It’s clear. They don’t want to do this.

As I see it, a big problem is students think they are done with their writing. In the eyes of each student writer, what they put on paper looks “good enough.” They are done. If they understand it, then there’s nothing to revise. But even when I get them to see that their writing needs further work, all I get from them are superficial changes. They may change a punctuation mark or two and a grammar mistake, but they almost never revise for content and purpose.

Sound familiar?  Continue reading “Getting Students Beyond Superficial Revision”

Does Anybody Know How to Get Students to Revise Their Writing?

This is so frustrating! I teach them. It looks like they don’t get it. Or maybe they just don’t care? I give up.

That’s what I used to think. I now have a different take. It all changed when I decided to take the pressure off of teaching editing and revision. When I stopped tying the instruction exclusively to academic essay writing.

Continue reading “Does Anybody Know How to Get Students to Revise Their Writing?”