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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
This week and next, we’re going to look at 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.
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.
So, what do you do? Here are a 10 tips to help you share bad, difficult, or sensitive news with a student’s parent and get the best possible outcome.