If you’re a regular listener of Truth for Teachers, you know I like to focus on very practical, actionable strategies that every person listening can implement. Today’s episode is going to be a slight departure from that. This episode is a chance to dream, to imagine new possibilities, to rethink everything about the way your school day is structured.
I’m going to be talking with Jodi Fletcher, a principal whose team had a vision for a really innovative way to support kids in personalized learning and project based learning. Listen in as she tells the story of what that dream looks like now that they’ve made it a reality for 500 kids.
86% of teachers in the U.S. are white. Most of you listening to this episode are therefore white. Conversations about race are super prevalent right now and for many white people, and it feels like stepping onto a minefield.
They have literally no idea what to say, or feel like they don’t understand the history enough to contribute much to the conversation. Or, they say something they think is totally valid but inadvertently offend people of color in the discussion or get their own feelings hurt because they feel “attacked”, vowing to never, ever enter another conversation about race again.
This can’t happen, teacher friends. It really hurts my heart to see so many misunderstandings in our country around race right now, particular when it’s among white teachers who are shaping the next generation of minds. Teachers are smart, kind, educated people tasked with raising up young people to be leaders. We cannot be ignorant about race or avoid talking about it.
I’m going to start here, today, by sharing what I know now as best as I can, because if I wait until understand everything fully, there will never be an episode about race on Truth for Teachers. And this can’t wait. I want every white teacher, particularly those who teach black and brown students, to understand some fundamental truths. These can completely transform your relationship with your students, their families, and the community you teach in, and I hope you’ll be open to my words in light of that.
This episode is for those who are frustrated with conversations about race right now, and also for those who want to have hard conversations, want to support their students, want to step up as advocates and allies, but just don’t know how to talk about racial issues and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. I hope the information I share today will help you feel more confident in having those tough conversations that are so, so important, and empower you to be a more culturally responsive teacher.
Today I’m going to let you listen in on a coaching call I did with a 3rd grade teacher named Daniele. Like all the teachers I’m conducting these free coaching calls with, Daniele completed a year in the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club and has a really good understanding of how to be intentional in her teaching and maintain a positive, productive mindset.
However, as we progressed through the conversation, it became clear she’s dealing with a whole lot of things that are completely out of her control, things that are increasing her workload and stress level exponentially.
About halfway through the call, I think we got to the real heart of the issue, which is that morale at the school is really faltering right now and it’s incredibly hard to hold onto hope every day and keep doing the work when the school climate is filled with a constant low-grade anxiety.
Daniele’s given me permission to record our conversation and share it here with you so that if these are issues you’re facing in your school, hopefully our thoughts will give you some encouragement.
Today I’m talking with Dr Marcie, a child behavioral specialist and author of the book Love Your Classroom Again: Realistic Behavior Strategies for Educators. She’s also the founder and director of Behavior + Beyond.
I was introduced to Dr Marcie’s work when I heard her speaking about bullying prevention on a local news channel here in New York City where we’re both based, and am really excited to have her here on the podcast to share tips on this with you all, as well.
Listen in as we talk about the difference between meanness and bullying, and how we can support students who are being bullied AND those who are doing the bullying.