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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers

The podcast designed to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators and get you energized for the week ahead.
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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
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Now displaying: 2020
Mar 29, 2020

During distance learning, look for small, simple ways you can center kids’ physical and mental well-being, which will, in turn, be energizing and uplifting for you, as well.

I’ve collected 12 types of ideas from members of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club to give you some insight into how other K-12 teachers from around the world are facing the challenges of teaching remotely. Read the whole list here.

Regardless of how much (or how little) contact with your students you’re able to have, and how much (or how little) academic instruction is happening, these ideas can help you prioritize relationships with your students and stay connected.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Mar 22, 2020

A sudden switch to teaching remotely is so difficult to manage. But what if it allows us to let go of all our previous assumptions about what we “have” to do with kids?

If schools can simplify the curriculum, cancel standardized testing, and put kids’ socio-emotional wellness first right now ... why can’t we do that all the time?

In this episode, I’m offering encouragement to help you let go of the pressure to do remote learning the “right” way. There is no right way because what we’re trying right now has never been done before on such a large scale.

If you’ve been feeling anxious about how to make everything work, listen in for some reassurance and clarity. This might just be the beginning of a profound and deeply-needed transformation of the expectations placed on teachers and students.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Mar 18, 2020

With all the COVID-19 upheaval in our world right now, I wanted to do a special check-in with you. We are all struggling with the uncertainty, but this episode shares 5 things I know for sure. I've added calming background music, so this is ideal to listen to when you're anxious and having trouble focusing on getting anything done. I hope it's reassuring. Be safe and well! 

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Mar 15, 2020

“You can break motivation barriers for disengaged students by recognizing that motivation is an investment decision. Students have time, attention, and effort, and they are making a decision every single day about whether they want to invest those things in our classrooms or in something else. Making your classroom worth investing in is about creating a space where students’ time, energy, and effort will be rewarded.” --Dr. Robyn Jackson

Join us as Robyn and I do a deep dive into her quote above. We’re tackling whether there is such thing as a kid who doesn’t want to learn, and then working through the 4 causes of student disengagement (instructional, institutional, interpersonal, and internal.) Robyn explains in-depth how teachers can identify and address each cause in practical, relatable ways.

We camp out for quite a while on the topic of interpersonal barriers, because there’s a powerful approach there which can be used to re-engage a reluctant learner. Robyn explains how to uncover students' primary will driver: purpose, mastery, autonomy, and belonging/connection. We discuss what each one means, and how you can incorporate these needs into your daily lessons in a way that reaches all your kids.

Feeding kids’ dominant will drivers is surprisingly simple once you understand the basic principle: in fact, just changing the wording you use when giving directions to kids can address the variety of will drivers in your classroom and increase the likelihood of engagement, and Robyn shares specific examples.

Motivation is a complex issue, and Robyn provides lots of concrete tools to solve the root problems permanently. This is not about quick tips and hacks: I promise if you can invest an hour of your time into learning the principles from this episode, it will forever change your teaching — Robyn’s work is just that powerful.

Don’t muddle through the rest of the year trying to use band-aid solutions with disengaged kids: it’s not too late for a breakthrough, and these simple, powerful principles can make a huge difference quickly.

Resources referenced in this episode:
Robyn’s previous Truth for Teachers interview on rude, disrespectful student attitudes
Robyn’s book, How to Motivate Reluctant Learners
Episode 5 of Robyn’s article and episode of School Leadership Reimagined (her podcast) called The most powerful way to motivate anybody.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Mar 8, 2020

Lunch can be a surprisingly big stressor for teachers: figuring out what to pack, being scheduled for a 10:30 am lunch slot when you’re never quite hungry, having to scarf down a whole meal in 15 minutes or less, or not getting a break for lunch at all.

So, by popular request, this episode is all about ways to simplify and streamline. Some of the main strategies we’ll explore include:

  • Make convenient containers easily accessible
  • Keep a variety of snack choices to mix and match for lunch
  • Make green smoothies or protein shakes
  • Prep veggies as soon as you bring them home
  • Batch your lunch prep
  • Make (almost) every dinner give you two days’ worth of lunches
  • Create a set of go-to meals for dinner to be used as leftovers
  • Eat the same lunch daily or eliminate it altogether
  • Try to reduce the additional lunch prep you handle for family members 

Learn how to invest a bit of time in creating a simple plan, so that figuring out a healthy lunch is one less decision you have to make each day.

WARNING: This episode could be triggering for those with a history of eating disorders or other unhealthy relationships with food. I don’t discuss weight loss or restricting your nutritional intake, and this is a body-neutral episode, but the topic could bring up some issues around your relationship with food, particularly near the end when I’m talking about intermittent fasting and simplifying how many food choices you have for the purpose of making meal prep easier and faster. Please be kind to yourself as you’re listening, and focus on just the ideas that resonate with you and your body.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Mar 1, 2020

What career options are available for teachers? Is it true that other industries don’t value education degrees or teaching experience? What else is possible when you feel like the “only” thing you know how to do is teach?


Daphne Williams of Teacher Career Coach is on this week’s episode to provide guidance to those who are considering a career move outside the classroom. Together, we destigmatize the desire to find another career, and help teachers process the unwarranted embarrassment and guilt that can come with leaving teaching.

You’ll also learn:

-Why teaching has prepared you for a multitude of other careers
-How to translate your experience from classroom to corporate so potential employers understand the value of your skills
-What types of industries frequently hire former teachers
-How (and when) to apply for positions in the 2020 job market
-How to find work when you live in a rural area or small town
-Why you should do the math on how much you’re making per hour when comparing your teaching salary to other fields

If you are looking for affordable support in transitioning out of the classroom, I’m proud to partner with Daphne as an affiliate of her Teacher Career Coach online course and networking group.

To learn more about the program, get Daphne’s free eBook with samples from the course and a list of the top jobs that hire teachers at teachercareercoach.com/truthforteachers.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Feb 23, 2020

Sometimes a relatively minor issue — like students not remembering to put their names on their papers — can create an outsized reaction in us. That’s certainly been true for me — as a new teacher, I couldn’t believe I was having to remind the kids AGAIN to write the proper heading (yes, friends, on EVERY assignment).

The real source of my frustration wasn’t no-name papers, though. It was my belief that students should have internalized all classroom procedures early in the school year, and would therefore not need any more reminders after that.

Turns out, this expectation is neither factual nor realistic. It was my own secret rule — an expectation that only existed in my mind, but wasn’t true for everyone else around me.

Secret rules are the reason why the exact same behavior can elicit annoyance in one person, and not in another.

When you are aware that everyone has their own set of secret rules, it becomes far less frustrating when people don’t follow yours. You realize they are not necessarily being inconsiderate, rude, or disrespectful.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to identify your own secret rules and how those conflict with the secret rules of the people around you. And, you’ll learn how to get curious rather than judgmental. Explore your secret rules, and consider what secret rules might be driving other people’s decision-making. This process will give you distance from the little stuff that’s bothering you so that you can be more at peace within yourself and with others.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Feb 16, 2020

“Our end goal isn’t to be perfect consumers; it’s just to have a different mindset about our relationship with the world. In my classroom, the relationship to the planet that I'm modeling is what's going to have the biggest impact. That's what's going to stick with the kids more than one little tip or trick that I use for reducing waste.”

In this episode, you’ll hear 1st grade teacher Heidi Rose of Zero Waste Classroom share how she’s shifted her mindset and daily practices toward a greener teaching practice. You’ll learn small actionable steps you can take to raise students’ consciousness about their consumption and reduce the amount of trash generated in your classroom.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Feb 9, 2020

We’ve all had moments where we lose our temper with students and pull rank to get them to comply. So how do you shift from micromanaging, controlling, and punishing students to supporting and guiding them? How do we learn to lead our students instead of ruling over them?

In this episode, I’ll share how the model of fear-based obedience begins at the top of the school system hierarchy. There are folks seated on invisible thrones who issue senseless mandates to teachers, who then follow suit, replicating that pattern to the powerless citizens of their classroom kingdoms.

That damaging pattern does not have to be replicated with YOUR students. I’ll share how to notice when you are attempting to rule over students from an invisible throne, and shift your approach without berating or judging yourself (which would only reinforce this same mentality of “bad behavior” which needs to be shamed or punished).

Learn how to recognize when you’re not responding to students from the wisest part of yourself, and become more conscious of the power dynamics in your classroom. This episode will empower you to build better connections with your students by shifting from making them respect your authority to modeling healthy leadership skills for them. If you'd like to discuss this topic (and many others) with us in the Fewer Things Better Book Club, conversations are kicking off now and the book club begins in March. Click here to learn more about the group and win a copy of the book: fewerthingsbetter.com.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Feb 2, 2020

How can you design learning experiences that help kids understand themselves and their place in the world? A 5th grade teacher shares how she creates inquiry experiences that help kids develop understandings about personal identity, bias, moving beyond a single story, and seeing what isn’t there (critically studying history).

I’ve asked Jess Lifshitz to come on the podcast because I love learning from her on Twitter, and I wanted to amplify her work so more teachers can use inquiry, reading, and writing to help students better understand create positive change in the world beyond the classroom.

Jess shares, “I’m constantly looking at the models around me of the humans that I want my students to grow up to be and asking, “What did they have to learn to be that kind of person?’ We see people stand up for strangers in the supermarket, and I think to myself, ’What was that person taught that allowed them to become the kind of adult that's going to stand up for someone else?’ Someone taught them those skills, and I can't assume that anybody else is teaching my students that. I need to make sure that those are things I'm working into my classroom so that my students can grow up to be the kinds of people that I want to share this world with.”

In this episode, you'll hear Jess share her lesson planning process, how she ties real-world lessons like these back to her standards and curriculum, and how she uses inquiry to support students in uncovering truths for themselves instead of being told what to think.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Jan 26, 2020

You can’t just positive-think your way into confidence: real confidence comes as a result of consistently taking action, and seeing growth in yourself over time.

When I started my podcast 4 years ago, I wasn’t confident about it. At all. In fact, I was very self-conscious about my voice, my accent, my ideas, my theme song, my introduction. You name it, I doubted it.

And that’s how it should be — how can you be confident about something you’ve never done and aren’t great at yet? I didn’t have the confidence yet because I hadn’t yet built the capability.

But, I believed in my own ability to grow and improve. I knew I COULD have the capability if I kept showing up.

With each mediocre episode I worked so hard to produce, I got better at it. Things began to come easier to me, and I was happier with the end result. I saw my growth, and THAT’S what gave me my confidence as a podcast host.

In this episode, I share my encouragement to you: to build your confidence as a teacher by building your capability. Don’t try to manufacture confidence: build it by taking action.

Do the same things over and over until you get good at them or at least better at them, and then move on and try something else. Work toward mastery and depth, knowing that mastery always requires repetition.

Reflect each day on what you have grown in, and the things you have learned that day. Notice your progress in the smallest ways. As you start to pay attention to your own growth and recognize your accomplishments, you will build REAL and unshakeable confidence in your abilities as a teacher.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our new podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

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