I get a lot of listener-submitted questions that could be tough for me to offer advice on without knowing the specifics. I’m going to answer a bunch of them in this episode from a big picture perspective, and give you my single best piece of advice on each topic.
We’ll cover sticky situations like administrators who play favorites, releasing control to student teachers, supporting colleagues when morale is low, lack of student motivation, kids who can’t handle choice, anxiety over teacher evaluations, forced collaboration with colleagues who over-complicate things, and more. Check out this quick-paced episode for some practical advice.
An introvert isn’t necessarily quiet or shy. For an introvert, being alone provides the energy that’s needed to enjoy being with people. (For an extrovert, being with people provides the energy that’s needed to enjoy being alone.) It’s all about what energizes you.
So if you’re an introverted teacher, how can you take some of the spotlight off yourself in your instruction, avoid the energy drain that may arise when collaborating with colleagues, and find moments in your day to be alone and rejuvenate?
Check out this blog post/podcast interview with Betsy Potash of the Spark Creativity podcast as we discuss our experiences as introverts in the classroom.
There are 4 core beliefs that can help you strengthen the courage to focus on what matters most:
✔️I am worthy of change and better is possible for me right now
✔️I set my own expectations in life and in teaching
✔️I know what’s important and allocate time accordingly
✔️I ensure my needs are met to prevent overwhelm and exhaustion.
When you’re overwhelmed with all expectations and responsibilities placed on you, the most important step is to STOP and get clarity. Figure out what matters most so you can do fewer things, better.
Of course, it can be tough to give yourself permission to let things go, and difficult to say NO to others.
That's where these 4 core beliefs come into play, because once you've internalized them, both clarity on what matters AND the courage to take charge of your time become possible.
Listen in on this week's podcast episode (which is based on my new book, “Fewer Things, Better”) to learn what each of these 4 beliefs could look like for YOU.
Let’s debunk 10 of the most annoying — and dangerous — teacher platitudes. In this episode, I’ll share my thoughts, along with the opinions of other educators from a great discussion on my Facebook page.
If there’s a common saying in education that’s always sort of bugged you, but was so popular you felt like you must be the ONLY one concerned, this is going to be super validating and empowering!
Listen in as we question these platitudes and consider some more accurate truths that allow you to define the role of a teacher for yourself.
On April 10th, I’m releasing my new book, “Fewer Things, Better”! To celebrate, I’m giving away a FREE course + downloadable workbook to EVERYONE who pre-orders a Kindle or paperback edition of the book.
The course will help you implement the ideas in the book and reflect on how you want to be spending your time. Each exercise in the downloadable workbook will give you a clearer understanding of your priorities so you can develop an actionable plan for what “fewer things, better” looks like in YOUR life.
Just go to FewerThingsBetter.com. You’ll find the link there to pre-order your copy on Amazon, which means you’ll have your Kindle or paperback copy on release day (April 10th!)
After you pre-order, return to FewerThingsBetter.com to claim your free bonuses. You can download the course and start going through the downloadable workbook right away if you want.
I am so excited to get this book into the hands of teachers and am so grateful for your support!
“We live in a specific kind of America that offers an okay education for some kids, and then a totally subpar education for other kinds of kids. That our country—and specifically our education system—has been defined by intergenerational inequity really bothers me. And so much of my message is around how we disrupt that, how we can begin to look at the things that have plagued us for generations and begin to take those things apart.
We cannot be okay with the way things are. It’s just too dire for too many kids. We can’t make excuses by saying, ‘Well, this is how we've always done it,’ or ‘I’m just a teacher. What power do I have?’
Yeah, I'm just a teacher, and we have a whole lot of power. The most important thing to me is to be able to step back, look at my practices, customs, and traditions, and do the kind of action research that's going to lead to change. That really matters a lot to me.
I don't have to wait for city hall to say, ‘Let's do this thing.’ I can look at the inequitable outcomes in my school, in my department, in my class, and I can address those things in a really intentional way using action research or inquiry.”
Listen to this week’s episode for more from Cornelius Minor on re-writing the teacher hero narrative and disrupting the status quo.
How do you SHOW students through body language, facial expressions, and tone that you believe in their ability to succeed and won’t settle for less than they’re capable of?
Every teacher knows to hold kids to high expectations, and develop with students. The warm demander stance isn’t anything new — it’s an equity approach developed by Judith Klenfield back in 1975.
But figuring out how to make the “warm demander” approach feel authentic and natural within your teaching style can be tricky, so I thought it might be helpful to talk about what worked for me and a few of the educators I’ve learned from.
In this episode, I’ll break down a few examples of what both “warm” and “demanding” could look like in the classroom so you can get a mental picture.
Do you relate to any of these 5 mindsets? They’re super common, but make it harder to draw boundaries and prevent us from doing the most impactful work:
✔️Shiny object syndrome
✔️Project manager syndrome
Check out this week’s episode to learn more about each syndrome—and discover the cure for each one, too.
The secret to getting dressed quickly in the mornings and feeling comfortable (and confident!) all day long is to have a closet that consists ONLY of things that make you feel like YOURSELF. Today, I'll share 3 steps to creating a signature style, in which you'll start with what's already in your closet. These tips will help you find your signature style that will keep things simple in the mornings without taking away your ability to be creative and express yourself.
Beyond your signature style, I'll share ways on how to clean out your closet so it mostly consists of the items you'll wear on a regular basis, how to buy clothes you'll actually wear, and how to go super minimalist. The goal is to discover your style that you feel comfortable in — day in and day out — for your teaching wardrobe and for what you wear in your free time, as well!
Whether you're interested in publishing your own books or just curious what happens behind the scenes of mine, today I'll be sharing how I write and publish books! Currently, I'm finishing up book #5, which is called Fewer Things, Better. I receive questions about book writing often, and since I'm so close to publishing, I thought it would be interesting to talk about my writing process and how I publish, especially in relation to the inspiration and challenges from FTB. We'll dive into the writing process for that book and I'll reveal what question I'm answering for teachers, as well as the general questions behind my other books.
This spring, I'll be sharing excerpts from the book here on the podcast so you'll get to hear more of what it's about. To get notified when the book is released, visit fewerthingsbetter.com.
There's no doubt that teacher compensation, along with the unrealistic demands of the profession, are both hot topics right now. How did we end up here? How do teachers across the country effectively make changes? We need to understand the societal norms, institutional structures, gender dynamics, and other factors that got the teaching profession to what it is today in order to advocate for change.
Join me today in an interview with Jennifer Binis, podcaster and curator of @Edhistory101, for an edu-history lesson you never knew you needed! She hopes to spread the important message to educators that we are obligated to understand the historical perspective of the teaching profession so that we can interrupt the damaging patterns present today. I hope you'll find her message inspiring!
Sometimes, it feels like we’re always working because we’re always thinking about work. It's like we never truly get to relax and decompress.
Today, I'll give you my 6 best suggestions, along with some practical advice from other teachers in the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club, on how you can mentally leave work at work. Check out these unique ideas to find ways to turn off your "teacher brain."
The questions of What is enough reteaching? Am I doing enough in my lessons? Are my interventions sufficient? tend to weigh perpetually on teachers. I think it’s really hard to find the answers. Standards-based grading sometimes requires you to keep re-teaching and supporting kids until they achieve mastery. And of course, no one wants to be accused of giving up on kids.
In today's episode, you can listen in on a coaching call I did with a teacher named Ericka about this topic. She teaches 6th-8th grade science, but the conversation we have will feel familiar to all teachers.
The pressure to offer "more" is endless, and we have limited time and resources. And, kids aren't robots who can be programmed to master grade level standards in a pre-defined period. They're not going to all master the same content at the same time, no matter how awesome our lessons are. Sometimes what kids need most from us is not more engaging activities or endless re-teaching. Sometimes what they need has nothing to do with academics at all.
A listener asks, "How do I stop focusing on parents and worrying how they will affect my job security and my choices as an educator? How can I teach without constantly feeling like I'm being watched, analyzed, judged, and monitored by parents, and/or how can I let go of the fact that they are and I can't change it?"
Join me today as I tackle these listener's questions with a focus on understanding parent mindset and motivation. Truly knowing where the parent is coming is a key step in addressing your mindset so that you can be pro-active and not feel like you're always waiting for the next "attack."
Have a question for me about teaching, mindset, or motivation? Click here to submit your question for the podcast here!
Lisa Woodruff of the Organize 365 podcast is a former classroom teacher who now teaches organizational skills for a living, including practical tips and mindset organization. Lisa's podcast episodes are focused on the home, but she also has episodes on classroom organization.
Lisa is passionate about helping people get organized so that they have more time to do whatever they were uniquely created to do, which is different for every single person. Today, we'll discuss many different ways that organization works and the steps you can take to organize, but we'll also talk about the mindset of an organized teacher.
If you struggle with keeping your classroom papers organized, click here for Lisa's Teacher Workbox which is a system she created to help you find a manageable way to handle all the papers that come across your desk.
We're kicking off Season 9 of the Truth for Teachers podcast with the transformative practice of letting go — a small mindset shift that can transform your teaching and also your personal life so that you can reclaim your essential self.
This practice is about releasing things that aren't serving you well. It's about letting go of all the things we think we need to do in order to be a better teacher, a better parent, a better partner ... and acknowledging that you don't have to become anything other than you. Join me today as we explore ways to release yourself from expectations or habits and focus on loving and accepting yourself.
Wrapping up Season 8 with this episode! Always feel days and weeks behind in your lesson plans? Let's talk about doing fewer things, better, and eliminate things from your schedule.
This episode is perfect for teachers who want to learn how to take control of their instructional time in every way possible so they feel less rushed and have time for the things that really move the needle for kids. You can shift your mindset from that of the frazzled, rushed, over-scheduled teacher to that of the truly productive one.
Truth for Teachers will be back for Season 9 in mid-January, but keep an eye out for informal eps and casual updates from me in the meantime. --Angela
This episode is for all teachers who put everyone else’s needs before their own, never have enough time or energy for everything, and know they need to prioritize self-care but can't stick to any self-care habits long-term.
A lack of time and energy is one of the biggest problems teachers are facing. Day in and day out, I see how much work teachers are having to do with so few resources and so little support. We always hear, "Do it for the kids..." but what about taking care of teachers?
Join me today for a message that is passionately on my heart: There is no direct correlation between the number of hours you work and your effectiveness as a teacher.
I'll explore how self-care can be as simple as 5-minute habits embedded into your day, and not another time-consuming thing to make your life more complicated — just simple habits dispersed throughout your day.
If you want help planning self-care habits, I have a free guide which I created that I can give you. Click here to access it immediately and have a copy sent to your email inbox for reference.
Today's episode is coaching call with Amy, a graduate of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. We're talking about what happens when you create routines for your planning time and nterruptions keep popping up, making you feel like that you never use the planning time in the way that you intended.
We also discuss what to do when you create really effective routines that work awhile, and then stop working because either your preferences or your circumstances have changed.
We're also talking about being intentional about what you're saying yes to and knowing the reason WHY you're saying yes.
Join me today as I interview Dr. Travis Bristol, where we discuss how we can attract, support, and build relationships with diverse faculty members, and the importance of that for ALL kids and teachers. Our focus today is on the individual classroom teacher, and the things that you can do to ensure your school culture is one that truly believes in hiring and supporting a diverse faculty.
Travis is a former teacher and currently works at UC Berkley. A big part of his research agenda is centered on practices and policies that support teachers of color. Listen in, as you'll understand exactly why I’m so honored to have him share his experience and research with us here on the Truth for Teachers podcast.
Today's episode centers on educators who feel like they're drowning in work and struggling with anxiety. I'll walk you through different aspects of teacher anxiety and help you figure out a new way to think about your work, and also help you to think in ways that FINALLY create freedom from anxiety and overwhelm.
When you're feeling anxious, there’s nothing better than hearing reassurance from someone who understands what you’re going through, validates your feelings, and helps you work through those feelings in a practical, uplifting way. Today's episode will offer a sort of "virtual mentorship," so whenever you’re feeling isolated, discouraged, and unsupported you can listen to practical encouragement and reassurance.
Click here for the full set of audio messages and digital tools that I created called Finally Free: The teacher toolkit for conquering anxiety and overwhelm. You'll get to hear my words of encouragement which you can listen to anytime you’re feeling anxious about all the things that need to be done.
Trauma is an epidemic right now, affecting kids across racial and socio-economic lines. And I'd bet that every teacher is working with kids that have experienced trauma. Most kids who have experienced trauma will not receive any kind of special services or counseling, but they will show up to the classroom, and you'll be expected to understand and manage all of the complex emotions and behaviors that come with them on your own.
Join me today as I give you an overview and solid foundation for understanding trauma-informed teaching practices. You'll learn ways how trauma impacts students and what we can do as teachers to support kids without carrying the weight of that trauma ourselves. Listen in for specific dos and don'ts to make it easier to navigate this in your classroom, so you can build better relationships, prevent conflict, and teach students effectively.
In this episode of the Truth for Teachers podcast, we're talking strategies for dealing with complainers at work so negative colleagues don't impact your enthusiasm for the job.
Whether it’s in the teacher’s lounge, staff meetings, or just passing one another in the hallway, even a short conversation with a negative teacher can be totally draining. Everyone complains occasionally and no one is going be positive all the time ... this episode targets constant complaining or venting.
Ultimately what we’re talking about here is dealing with people who are nonstop, chronic complainers, or people who rarely, if ever, are looking for solutions, and they will likely shoot down any ideas you offer because they’re just wanting to complain.
I’m going to share 12 ways you can head off chronically complaining coworkers at the pass!
By now, you've probably heard me talk a lot about strategies for work-life balance and productivity as a teacher. Join me today in this episode of the Truth for Teachers podcast where I personally reflect on what those principles look like in this season of life currently.
I’ll share five choices I’ve made that are essentially habits now, and they help me to automate and simplify my life. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas about ways that you can do the same in order to focus on your biggest priorities!
In this episode of Truth for Teachers, we're talking about how to keep teaching from ruining your marriage (or any relationship you have with a significant other).
I can’t tell you how many emails I've gotten over the years from teachers telling me that teaching is ruining their marriage. I’ve heard of husbands giving their wives ultimatums: It’s either teaching or me. And I’ve also heard from many 40HTW club members over the years that they have used strategies from the club to reduce their workload, which has ultimately helped them strengthen their marriage and have more time to spend with their partners.
This episode will use a slightly different format, as I’ve asked club members to share some of the things that they are doing to preserve their marriage and keep teaching from coming in between themselves and their partners.
Join me today as I’ll be sharing some of the advice that they’ve written, and also play a couple audio clips so you can hear things in their own words.