"There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first." --Jim Morrison
Take a break this summer from thinking about work, and let’s do some big picture reflection on life together. In part two of this summer series, we’re talking about ALIGNMENT, and what it means to live in alignment with what you really believe and who you really are. We'll talk about doing our part (imperfectly) to make the world the place we believe it should be.
Make sure you sign up for the special summer series emails! There’s one written message to go with each of the 4 podcast episodes. The emails are designed to be short, powerful reminders to help you make the most of your summer break. Just click here to sign up:
Also: the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is open for early bird access (with early bird bonuses) from now through June 30th! Learn more or sign up here: 40htw.com.
In this special 4 part summer series, we're focused on self-development instead of professional development. Every other week in June and July, I’ll bring you a short episode to help you focus on what matters most. I’ll also share some things that have been on my heart that might be otherwise off-topic for a teaching podcast.
If you normally listen to the podcast on 1.25 or 1.5 speed, I encourage you to go down to 1.0 for these 4 summer episodes. This series is not about consuming as much information as fast as possible — which is certainly a fine goal in other contexts. This series is about savoring the time, and being present with yourself for each moment of it.
Let this be a short time together to reflect, think deeply, and go big picture. We’ll explore a different word each time.
In part one, we’re talking about PRESENCE through immersion in both silence and healing sounds. How can you create short, regular rituals in your life where you enjoy the benefits of silence, and experience sounds that are calming?
You’ll get to experience a few moments of “sound therapy” in this episode and discover how to use sounds and silence to help you experience more presence this summer. Don’t let your summer fly by because you were rushing from one activity to the next! Time seems to slow down when we are truly present, and even a few moments of practicing presence each day can give you a sense of peace and gratitude.
I encourage you to sign up for the special summer series emails. There’s one written message to go with each of the 4 podcast episodes.
The emails are designed to be short, powerful reminders to help you make the most of your summer break. If you want to receive them, click here:
This is the last episode of Season 9! I want to leave you with a short and sweet message to help you get more enjoyment out of your summer break.
The summer seems to stretch ahead of us endlessly now, but we all know how quickly it will actually fly by.
So, I’ll share a bit about my summer plans, and then tell you about 5 traps I’ll be working to avoid — and that I hope you’ll be aware of, too — in order to slow down, be present, and rejuvenate before fall.
There will also be a summer 4 part podcast series I'm releasing this summer that is non-teaching related! Learn more about sign up by the biweekly messages here: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/summer-2019-series/
If you want to take my free intentional connectivity challenge mentioned in this episode, click here: https://bit.ly/2rt67zP
You can also get on the wait list to join the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club this summer: 40htw.com
Kim Lepre is a 7th grade English teacher and the founder of the Teachers Need Teachers podcast. She’s also a Beginning Teacher Mentor and Ed Tech Specialist in her district, and a Level 2 Google Certified Educator.
How has Kim managed to make time for all of that?
She made a significant reduction in her workload during her 13th year of teaching. That’s when she joined The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club.
I’ve invited Kim on the podcast to tell you exactly what she changed in her mindset and habits to allow her to reclaim around 15 hours a week, which she now uses to support other educators, spend time with her family, take care of her physical health by regularly working out, and a number of other activities that really mean a lot to her.
I think you’ll get a lot of practical, actionable advice from Kim!
What happens when you spend more time with other people’s kids than your own? Parenting guilt is real, and there’s no easy solution when it seems like family gets short-changed when you focus on students, but students get shortchanged when you focus on family.
In this episode, we’ll explore what creates mom guilt and dad guilt, and how those two things can manifest differently. We’ll also talk about how the unrealistic standards placed on parents can make it feel like you’re never doing enough.
Learn how to make choices from a place of compassion, both for yourself as a parent, and for your students’ parents (rather than assuming you need to compensate for the things you believe they should be doing but aren’t).
Then you’ll hear directly from 4 teachers who have found solutions and created clear boundaries between family and work.
I think there comes a time for many educators to re-evaluate whether the work they’re doing is something they’d like to continue. You might wonder:
These are incredibly tough questions to answer, particularly when you see teaching as your “calling” and life’s purpose as many of us do. You don’t quit a calling, right? To even consider doing so can feel like a personal failure, as if you don’t care enough about your students and couldn’t hack it anymore in the classroom. If that’s how you’re feeling, this episode will help you remove the guilt or limiting beliefs you might be holding currently, so that the right answer for YOU can reveal itself. Want to get in touch? Let me what know what kind of resources or support you wish you had around this topic:
This is not a guest interview — it’s my story.
That kid in your class who learns differently and feels impossible to reach within the structures of how we do school? That kid could have been me.
That kid who has side conversations all the time and doesn’t follow directions? That kid could have been me, too.
That kid who skips class and seems totally disinterested in your lessons — the one who’s flunking out and doesn’t seem like they’ll ever amount to anything? That kid could have *definitely* been me.
Listen in as I publicly share my own journey as a student for the first time.
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.