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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: Page 1
Aug 2, 2020

Whether you’re with kids face-to-face daily or a few days a week or totally online, I think it’s fair to say that your lessons for back-to-school this year are not going to be what you wish they could be.

You probably won't be able to do what you did in previous school years. The sooner you can accept that, the easier it will be to plan because you won’t be spending so much energy shoehorning in activities that just aren’t going to work. The sooner you can accept that the start of this school year is not going to be optimal for you or your students, the easier it will be to see things in a really clear-headed way and find the best possible solutions.

In this epsiode, I'll share the WHY and HOW for keeping your lesson plans simple for the first couple of weeks. As you get more answers from your district about what's expected, you'll be able to do build in more activities and experiences for kids. But, you don't have to have it all figured out before the first day of school.

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.

Jun 24, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I personally can add the most value, and how I can offer support and resources in the way I do best.

I’m going to share part of my manifesto here with you. These are my beliefs and goals that will shape the work I do around the changes coming this fall to our schools. You will see these perspectives interwoven into every resource from me this coming school year — emails, blog posts, podcast eps, social media posts, 40 Hour Workweek resources, and so on.

Specifically, I'll share:

  • The importance of time to rest and regroup before preparing lessons for the coming year
  • Why you shouldn't wait for your district to finalize plans before you speak up about your needs
  • How to seek out the overlap between what's best for teachers and what's best for kids
  • How radical acceptance can prepare you to create much-needed change in our schools
  • Ways a flexible, resilient pedagogy can simplify your workload and help you support students more effectively
  • Why I believe the work we're doing this school year will be some of the most important of our careers
  • 5 core beliefs that will guide the work I do this coming school year, and the ways I'll offer support

Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned.

Join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

I'll be back with the first episode of season 12 of the podcast on August 2nd. 

Jun 4, 2020

 

If you've been feeling like you can't make a difference right now, listen in for how you can stand up for racial justice and create positive change.

I'll share why I am hopeful that uprising we're experiencing as a nation is leading us toward racial healing and equality, and what YOU can do to help.

You have the power to uncover and root out discriminatory practices in your classroom, school, and district.

There are actionable steps you can take starting today to do an informal "equity audit."

The goal is to name and interrupt patterns of bias + racism in the way we do school, and it's one of the most impactful choices you can make as an educator who wants to create a better world for our kids.

Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned:

https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/a-message-of-hope-call-to-action-for-justice/

 

May 10, 2020

We’re wrapping up Season 11 of the podcast in this episode, and talking about how to wrap up the school year, as well.

The usual end-of-year activities won’t quite fit the bill right now, so I’m sharing how other teachers are creating closure for the year, even when they can’t be face-to-face with their students.

I’ll also share a crisis classroom closeout process if you only have a few hours to shut down your room:

Season 12 of the podcast will begin in August, and I’ll check in periodically over the summer with bonus episodes and announcements to keep you in the loop.

Thank you for listening, sharing, subscribing, and reviewing the podcast!

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.

May 3, 2020

Perfectionism is not always about needing things to be perfect. It can look like an “all-or-nothing” mentality that keeps us from creating the change we want.

My working theory is that everyone struggles with perfectionism, it simply manifests differently for different people. We all have our things that we are extremely particular about. Even folks who are super laid-back or happily disorganized or go-with-the-flow still have very defined preferences for certain aspects of their life.

I think it’s the root word “perfect” that throws people off. Very few people actually try to make everything to be absolutely perfect with no flaws at all times.

But, we do all sometimes have the belief that things have to be a certain way in order for us to be content or satisfied. Things have to match out personal standard in order to be acceptable — and that’s a sneaky form of perfectionism.

In this episode, I’m going to share 3 thought patterns that you may recognize, explain how they’re actually tied to perfectionism, and give you some strategies to shift your thinking.

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.

Apr 26, 2020

How do we reimagine schools and use this interruption to our lives to create a better normal post-pandemic?

My guest in this episode is Dan Heath, a New York Times bestselling author of 5 books, the most recent being “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen.” This book is a MUST read for anyone who’s curious about how to create systemic change or how to improve our daily lives through pro-active problem-solving.

Dan explains why we spend more time and resources fixing problems than preventing them. He gives concrete examples of people and organizations that have gone “upstream” to identify what’s creating havoc and fix things there, BEFORE the problems come to them downstream.

We have an unprecedented opportunity right now for change in many areas: healthcare, the economy, the environment, and so on. Every part of our lives and society have been touched, and will be changed ... and it’s up to us to envision a better “new normal.”

If you loved EP192 on reimagining schools and want more inspiration for how to move forward, I think you’ll find this episode fascinating.

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.

Apr 19, 2020

Crisis distance learning has improved teaching and learning in some surprising (and not-so-surprising ways) over the last couple of weeks.

There’s no doubt that it’s been stressful trying to make the transition so abruptly, but I thought it might be helpful to do an episode on the positives some folks are seeing, too.

Whether you secretly prefer remote teaching or if you just wish you were back in your classroom again, this episode will help you focus on the potential benefits of teaching from home.

You’ll learn some emerging best practices and positive reports from teachers about their experiences with distance learning to help you make the best of this time.

You’ll also hear a call-to-action: observe and document which practices are getting good results (or perhaps better results than face-to-face instruction) for your students.

You don't have to figure out now how to carry this over to next school year, but having a record of what you're seeing to prove the benefits of now vs the traditional ways of doing school may be helpful to you later in creating permanent change.

If that feels overwhelming, then just pick one thing. What’s one thing you’re doing differently right now that’s working better for you and your students, which you might be able to use in future school years? Keep evidence of that. Experiment with it, a lot, to learn what works and what doesn’t. See where your observations take you in your practice.

Listen in now for some inspiration and ideas to get you started!

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.

Apr 12, 2020

Spending a LOT of time in a confined space with the same people day in and day out can exacerbate tension.

If you’re finding yourself increasingly agitated, impatient, and annoyed by the folks around you, this episode can help!

I’m talking with Kara Loewentheil, who has a B.A. from Yale and J.D. from Harvard Law, and works now as a Master Certified Coach. She's the host of the iTunes top-rated self-help podcast "Un-F Your Brain," which has been downloaded over 5 million times, and she has been featured in outlets like Marie Claire, Mind Body Green, MSN.com, and The Huffington Post.

I love to occasionally have folks with a perspective outside of our education bubble come on the show to give us a broader perspective.

We recorded this prior to the pandemic, so you won’t hear us address that, however, I decided to run the episode this week because I think our conversation is going to be more relevant now than ever.

As we’re stuck inside for weeks on end with other humans, the concept of not being annoyed by personality differences takes on a whole new meaning, right? I hope this episode will be helpful to you not only in your work but in your personal life, as 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.

Apr 5, 2020

Work/life balance doesn't mean creating a total separation between teaching and everything else. It’s about integrating work with the rest of your priorities in a way that allows you to give appropriate time and energy to each.

Balance IS possible and worth striving for, even when teaching remotely from home for the first time.

If you feel like you're tied to the computer 24/7 and working more now than ever before, these 11 reminders and practical tips can help.

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 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.

Dec 21, 2019

As we move into 2020, I’m sharing some very personal self-reflections about the course my life has taken over the past 10 years, and new insights I've had about who I am and what I need in order to thrive.

A few of the things I touch on in this stream-of-consciousness episode:

  • Learning to set boundaries
  • Becoming a "people person"
  • Why I chose the direction I did for my business
  • What marriage looks like for me now
  • Why we don’t have kids
  • What I've learned about my creative process

I wrap up by sharing the personal development work I want to focus on as the new decade begins.

I would love to hear your self-reflections and what you’ve learned about YOURSELF over the past decade! You can share with me and other Truth for Teachers listeners in our private Facebook community here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/truthforteachers/

Happy New Year! I'll be back with the next "official" episode on Jan 26th.

Nov 17, 2019

Jessica H. shares how she balances home and work: “I realized that being a good teacher came at a really high price for me, at the expense of my family, relationships, and health. One day I decided that that price was higher than I was willing to pay. So I asked, “If I were to thrive — not just survive, but thrive — in my professional life, what would that look like? What would I have to do (and stop doing) to thrive?”

I encourage you to listen for specific things Jessica’s done to create boundaries and consider how you could find approaches that work for you. We’re not prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach here. My hope is that Jessica’s story will inspire you to think outside the box and figure out a schedule that allows YOU to have clearer boundaries between home and work and more time for self-care.

If you want to learn more about the new 40 Hour Fast Track (a 6-week program I’m offering in January), go here: 40htw.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.

Nov 10, 2019

The history of the weekend is a fascinating one, and author Katrina Onstad is here to tell us why (and how) workers’ rights have evolved over time. She shares the ancient concept of rest from working hours, and describes how the encroachment of work on our personal lives changed with industrialization, and changed again now that technology keeps us connected 24/7.

Katrina also shares some systemic changes we can make in schools to fight the culture of overwork, and shares practical things you can do to get the benefit of “the weekend effect” and maximize your time off to create a true break. To learn more, get Katrina's book, "The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork."

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.

 
Nov 3, 2019

Why does it take so long to test kids for special education services? What are you supposed to do in the meanwhile? And what exactly does the school psychologist do all day?

Dr. Rebecca Branstetter of The Thriving School Psychologist Collective is here to share the hilarious stories and inside scoop on the role of school psychs. They’re trained to do far more than just test kids, and your school psychologist can be a fantastic resource:

“School psychologists aren’t the gatekeepers to special education. We want to do so much more than just test. We want to be part of the school community. Think of us as your consultants and thought partners before you think of us as special education assessors”.

If you’ve ever been frustrated with the special education referral and testing process, listen in to discover what’s happening behind the scenes, and what you can do (with the support of your school psychologist) to help your students.

Click here to read the blog post 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.

Oct 27, 2019

Do you have co-workers who are passive-aggressive, controlling, or even outright bullying others when you’re supposed to be collaborating?

Are you appalled at some of the things that come out of some coworkers’ mouths, but always feel caught off guard and aren’t sure how to respond?

This is an off-the-cuff episode where I’m speaking to you directly from the heart, giving the same advice I’d give to a friend. Listen in to hear some approaches I’ve used when communicating with difficult colleagues.

Click here to read the blog post 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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