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.
Today I want to talk about one of the most common problems teachers face when integrating technology into their lessons, which is keeping kids focused and accountable. It can be really challenging to get kids to listen to directions once they’re on their devices, and hard to make sure they’re focused on the assignment when there’s so many other things they can be doing online.
So, let’s look at some ways to be pro-active and set kids up for success. We want to make it as simple as possible for them to be more productive and focused with their time online.
Every couple of episodes on this season on the Truth for Teachers podcast, I’m going to be featuring coaching calls. I’m answering teachers’ specific questions about productivity, balance, and managing it all. Think of it as instructional coaching and life coaching rolled into one–and you get to listen in!
In this episode, I’m talking with Kendall, a grade 4 teacher in Alberta, Canada. Kendall has made a tremendous amount of changes to her workflow and is doing really well with time management overall, but there are a few areas where she’s having trouble sticking to her habits and best practices. Listen in as we work through these common issues that you might be grappling with, too.
I got an email a few months ago from a woman named Pam Gresser. She wrote, “I’m starting my 20th year teaching and 2 years ago, I didn’t know how much longer I could go on. I read your book ‘Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day…No Matter What’ and it truly changed my whole attitude!”
Obviously Pam’s email made a big impact on me as the author of the book, but I also wanted to learn more about what, specifically, she did to create change in her life.
How exactly does a teacher go from being burned out and feeling like she wanted to quit teaching to being recognized as teacher of the year?
Listen in as I talk with Pam Gresser about how she became unshakeable in her enthusiasm for teaching, and how you can, too.
Join the Unshakeable book community here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UnshakeableSummerBC/
I can’t begin a new season of a podcast called TRUTH for teachers without acknowledging the changes that have occurred since Season 4 ended two months ago.
I think we had all hoped that after the US election, some of the division we were feeling in our country would die down a bit, and the constant political drama and onslaught of outrageous, embarrassing news would trickle down to a more manageable pace.
This...did not happen.
And it’s tiring. I know this. I know that it is wearisome to hear about serious issues all the time. It is tempting to want to return to the days when our social media feeds were mostly pictures of babies and puppies, when we collectively questioned the popularity of the Kardashians, and the most controversial nationwide debate was whether that dress was blue or gold.
But we’ve been TOO comfortable. No matter who you voted for, no matter where you stand on the various issues, we need you now to be a warrior for truth. We need you to be a thinking, actively involved citizen. We need you to teach students to THINK.
Be okay with discomfort. Have the hard conversations instead of discussing “safe” topics that are less controversial.
Let your choices be guided not by fear or fear of discomfort, but a love of truth.
Don’t make decisions by asking yourself, “Am I allowed to do this?”
Instead ask yourself, “Is this the right thing to do?”