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.