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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
Nov 6, 2022

It’s the LAST EP of season 16, and per usual, I want to be a little more informal as I close out the podcast season.

I’m sharing some personal reflections and a recap of my projects from the fall. I’ll also share a new focus I’m trying for November, and give an overview of my December sabbatical plans.

New course on reversing educator burnout

New book on educator mindset (discounted for the month of November on Kindle, paperback, and audiobook)

You’re invited to take a sabbatical with me during your holiday break, and I’ll recap some ideas for this. I’ll send you off with something important and thought-provoking to consider in the coming weeks — a message of encouragement and call to rest.

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.

Oct 30, 2022

When we feel responsible for controlling students' behavior and work habits, the classroom environment, the way parents/caregivers and other faculty behave, and how the school and district make decisions, we are destined to be miserable. Other people will rarely meet our ideals, and trying to force them to do so will feel like a full-time job in itself.

The second edition of my new book addresses this. It’s called, "Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching.” Depending on when you’re listening to this episode, the paperback, Kindle eBook, and audiobook version are either available now or available for pre-order.

In this episode, you’ll hear an excerpt from the audiobook about replacing unrealistic standards and changing the stories we tell ourselves about control.

I’ll talk about 5 unrealistic standards we often hold:

  • I need people to know the "right" way to do things
  • I need to identify all problems and fix them immediately
  • I need to make sure everything goes according to my plans
  • I need everything to be fair and make sense
  • I need to know what's going to happen next

Listen in as I share how these unrealistic standards can be replaced with the following productive thoughts in your work as an educator:

  • I can accept other people's ways and methodologies
  • I can let go of the interpretation that something's wrong
  • I can be happy when things don't go my way
  • I can handle things that don't make sense
  • I can be okay with not knowing

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.

Oct 16, 2022

Revolutionaries and visionaries can get exhausted. They often sacrifice their own needs because they believe so strongly in the cause.

Today I’m asking aloud: Does it have to be that way? Is there a sustainable approach to fighting for liberatory education? What might it look like to create change in education without martyring ourselves?

My guest is Dr. Nadia Lopez, an award-winning educator who became a viral sensation after the popular blog Humans of New York featured her as one of their most influential people. Dr. Lopez founded Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, in 2010, and served as the principal for ten years. Her Ted Talk on the Education Revolution has garnered more than a million views.

In 2020, Dr. Lopez ended her tenure as Mott Hall Bridges Academy’s principal as an act of self-preservation after developing a stress-related illness that threatened her life. The experience inspired her to develop a coaching program for women of color in educational leadership designed to build their capacity, with a focus on sustainability.

Listen in as she shares her experience with past (and current) burnout, and what she’s learned about finding a sustainable approach to doing good work in education.

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.

Oct 9, 2022

Here’s a little insider knowledge into the publishing world and how I make decisions to ensure all 5 of my books are current and relevant...

I’m planning to release a second edition of Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching in November 2022, and I wanted to give you an idea of what will be different and why.

From a technical standpoint, the second edition of a book counts as a brand new book: it has a new ISBN number, new links and listings in online retailers, etc.

As a general principle in publishing, a book should only be released as a second edition if readers who already own the first edition would benefit from owning the second. In other words, it needs to be different enough from the first edition — to have enough updated content, new ideas, and so on — to qualify as a separate book. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a second edition of a book and it’s been a really enjoyable process, as you’ll hear.

I’m also creating an audiobook version which I’m very excited about — there wasn’t one for the first edition. I think the book really lends itself well to that format, and of course I’m reading it myself, because so many of you are used to my voice from the podcast and it would feel weird to hear someone else reading it!

I wanted to let you hear an excerpt from the audiobook version of the Awakened second edition that talks about choices I’ve made around updating books and removing books from print. Listen in to hear what’s changed and why.

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.

Oct 2, 2022

When students struggle to focus, follow directions, and stay on task, it may be helpful to consider cognitive load theory.

Classroom teacher Jennifer Brinkmeyer’s my guest in this episode to talk about how she’s utilized her research in this area to help students get more done with less mental effort.

Cognitive load is a learning theory developed by educational psychologist John Sweller. In this theory, our brains are compared to a computer’s working memory. Just as a computer can only hold so much information in its working memory at a time, so can a brain.

There are 3 types of cognitive load to consider: intrinsic, germane, and extraneous loads. Surprisingly to both Jennifer and I, the goal is NOT to minimize all of them!

Listen in as Jennifer breaks down how cognitive load theory is applicable in her classroom, and the 3 tips she has for considering cognitive load during instructional time.

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.

Sep 25, 2022

We’ve all had hurtful or upsetting incidents with colleagues, parents, and students that we can’t seem to move past.

  • How do you change your thinking in order to move on?
  • How do you stop carrying around the weight of what happened

Folks in our Truth for Teachers Podcast Community were invited to submit their situations anonymously, and tell me about the stuff that they just can’t move past.

We’re tackling unfair accusations, stressful interactions with students, and attacks on the teaching profession.

I’m sharing some thought work practice that can help you get over negative situations so you no longer feel as anxious or upset about them.

If you’re just not over it and can’t let it go … here’s a collection of mental reframing approaches to try.

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.

Sep 18, 2022

I first started this podcast back in 2015, and nearly 300 episodes later, I’m proud to say there’s a wealth of helpful information available to you.

But… you don’t have time to listen to 300 episodes.

How do you know you didn’t miss out on something great awhile back?

What if there’s something you need to hear NOW that I haven’t talked about in awhile?

Enter the NEW Truth for Teachers playlists.

I’ve carefully curated the episodes I’m most proud of — and that I think will help you most — from our seven years of podcasting.

Choose from: 

  • The Greatest Hits Playlist: A collection of the most popular and impactful episodes
  • The Encouragement Playlist: Mindset tips and motivation to help rejuvenate and inspire you
  • The Productivity Playlist: Time and energy management ideas to create work/life balance
  • The Student Engagement Playlist: Innovative teaching strategies that build a healthy classroom culture

Visit https://truthforteachers.com/playlists/ to learn more and get the one you want sent straight to your inbox!

Sep 11, 2022

What if you were able to have a 3 day weekend EVERY week? Obviously you still need to show up to school 5 days a week and give your best each day.

But you can shift your perception of how the week is structured to maximize time for rest and recovery. Listen as I share:

  • How all days/hours are not experienced equally (some are more valuable for specific purposes, some feel longer and other shorter)
  • Why weekends feel too short, and how beginning them sooner is a better solution than stretching them out longer
  • How to approach your time each day of the week to get your most productive work done before the “long weekend” and truly relax on your time off

This episode is a playful approach to mindset. Experiment with how you use your time so that you can have more time for everything that matters most!

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.

Sep 4, 2022

This short, encouraging episode explains how you can tackle really difficult problems using layers of imperfect solutions, rather than giving up doing anything altogether.

This approach is used in healthcare, aviation safety, computer security, and more…why not uncover a real place for it in K-12 education, as well?

We can work to create positive change in our schools, communities, nation, and planet if we think in terms of multiple layered solutions, rather than waiting for that one big perfect thing that fixes it all forever.

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.

Aug 28, 2022

Save yourself huge amounts of time by reusing your own work! Teacher Marguerite Rendelfs has developed a plan to create reusable resources that saves her between five and ten hours every week.

One major shift in my mindset that she learned through the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program that has helped her in many situations is this:

We often focus on saving time right now. Considering how we can use our current work to save time for ourselves in the future can be a game-changer.

Marguerite shares, “Last school year, I’ve realized I can build templates while I’m doing my daily work, which saves time and batches the work I’ll be doing in the future. Now I love templates. They boost my productivity and focus my attention. When I notice that I’m repeatedly spending time on the same type of task, I evaluate whether a template might be helpful.”

Templates are most effective when a task is repetitive, generalizable, detailed, and time-consuming. If a template might be effective, you can build one as you work. Listen as Marguerite shares her process for using 3 kinds of templates:

  • Student accommodations
  • Instructional materials and activities
  • Comment banks for student feedback

Then, check out her article at TruthforTeachers.com to see step-by-step instructions, examples of her templates, and more.

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.

Aug 21, 2022

You can decide this school year to find a sustainable approach to your workload.

How? By not trying to work until everything is done. It’s NEVER all going to be done, which means you’re always either going to be working or feel like you should be working.

Instead, I’m going to teach you a principle I share in the 40 Hour Workweek programs I run for teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders. It’s the Target Number Planner.

You can create a schedule in which you determine — at the start of each week — how much time you’re willing to spend on school stuff, and how you’re going to allocate those hours.

Choosing a target number of hours to work is not about perfection, it’s about intentionality. You’re simply deciding in advance how many hours you’d like to allocate to work, and being mindful of how your time is being used. This is the start of a mindset shift more than anything else, as you practice fitting work into your life instead of life into your work.

If you want support with setting and sticking to a target number, remember that the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Fast Track program is open to new members all year long.

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.

Jul 2, 2022

I recently had an upbeat, fun conversation with Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365 for her podcast, and thought I'd share an excerpt of it here with you!

We're talking all about the state of education today, what we're hearing from teachers about their needs, and our experiences with burnout and balance.

As a fellow former educator, Lisa knows the mindset and challenges of teaching well, and does a deep dive with me into some of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek principles. This includes: the difference between required work vs hobby work, overcoming perfectionism, and learning what you can say no to without having your classroom fall apart.  

We both share some major timewasting mindsets we fell prey to as teachers, and how we think about our work and time differently today.

If you enjoy this conversation, check out ep 149, called Living life as an organized teacher.

You can also listen to Lisa's Organize 365 podcast on home and paper organization: https://organize365.com/podcast

Or check out Lisa's Education Friday Workbox® for teacher organization: https://af271.isrefer.com/go/EDWX/AngelaWatson/

And finally, here's the link to my 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program which is open through July 27th:
https://join.40htw.com

Jun 14, 2022

In this in-between-seasons bonus ep, you’ll hear some quick audio clips of teachers sharing how they are challenging norms in education and creating a sustainable workload through the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program.

I’ll also share how 40 Hour is creating institutional change through the 40 Hour Leadership and 40 Hour Instructional Coaching programs.

I hope you will hear my heart and get the bigger picture message I want to send! This is an offering of hope, encouragement, and support for folks who want to do the job they love without burning out.

The 40 Hour programs are THE MOST powerful tools I’ve created for shifting workload norms in education, keeping great teachers in the field, and supporting those who are struggling so they can grow into their best selves. 

Please pass this link onto anyone in education who you think might benefit or who shares my passion for educator wellbeing, including innovative school leaders who want tools to support their staff:

https://join.40htw.com

Thank you for supporting my work–whether it’s by joining 40 Hour, telling others about it, or even just listening to this podcast.

May 15, 2022
LAST EP OF SEASON 15! We're wrapping up with thoughts on processing, healing, dreaming, and rebuilding as we find our path  toward whatever is next for schools.

So in this unscripted episode, I share my broad observations, loosely-held conclusions, and partially-formulated ideas about what might be possible.
  • What is the future of public education?
  • How do we keep the dream alive with so many forces undermining, privatizing, and monetizing it?
  • In the midst of culture wars and opposing demands, can schools please all stakeholders?
  • How do we ensure that the responsibility for personalizing education for the preferences of each child/family does not fall solely on classroom teachers?

I’m talking from the heart about what I’m hopeful for right now, and why I’m choosing an optimistic take on the future of schools. I believe in public education, and the importance of not growing apathetic or hopeless about the state of education, our country, or our world.

I’ll end the episode by sharing a bit about my summer plans and how I’m creating space for dreaming and vision-building … and encourage you to do the same.

The Truth for Teachers podcast will be back in August. In the meantime, check out the summer blog post articles from our writer’s collective, our weekly email, and our posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok

And, if you’ve enjoyed this season of the podcast, leave us a review on iTunes! Your feedback is so, so important. 

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 8, 2022
The job of a teacher is not designed to be completed within 40 hours a week. It’s assumed that teachers will provide additional labor by coming in early, staying late, and bringing work home on a regular basis….all without compensation.

So, how can we change this norm?

One way is to amplify the work of teachers who have resisted that pressure to be the last person out of the building each evening, and who are willing to talk openly about how they have streamlined and reduced extraneous expectations.

You can hear this in a secondary teacher’s story in episode 250 (about lesson planning), in episode 256 from four different educators, and now in this elementary teacher’s story.

To be clear: you may not be able to work exactly your contractual hours (depending on your personal teaching context and workload. This does NOT mean you’re doing something wrong: it means systemic change is needed. A realistic goal for you might be to reduce the amount of time you spend working on nights and weekends as a starting point.

Listen to Samantha’s story here for some hope + inspiration that it IS possible to do a great job for kids without working endlessly for free. She shares:

  • How she tracked her work hours, and what she learned from doing it
  • If Samantha never takes work home, when does the work get done?
  • Samantha's lesson planning and material prep process — how she walks out every single day with the next day's lessons and materials set out and ready to go
  • Why people are always curious about the logistics of streamlining, but the mindset behind the actions has been Samantha’s most powerful shift
  • How she stopped worrying about being perceived as someone who doesn’t really care or isn’t truly dedicated to kids (and how her colleague’s perceptions of her changed)

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 24, 2022

We all want to work smarter, not harder … and that doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your teaching practice or a brand new innovative workflow.

Small changes in daily habits and mindset shifts can add up to big results, and I’ve invited 4 teachers to share what’s made the difference for them:

  1. The MVP principle and timer when lesson planning (LB Blackwell)
  2. Using a turn-in sheet for student work to speed up grading (Christina Rudd)
  3. Simplifying and automating email with parents (Christie Manners)
  4. Not having kids turn every assignment in and using less paper (Becky Teater)

These teachers cut back on the amount of time they spend working WITHOUT sacrificing their instructional quality or shortchanging students and families. They’re proof that it’s possible to do a great job for kids without working endlessly on nights and weekends.

Want more support in reducing your workload? Check out the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program these 4 educators completed: https://join.40htw.com

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 17, 2022

Teachers are often told to “focus on the positive and ignore the negative” when it comes to student behavior. While providing positive reinforcement and specific praise is good practice, it’s NOT the only thing we need to do, and consequences are a part of learning behavioral expectations.

So how do we get the outcome of better behavior?

Classroom teacher Amy Stohs is here to share how her teaching philosophy manifests in a blend of grace and consequences in the classroom. Having taught at both the early elementary and middle school level, Amy offers practical guidance about how to take away privileges as a logical consequence for students at all age levels.

Amy also shares tips for maintaining a productive learning environment even during the final weeks of the school year, having fun with each other, and enjoying the classroom community you’ve built together.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussionor, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.

Apr 10, 2022

No, the answer is not throwing the whole stack in a recycling bin. (Although it’s perfectly fine to toss out some assignments from time-to-time.) And, the answer isn’t to give more assignments digitally. That can help make assessment more effective and efficient, but the pile-up of student work awaiting feedback online can feel just as daunting as a stack of papers.

This episode will help you explore ways you may be overcomplicating the assignments you give or your approach to assessment, and think outside the box about how to streamline.

I’ll share how to instantly reduce the assignments you need to grade, and help you uncover your own answer to the following questions:

  • Is there ONE type of assignment that I’m giving to students which is taking me forever to grade, and that I might be able to reduce or change up a bit?
  • What can I do to experiment or push back on expectations this year, in order to make my grading workload more sustainable?

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 3, 2022

If you’re ready to reevaluate your job, and decide if you want to return next school year or explore other options, this episode will help you consider the possibilities.

I’m talking with Daphne Williams Gomez of The Teacher Career Coach about what’s changed in the job market for teachers since she was a guest on the show back in March 2020.

She’ll share trends she’s noticing, as well as questions you can ask yourself to make the very personal decision about whether teaching is still what you want to do. We’ll discuss ways to make teaching work, and the benefits of looking for a school, grade level, or subject area that’s a better fit instead of transitioning to an entirely new career path.

We then explore the attachment many educators have to their job identity, and the struggle to find another career that offers the same noble calling and sense of purpose. We discuss the pros and cons of finding a job that you like–not love–in order to have the time, energy, and money to do non-work-related things you love. We push back against the “anti 9-5 and “be your own boss” narratives that aren’t the right fit for everyone.

Daphne will also share examples of former teachers who have matched their skill sets to other jobs that they enjoy–often, careers they’d never even considered. Finally, Daphne shares what your next steps should be if you’re curious about other work you could do apart from teaching.

You can take Daphne’s free quiz about career options here: TeacherCareerCoach.com/truthforteachers

You’ll also find links to her Teacher Career Coach podcast, resume and job hunting resources, and info about her online course + mentorship to help you transition to your next career.

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 20, 2022

Finally — a sustainable model for self-paced learning and mastery-based grading! Kareem Farah of the Modern Classrooms Project (MCP) shares how ANY teacher of any grade level or subject area can maximize class time and connect with students one-on-one.

If you feel like you never have enough time to truly differentiate or personalize learning, try the MCP approach. Kareem’s sharing 3 strategies that you can experiment with integrating in your classroom to allow kids to work at their own pace, and free you up to work with students individually and in small groups.

This convo will help you figure out logistics and practical considerations, whether your school’s fully on board with student-centered, innovative teaching methodologies or you’re just getting started.

Check out MCP’s free online course at: https://learn.modernclassrooms.org/

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 13, 2022

How do you show up each day as the best version of yourself? Kyle Cohen, a 4th grade teacher in Cleveland OH, is here to share his contagious positive energy.

Listen as Kyle talks about what keeps him motivated, how he taps into his patience and empathy when working with students, and how implementing fun, engaging lessons helps him keep energy levels high throughout the school day.

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 6, 2022

“When I leave school, I’m not only ready for the next day, I’m ready for the rest of the week. I almost never do planning or preparation the day before.”

These are the words of high school social studies teacher Megan Faherty, who’s sharing her lesson planning strategy in today’s episode.

Megan’s overall strategy boils down to making decisions about planning early, so her day-to-day work consists of simply implementing the decisions she's already made.

During our conversation, Megan will share the 9 steps of her lesson planning process. She’ll also share tips on overcoming obstacles to efficient planning, suggestions for team planning, and lessons she’s learned from hybrid and virtual teaching over the last 2 years.

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.

Feb 27, 2022

The constant pressure to achieve more, work harder, increase results, generate more money, and so on can be exhausting.

In this episode, I wanted to share some things I’ve been mulling over in terms of holistic wealth and wellbeing, and what it means to use our time well.

What if we didn’t try to maximize EVERY moment, and instead allowed for some moments of rest, daydreaming, and moving slowly with intention?

What if we identified some things that add a richness and satisfaction to our lives, and prioritized those activities at the same level as “getting things done”?

What might it look like — in our schools and in our personal lives — if we weren’t constantly upping the ante and working toward the next goal, but focused on reveling in what we’ve already done?

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.

Feb 13, 2022
Teachers are expected to pack way too much into a school day, and it can be tricky to sift through everything in the curriculum and figure out what’s most important (and relevant for your particular students).

Sally Berquist, a teaching veteran with 24 years of experience and writing instruction specialist, is going to share some strategies to help you identify clutter in your curriculum and simplify your lesson design to account for realistic cognitive load and time management.

As Sally shares, folks who write curriculum may be experts in content, but YOU are the expert on delivering that curriculum and implementing it in a way that works for your students.

If you’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you’re supposed to teach, I think you’ll find this conversation validating and also helpful in learning to view your curriculum through a lens of what’s developmentally appropriate and relevant for your 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.

Feb 6, 2022
The instability and unpredictability that students have experienced in this third school year impacted by COVID has definitely taken a toll on kids … but the impact can look very different from student to student. High school teacher Jessica Kirkland is here to share what she’s observed in her students and discussed with them in terms of their mindset, behavior, and socio-emotional wellbeing.

If you can’t quite put your finger on what feels “off” with students this school year and how class dynamics, relationships, and motivation levels have changed since the pandemic began, I think you’ll find this conversation illuminating.

Jessica shares in her deeply empathetic way how both childhood and teenage experiences have been impacted in myriad ways by the pandemic. We explore the root causes for disconnection and lack of motivation, and how even if one particular student is doing okay (or even thriving), that student is still impacted by the people around them who aren’t.

We talk about the limits of resiliency and how nearly everyone has been pushed to or beyond capacity for an extended period of time, and how that plays out in schools.

We end with Jessica’s thoughts on what’s giving her optimism and hope for the future of our students and our schools.

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.

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