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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers

The podcast designed to speak encouragement and truth into the minds and hearts of educators, and get you informed and energized for the week ahead.
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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
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Now displaying: Page 1
May 12, 2024

Bored with your curriculum or instructional routines? I’m talking with Betsy Potash of the Spark Creativity Podcast about easy ways to make things feel fresh and interesting again.

Often we switch things up in our teaching to keep ourselves from getting bored. But, too much change can create unnecessary work for us. It can also waste class time for students as they spend more energy on figuring out how to complete an assignment than on practicing the skills we want them to learn. 

So, Betsy’s identified 5 open-ended activities that you can add to your rotation of go-to strategies, and incorporate them in unique ways throughout the year. We’re talking about how to use the following in gr. 2-12 classrooms:

• podcasts
• stations
• hexagonal thinking
• escape room design
• one-pager

Betsy will definitely spark your creativity as you listen to these easy-to-understand activities which you can plug into the lessons you’re least excited to teach. These ideas will get students actively engaged in learning and boost your energy and enthusiasm as a teacher. 

Click here to read the transcript, see photos of the lesson ideas, and get links to Betsy's templates.

Resources mentioned:

Apr 28, 2024

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Apr 14, 2024

Do you refuse to throw anything out because you MIGHT need it one day, or find yourself holding on to worthless stuff “just in case” you need it?

In this episode, I’ll share 10 things you can get rid of in your classroom this spring to make space for what you actually need and use.

And, I’ll help you establish a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity, so you can approach spring cleaning with a perspective that will help you feel good rather than apprehensive about getting rid of the things you worked so hard to accumulate:

  • I like to streamline and simplify how my classroom runs.
  • I don’t keep things I don’t really need.
  • I could still teach well with a fraction of the materials I’ve accumulated.
  • If there is something that I need later and don’t have, I trust that I will be able to find it again, or borrow it, or be able to do without it just fine.
  • The foundation of my classroom is my energy, enthusiasm, and know-how, not my stuff.
  • I feel good about clearing away the things that drain my energy and enthusiasm by creating a cluttered, disorganized work space.
  • I can let go of things I don’t need in order to make space for things I do.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Mar 31, 2024

This episode features a sneak peek from one of the upcoming 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit sessions. You’ll hear from a teacher named June Link, whose session is called, “Clock out confidently: 5 tips to get out the door at contract time.”

In this episode, June shares some helpful principles and mindset shifts, along with the exact process she used to carve out time for a new demand in her workload. June and her colleagues were supposed to implement a new socio-emotional learning curriculum, but needed to find time to explore it, write lesson plans, and figure out how to integrate the new materials into everything else they were doing.

June shares how she estimated how much preparation time she’d realistically need in order to implement this new curriculum, which was 10 hours. Then she explains how she made time for that work during her contractual hours, instead of taking the new curriculum home to figure out on the evenings or weekends.

Listen in to learn about that experiment and more.

Then, save your spot for the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit:

✅ 30+ presentations

✅ Opening and closing keynotes by 40 Hour founder Angela Watson

✅ All presenters are current K-12 classroom teachers

✅ No fluff, filler, or pitches: each session is just 15-20 minutes long

✅ Chat with other teachers during the live sessions and get personalized advice

Sign up for the free live Elementary Summit April 5th-6th

Sign up for the free live Secondary Summit April 12th-13th

If you can’t attend live or the event has already passed by the time you see this, you can purchase forever-access to all the sessions (both elementary and secondary), plus get time-stamped transcripts, note-taking guides, and all the presentation links and templates in one document so that you can reference them easily. Forever-access is just $19, and helps cover the cost of running this event and compensating the teachers who share their ideas.

Thank you for your support, and for spreading the word about this event!

Mar 24, 2024

It's the only event focused entirely on saving teachers TIME! Learn from current K-12 teachers as they share their best tips for working more effectively, efficiently, and enjoyably.

The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program is an online course I first created in 2015 (with a total update in 2020), and we’ve now had tens of thousands of teachers complete the course.

With so many different personality types and teaching contexts, the amount of new ideas to spring out of the course was inevitable. I’ve always been impressed by the tweaks, offshoots, extensions, and transformations teachers have done as they’d made my ideas their own. The Summit is an opportunity for you to learn more about them and their phenomenal work!

The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit this April features:

  • Opening and closing keynotes by 40 Hour founder Angela Watson (that's me)
  • 30+ presentations by current K-12 classroom teachers
  • No fluff, filler, icebreakers, or sales pitches
  • Each session is just 15-20 minutes long
  • The ability to chat with other teachers during the live sessions to get personalized advice

This event is entirely online, completely FREE, and beneficial for all K-12 teachers!

Some presenters will take you on a video tour of their classrooms to share organizational tips and classroom routines. Others will screen share their way through tutorials of how they organize digital files, manage assessment, or plan lessons. Still others will give a fast rundown of all their best timesaving tips for grading, differentiation, email, and more.

You can join us LIVE for FREE in April:

Sign up for the free live Elementary Summit April 5th-6th  

Sign up for the free live Secondary Summit April 12th-13th

If you can’t attend a session or want to watch and rewatch at your convenience, the Forever Access Pass will get you all the recordings, plus a notetaking guide, summary of key ideas for each session, full time-stamped transcripts, and special bonuses. It’s just $19 right now (the price will increase once the event begins).

 Your purchase of the Forever-Access Pass helps me recover some of the costs of running this as a free event and paying our presenters. Thank you for your support!

Questions? Check out the FAQ here.

Please share this free event widely with teacher friends and colleagues! Just send folks to join.40htw.com/summit.

Mar 17, 2024

Teachers spend so much time giving feedback to students, but often kids don’t internalize it. They tune out the carefully-crafted written comments on their work, briefly register the grade they earned, and move on.

So how can we help students care about improving their skills and take time to reflect deeply on their learning?

In this episode, you’ll hear how two different teachers have reimagined their instruction to make that possible.

It’s a sneak peek at two sessions from the upcoming 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit, a FREE event that is focused entirely on saving teachers time, and helping you do your job more effectively and efficiently.

First up, you’ll hear from Andrea Clark. She’s presenting for the elementary Summit in a session called, “Feedback first: Shifting from traditional grading to reflection sessions.” As you’ll hear from Andrea’s description of her fifth graders’ reflection sessions, this is one of the most worthwhile ways she spends her time as a teacher because her students learn so much from it.

Then, you’ll hear from Tanya Jo Woodward. She’s presenting for the secondary Summit in a session called, “7 time savers for IB and AP teachers.” She talks first about how she grades and gives feedback in her high school English classroom while students are working independently on a task or assessment. She also offers tips for helping students self-correct by providing editing stations or peer editing guided sheets.

Like so much of the Summit content, I think you’ll find value in hearing both of these teachers’ experiences, regardless of which grades or content areas you might teach.

Listen in now to hear Andrea and Tanya Jo share the exact processes they’ve used to transform the way their students think about feedback vs. grades.

Then, save your spot for the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit.

All sessions are just 15-20 minutes long with no filler, fluff, icebreakers, or pitches. And, all the sessions are presented by current K-12 teachers, with bonus keynotes from me (Angela Watson).

Sign up for the free live Elementary Summit April 5th-6th

Sign up for the free live Secondary Summit April 12th-13th

If you can’t attend live or the event has already passed by the time you see this, you can purchase forever-access to all the sessions (both elementary and secondary), plus get time-stamped transcripts, note-taking guides, and all the presentation links and templates in one document so that you can reference them easily. Forever-access is just $19, and helps cover the cost of running this event and compensating the teachers who share their ideas.

Thank you for your support, and for spreading the word about this event!

Mar 3, 2024

Have you ever noticed how breakthroughs often come when you're not actively trying to find a solution? That's diffuse thinking at work: a relaxed state in which creativity flourishes.

On today’s episode of Truth for Teachers, I’ll share how stepping back can lead us forward. It turns out that intense concentration isn't always the best approach to problem solving, and we can instead let our minds wander through the meandering paths of diffuse thinking.

Focused thinking is a bit like a flashlight—intense & concentrated. Diffuse thinking is like ambient room lighting—gentle & expansive. When you (or students) can’t concentrate, you can harness the power of diffuse thinking. This shift in mindset from focused to diffuse can spark innovation and creativity.

Listen in to discover how to use diffuse thinking when you've pushed your limits in focused thinking, and harness the power of diffuse thinking overnight during sleep. (Your dreams can be a powerful tool for problem-solving, too!)

You’ll also hear how you can teach your students to tap into the power of diffuse thinking. I’ll share how to incorporate "thinking walks" into your instruction, try skygazing with students as a productive mental break, prime students for their next lesson with a question that requires diffuse thinking.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

 ——

If you teach at the secondary level, check out my 10 lesson unit on Focused Attention. It includes a lesson on harnessing the power of diffuse thinking which takes just 15-20 minutes to implement. The resource has slides you show to your class which explain everything for you and guides you through the activities, including a student journal page that helps kids reflect on the topic. In this unit, students will also learn that it’s okay to struggle with focusing their attention, and learn how to:

  • Take productive breaks from concentration
  • Create healthy phone habits and manage distractions
  • Use movement to do better focused work
  • Build concentration stamina
  • Tolerate and push through boredom and procrastination

Download the PDF brochure about Finding Flow Solutions to share with your administrators and get school funding for the curriculum.

 

Feb 18, 2024

There has been a significant increase in mental health issues among young people in America since 2012, including anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide attempts, and suicide. Contrary to popular belief, these trends started before the pandemic, with rates of major depression among teens doubling between 2011 and 2019. Girls and young women are more likely to experience these issues, and the gender gap has been widening.

The introduction of smartphones and social media around 2012 is believed to be a major factor in the decline of mental wellbeing, as it has led to less face-to-face interaction, increased sleep deprivation, and constant exposure to social media.

Dr. Jean Twenge has conducted extensive research in this area. She’s a renowned psychologist and scholar who specializes in generational differences and technology based on a dataset of 39 million people, and has published more than 180 articles and books.

In our conversation, Jean emphasizes the need for conversations about healthy phone and screen habits, as well as the importance of setting clear rules and boundaries for phone use.

We talk extensively about getting student and parent buy-in around Jean’s recommendation that cell phones be banned in school from bell-to-bell, including during lunch time and breaks. Jean asserts that the research supports this policy, and emphasizes that it should be school-wide and not left to individual teachers to enforce. 

Despite the challenges, we discuss our hopes for Gen Z and what makes Jean optimistic about the future. She encourages educators to take the mental health crisis seriously and understand that it is not just our perception or feeling that something is wrong.

Her challenge is for educators to help students understand the love-hate relationship they have with their phones, and provide structure and clear rules to help them navigate technology in a healthy way.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Feb 4, 2024

“Making a conscious and intentional effort to tap into your own personal power and being courageous” is the way today’s guest defines “teaching like yourself.”

I’m talking with Dr. Gravity Goldberg, whom you might remember from a 2019 interview I did, which ended up being one of the most downloaded Truth for Teachers episodes ever. It’s Episode 171, called “Teach like yourself: Why YOU are the person your students need most.”

Gravity has over 20 years of teaching experience, including positions as a science teacher, reading specialist, third grade teacher, special educator, literacy coach, staff developer, assistant professor, educational consultant, and yoga teacher. Gravity holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Boston College and a doctorate from Teachers College. As the founding director of Gravity Goldberg, LLC she leads a team that offers side-by-side coaching and workshops that focus on teachers as decision-makers and student-led instruction. 

Since our last conversation, Gravity — who has authored 9 books on teaching — has released a new title called Active Learning: 40 Teaching Methods to Engage Students in Every Class and Every Subject, which she co-wrote with the late Barry Gilmore. 

We touch a bit on that book and what Gravity’s working on now, but I thought of this conversation as a “Teach Like Yourself, Revisited”. I wanted to know how her thinking has changed around this topic, and the role authentic teaching plays now. Listen in as we discuss:

  • How “teaching like yourself” (making a conscious and intentional effort to tap into your own personal power and being courageous) is more important now than ever
  • What Gravity has learned about authentic teaching and learning since publishing her book on that topic Has she changed her mind on anything? What would she add?
  • How teachers can integrate engagement strategies in a way that feels authentic and meaningful, rather than just tossing something into their instructional day because they think (or are told) they should
  • The impact of authenticity on students, and specific, practical ways we can make sure students are able to be their true, authentic selves in the classroom

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Jan 21, 2024

Do you feel like self-advocacy among students is a pervasive problem? As in, if students don’t know what to do, they won’t ask questions or seek out more information … they’ll just sit there and do nothing. If something is challenging, they don’t seem to be interested in improving their skills, or learning for the sake of learning. They just give up. 

In response to this, many teachers feel like they have to work harder than their students are working. They have to keep going the extra mile to make lessons personalized and engaging and put all these additional supports and interventions in place to help students be successful, all while many of their students are doing the bare minimum.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years exploring this phenomenon, and why it’s becoming more and more common. The more that I learn about student disengagement, the more I am convinced that the solution is NOT to put the onus on teachers to make their lessons more engaging and personalized. An amazing lesson isn’t going to get through to a kid who’s not willing to engage in any mental effort.

Is it possible to teach kids how to take initiative and persevere through difficult tasks?

Absolutely. I’ll share what I’ve learned in this podcast episode.

I’m also sharing 2 free resources for implementing the practices in this episode with your students:

  1. Attend a free online training with me!
    • I’m conducting two in February, one for middle school teachers and one for high school teachers. Both are designed to help you reimagine student engagement in your classroom, and rethink what might be possible for your students. A replay link will be sent to everyone who registers, so if you miss it or don’t see this podcast until it’s over, catch the replay by signing up at FindingFlowSolutions.com.
  2. Download a free 5 lesson unit and try it out with your students

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Jan 7, 2024

I’m back from my sabbatical and excited to share how I used my time off and what I’m planning for 2024! I’m sharing more about my personal daily art practice in December (which I plan to continue) and time with family over the holidays.

I also discuss my approach for the new year, which is flexible intentionality. I want to be deliberate about where I invest my time while holding plans loosely and staying open to necessary adjustments.

Additionally, you’ll hear what I’m working on for 2024, including:

  •  Why I moved the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit to spring instead of summer and how the event is changing this year
  • My vision for free online trainings throughout the year on Finding Flow Solutions (my curriculum line to help students manage their focused attention, time, and energy). The first workshops are happening in February for middle and high school teachers!
  • The new 40 Hour AI course that will kick off this summer to help you feel confident about streamlining your work via artificial intelligence. Each month throughout the 2024-2025 school year, you’ll spend 30 minutes learning best practices live with me online and 30 minutes afterward experimenting, asking questions, and sharing ideas. Since I’ll have curated the best tools and prompts for you, just this one hour a month of training + experimentation will equip you to trim hours off your workload in a thoughtful, responsible, and ethical way.
  • The new option I’m offering for the Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement podcast. If you want daily audio messages of encouragement from me, you can pay $3.99/month through Spotify OR you can now make a one-time payment of $19.99. Either way, you’ll get access to the entire podcast feed (going back to September) AND new daily episodes from now until that podcast ends on June 7th, 2024.

I’ve got some awesome guests and topics lined up for you here on the bi-weekly Truth for Teachers podcast for 2024, as well. Listen in to hear more about what I’m focusing on. Happy New Year!

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Nov 26, 2023

This episode is the last for 2023, and Truth for Teachers will be back in January. 

If you want to learn more about my sabbatical process or how you can take one with me on your break, read or listen to episode 244.

I thought carefully about the message I wanted to leave you with for the coming weeks, and sinceI’ve already talked about the logistics of a sabbatical in past years, I thought I’d focus this year not on how to carve out the time or what to do during that time, but on how we can direct our thoughts.

With everything happening in the world and in our schools, this feels like a really important time for what I think of as “radical re-imagination.” This is the ability to imagine the world, life, and institutions not as they are or have been, but in an entirely new way, so that we can bring that imagination into reality. 

In this episode, I’ll share:

  • Why I think winter is the perfect time for dreaming and visionary thinking
  • My beliefs on the inherent value of imagination and why we shouldn’t immediately rush to practical, actionable steps when creating change
  • Thoughts on the power of grassroots change and dreaming of a better path to collective action together (rather than waiting for top-down transformation)
  • Questions you can ask yourself as we head toward the new year to prompt visionary thinking and help you reimagination your life and work in any area(s) that you’d like

In the stillness of winter, it may look like there’s little activity in the natural world, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. The time of rest is essential preparation for the activity of the spring to come. There will be a time for doing … but first, there must be a time for stillness.

You’ll hear from me each morning throughout the month of December on the Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement podcast, and in the second half of the month when you’re on break, I’ll help you create space for dreaming and radical reimagination through those short 3-5 minute episodes so you keep this idea in the forefront of your mind. 

I’ll be back here on the main Truth for Teachers podcast in January, ready to ring in 2024 with you and sharing more resources to help make your imagination a reality. 

Nov 12, 2023

What if there was no such thing as innate talent? That’s the argument my guest today is making: that talent is not a cause, but an outcome. It is cultivated, developed, and learned.

I’m talking with Dr. Rishi Sriram, who serves as Associate Professor of Higher Education & Student Affairs for the Department of Educational Leadership at Baylor University. His research interests include the development of talent and college student retention, engagement, achievement, and learning, and he is currently working on a book about the development of talent.

Rishi has identified what he calls “The 5 Ms to Becoming Great” which we unpack in detail together:

  • Mindset (what you believe)
  • Myelin (how you learn)
  • Mastery (what you do)
  • Motivation (how much you care)
  • Mentorship (how you are taught)

We also discuss the benefits of productive struggle and its impact on the brain, and how teachers can support students who resist tasks that require a lot of effort and concentration.

Additionally, Rishi offers advice for working with students who don’t appear to be interested in becoming great at anything or have tangible goals for themselves. He shares important information that educators can use to help students pursue greatness and be willing to put forth the effort to increase their talents.

Rishi is a fascinating guest who explains the research around talent in such an engaging, clear, practical way. Listen in to learn more about how to develop your own talents, and support students in becoming great at the things they want to do in life, too.

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 29, 2023

How long can you read a book without getting distracted? Do you swipe through TikToks or reels before they’re over because you’ve gotten impatient? Do you find it hard to just stream a TV show or movie without also looking at your phone or doing another activity at the same time?

Yep — the shortened attention span issue isn’t something unique to Gen Z.

It’s something that I think almost all of us in modern western culture have been impacted by…and there’s good reasons for that. In this episode, I’ll share:

  • Some of the reasons why it’s difficult for us to concentrate and think deeply
  • Why the ability to focus for extended periods will be like a superpower in the coming years
  • A 3 step process you can teach students for redirecting their attention when they notice their minds wandering
  • How to make intangible terms like “stay focused” easy for students to understand
  • The 5 step classroom practice you can use regularly to help students build capacity for concentration over time
  • The limits of the human ability to do focused work, and what valuable tasks students can do once they’ve maxed out concentration for the class period
  • Cal Newport’s research on how to alternate periods of deep work and shallow work
  • How–and why–to break the addiction to staying busy with low-level tasks and spend more time (on our own and with students) in deep work, focus, and concentration

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 15, 2023

Let’s try something new together! I started offering guided “mindful moments” on my new Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement podcast about once per week, interspersing them with the main content of uplifting and motivational messages.

I don’t plan on incorporating mindful moments here on the regular podcast, but I did want to introduce you to the concept so if you like this format, you know you can get more on the Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement Podcast.

New & exclusive ad-free episodes drop daily from Mon-Fri (approx. 20 eps each month)! Each one is a 3-5 minute uplifting message and is ad-free. You subscribe through Spotify for $3.99/month, and can then listen wherever you get your podcasts, and cancel anytime.

If you’re already a subscriber of the Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement Podcast and you enjoy the mindful moments, I thought it might be fun to do a longer one here to allow you to take the practice deeper.

So what exactly do I mean by “mindful moment”?

It’s simply an invitation to slow down and be fully present in the moment and in your body. You don’t have to close your eyes and you’re not expected to enter a meditative state. That’s especially true for the Daily Encouragement mindful moments since they’re so short. Some folks do them while sitting at their desks during a break, or while gazing out the window before or after school, or even in the car to help calm them while driving it.

It’s just a quick moment to get out of your own head and back into your body. It’s a chance to be fully present in the moment without our minds racing ahead to what we need to do next. The mindful moments are a break in which I guide you to reflect on gratitude, non-attachment, joy, or another concept that helps you return to a state of ease and flow. 

The mindful moments that I’m offering have their roots in secular Buddhism, which is a philosophy of life and not a religion or belief system. The mindful moments that I’m offering are not a religious practice, or even necessarily a spiritual practice. Certainly you could incorporate them into your understanding of those things, but this is really about practicing presence and being intentional about what you are focusing on. The mind is extremely powerful, and visualization is a really impactful way to help you feel more grounded, centered, and balanced.

If you’ve never done this before, thank you for being open and trying this out. See how you feel afterward — does your mind feel clearer? Has your heart rate slowed and nervous system downregulated? Is it easier to concentrate or get things done afterward? Just notice what — if any — impact you feel this first time. 

If you have a meditation or mindfulness practice already, welcome! I would love for this to be something we can do together. I hope you enjoy having a familiar and hopefully calming voice to guide you through something that’s maybe a little different than what you normally do in your practice.

For today’s episode, I thought I would focus on finding the calm amongst chaos, since this is a practice all of us need. I’ll be introducing music and nature sounds periodically throughout this time together to help create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Find a comfortable, quiet place, and listen in to join us! Subscribe to the Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement Podcast to get new mindful moment episodes on a regular basis.

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 1, 2023

The expectation that students be fully engaged in learning tasks from the first minute of the class period until the last is known as “bell-to-bell instruction.”

It’s a widely-accepted practice in education, but does neuroscience actually support it?

Bell-to-bell instruction works from the premise that our class time with students is precious and limited, and therefore needs to be maximized. I think we can all agree on that: wasting students’ time and dragging out transitions isn’t beneficial.

But let’s dig deeper into what it means to “make the most of every moment” with students. What if the best way to maximize our instructional time is by NOT attempting to pack every single moment with more work?

The value of offering breaks and downtime to students is self-evident to most educators, and yet many schools and districts don’t permit it.

So, I’ve curated the brain research showing that breaks are absolutely essential for maximal learning and productivity.

I’ll share 6 big takeaways from the research around how the brain learns, and 6 practical ways to incorporate that research into your classroom. My hope is that this podcast/article can be shared to open up conversations about how our schools can better meet the needs of 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.

Sep 17, 2023

Need a practical roadmap for increasing student ownership? So much of teaching now revolves around teacher accountability, but the same accountability and ownership can be transformative for students as well! Students who have opportunities to increase their ownership over their learning throughout the school year can complete more assignments on time, they feel more confident during testing, and they feel less anxiety over time when it comes to academics.

In today’s episode, I’m interviewing Erika Waltherr, who’s been working in Baltimore City Public Schools since 2012 is currently doing work there as a school-based Literacy Coach. She’s observed the difference in students since the start of the pandemic, and how many of them struggle to be independent and self-motivated.

Erika wrote an article for our Truth for Teachers writer’s collective, and I’m interviewing her here to go even deeper. We’re discussing practical ways to get your students to be more independent, take more responsibility for their own learning, and shift the balance in your classroom from teacher-centered to student-centered. This advice will be especially helpful for teachers who may struggle with letting go of control in their classrooms.

Read/share Erika’s article here: https://truthforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/student-centered-learning-reality/ 

If you teach 8th-12th grade, check out Finding Flow Solutions, my new curriculum lined designed to help students find flow in the classroom and manage their time, energy, and focused attention: https://shop.truthforteachers.com/collections/finding-flow-solutions

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 10, 2023

I’m starting a brand new show with short episodes dropping each week from Monday-Friday!

The purpose of the Truth for Teachers Daily Encouragement Podcast is to offer an exclusive message each day for educators who want to show up as the best version of themselves. Every weekday, you’ll receive a short message that helps you return to what matters, stay grounded in your purpose, and uplift your mood.

The TFT Daily Encouragement podcast is ad-free and exclusive to subscribers for $3.99/month.

(And don’t worry, the regular TFT podcast you already know and love isn’t going anywhere, isn’t changing, and remains free for listeners! This is something NEW and ADDITIONAL for those who want more.)

Each episode of the Daily Encouragement podcast is 3-5 minutes long: no promotions, no fluff, no filler. You’ll hear just a boost of motivation and inspiration on topics like:

  • mindfulness
  • self-compassion
  • radical acceptance
  • reframing your thoughts
  • managing anxiety
  • enjoying your work
  • connecting deeply with students
  • staying grounded in your vision and purpose

I plan to make one episode per week a guided meditation or mindfulness moment, in which you’re invited to slow down and be fully present in the moment and in your body. You don’t have to close your eyes and you’re not expected to enter a meditative state: these eps will just be a quick moment to get out of your own head and connect to your higher self or even just to your breath. It’s a break in which I guide you to reflect on gratitude, non-attachment, joy, or another concept that helps you return to a state of ease and flow.

This podcast is designed for ALL educators (anyone who works in a school), including those who ordinarily don’t listen to podcasts because they don’t have the alone time or mental bandwidth to consume lengthier episodes.

It’s designed to be the perfect short, calming listen for:

  • When you first wake up to start your day on a positive note
  • During your commute to school to ease into “school mode”
  • On your break to re-energize yourself for the afternoon
  • After dismissal to ground, calm, and re-center when the day’s done

I tried to pick a price that felt affordable for educators while staying mindful of the hosting/payment process costs, and I think that $3.99/monthly offers a really good value for a Mon-Fri daily show. If you appreciate my work in general and with the podcast specifically, I would love your support with this project!

The technical details: Subscriptions and payments are handled through Spotify so the link to subscribe is a Spotify payment link. You can use a credit card or Google Pay. Once you’ve subscribed, you can listen right in Spotify. If you have another podcast app that you like better, you can copy/paste the private RSS feed link into the podcast player of your choice and listen there. Each weekday a new episode will automatically appear in the feed wherever you want to listen to your podcasts. You can cancel anytime through Spotify, just know that your access to the podcast archives will be removed at the end of your monthly billing period.

I’m committed to the TfT Daily Encouragement Podcast ONLY for this school year, and will then re-evaluate. So, if this is something you’re interested in, sign up now!

Subscribe to the TfT Daily Encouragement podcast;
https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/dailyencouragement/subscribe

Learn more:
http://truthforteachers.com/dailyencouragement

The first episode drops Monday, Sept. 11th!

I hope this will be an easy, fun, way for you to hear some positive words spoken into your heart and mind on a daily basis, so you can keep showing up as the best version of yourself each day.

Thank you for supporting me and my work!

Angela

Sep 3, 2023

I recently read a powerful book called, “Of Boys and Men: Why They’re Struggling, Why We Should Care, and What We Can Do About It” by Richard Reeves. It’s not the first piece of media I’ve consumed about the crises men are facing in the U.S. right now, but IS the first I’ve seen with a deeply comprehensive, intersectional understanding of the problems AND practical solutions.

In this episode, I wanted to open a (hopefully ongoing) conversation about this topic, sharing what I learned from the book and what educators should be aware of when considering how to to support the boys in their classrooms.

I’ll discuss:

  • Just a few of the ways in which outcomes for men are lagging behind those for women, leading to an increase for men in fentanyl and opioid use; deaths of despair; unwillingness to enter college or the workforce; and vulnerability to groups that push harmful misogynistic ideologies
  • How older millennials, Gen X, and Boomers may be unaware of how much boys are currently lagging behind girls in key areas of success because the opposite problem was more prevalent when we were younger
  • Why acknowledging that structural and institutional support for boys/men does not negate the different types of support that are still needed for girls/women
  • How schools can use redshirting, male staff members, and vo-tech programs to improve outcomes for boys
  • What unlearning needs to happen around “women’s work” so that activities/careers coded as female are seen as desirable by boys (and are better compensated for everyone)
  • Why the opening of doors for girls in STEM fields needs to be paired with role models and opportunities for boys in HEAL fields (health, education, administration, and literacy) 
  • Why we can’t keep condemning “toxic masculinity” without offering a broad range of possibilities for healthy masculinity
  • How educators can be conscious of the messages that boys receive about what expressions of their identity are acceptable
  • Ways educators can help boys embody their full authentic selves and be free from limiting social constructs around what men are (and aren’t) allowed to feel, think, be, and do

This is a controversial and delicate topic, so please listen when you are in the headspace to extend grace if some of my phrasing or examples aren’t ideal! I plan to address this topic again in at least one future episode with the support of a guest expert as well as the voices of male students themselves. Resource recommendations, interview suggestions, feedback, and additional perspectives are welcome at info@truthforteachers.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.

Aug 20, 2023

This AMA is a follow-up to the 3 part summer series I created for the podcast to celebrate 20 years of sharing teaching ideas online and reflect on my personal and professional growth during that time.

In the final ep of that series, I included a link to an anonymous Google form for folks to submit questions about things I didn’t answer in the series that they’re curious about. Your questions were absolutely wonderful and you’ve brought up some super interesting things for me to discuss!

Here are the questions you'll hear me answer in this episode:

  • Childfree or childless? "If it's not too personal, I wondered about your infertility journey. I remember praying for you when you shared about it before. Having gone through IVF myself, I know it may be too sensitive, and I respect that." (NOTE: If this is a triggering topic for you, skip to the 13:30 minute mark.)
  • Blowback from taking a stand? "Your message about how the train was leaving the station (you can't keep waiting to convince everyone to go with you, and you are just going to move forward with what you thought was right) has really stuck with me, maybe moreso than anything else you've ever said and I've been following you since 2003. It's really been impactful on my life because I really cared way too much about making sure every possible person would be happy with every possible thing I did. I have been wondering, what were the repercussions of that? Did you have a drop in followers, angry emails, anything like that?
  • Enneagram number? "Have you done any work with the Enneagram system? In the last few years, I have heard you speak in a way that sounds as though you may have. If so, I would love to hear about it."
  • Highly-sensitive teachers? "How does being an empath impact your work! Can you explain with some examples?" and "As an introvert and empath myself (happily married, but no kids), I have found it hard to make friends in the teaching world. Many teachers are strong personalities who either don’t seem to understand or relate to me or I feel drained by. Any tips for introverts and empaths regarding surviving and thriving in teaching?"and "You talked about how as an introvert & empathetic person, you had to find ways to get energy from your students instead of it just being a drain. Would you share some? I related to this immensely and wanted to hear more! Thanks!
  • Mental health struggles? "Do you have any advice for teachers who struggle with anxiety and depression and did you struggle with either of those things as a teacher? I love your work and appreciate your perspective so much! I am also an introvert and a highly sensitive person and sometimes I don't think I am cut out for this career because of my personality and mental health struggles."
  • Admin who don't share the 40 Hour workweek vision? "Hi Angela, I love all you do and I loved your three-series podcast this summer. Thank you very much. Would you consider doing an episode about how teachers can work alongside administrators who DON'T share the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek vision? I'm talking about the administrators who routinely expect overworking as a part of the job (and some colleagues, too!)"
  • Connecting with local advocacy groups? "Beyond putting this hope out into the universe and sharing it with you, I wanted to ask — as someone connected to many education justice and activist groups and orgs in the city — if you have any desire to get involved in our local work to make the NYC schools more equitable, culturally responsive, and democratic? Your voice is so powerful and we need all hands on deck. Let me know if you have any desire to get involved and I’m happy to connect you to folks who will find ways your unique gifts can serve the fight for education justice in NYC and beyond."

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 6, 2023

If you need an uplifting conversation to get you energized for the new school year, this episode is a can’t-miss!

I’m talking with Dr. Deonna Smith about the ideas behind her new book, Rooted in Joy: Creating a Classroom Culture of Equity, Belonging, and Care.”

Listen in as we discuss:

  • What it means to be “rooted in joy” and how Deonna uncovered the meaning of that phrase in her own work as a teacher
  • The types of internal work we can do as educators to create school-based practices that are rooted in joy
  • What it looks like to have a classroom that is rooted in joy
  • How joy arises naturally in equitable, humanizing environments
  • How a classroom can be understand as an ecosystem in which every person and practice are interconnected
  • Specific practices teachers can implement to create a classroom culture of equity, belonging, and care

Learn more about Dr. Deonna Smith here: https://www.deonnasmithconsulting.com

Get her new book here: https://amzn.to/3qdOLKB 

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 23, 2023

I’m concluding the 3 part podcast series this summer offering a deep dive into my personal story: where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going.

Usually you can listen to my podcast episodes in any order you want, but since this is basically my life story, what I’m sharing in this episode will make a lot more sense if you’ve heard the beginning of what happened:

  • EP278 How I got here: Reflections on 20 years of sharing teaching ideas online
  • EP280 Where I’m at: Reflections on who I’ve become as a person and educator

In this final installment of the three part series, I'm looking forward, and talking about what's next:

  • How I grapple with imposter syndrome, maintaining relevance, and criticism of my work
  • Why I view my work in terms of years-long problems I'm trying to solve over the course of a lifetime
  • How I plan to translate my experience and accumulated wisdom into my next big project
  • Why I plan to focus more on connecting with educators via my email list and podcast instead of social media
  • A dream my husband and I have for supporting educators in a way that leaves a lasting legacy
  • How rediscovering lost parts of myself, childhood interests, and hobbies apart from work shapes the perspective I bring to teaching
  • Why I think the future of schools is nearly impossible to predict, but I’m committed to uncovering new possibilities and finding the good
  • How I stay hopeful amidst so much bad news, and the perspective that keeps me feeling balanced, energized, and optimistic

Anything you're still curious about? If there's anything I didn't talk about in this podcast series that you're still left wondering, I'm doing an AMA (ask me anything) episode next month!

Use this form to submit a question about a personal or professional aspect of my life that you'd like to hear more about. https://forms.gle/CNWQT7Y8ccT66phS6

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 9, 2023

It’s a myth that “having a plan” means locking yourself into a rigid schedule from which you can’t deviate. Knowing the things you want to experience and accomplish (and carving out time for them) is one of the most powerful ways to craft a fulfilling life!

Lisa Woodruff recently interviewed me for her Organize365 podcast, and I wanted to play an excerpt of that conversation for you here.

Listen in as we talk about how we each fell in love with planning and how our individual planning processes have changed throughout our various seasons of life.

We each share how we schedule our time and manage our to-do lists, and what our summer schedules look like.

You’ll also hear us illuminate a few key truths we’ve uncovered through developing various productivity systems:

  • Why working toward being “finally done” with a tasks is not necessarily the goal
  • How to enjoy the never-ending process of tending to your own life, needs, and healthy habits
  • How planning ahead creates freedom and allows presence in whatever experiences arise
  • Why the goal isn’t to execute your plan perfectly but to re-evaluate priorities

You can listen to the full conversation on the Organize365 podcast, or check out her organizational tools, such as the Education Friday workbox, which is a system that helps teachers get organized and reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks.

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 25, 2023

This is the 2nd episode in my 3 part summer podcast series offering a deep dive into my personal story: where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going.

Usually you can listen to my podcast episodes in any order you want, but since this is basically my life story, what I’m sharing in this episode will make a lot more sense if you’ve heard the beginning of what happened.

In this second installment of the three part series, I'm sharing more about the lived experiences and personality traits that shape who I am, how I interact with the world, and the kinds of resources I create.

Content warning: In the second half of the episode, I will share how my religious and spiritual beliefs have changed over the last 20 years. If you're not interested in hearing my experiences in this area, you can listen to the first half of the episode, and I'll let you know when I'm about to shift into discussions of religion.

Listen in as I share:

  • My honest answer about whether I miss being in the classroom
  • How the focus area I choose for my Masters degree lit a spark that led to the work I'm doing now
  • What I discovered about myself through the National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) process
  • What my close friendship with the teacher next door taught me about my own strengths and weaknesses as an educator
  • The ways being an introvert and empath impact my work and how I see the world
  • How I rebounded from religious trauma as a teenager and found a new way back to the Christian faith in my mid-20s
  • How spending years doing prison ministry and mentoring the incarcerated has shaped my thinking
  • Why I began to feel pushed out of the Christian faith and disillusioned with the doctrine
  • Where I'm at now spiritually and what brings me a sense of peace and joy
  • How these changes in my belief system, personality, and identity shifts have impacted my marriage

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 11, 2023

The first FREE online summit focused entirely on saving teachers time is happening July 10th and 11th!

The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit is:

  • Entirely online Completely FREE
  • Beneficial for all K-12 teacher
  • Includes 30+ presentations and roundtable discussions
  • Opening and closing keynotes by 40 Hour founder Angela Watson (that’s me)
  • No fluff, filler, icebreakers, or pitches: each session is just 15-20 minutes long
  • All session presenters are current K-12 classroom teachers + 40 Hour members!

In this podcast episode, you’ll get to listen to excerpts of 8 different presenter’s time-saving tips!

Tip #1: Use learning contracts to transfer ownership of assignments to your students.

Tip #2: Carve out time buckets for life, career, relationships, and self so you can ensure your life isn't just about work. '

Tip #3: Share the grading load with a coworker.

Tip #4: Give fewer assignments and fewer grades.

Tip #5: Give yourself (and your students) something to look forward to when you return to school after the weekend.

Tip #6: Delegate responsibility to students through classroom jobs.

Tip #7: Get ahead in your lessons by batching the task.

Tip #8: Create theme days for specific tasks so you can focus without feeling pulled in so many directions.

If you enjoy these excerpts from the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit, sign up to join us for the full FREE live event happening July 10th and 11th!

And if you can’t attend a session or want to watch and rewatch at your convenience, the Forever Access Pass will get you the recordings, plus a note-taking guide, summary of key ideas for each session, full transcripts, and special bonuses. It’s just $19 right now (the price will increase once the event begins.)

See you at the Summit — sign up to join us here!

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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