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What Is Summer to a Sustainable Teacher?

I have an analogy for you that will take us through the duration of this episode.  Here it is.  Throughout the school year, we each have multiple spinning  plates in the air as teachers and as human beings.  Each facet of our life is one spinning plate, and it’s our job to keep them spinning and in the air lest they drop and shatter.

Summer break, then, is a time for us to put down all the educational, teachery plates we keep spinning for 9-10 months of the year so that we can focus on other plates.  Summer is an incredible thing for teachers - this is no news to you - but truly, it is time for us to refuel and rejuvenate in whatever aspect of our life we want.

In this episode I’d like to offer some food for thought on how we can use summer to fuel our sustainability throughout the year.  Hence the title What is Summer to a Sustainable Teacher.   So stick around areas within this topic that we’ll be pondering and discussing...

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A Teacher's Flipped Classroom Transformation - Part 2

On today’s episode of the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am so excited to welcome Jessica Verrill, a chemical engineer turned stay-at-home-mom turned high school chemistry teacher. She has been teaching chemistry at a small town academy in central Maine since 2018, has a wonderful husband, two fabulous teenage daughters, and a fun little dog named Ziggy. Jessica loves to spend time with her family kayaking on the local river, at camp on the New Brunswick border, and hiking in the mountains or on the beautiful coast of Maine.

Our paths first crossed in the spring of 2020, as Jessica will explain in the interview, where she attended my flipped classroom workshop.  She then took my online course Flipped Classroom Formula, and is on the podcast today to share her classroom transformation amongst teaching in a pandemic and the success she and her students have experienced because of her hard work, and strategic decision to flip her classroom.

Topics discussed in today's...

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A Teacher's Flipped Classroom Transformation - Part 1

I can't wait to share this with you!  Recently, I interviewed Keri Tafuro who demonstrated how flipping her classroom has transformed the teaching  experience and the learning  experience of her students, both within the pandemic and regardless of it.

On today’s episode of the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am so excited to welcome Keri Tafuro, a full time classroom teacher of  7th and 8th grade math  in Vacaville, California.  Keri isi a 22-year teacher, having  taught math  at the  high school, and now middle school level.  She and her husband  have two college-aged children, and mine and Keri’s paths crossed about a year ago when Keri was exploring a bit more about the flipped classroom, and came upon one of my Facebook live trainings.

Since then she has jumped in with two feet taking Flipped Classroom Formula last summer and into flipping her classroom this school year.  I can’t wait to bring her...

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*BONUS* The Number ONE Question I Get Asked About the Flipped Classroom

What happens when students don’t watch the video notes for homework?  That’s the number one question I get from teachers when they are considering flipping their classroom, and it’s a good one.

You should absolutely be asking this question because it means you are aware of an obstacle to your students learning, and now you can take steps to be sure you’re helping them overcome it.  We have an entire module dedicated to this inside of my online course for teachers, Flipped Classroom Formula, and we address multiple obstacles, not just this one big one.

In today’s episode we are going to answer this question so that after listening you will feel hopeful and empowered by the possibilities of flipped video knowing that you’re making learning NOT optional in your classroom and in fact setting up your students for success.

Let’s get to it.

Learning is Not Optional

Here’s the gist of this entire episode in one sentence.  You...

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The Biggest Secret to Sustainability in the Classroom

 What is the Biggest Secret to Sustainability in the Classroom?  Teachers do some of the most impactful and important work, and keeping them in the classroom is our top priority here on the podcast and for team Teach On A Mission, and we work to do that by helping teachers build sustainable systems and practices in their classrooms.

Sometimes it’s hard to have these conversations about doing things that sustain teachers because it feels guilty to focus so much on the adult in the room rather than the students.  That narrative, along with the status quo of teacher hustle equating to effectiveness, is what’s ultimately driving teachers away from the classroom.

Could we overdo it by focusing too much on the teacher and not enough on the students?  Of course we could - there are two ends of extreme to every choice, and I choose to live somewhere comfortably in the middle as much as possible, including when it comes to building an effective...

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Are You Tired of Low Student Engagement?

Who would have known almost a year ago that we would all have experienced such a monumental change in our lives that showed us just how important and effective having students in the classroom with us is for student engagement.  Who would’ve known?

Somewhere in the middle of my second year of teaching, I vividly remember a moment when I realized, it’s got to get better quickly - meaning, I’ve got to stop engaging more and working harder than my students when it comes to understanding the content.  I’m not the one taking the test and I care a whole lot more than they do.  Side bar - of you course you do, you’re the teacher in the room, but feeling exhausted at the end of the day because of all your hard work just to have black screens or non-engaged students is not what’s going to keep you going in this career field.  

No matter how long you’ve been teaching, this year and your experiences with distance learning have...

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My Flipping Conversation with the Master IEP Coach

Hey there teacher friend!  Today I’ve got a bit of a different episode for you.  A few months back I sat down with Catherine Whitcher, the Master IEP Coach of specialedinnercircle.com and catherinewhitcher.com to chat about the possibilities of the flipped classroom in today’s education context and how the flipped classroom can serve teachers at the IEP table and their students.

This interview was done for Catherine’s podcast which I encourage you to go check it out, it’s called Special Education Inner Circle, and so she is actually interviewing me.  I loved our conversation so much that I wanted to share it on my podcast as well.  At the end of the episode you’ll hear me talk about dates long past for the Sustainable Teacher Challenge, but have no fear you can still go check that out here.

From a basic understanding of flipped learning to how the flipped classroom can serve you and your students long after distance learning, this...

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Organization in the Sustainable Classroom

Today on the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am excited to welcome Kelly Jackson of Thesimplyorganizedteacher.com so we can chat about something that many of you have resolved to accomplish in 2021.  Many teachers who have participated in our Sustainable Teacher Challenge where we all are challenged to find ways to make our daily teaching lives a bit more manageable, actually set goals around becoming more organized.  Whether you set those kinds of goals or have an interest in getting all things teacher-life a bit more organized, then this episode is for you.

Kelly is a former teacher of little turned Classroom Organization Coach.  She helps busy and overwhelmed teachers create organized, safe, and well-managed classrooms that facilitate effective learning for their students and more time for themselves. She is a Texas girl currently living in Germany. Kelly runs The Simply Organized Teacher, hosts the Simply Teach podcast, and is the creator of The Organized Teacher...

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How the Flipped Classroom Shifts Your Role as a Teacher

Raise your hand if you are so totally over this whole online teaching thing?  If we were together in person (reminisce on physical presence with another human being real quick - big huge nostalgic sigh - now back to reality), I'm sure we'd reflect on all the things we miss about the classroom and being physically present with our students.

In fact, I think this whole pandemic is teaching us a very solid lesson on the importance of physical presence.  With our families, with our friends, coworkers, and especially our students.

In fact, your role as an educator sans students you see on a daily basis is probably nothing more than "messenger and grader".  Your role doesn't go much deeper than that because without physical presence any attempts to do so seem superficial and not as effective when done online.

Over the last week or so as we've been hearing the news of schools closing for the year and as I've listened to many teachers about their struggles with online...

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Why Flipping is the Answer During COVID-19 Distance Learning

A few weeks ago when the world seemed to all but shut down completely - I admit that statement seems a bit dramatic given all major media companies including the life-giving Netflix and Disney+ are still available, but when schools shut down, to me, that seems like a pretty big shut down and huge shift for most homes - teachers lives shifted in a way unique to few other occupations.

Instead of just spending time at home, teachers are sometimes working more hours than they were in the classroom given the new demands of distance learning and all that it takes to meet each of their students' needs while not in their physical presence.

This is not a newsflash for anyone reading this blog right now.

I state the obvious, though, because I want to put a stake in the ground here and say something that I hope all teachers hear and ponder for a bit before eventually responding, and ultimately making a slight shift that will benefit them in the long run.

In all this work you're doing right...

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