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What It Looks Like to Put Relationships First

When asking a group of teachers what has the most impact on their students’ performance in their classroom, the resounding answer I’ve heard in my career is without a doubt relationships - building relationships with our students that lets them know we are rooting for them, guiding them, and that allows them to trust us and invest in the course and what we’re asking them to do.

As much as we recognize that relationships have the most powerful impact on moving the needle with our students, all the other aspects of teaching that pile up in a day take precedence over taking the time to build relationships.

Today, I have a proposal on what it could look like to actually make relationship building a top priority.  And if there were a calendar of how you spent time in your classroom, this proposal I have for you would allow you to spend more time working one-on-one with your students, and ultimately building relationships than any other item on your docket. 

I...

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Do You Really Want A Job You Don't Have To Take Home?

As I’m sitting to write this episode, I’m in an approximately six square feet space in the cab of our pick up truck pulling our camper on our way home from our Christmas vacation with three boys and our dog.  I’m reflecting on what was by far our best camper-trip yet as it was at the beginning of winter and was full of sunshine which we Midwesterners aren’t used to in December.

It was a great refresh.

But you know what I thought about quite a bit?  Work.

Not in a way that was stifling to my or our enjoying the trip.  Not at all.  We just had a lot of relaxation time.  And that meant my mind was able to wonder and think and plan.

And it reminded me of how I was with my classroom when on a break or vacation.

When I was able to step back from it, I was able to think about it in a clearer way.  I was able to work on my classroom rather than in my classroom.

Today I’m asking you the question, in a very non-rhetorical way,...

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Revisiting Your Teacher Why in 2022

Last semester I had the privilege of working with mostly freshman students at a local university in an Introduction to Educational Technology course.  This was one of the very first education courses many of my students were taking, and I appreciated the perspective of a college student with next to no experience in education, but the drive to know as much as they could about strategies and best practices to implement in their future classrooms.

What I discovered in conversations with many of my students is that although they hadn’t much experience yet, they all had stories and the first stages of what will become their why as teachers.

Now you may be someone who knows your why, is grounded in it, and acts from that space more days than not.  But you also could be someone who hasn’t had the time to consider what your why might be because, seriously, who’s got time for that right?!?

Whether you are a teacher who’s known your why for a decade or...

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Being a Principal and Spouse to a Sustainable Teacher

Hey teacher-friend, welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher, I’m so glad you decided to tune in today, and oh boy do I have an episode for you.  In this episode I am introducing you to none other than my main-man and husband, Dr. Bill Rice.

I’m excited to bring him on not just because he’s my husband but also because he is an administrator - he is a high school principal at a school about 15 minutes down the road from us, and today he is offering a wonderful perspective.  Well, two perspectives actually, on what it is to be a sustainable teacher, and that is from a principal’s role and the role of a teacher’s spouse.

My goal in interviewing Bill is not so that we can say, “see this is what you should be doing” to either our principals or our spouses, but so that teachers can see that your sustainability is what’s most important, next to being effective with kids, and that the classroom atmosphere and overarching learning...

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A Teacher's Flipped Classroom Transformation Part 3

On today’s episode of the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am so excited to welcome Charles Youngs, a 30-year high school English teacher in Western Pennsylvania, who has been recognized as a Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year finalist, a Fulbright scholar, and is a frequent presenter at the annual convention of the National Teachers of English.

Currently he spends his days in a suburban public high school just south of Pittsburgh, teaching courses in Writing, Public Speaking and in AP Literature. That’s just part of his day. The other half is spent as an instructional coach for faculty on the ins and outs of ed tech.

Charles and my paths crossed  in the spring of 2020, as he explains in the interview, when he was thinking about ways to make his time with students more intentional and more effective.  He took my online course, Flipped Classroom Formula, and offers today a unique perspective on flipping, one that includes that of an English teacher and how to...

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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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