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Do You Need A Teacher Desk Revamp?

One year I got a wild hair and reduced my teacher desk to the size of a cafe table.  You know, like the ones you stand next to at a wedding reception or have a coffee over at the local coffee shop.  Yes, about a two-foot space.  I sure was up on my high horse that year thinking, “I don’t need a big space because my classroom is student-centered”, mmmmhmm.

It was cute and all, but I didn’t have any space to relax, which is what my teacher-desk was used for briefly during my planning period or other break times during the day, yes, even during class when I had a minute.

In fact, that was my space’s main purpose.  To be a small, but mighty space for me to be able to just sit and take care of a few things when I had a moment.  But I didn't know that until the space was gone.  So I quickly switched back to a regular table sized desk, but made sure that the space served it’s main purpose - allowed me to get work done and...

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The Struggles of Teacher-Mom Life

You know the age old tale of what it’s like to be a first, second or even third year teacher and all the hustle and grind that it is.  You get to work before 6 AM and you leave sometime after five or 6 PM and probably still have more papers to grade or lessons to plan once you get home and a lot to do on the weekends. And that’s just to keep your head above water.

As if those first years of teaching aren’t bad enough it’s as if the universe looked at me and said just wait. At the start of my fourth year of teaching I became a mother and everything changed.

Suddenly what had been my absolute top priority, which was teaching even above my marriage, sad to say it but true because I’m such a workhorse and so professionally focused, but motherhood shook the bedrock, if you will, of my priorities. And I had no clue how to deal with that when my identity had been so wrapped up in who I was as a teacher. 

And that is where this episode comes into...

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The Year Of Enough

If you attended our first ever Sustainable Teacher Conference back in January, then you know that my word for 2022 is Enough.

Not enough, in that I’ve had enough, and am at my wit’s end - although maybe I am with certain things - but, no, it’s more about my mindset and accepting that I am doing enough, I have enough, and it is a glorious and beautiful thing.

Although we spend most of the air time on this podcast on sustainability in the classroom, we also want to speak to your lifestyle and personal lives in the name of talking to the whole you. And in that light, this episode will be dedicated to the personal side of things, and less about teaching.

In today’s episode, I am going to talk about the idea of seeing the world and our teaching lives through the lens that what we have is enough, it is just what we need, and that what we are doing is enough.

After listening to this episode, my hope is that you will feel restful and content in knowing that what you...

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My Goals, Planner & Calendar

You’ve heard the saying out-of-sight-out-of-mind, which in most contexts refers to distraction tactics of an infant or toddler.   But I’m here to burst everyone’s bubble and say that out-of-sight-out-of-mind is a very real occurrence for adults, especially when it comes to our goals, but not in a good way like it is for toddlers.

Instead of being able to use it to our advantage, though, the out-of-sight-out-of-mind concept robs us of accomplishing our goals each year if they aren’t something that has to do with our daily lives or we’re otherwise trying to get outside our comfort zone. 

For instance, it’s easier for someone to accomplish a goal of working out everyday if they work at a gym.  They have the constant reminder and opportunity.  But for a teacher, especially when it comes to their personal goals, we are so focused on what we do as educators everyday and then don’t have much mental space leftover to focus on...

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Sustainable Ed Tech with Samantha Fecich

Well hey there and welcome back. I am so excited to have Samantha Fecich of EduMagic on the podcast today, and I’ll share a couple of reasons why.  First, I’ve recently  stepped into the higher ed  space, and she’s been there for a while, so it was nice to have a conversation within that context.  Secondly, as a special education teacher turned educational tech expert, she gives a refreshing perspective on ed tech in ways that reinvigorate my passion for the field and I think this conversation will do the same for you.

In this episode you will hear us chat about various topics including student-life balance for preservice teachers, tech tool (and non-tech tool) recommendations for preservice teachers, as well as the purpose and possibilities of educational technology for students today.  So no matter what you teach, this episode will be valuable for you, but will be especially valuable for pre-service teachers out there.

Without further...

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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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Can I Help You With Student Accountability?

The million dollar question in education right now is how in the world we get our students to do the work?  It seems we have alarming rates of failure and, week after week, a substantial amount of students just not doing the work.  In the flipped classroom, this has always been one of the top questions I’ve fielded from teachers when they come to me for help to get the flipped classroom process started, and that is “What happens when a student doesn’t do the work, meaning take the notes, at home?  Then what?”

This week we will dive into what it is to actually hold students accountable and how you  can use it to not only be a more effective educator, but one who is actually reducing your own to-do list as student accountability increases.  After listening to this episode, you will have clarity around what it means to hold your students accountable in ways that empower your students to own their learning, and ultimately reduce...

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Parent Communication Systems

 “Hours!” she said.  “I spent HOURS on my Sunday afternoon grading just late work alone, and then you want to know what I had to do the rest of the week?”  I could almost guess what it was, “call parents” she said, exacerbated.  My teacher friend went on to explain how as it was the end of the quarter and grades were due soon, it was that time of the year that comes around four times per year to communicate to parents whose child is near or actually failing a course.

I squinted and turned my head to the side to lessen the blow of her answer as I asked, “how long did it take to contact parents?”

Three days after school, she said, until well past 5pm.  And I never got to them all.

We’ve all been there.  We’ve all been in a place where something in our teaching lives is taking up way more hours than we want it to, or than is healthy.  Whether that’s because we’re new at it and...

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Declaring the Student Learning Process

Although I wouldn’t wish living through a pandemic on my worst enemy and I’m sure we’d all love to get back to normal, there are major lessons I believe we all can learn from this experience within the world of education.  I could list quite a few and make separate episodes on each of them - hey, note to self, maybe I will - but one of those lessons is that our time with students, meaning a teacher’s time with his or her students IN THEIR PRESENCE is not only imperative, in many cases it’s an issue of equity.

The fluctuating schedules, whether they are all virtual or some variation of hybrid, we teachers feel the urgency of wanting to see our students more - wanting more time to master those standards, right?!?

And you may even be drowning right now in the schedule you’re living, unable to keep up with all things.  Whether you are fully remote, some form of hybrid, or even back to face-to-face 5 days a week “normal” some...

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3 Steps to Sustainable Planning

I LOVE all things planning.  In fact, I plan out our family calendar each year in January… no joke the whole year.  But even as much as I love to know what we’ve got coming up and how we can best use our finite amount of time on earth, planning as a teacher can be tough.  You can do some really great work for it all to just change on a dime without any heads up or prior notice, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  That’s just the nature of the beast, but there also has to be a better way to make this whole planning thing more effective and more intentional so that it serves us and our students. 

In today’s post I walk you through three steps that will help you do just that - streamline your planning process so that you’re better able to stay on track throughout the school year and are helping your future self when you go to plan in the years to come.  Let’s get to it.

I hope that you’ve been able...

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