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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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3 Steps to Flip Your Classroom Before Christmas

It is mid October at the time this episode will air which means only one thing…  the Holidays, and Winter break, and by extension, second semester, is right around the corner.  Home improvement and craft stores have been setting up for Christmas since August, so don’t call me crazy that I’m talking about it in today’s episode.  Deal?

Alright - today I’m giving you a challenge, if you’re willing to take it on and reap the benefits for you, your classroom, and your students.  And the challenge is this - flip your classroom by Christmas.

Now, does every teacher need or want to do this?  Absolutely not.  And many of you listening today have already flipped, and I’d love to give you a virtual (or at least audio only) round of applause… and ask that you email me or find me on social media and let me know how it's going - truly I want to know.   But for everyone else who hasn’t flipped and has maybe...

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Four-Step Reflection Process for Every Teacher

Well hey there, and welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, I’m so glad you’ve decided to join me today for this four-step reflection process every educator needs, and I’ll just add that every  teacher needs this if in fact they are feeling the pressure of all the change, and the overwhelm of seemingly never satisfying anyone whether it be parents, administration, or even our students.  Now, I recognize that never is a dramatic word, but I’m betting it describes how you feel right now regardless of if it’s dramatic or not, so I’m sticking with it.

I was on a walk with my nine-month old puppy the other day, and when I’m on walks that’s when my wheels really get to turning, most of the time in good ways.  Often I won’t even bring my headphones or listen to a podcast, although Ii’ve done that before, because the silence and the space for my mind to go where it wants leads me to some great ideas whether...

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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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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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Are Teachers the Top Influence on Student Learning?

The conversation and debate around what is best for students, and what impacts learning most is not a new one in the human experience.  It's been hotly debated for quite some time.

What impacts student learning most?

Are tests the best way to measure student learning?

Or, wait, don’t tests hinder learning?

How does technology impact learning?

Standards-based, flipped classroom, project-based, problem-based, student centered, backwards planning, flexible seating...

Wow - so many things.  So many ways to impact student learning.

How in the world do we know what strategies impact students the most?

That's just it... there is no ONE strategy that will impact student learning more than another.

But...

... there is one person.

If you're reading this post, this is probably no surprise to you that teachers are the number one influencer on a student's learning.

But I don't want to just say that and claim it as truth.  I want you to see for yourself.

And that’s...

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The First Way to Find Balance as a Teacher

It’s the new year; gym memberships have soared through the roof, everyone under the sun has some kind of personal fitness goal that they are striving toward as a New Year’s resolution, so I thought I might contribute to that conversation.

Well... kinda.

The contribution won’t be about personal, physical health - although I'm totally game for a competition on my Apple watch - but instead about teacher health in general.

Over the next few weeks, five to be exact, I’ll be exploring a few topics that all have something to do with how we can improve teacher health. And what I mean by teacher health is a teacher's overall well-being including and especially their mental health as determined by things like time management skills, daily routines, mindset, and the small, seemingly insignificant choices we make on a regular basis that are contributing to poor teacher health as a whole.

Let me be more specific - what I mean by teacher health is small ways teachers can...

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