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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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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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Classroom Culture and Mental Health

During the ten years I spent in the classroom, I taught AP® Psychology all of those years.  I attended numerous content-specific professional development opportunities, flipped the entire curriculum that is readily available for free on my YouTube channel, as well as built resources that many teachers find helpful in my Teachers Pay Teachers store or in our Sustainable Psych Teacher membership.  I’m sharing all of this to say that I became, and hopefully remain, well versed in the AP® Psychology curriculum - I would even venture to say I’ve got my 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell teaches about as indicating expertise, at least in the curriculum that is… but certainly not in the field of psychology.

So as much as I know and love psychology, I am by no stretch of the imagination a psychologist, psychiatrist (shout out to my psych nerds who know the difference), or a mental health professional.  No advice I give today in this episode is advice...

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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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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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