Month: November 2019

27. Teachers who run (a mini-series) with May Lu

How might teachers find that sweet spot between intensity and ease in their own lives, as well as how we program our students? In this third teachers who run episode, we talk to high school science teacher May Lu.

May Lu is a Grade 10 and 12 science teacher at Ashbury college in Ottawa who just so happens to be writing quite a bit on her Cohort 21 blog about the intersection between her practice as a runner and world as a teacher. So naturally I had to steal her for a few minutes to record another instalment of this “Teachers who Run” mini-series. In case you are not a runner, have zero interest in trying to run, and just don’t get why I am devoting three whole episodes so far to this weird hobby involving tight clothes and bright shoes, allow me to cut to the chase: this whole running thing is just a metaphor. If you stick with these episodes, even if you don’t really care about running, listen to them and substitute in whatever your thing is instead of running: knitting, dogs, volunteering, travel, books…whatever.

In this conversation, May and I discuss progression—or slowly getting better at something, a “stress to chill” ratio that prevents burnout, and how safely sharing our identities with our students, builds intimacy and community in our classroom.

Enough intro already, click the link above to listen to the show.

I so loved May’s infectious energy, disarming positivity, and perspective on life. In the show notes, you can find a link to May’s blog as well as how to find her on Twitter. May is an awesome writer and I promise you that going down the rabbit role of reading some of her blog posts will be time well spent.

If you are listening to this show (or reading this post about the show), please take a few minutes to give a rating and review on Apple Podcasts (got to your iTunes app on your computer or Podcasts app on your mobile device). Let me know what is working, share what brings you back, put some feedback to help improve your listening experience, and just let me know you exist out there in internet land. It takes all but a minute or two and it really, honestly, makes a huge difference in how other people can find the show and see if it is a good fit for them.

That’s all the time we have for today, spend some time today doing whatever you love, and remember we are teaching tomorrow.

Things mentioned in the show:

26. Deskless French learning with Richard Smith

How could getting rid of the desks in your classroom, promote deep learning for your students? Today we have Richard Smith on the show to share some of his best practices for inspiring young people to learn French.

My cohort 21 colleague Jen Bairos told me about Richard Smith back when we recorded our episode together—which is episode 13 (part 2) if you haven’t listened to it yet––I didn’t know a lot, but Jen basically said that he was a French teacher who went deskless to promote better classroom conversations in French. I was intrigued. But I honestly don’t know anything about French, so I felt like I wouldn’t be the best person to conduct the interview. So I asked Jen to record a call with Richard and that is what I am sharing with you today.

What I love about this conversation is that it is two passionate French teachers exploring how to engage French language learners, how to actively inspire students to speak in authentic situations, and how to make French class an emotional learning experience. If you don’t know her, Jen Bairos is a middle level French teacher in Toronto and she is also a coach with Cohort 21. A wonderful introduction to Jen is back on episode 13, so do yourself a favour and give that episode a listen to spend some more time with Jen!

I learned so much about teaching in my own context by listening in on and editing this conversation, so even if you are not a French teacher, I am confident that you will have some powerful take-aways for your own practice.

Let’s jump right in to Jen’s conversation with Richard Smith.

A big thank you to Jen for sharing Richard with all of us and conducting her first podcast interview! You were a natural and a pro and I am grateful to have you in my life.

It might not be realistic for all of us to go deskless in our classrooms, but I think a really important question to ask ourselves is what do we just assume we need in our classrooms could we actually do without and perhaps our students might benefit from? Maybe it’s not a physical object, but perhaps it’s another structure that may actually be holding your students back from meaningful learning. What would happen if we dared to experiment for one class? A week? A unit? A year?

If this show resonated with you or you think someone else would like, please share it with a friend. This is a small, grassroots podcast and when it is shared friend to friend, we can grow the show and expand the magic we are creating.

That’s all the time we have for today, folks, keep on experimenting, and remember we are teaching tomorrow.

Resources and Links Mentioned on the Show