Month: February 2021

46. Seeing your own potential as a leader with Diane Brown

How might hopeful school leaders become the leader they want to be? Today I talk to elementary school principal Diane Brown about leadership in times of crisis. 

If you have been listening to the show for some time, you will recognize Diane from episode 31: Should I send my child to JK? Diane is my neighbour, but at this point she is much more than that: she is a friend, a role model, a celebrity figure in my 4 year old’s life, one of my dog’s favourite humans, and a mentor to me. In this show we actually talk quite a bit about mentorship and how important it is to be a mentor for others, and inspired by Brene Brown we talk about what needs to change about leadership to address the shifting educational landscape as well as different ways to hold power in schools.

Diane is a gift in my life and so I’m glad to share this conversation with you.

Things We Talked About in the Show:

How to review the podcast on Apple Podcasts App (see this link for the whole explanation from CHRISTIAN CAWLEY)

You may think that the way to review podcasts on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad is via iTunes. In fact, you need to use the Podcasts app.

This has a purple icon and should be on the first or second screen of your iOS device. Open the app, find the search tool, and enter the name of the podcast you want to review.

You’ll see the podcast’s logo (as album art), so tap this, then Reviews > Write a Review. Enter your iTunes password when prompted, then leave a star rating, a review, and a title. Tap Send, and you’re done.

Before writing a review, it might be worth looking at other reviews from fellow listeners. This can be useful for finding well-regarded episodes of the podcast that you’ve missed so far.

(Beware expanding a previous review on the iPad, as there is no way to exit the view other than closing the Podcasts app and starting again.)



45. Calm school resources with Christi-an and Nat Slomka

How might teachers use mindfulness as a tool for developing resilience? Today on the show I am joined by sisters Christi-an and Natalie Slomka speaking about the school resources developed by Calm.

Let’s be real: this has been the most difficult year in our profession. In Ontario, we have just been told that the rest point of March break has been delayed by a month, we are just heading back into school or freshly returned, and we are not good. As a profession, we are raw, we are vulnerable, and we are tired. 

That is why I reached out to Christi-an and Natalie Slomka: Christi-an helped to develop the school resources with the Calm app and Natalie, a teacher with the Toronto District School Board, is actively using these mindfulness strategies with her students. 

In this conversation, we talk about the need for practicing mindfulness in an oppressive system, how to make your mindfulness practice trauma informed, how you can turn almost anything into a meditation, and resilience. We talk about developing capital R resilience: in our students and in ourselves and how this might just be what we really need to be focusing more on right now.

I also just want to add that this show is not sponsored by Calm–I really like their app and I personally am using it right now, but they did not actually fund this conversation. 

I really adored getting to share in the sister love between these two and I know you will too. 

Things We Mentioned In This Conversation:



44. Competency based learning with Sara Tahir

When was the last time you learned something new and how long did it take you to understand that thing? Today on the show we are talking competency based learning with Sara Tahir.

I found Sara and her writing about competency based learning, or CBL, after I did a course this summer with Global Online Academy where Sara is the associate director of professional learning. In this conversation we discuss Global Online Academy and the professional learning needs they are addressing in the pandemic, we talk about the differences between how school works and how learning works, and get into the nitty gritty of CBL and how to use it in your classroom. 

Listen, realistically you are likely not in a place to overhaul your course, your next unit, or even your next week in the classroom. So listen to this conversation not with the lens of “you are not doing it right–this is the right way to do it” but as a possibility for what learning could look like in your classroom. Perhaps after a good, long relaxing march break or summer, you might remember some of these ideas and play around a little in your own context.

I so loved getting to talk to Sara and how we might make the learning in our classroom reflect more how learning looks in the world outside the classroom. So let’s get to it. Click the Soundcloud link to listen to the episode! 

Things We Mentioned In The Show:

43. The impossible promise of online learning with Beyhan Farhadi

How might teachers use their powers of professional judgement as tools for change? Today I am joined by Dr Beyhan Farhadi speaking about the challenges with online learning.

Well before the pandemic, Dr. Farhadi was studying the Ontario government’s mandated online learning for secondary students and the systemic inequities that this mode of learning deepens. Well now that everyone is much more personally acquainted with virtual learning, Beyhan’s expertise is very (very) appreciated and needed at this time. 

In this conversation, we get into the obvious and the not-so obvious challenges that learning in this way brings up, how teachers can use their powers to disrupt and resist practices and policies that harm their students, and also how she is coping as a parent of two school-aged children.

It is clear that as an educational community, we are going to be dealing with the repercussions of this pandemic well into the future and Beyhan’s research and perspective give us all important considerations for how we might process and rebuild when we can step into the next chapter of school. 

I think you will find this conversation affirming, eye opening, moving, and–I hope–a call to action for the sake of our students. Please welcome Dr. Beyhan Farhadi to the podcast by clicking on the link above and giving it a listen! 

Things Mentioned In The Show: