Month: May 2021

57. How we foster visionary leadership in schools with Angela Watson

How might we revolutionize education by streamlining workflow and designing better systems for everyone in school? Today on the show I am joined by the incredible Angela Watson.

Angela Watson is a big thinker in education and I’m so excited to share this interview with you. If you don’t know her work, you are in for a potentially life changing episode here. Angela was a classroom teacher for many years but has made a name for herself by teaching educators how to be smarter, more effective teachers by re-thinking how they use their time and shifting their mindsets. If you are familiar with her work, perhaps through her 40 Hour Teacher WorkWeek club or maybe by listening to her podcast Truth For Teachers, then you know how radically life changing her message can be: working non-stop does not make you a good teacher! In fact, excellent teachers do indeed REST! 

In this conversation, we talk about Angela’s background, but of course we go way deeper than that. We look into the origins of this profession and how we ended up in this current state of exhaustion and overwhelm (that’s not just fueled by covid, because we all know teacher burnout was a thing long before 2020). We also get into what is needed for true visionary leadership in our schools and the big, exciting projects that Angela is working on and launching! 

Click on the Soundcloud link above to listen to the episode!

Things Mentioned in the Episode:

56. When students are not turning on their cameras

How might teachers better serve students when they don’t want to turn their cameras on? Today on the show, I talk to three teachers about their wins and challenges with this aspect of virtual learning. I’m your host Celeste Kirsh and We are Teaching Tomorrow. 


I can’t quite pin down what has been the hardest part of online teaching this year. Some things that come to mind:

  • Hearing my children scream from downstairs while I try to pretend like everything is normal when I’m teaching my students
  • Not feeling like I have the time I need to be the teacher I am used to being
  • All the sitting and time in front of a screen
  • Missing my work friends and the doses of connection, whimsy, and stimulation


But something that I keep coming back to is teaching to a screen of icons. Making jokes and hearing nothing. Asking a student a question and getting radio silence. 


As a podcaster, I am used to just talking into a screen and getting a very delayed and sometimes non-existent response. But this is different. 


When people say that teachers have radically transformed how we do our jobs, this is a huge part of it. It’s not just learning new tech tools and relying less on delivering content either! Many of us became teachers because we thrive off relationships, making connections with students, getting through to the hard to reach young people, and building community. We are now trying to do all those things when we can’t see our students or often even hear them! How do you build community when you can’t experience other human beings? 


I wanted to talk to some people about how they are fairing with having their students turn on their cameras to help comfort myself to know that I’m not alone, to get some ideas for how I might get better at this myself, but also to contemplate what is actually going on here. 


You might be thinking that isn’t the best question to ask at this time.

There are for sure more important concerns we should be figuring out in regards to virtual learning. 

Many people might have come to the opinion that nobody should be turning on their cameras right now (not even teachers!) and it’s oppressive to even think about asking students. 


But I do believe that this deserves some investigation. 


Signs are pointing to some form of hybrid learning being a thing next year in Ontario and whether we like it or not, some students will be learning at home in front of their screens. So even if everyone is vaccinated by Fall 2021 (fingers crossed), we are not going back to “normal”.


Students keeping their cameras off, despite teacher, parent, and admin encouragement and the despite availability of concealed backgrounds should be telling us something: Is this a sign of deeper student unwellness? Is this a way of our students exerting some form of control in this terrible situation that nobody asked for? Are we asking too much of our students from a developmental lens that needs significant tech updating to better suit the age and stage of our learners? Or in the lead up to distance learning have  we completely missed what fosters truly engaged learners rather than compliant and obedient ones? 


As TESS WILKINSON-RYAN writes in her September 2020 article in the Atlantic, “The system does not work without their cooperation, and educators who want to meet students halfway need to understand what is happening to them.”


We are not going to fully understand what is happening to our students in the span of this podcast episode. The impacts of what is happening right now in education are going to be felt for a very long time. But I want to look at these questions in the hopes that we might find something new or better know what is actually happening here to learn, to grow, and to make school better for our students even when not mitigate by a screen.


I was able to talk to a few teachers about this and their experiences varied. Some have had classes and days that they got all their students to turn their cameras on without any prompting, persuading, or pleading…and others teachers have gotten very little buy in and their victories were few and scattered.

To listen to the full episode, click on the Soundcloud link.

Stuff Mentioned in the Show:


55. Using podcasts for student and teacher learning: a solo episode

How might teachers leverage podcasts to supercharge student and professional learning? Today on the podcast we get real nerdy and geek out on the SAMR model of tech integration and podcasting.

SAMR Model Picture by Sylvia Duckworth

Recently, I had the delight of presenting at the CITE conference about using podcasts for teacher and student learning. I took the key ideas about this presentation and turned it into a podcast episode for this week!

You can access the slides from the presentation here. 

I would love to hear what you think. You can reach out to me on Instagram @teaching_tomorrow or on Twitter @teach_tomorrow and of course I would absolutely love it if you shared your feedback with a rating and review on the Apple Podcast platform. I read every one of them and it is a really awesome way to let me know if you love these solo episodes, want nothing to do with them, or have an idea for a show. 

Speaking of which…I’m pulling together a show about how teachers are encouraging students to learn with their cameras on and unmuting themselves. If you have had even the smallest moments of victories with this that you would be comfortable sharing on the podcast, reach out. I would love to hear from you.

Here are things I mentioned in this show:

Secret Life of Canada
This American Life

Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers 
“The Long Tail and the Dip” by Seth Godin
Tai asks why
NY Times Student Podcast Contest