Teaching Tomorrow Show

40. How to talk to students the day after a difficult event with Genny Lee

How can teachers best facilitate conversations the day after an emotionally charged world event. Today on the show, I am joined by Genny Lee, science teacher and diversity, equity, and inclusion specialist.

I count Genny Lee as one of the kindest, most compassionate, and intelligent people I know. The day after the insurrection on Capitol Hill in the US, I knew that Genny would have thoughtful strategies for how to talk to and with students about events like these that–are quite frankly–happening more and more. In this conversation among other things, Genny shares her wisdom on what teachers can consider before they talk to their students, what to do when your students have already discussed it several times with other teachers, and what to do with these challenging conversations when they happen over Meet or Zoom. 

Genny Lee’s approach is infused with genuine care and empathy that I know you will appreciate, so let’s dive right in by clicking on the link attached. 

 

 

 

39. Deep Diversity in education with Shakil Choudhury

How might teachers embed emotional literacy with diversity, equity, and inclusion learning? Today on the show I speak with the award-winning educator, consultant and writer, Shakil Choudhury.

My first encounter with Shakil Choudhury was at the 2017 People of Colour Conference. I think my friend Jean Humphries had told me he was worth seeing and let me tell you, he did not disappoint. I read his book “Deep Diversity”. Then listened to the audio book. Then marched into the office of our my school’s then head of human resources and declared emphatically that everyone in our school should read this book. I’m not saying I’m the reason the book was put on our staff summer reading, I’m saying that Shakil’s work is so transformative that once you read it, you want everyone to read it. Shakil’s book is a practical, scientific and compassionate approach to tackling systemic racial discrimination. 

In this episode, we cover a lot of ground in just 50-ish minutes. We talk about burnout, self care, how to build justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work into schools, what Harvard is doing that all our independent schools can learn from, call out culture, the shadow sides of anti-racism work, and how to not get cynical. Phew. It’s a lot. It’s important. It’s beyond critical. And it was a huge honour to get to connect with Shakil in real time. 

If after listening to this show, you are hungry for more, I urge you to book off January 21st and 22nd for their free online conference: Ordinary People Extraordinary Times. 

Things We Talked About:

 

 

38. What’s holding me up: a solo episode

I don’t post solo episodes that often, but I felt like it was time to share a few thoughts on what’s working well for me in this chapter of school. It’s been just 3 weeks back after being away for maternity leave and my heart is full and actually–surprisingly–kind of happy! Shocker, right? Anyway, to get the full explanation, jump into the podcast attached. Show notes / references of things I mention in this show are at the bottom of this post.

What has held me up?

  1. FFTs (Brene Brown unlocking us): giving myself over to sucking
  2. The opposite of an Irish goodbye: sneaking in almost undetected with very little fanfare
  3. Leaning on the people around me: takes incredible trust
  4. Being honest with my admin–quick touch base, people saying “be gentle”
  5. Designing lessons that are self-guided: students are in and out, my time outside of class is more limited
  6. Marking inside class time
  7. Dealing with the stress, not the stressor: Burnout. Getting myself into peak fighting shape. 
  8. It takes incredible Bravery to be able to do less–it’s going against my normal programming in this space, in this career, in this body
  9. Productivity is not a sign of my worth as a teacher: inspired by Liz Kleinrock and her work around disrupting grind culture in schools
  10. Bad couch thinking: it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable something is, I will adapt and tell myself that something is okay, even when it is downright awful

Things I mentioned:

36. We GET TO teach during a pandemic with Dr. Kristen Clarke

How might we rethink teaching during the pandemic from a place of “have to” towards “get to”? This episode features a  conversation with Dr Kristen Clarke.

Dr. Kristen Clarke is the Dean of Teaching and Learning at The Bishop Strachan School. She also happens to be one of the best people I know to answer all kinds of questions related to pandemic pedagogy. Some listeners sent in questions and Dr. Clarke does not disappoint: her responses are thoughtful, powerful, and not always what you would expect. For example, I loved her thinking behind why it’s good to have your teenage students make fun of you sometimes. Keep listening for that little nugget. We also get into talking about how to build connections when not everyone is in the same space (and when they are, we are likely masked, six feet apart, and behind screens), what we can do to have courageous conversations about anti-racism now, and how universal design for learning might just be one of the best pandemic pedagogy tools for this time. 

There is so much gold in this episode so I won’t keep you from it any longer. Click the link above to start listening! 

Stuff and Things Mentioned In This Show:

Katie Novak and Universal Design for Learning
National School Reform Faculty protocols
Gloria Ladson-Billings
John Spencer “Empower”

35. Iconic moment with Grant Lichtman

Do you know your school’s North Star? Today on the podcast we have a very special episode: Garth and Justin in conversation with Grant Lichtman. Today, I’m just serving up this interview–but as always we are teaching tomorrow.

 

If you have not yet had the opportunity of reading Grant’s work or hearing him speak, I’m so excited that you will discover his work here. He is a thought leader in the world of education and author of the books #EdJourney, Moving the Rock, and Thrive. Garth Nichols and Justin Medved teamed up with Grant for their Strategic Change Accelerator and they have brought him back into the Cohort 21 orbit to speak about the three key strands of our cohort learning this year: pandemic pedagogy, leading through crisis, and what we have now started calling “JEDI” (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion). 

Grant touches on so many powerful ideas in this conversation that I think you will want to have a pen and paper handy to jot down some ideas to loop back to later. One of the most impactful for me was the idea of knowing your school’s North Star, which is not the same thing as the mission statement. And here’s the thing: our North Stars need to include discomfort! Keep listening to unpack this with Grant. 

I also really loved how Grant spoke about situational leadership: many of you are classroom teachers and thinking about this proposition of how you can take on leadership in your own context is powerful, manageable, and transformative. 

This is a longer episode than normal because I just didn’t want to edit anything out…it was that good. Let’s get right into it…click on the Soundcloud link to take you to Garth, Justin, and Grant. 

Things Mentioned in the Show:

Grant’s Website
Grant on Twitter

34. Teaching who we are with Dr. Winifred Hunsburger

How do our identities as people shape who we are as teachers? Today, I talk with Dr. Winifred Hunsburger about how to discover new perspectives in these times of great upheaval.

 

Dr. Hunsburger is fresh into a new chapter of her life–retirement! I wanted to capture some of Winifred’s thinking about what teachers can think about to help navigate these ridiculous times, because I won’t have her down the hall from me when I return to the classroom. For the past 10 years, I would often be in Winifred’s office either getting her opinion on something, trying to work through a teaching dilemma, or just talking about life. In so many ways, I have felt like Winifred was my “school mom”, and not just because of our ages, but also because Winifred is one of the most caring, loving, and thoughtful people I’m blessed to have in my life. 

In our conversation, Winifred explains why she loves snow storms and how this relates to our present tense in education right now. After hearing her explanation, your thinking about the purpose of storms might never be the same. 

 

I’m equally excited and honoured to welcome Dr Winifred Hunsburger to the show. Let’s jump right in by clicking the Soundcloud link above. 

33. The future we go back to with Justin Medved and Garth Nichols

How might we reimagine the future of education that is currently under construction? Today I am joined by the powerful tag team of Justin Medved and Garth Nichols, co-founders of Cohort 21.

I love getting to talk with Garth and Justin. After every conversation I have with them, I’m left feeling inspired, motivated, and excited to be in the field of education. I wanted to bring these masterminds on the show today to process the changes they have made to the Cohort 21 experience, but also to give us all a dose of what we can be hopeful about in regards to the massive upheaval we are all taking part in. 

In our conversation, we touch on how putting yourself in front of really good questions is essential teacher learning, why there is no “going back”, and what gets them through those really hard days. 

I’m so grateful to welcome these two friends back to the podcast.

 

Things Mentioned in this Episode:

32. The gifts of right now (a solo episode)

I don’t typically do episodes without a guest. There is something comforting about getting to have another “expert” on the show and to let their thinking, understanding, and knowledge push the show forward. But in the spirit of doing things that are hard and uncomfortable (which is what we are all doing in education right now with this freaking pandemic), I am putting myself out there and sharing with you this solo episode. It’s just me reflecting on what’s happening in education right now. If this isn’t your jam, fear not, the regular format of the show will be back for the next episode.

I’m also trying something out, which Justin Medved has inspired me with, which is doing this episode in one take. So it’s imperfect, the sound quality is a little iffy, and I include a few too many exhausted sighs (and you can kind of hear my baby at the end…this was recorded during one of his naps). But that’s where we are all existing (or should be existing): the space of the imperfect one take. We are so beyond trying to get it “just right”.

Hope you get something out of this one. Leave a comment or reach out on the socials to have a dialogue.

Resources I Mention in This One:

Brene Brown and Glennon Doyle (talking about calm spreaders vs. fear mongers)
Andrea Watson’s 40 Hour Teacher Work Week Club
Jodi Rice’s episode where we talk about “done is better than perfect”
The episode where I mull over whether to send my child to JK with my wife (and Chris McKenna shows up here too)

 

31. Should I send my child to JK?

Schools are set to open in a few weeks, and the plans are not looking promising. Today on the show I talk to my wife and three other people to figure out this new world of school and what it means for my family’s very specific situation.

With this more personal episode, I talk to my wife and three other wonderfully intelligent humans, Leila Makhani, Diane Brown, and Chris McKenna, to sort out my very privileged dilemma of whether I should send my 4 year old to school in the midst of this global pandemic with–shall we say–a less than inspiring back to school plan.

This is not an easy question and the answers are obviously not easy also. I’m curious what you plans are or how you are arriving at your decision. Leave your comments below and let’s discuss what this back to school looks like for you!

30. Pedagogy for a pandemic with Les McBeth, Adam Caplan, Garth Nichols, and Lara Jensen

Here we are on Tuesday March 17th and everything is different. 

 

We have all found ourselves in a new normal and I feel pretty confident in knowing that we are all united in how COVID-19 is shaping our realities. Some of you haven’t left your houses, some of your children are now at home with you, some of your schools have shut down indefinitely. And with this brings up many questions. 

 

Before all of this started to happen, I had taken a little hiatus from the podcast. I’m lucky that this isn’t my full time job and if I step back from this lil’ hobby, it doesn’t have a significant impact. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and finishing up the end of my winter term focusing solely on my students and my family felt like the best / most sane use of my dwindling energy. 

 

And then schools in Ontario were closed–as far as we know until April 6th–and many of our administrations have announced some plan for online or distance learning to help our population practice social distancing. 

 

The time for podcasting and sharing resources has never been more important. So I dusted off the microphone and sent a call out to a few of the smartest educators I know to talk about best practices in online learning.

 

Click the Soundcloud file to hear the whole episode.

 

Show Links Coming Soon!