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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers

Author: Angela Watson

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Truth for Teachers is designed to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators and get you energized for the week ahead.
223 Episodes
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In a time where there’s so much to be sad or upset about, we have the power to choose thoughts that feel better.  And, we can actively look for evidence that those thoughts are true and that good things are happening. In this article and podcast episode of Truth for Teachers, I'll share a couple of examples of how this has worked in my own life and work, and how it might be useful for you, too. I’ll also outline 4 specific steps you can take to choose a better-feeling thought about something that’s bothering you right now, whether it’s personally or professionally.  Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
investing in our own news literacy is one of the best things we can do for kids. But with so much disinformation, how can we as educators ensure what we're finding and sharing is accurate?  Join me as I talk with Peter Adams. He's the head of the education team of the News Literacy Project, a national education nonprofit offering nonpartisan programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the digital age. We'll begin by talking about why information (and misinformation) is more prevalent. Peter gives a brief overview of how extremists of all kinds have become better networked and influential, and how hate groups and conspiracy theorists have leveraged our polarization to promote their own agendas. Then we discuss: How we can identify point-of-view or propaganda in our news sources Why objectivity does not mean staying neutral What's actually news-worthy ("How come the media isn't talking about this?") The difference between a conspiracy and conspiracy theory Intellectual humility and not demonizing everyone on "the other side" Looking for disconfirming evidence of our beliefs Having open, offline conversations with people who think differently What it means to "do your own research" Overcoming cynicism and relentlessly pursuing truth How social media and search engine algorithms shape our thinking about what's true How educators can ensure they're relying on and sharing accurate info Why investing in our own news literacy as educators is one of the best things we can do for kids For ongoing support in these areas, you can sign up for The Sift, a free weekly newsletter for educators distributed by NewsLit.org. It's a rundown of what happened the week before that you can use in the classroom to teach news literacy. It includes a distillation of the most news-literacy-relevant pieces of news and information that were published the previous week to help educators stay informed. It also includes a Viral Rumor Rundown of about four or five viral rumors that circulated the week before, with ideas for discussion, classroom activities, and links to resources. NewsLit also offers a free e-learning platform called The Checkology Virtual Classroom, with 14 lessons to help teach students about many of the topics you'll learn about in my interview with Peter, including how to understand conspiracy theories. Checkology is primarily aimed at middle school and high school grades, but some teachers in upper elementary adapt the lessons and folks in higher ed have utilized them, as well. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Extending grace shouldn’t be a one way street. And yet, many educators feel like they are constantly told to accommodate students and families while they themselves are held to rigid, unrealistic standards. When you start to feel the resentment and frustration building, here are 3 shifts that can help: Instead of giving grace, think of giving people space to be themselves. Rather than trying to fit people into narrow boxes, expand the space you offer so folks are free to be inconsistent in how they think, feel, and behave. It's natural to have good days and bad ones, low moods and high moods. Allowing students and families space to move back and forth between these states of being can ease your stress and resentment. Stop making your work look effortless, and invite folks into the process. Teachers in general — and women especially — are conditioned to make everything we do look easy and natural. But this often backfires because it causes people to expect even more of us. Let families and students peek behind the scenes so they can see not only your hard work, but also your humanity. Say “thank you” instead of apologizing. Set a class culture of thanking one other for bearing with each other’s faults, and giving each other space to be your full selves. Apologies are necessary when someone's been hurtful or offensive, but making minor mistakes is part of being human, and not necessarily something to feel sorry for. Gratitude is a more positive, uplifting emotion that people feel good about participating in, so substitute thankfulness for apologies whenever possible. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Need practical tips for doing “fewer things better” in a remote/hybrid setting? Check out this episode with Dr. Catlin Tucker. We’ll talk about simplifying assessment, virtual station rotations, student engagement, and more. We’ll also discuss specific steps teachers can take to advocate for more realistic expectations for themselves and their students. Check out the blog post/transcript with links to my favorite resources from Catlin here. You can also join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes. Learn more about Catlin here: https://catlintucker.com Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Catlin_Tucker Check out Catlin's blended learning courses here: https://catlintucker.teachable.com/?affcode=685936_arhw3kaz  
The spring and summer of 2020 were some of the darkest times of my life, both personally and professionally. In this episode, I want to offer a bit more of myself and my journey with you: My struggle with depression and anxiety Professional burnout and lack of motivation COVID and the disillusionment of offering solutions for schools when there aren’t any good ones Where my train metaphorically derailed and I lost sight of the destination The choice to cut out non-essential obligations and go offline in December The response (and pushback) to my sabbatical announcement Why I’ve never seen stepping away from work as a weakness (this wasn't the first or last time) How I used my time offline in December Why the sabbatical was not a cure-all, and coming back was harder than anticipated The path back: finding the spark of inspiration and nurturing it into a roaring flame Thank you for allowing me these weeks to heal, breathe, regroup, and clarify my vision for the year ahead. Thank you for your messages, and for encouraging me even though I did not have the strength to encourage you. Thank you for believing in me and my work. I may have taken a pause, but this work does not end. The next phase of our journey together is now underway. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
For 2021, I want to have a single-minded focus on the destination ahead. A train can’t go in multiple directions at once. So, what is my mission? My contribution? What is the thing I can be doing right now in the world to make it a better place? I want to decide that and get on board the train. I’ve wasted far too much time hanging around the station, arguing with naysayers and trying to persuade people (who don’t want to be persuaded) that they should come on board. I believe this moment in time is meant for us to map out the next stop, holler out “all aboard,” and start moving down the tracks…regardless of how many people are with us. Other folks can always hop on at a later stop if they want, or catch the next train. They can also spend the rest of their lives grumbling at the station. They can even board a train heading in the opposite direction. Don’t let any of their choices stop YOU from where you need to go.   Get really clear on the destination you want to head toward. Where are you trying to take your students? Your family? Your personal relationships? Your community? Yourself? And pull that train out of the station. 
 Start the journey and move forward boldly. Now is the time. Listen in as we kick off Season 13 of the podcast, and get inspired! Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
This is a deeply personal podcast episode, so if you’re new here, I encourage you to revisit previous eps that are probably going to be more helpful and along the lines of what you’re hoping to get. This one is all over the map: part inspirational, part confessional, part political, part visionary. I've decided to end the podcast early, for reasons that will be apparent as I share what’s on my heart here. I will not be back with another episode until at least January 2021. In the meanwhile: Find the small good things. Take the next right steps. Focus on who you want to become through the remainder of this pandemic. What kind of person will you be on the other side of these challenging times? What kind of educators do we want to be? What kind of nation do we want to be? Vote accordingly. Sending you all love, support, and solidarity until next time. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
What happens when you’re asked to follow bad pedagogy or teach topics that seem irrelevant for kids? You can do exactly as you’re told...or you can quietly subvert the system, and find ways to do what’s best for kids. Listen in as Dr. Robyn Jackson and I talk about ways that we’ve done this in our teaching practice, and how we’ve supported other teachers in doing the same. We speak the quiet part out loud in this episode: the best teachers don’t just follow directives without question — they’re NOT doing everything they’re told, because a lot of what they’re told to do isn’t good for kids. You don’t have to settle for just “getting through” boring curriculum and test prep. You can be actively looking for ways to get yourself excited about what/how you need to teach and make the learning meaningful for kids so they’re more engaged, too. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
I decided to scrap the topic I had planned for this week and speak to the teachers who feel like they’re drowning. I know what's expected right now of many kids, families, and teachers is not humanly possible on a long-term basis. And in this episode, I want to counter the system-wide gaslighting that is occurring. What many (most?) of you are being asked to do right now is NOT, in fact, reasonable ... and the solution is not for you to simply work harder. We are still in a pandemic. This is still crisis distance learning. This is emergency hybrid teaching. Regardless of how much districts want to pretend we can replicate normal, we cannot. Resist the pressure to perform at optimal levels when we are not working in optimal conditions. Pushing yourself to work harder when your body's calling for rest will not help you get ahead. That approach is part of the old paradigm which has to fall away and be replaced with a way of working, teaching, and learning that is humanized and centered on well-being rather than accomplishment. You deserve grace and compassion. Give those things to yourself when no one is giving it to you. Rest tonight. Rest this weekend. Rest is necessary for your survival and you don't need to apologize for it. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
“We didn't forget how to be teachers. It’s the same passion, engagement, and relationships — you already know how to do that. What we have to learn is a few tech tools, so that we can accomplish the teaching moves that we want, but we did not forget how to teach ... Human beings know how to develop relationships, and sometimes they develop from a distance.” Listen as I talk with Doug Fisher (of Fisher & Frey) about the most important ideas from their new book with John Hattie called “The Distance Learning Playbook: K-12 Teaching For Engagement and Impact in Any Setting.” The book is based on the classroom experiences of a diverse group of more than 70 teachers this past spring. I ask Doug to sum up their most important takeaways, the things that surprised him, and the best practical ideas that came out of these teachers’ experiences. We talk extensively about the best ways to get kids to show up to distance learning and complete their work, as well. Doug shares specific examples, and says, “When you move to higher levels of engagement — where kids drive the learning, where they set their goals, they monitor their progress, they reflect on what they've been learning — that’s when we see them show up and participate.” If you need to hear a positive outlook and some inspiration about distance/hybrid learning right now, I think you’ll really enjoy this conversation: “I did not sign up to be this distance teacher. But right now our kids need us. We're still a school. We still have a job to do. Together, we will get through this pandemic and we will be better, as a result, when we come back.” Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
If you're frustrated with kids who don't seem to be putting forth any effort, this episode can help you shift your mindset and think about the problem in new ways. We’ll examine 3 limiting beliefs that are a very common part of many people’s worldview, and look for ways to choose perspectives that are more constructive and helpful. When you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING, sometimes the missing piece is to change the way we think about the problem...and this episode can help you choose thoughts that serve you (and your students) better. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
When teaching from a distance — either 6 feet away or remotely — it can feel challenging to get to know your students well. "The top thing we can do with overwhelm is return to our strength, return to our knowledge, return to our experience. Every teacher in the world knows ways of connecting with students and humanizing a classroom. These things don't perfectly translate to a classroom with social distance or an online learning space...but they do transfer." -Dave Stuart, Jr. Relationships aren’t EVERYTHING, but they ARE “one of the most valuable currencies” in the classroom, according to Dave Stuart Jr. Listen in as we talk about practical ways you can make sure your students feel known, valued, respected, and safe. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Sometimes what you’re able to give is not sufficient. It’s frustrating when you know what you’re capable of under optimal circumstances, but also know you’re not working with optimal circumstances or anything close to it. So the only options are to try to single-handedly compensate for all the adverse circumstances and perform at a superhuman level every day, or adjust our expectations. In this episode, I’ll share about choosing kinder, gentler self-talk, and showing ourselves grace so we can extend that grace to others. I’ll also share a guiding question that I’ve been thinking about since March: Who do I want to be on the other side of this pandemic? What kind of person do I want this experience to be shaping me into? This episode will help you let go of the “shoulds” and regrets about 2020, and celebrate the small wins instead of focusing on all the things we haven’t been able to do. There is a great peace that comes with focusing on who you are becoming instead of what you are able to do. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Breakout rooms are transforming how we do one-on-one conferencing and small group work. There are so many things we CAN’T do right with kids, so in this episode, I’m exploring the new opportunities for differentiation which may not have been possible in pre-pandemic teaching. You’ll hear from a diverse group of 5 teachers from around the world who each share a quick summary of how they differentiated this past spring, and how they’ll build on that experience this school year. If you’re looking for manageable, sustainable ways to meet kids’ individual needs in remote or hybrid learning, you’ll find lots of creative structures here. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
When the learning curve is overwhelming (especially with technology), these 5 guiding principles can help: Start with the outcome you want to achieve, and choose the best tool accordingly (rather than vice versa). Approach technology as a tool to support learning, not the focus of the learning itself. Use tech to enhance, not dominate, what you’re already doing. Use what you love and don’t abandon what works for the next shiny new thing. Be willing to learn through experimentation rather than a formal training. Listen in on this encouraging, motivating episode that reminds you how to shift focus away from the overwhelming array of options and things you DON’T know how to do, and recenter on what you DO know. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Adapting a flexible, resilient pedagogy will allow us to roll with any changes that might come, and will carry us through to post-pandemic teaching, as well. The goal? To emerge from this school year with more equitable, sustainable, and relevant ways of teaching and learning. So what exactly does flexible resilience pedagogy look like in practice? I’ll share some tips to help you plan ONE set of activities for every lesson, and use them for face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction. I’ll also share 11 practical strategies to help you find a manageable, sustainable approach to planning instruction this year, no matter what changes might come in your teaching context. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
In our rush to figure out logistics, we can’t forget that who we ARE impacts how we teach more than anything else. Unpacking our own identity and the “why” we bring to the classroom can be a grounding force that holds us steady through change. Listen in as I have a laid-back yet energizing conversation with Tanesha Forman, a middle school teacher entering her 15th year in the classroom. She shares how her daily classroom work is a reflection of her own learning, identity, and growth, and how she uses that self-reflection to support students in being fully seen and known in her classroom. Tanesha also shares how she’s planning for both curriculum and socio-emotional learning in the coming school year through a reflective, anti-bias/anti-racist lens. We talk about disrupting power structures, and Tanesha shares her “freedom dream” in which kids and teachers can fully be themselves in school. If you want to surround yourself right now with the inspiration of folks who are reimagining schools through their daily work, this episode is a must-listen. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
Whether you’re with kids face-to-face daily or a few days a week or totally online, I think it’s fair to say that your lessons for back-to-school this year are not going to be what you wish they could be. You probably won't be able to do what you did in previous school years. The sooner you can accept that, the easier it will be to plan because you won’t be spending so much energy shoehorning in activities that just aren’t going to work. The sooner you can accept that the start of this school year is not going to be optimal for you or your students, the easier it will be to see things in a really clear-headed way and find the best possible solutions. In this epsiode, I'll share the WHY and HOW for keeping your lesson plans simple for the first couple of weeks. As you get more answers from your district about what's expected, you'll be able to do build in more activities and experiences for kids. But, you don't have to have it all figured out before the first day of school. Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion or, join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about where I personally can add the most value, and how I can offer support and resources in the way I do best. I’m going to share part of my manifesto here with you. These are my beliefs and goals that will shape the work I do around the changes coming this fall to our schools. You will see these perspectives interwoven into every resource from me this coming school year — emails, blog posts, podcast eps, social media posts, 40 Hour Workweek resources, and so on. Specifically, I'll share: The importance of time to rest and regroup before preparing lessons for the coming year Why you shouldn't wait for your district to finalize plans before you speak up about your needs How to seek out the overlap between what's best for teachers and what's best for kids How radical acceptance can prepare you to create much-needed change in our schools Ways a flexible, resilient pedagogy can simplify your workload and help you support students more effectively Why I believe the work we're doing this school year will be some of the most important of our careers 5 core beliefs that will guide the work I do this coming school year, and the ways I'll offer support Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned. Join our podcast Facebook group here to connect with other teachers and discuss the Truth for Teachers' podcast episodes. I'll be back with the first episode of season 12 of the podcast on August 2nd. 
  If you've been feeling like you can't make a difference right now, listen in for how you can stand up for racial justice and create positive change. I'll share why I am hopeful that uprising we're experiencing as a nation is leading us toward racial healing and equality, and what YOU can do to help. You have the power to uncover and root out discriminatory practices in your classroom, school, and district. There are actionable steps you can take starting today to do an informal "equity audit." The goal is to name and interrupt patterns of bias + racism in the way we do school, and it's one of the most impactful choices you can make as an educator who wants to create a better world for our kids. Click here for links to the transcript and all resources mentioned: https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/truth-for-teachers-podcast/a-message-of-hope-call-to-action-for-justice/  
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Comments (18)

April Payne

ok 10min into this episode and sadly I will be unsubscribing. just because people see reality and think for themselves doesn't mean they are flaunting or not having feelings. disgusting Angela. this is very disappointing

Oct 19th
Reply

April Payne

correction: people are not rising their lives going to work in the way you meant it 🤦‍♀️

Oct 19th
Reply

K D

I really needed to hear this.

Sep 11th
Reply

K D

powerful content. actionable advice for anti-racist educators. love this.

Jun 6th
Reply (1)

K D

This podcast is GOLd for me as a teacher! Everything is timely- especially during the pandemic ! she really cares about making the shows worthwhile for teachers. Big love to Ms Watson!

May 31st
Reply

April Payne

I have a free meal prep support group too https://forms.gle/Q3LUVKK87xsPb4bV9

Mar 8th
Reply

April Payne

link isnt working?

Mar 1st
Reply

Brad Camroux

this is really important for pre-service teachers and first year teachers.

Jan 26th
Reply

LIAM Clohosey

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Dec 5th
Reply

LIAM Clohosey

ppl v

Dec 5th
Reply

Soraya

Nice pod

Aug 9th
Reply

Desy Lepar

This is really what I need to hear. Thank you so much.

Nov 11th
Reply

Gailan Qadir

Great

Mar 25th
Reply

Gailan Qadir

Great

Mar 25th
Reply

Maria Cristina Bravo Molina

Thank You!! I realy like your words

Mar 14th
Reply

Maria Cristina Bravo Molina

thank You for share

Mar 4th
Reply

Me

THIS!!! Thank you so, so much.

Jan 17th
Reply
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