This post marks the 100th podcast episode for the Shared Teaching Podcast. Today I thought I’d have my daughter interview me about my top 10 lessons in teaching and podcasting.
What is your favorite podcast episode?
I have several favorites but one of my top episodes is episode 68 when I got the chance to sit down and speak with Jamie Sears about her new book, How to Love Teaching Again.
I’ve followed Jamie for years and even purchased items from her TpT store, the Not So Wimpy Teacher so I was a little starstruck when speaking with her. It was such a fun episode to record and I really appreciated getting to speak with Jamie and help share her message to combat teacher burnout.
What have you learned about yourself through this podcast?
Through starting this podcast, I’ve learned it takes a lot more hard work to keep it going than I originally thought. I started the Shared Teaching Podcast during COVID and believed it would be easier to keep up with than doing a regular blog. I was wrong because I hadn’t factored in the recording and editing process.
What is your favorite topic to teach?
I talk about this a lot on the podcast so most regular listeners will already know the answer. I love, love to teach writing. I also love to talk about teaching writing. Since I was a little girl I have enjoyed writing stories and so it was an easy transition for me to bring that into the classroom.
I don’t think I’d love to teach writing as much as I do if I hadn’t also been obsessed as a young girl with learning about the craft of writing. I was a regular subscriber to Writer’s Digest for many years and still have a collection of my favorite of these magazines. There is a lot that goes into writing well and it’s not easy to be able to help students learn to write. I credit the reading of these articles for showing me how.
What is your favorite TpT product you have made?
My favorite TpT product would have to be my Sight Word Spelling Program. Although it isn’t a big seller, I’ve used it in my own classroom for many years to easily differentiate sight words for my students.
The Sight Word Spelling Program was the response to a big problem I had in my first grade classroom. I noticed all my students were at different stages with their sight words and it seemed pointless to teach the same weekly words to the class when many were not needing those group of words.
I kept asking myself how can I make this easier? The answer became to prerecord the spelling tests and assign specific groups of words to the students that needed them. This product took me many hours and a couple of years to learn how to put it altogether for sale so I’m quite fond of it.
How does podcasting help you with teaching?
Being a podcaster helps me to look at teaching through the lens of hundreds of other educators. Most of the time, teachers have the same complaints or struggles with teaching and every year there are common themes. For instance, parent teacher conferences are coming up soon so I just released episode 99 on how I structure my student led conferences.
I use what is happening in schools and in my classroom to decide on topics for my podcasting. I also like to reflect on what has worked well for me in teaching that I can share with my listeners. I think teaching helps me more with podcasting than podcasting helping me with teaching.
What is your most important lesson about teaching?
Since having my own child, my viewpoint about teaching has shifted. Before children, I thought more about the content I was teaching and hitting the standards. Although this is incredibly important and the bulk of our jobs as teachers, to me it’s now also about relationships.
When you have strong relationships with your colleagues and in your classroom among your students, it makes a huge difference in your outlook. Some of my best and fondest teaching moments were when I worked in a school where everyone enjoyed being there. We were colleagues and friends.
My daughter has shown me how much relationships matter from a student’s point of view. When she doesn’t feel heard or accepted, she doesn’t enjoy going to school. Her attitude changes and it’s reflected in her schoolwork.
What has surprised you the most about podcasting?
I think how much I’ve enjoyed interviewing guests has been the most surprising to me. When I first graduated high school I wanted to enter broadcast journalism but then switched my major early on. I feel podcasting has brought me back to the parts about journalism that appealed to me.
I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and I love hearing from other people’s perspectives. When it’s a topic I really enjoy, then the conversation is really enjoyable. I can’t wait to see what guests I’ll have in the future.
What has surprised you the most about teaching?
Starting into my fifteenth year of teaching, I’m surprised with how it is getting more and more challenging each year. When I student taught, I remember my mentor teacher knowing exactly what she was teaching for the entire year and having all her photocopies for the year already done at the beginning of the school year. She would just open her cabinet and tell me to find the week’s lessons.
It really gave me a false reality about what teaching would be like after several years. Almost every year I have taught, part of the curriculum has changed. Changing districts and schools also meant there were adjustments. Changes at these levels makes it impossible to keep things consistent in your classroom. Of course we want to adapt lessons for students’ levels so it’s not good practice to keep things the same year to year but I never realized that the workload would increase the way it has.
What lessons did teaching abroad teach you?
There were so many lessons I learned abroad that I would have to have an hour long episode just to answer. I think the main things I learned about teaching abroad weren’t really about teaching.
One of the surprising lessons I learned was how much bias there is towards the Middle East. I intellectually knew that, especially in the years since 9-11, but experiencing it was very different.
There was a huge disconnect in how many Middle Easterners loved America and wanted to learn about our culture versus when I came back to the States for visits and were bombarded about questions concerning the people and my safety. I actually felt safer there than I do in my own country.
Living there for many years taught me a lot about other countries and how similar we all are at heart. I loved having the opportunity to travel to many countries and this is the lesson I kept coming back to with each new country I discovered.
What is the biggest lesson learned about teaching and podcasting?
I think the biggest lesson I have learned in 100 episodes is that I am not too small of a business to have a successful podcast. Sometimes it is too easy to start comparing myself to other podcasters in the education space and look at their instagram follower numbers.
After 100 episodes and almost 10,000 downloads I have learned that what I have to say is resonating with others. Getting an email or a review on my podcast is such a great reminder that there are other teachers out there that are enjoying what I have to say. Best of all, this podcast is helping more teachers (and ultimately their students) than I can reach in my own classroom.
Thank you for being a listener (or reader) and I can’t wait to see what the next 100 episodes brings!