Top Podcasts for Educators

Podcasts are a great way to work on your professional development, stay in touch with current news and trends, and come up with creative ideas for your classroom. Nearly every profession and hobby have a few podcasts about the industry and education is no exception. If you have spare time, such as during a commute, while grading papers, or when you’re cooking dinner, listening to a podcast about how to be a better educator can greatly benefit you. While there are quite a few education podcasts out there, here are some of the top ones.

Free Teaching PD

This podcast features speakers who are leaders in the education industry and each week has a different speaker. They discuss the latest ideas and innovations in teaching and help you work on your own creativity. After listening to this podcast, you’ll feel inspired to try your own hand at coming up with some great ideas to enhance education.

Talks With Teachers

Brian Sztabnik, a former English teacher and blogger, hosts this podcast. The podcast features educators who feel passionate about their profession and wish to discuss their own classrooms. A theme for 2016 was focusing on educators who also run their own blogs and what it’s like being a teacher who regularly blogs. The speakers are all from different areas and have varied work experience, so it’s always interesting to hear their insights into education.

Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers

This podcast focuses specifically on the issue of burnout with teachers and how it can be avoided. Watson’s podcast provides a way for stressed teachers to feel understood and realize that lots of other people feel the same way they do. The podcast also offers possible solutions to issues that teachers may face in the classroom.

The Cult of Pedagogy

In this podcast, Jennifer Gonzalez features not just educators, but also parents, administrators, and students who discuss teaching and the classroom. The podcast covers a wide range of topics, from technology use in the classroom to the best ways to manage your classroom. If something is related to education, this podcast has or will feature it.

Every Classroom Matters

Vicki Davis, an incredibly influential educator, runs this podcast and focuses on incorporating technology into the classrooms and creating stronger relationships with students. Her podcast also covers how to feature STEM in the classroom more, as well as teaching students the basics of coding. She’s been ranked as a top teacher, so this podcast is definitely worth listening to.

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How Teachers Can Create a Work-Life Balance

All too often, teachers experience burnout. Teaching can be an incredibly stressful job, putting in long hours and working with dozens of students each day. Teachers also often struggle with keeping work separate from home, because they need to grade homework and prepare lesson plans, which is difficult to find time for during normal workday hours. The issue is further complicated for teachers who are also coaches or advise extracurricular activities. These teachers frequently stay after regular hours to run practices or meetings and often make themselves available to students at all hours and on the weekends. With so many responsibilities, how can teachers find a stable work-life balance?

Learn to say “no”

First off, you need to learn to prioritize as an educator. If you already have too much to do and are stressed, you don’t need to take on the role as an advisor for another student group. It’s important to connect with your students and support them, but you won’t be any help if you take time off or leave teaching entirely due to burnout. Even if your supervisor asks you to take charge of something, unless it’s a vital responsibility, do not be afraid to turn it down and focus on keeping a healthy balance between your personal life and work.

Keep yourself healthy

One of the biggest issues with burnout is that teachers become exhausted from working too much. Make sure you’re taking the time to de-stress and getting plenty of sleep. Fit some time to exercise into each day and also make sure you’re eating healthy. Cut back on caffeine and pack yourself nutritious lunches. Having a balanced diet, exercise, and enough rest will give you extra energy.

Here’s a website with great blogs about staying healthy and reducing your workload as an educator.

Create a support system

You work with plenty of other teachers who understand exactly what you’re going through. Rely on them as a support system. You can vent to them about difficult students and ask their advice on how to manage a work-life balance and any tips they might have about easing your workload. You also have friends and family outside of work who care about you and can help you de-stress. If you have a roommate or spouse, ask them for their help and support as well, especially with duties around the house. Working as a team will make finding balance much easier.

Don’t bring work home

While this step may be hard, there are ways to do it. Lots of teachers with families and busy lives outside of work have managed to avoid taking their work home. By learning to say no and prioritizing their responsibilities, many teachers do not have work to do outside of the usual workday hours. Improve your organization and time management skills and eventually, you’ll be able to avoid bringing work home, so you can create an even better work-life balance.

How to Keep Students Motivated During Winter

Winter is a particularly difficult time to keep students motivated. After the holidays, the colder months of January and February set in and there’s no break in sight until sometime in spring. It’s hard to get students to focus at this time of year, especially when trying to prepare them for state tests and finals in their classes. Instead of stressing out over your students’ lack of desire to learn, try these tips to keep them motivated in the upcoming months!

Remain Positive

Even though you may not feel like coming into work every day, it’s important that you remain upbeat for the students who you’ll be teaching. Show them a positive attitude and act excited about what you’re talking about, but you can also acknowledge that you know it’s a tough time of year to focus on learning. Give them positive reinforcement when they do something well and try to make them feel good about their work.

Give Rewards

By occasionally rewarding your students, you’ll motivate them to continue working and doing a good job in their studies. Maybe offer candy or a small prize for reaching certain goals. You can also give them a movie day or a specific amount of time where they can talk and hang out instead of focusing on an actual lesson. Rewarding students gives them a much-needed break.

Watch Films

Students find it much easier to spend time looking at a screen and visually absorbing information instead of having to listen to their teacher lecture. Most children can recount endless amounts of information and quotes from their favorite movies or television shows, so you know those skills are developed. Incorporate educational documentaries into your lessons and students will learn more and feel more at ease. Tailoring your lesson plans to the season will help you combat the lack of motivation in students.

Let Them Decide

When students have the opportunity to be hands-on with their own learning, they’ll be more invested in the subject. You can give students a list of topics that need to be covered during the next few weeks and let them choose in which order they want to learn about them. Provide opportunities for them to be involved in their own learning – they’ll be thankful for it and more motivated.

Change it up!

Some variety is always a good thing because students’ brains will immediately recognize the change and register it. Switch around the desk arrangement or redecorate the classroom. Give students something different and they’ll feel as though it’s an entirely new experience, not the same class they’ve been in for the last few months. Providing students with variation will prevent them from feeling bored and helps them give their attention to your teaching.

Technology Resources to Use With Students

Technology has become more prevalent in our world than ever before. Now, nearly every person has a smartphone and understands how to use a computer. This flourishing of technology has been seen in schools as well. Most students have personal cell phones and can navigate a school computer with ease. It’s a common experience for teachers to struggle with trying to get students to pay attention in class instead of to their smartphones. Instead of forbidding the use of technology in the classroom, here are some great resources teachers can use that combine technology and learning.

Figment

This site offers students a chance to publish their own writing of any kind and then receive feedback from other students. They can also comment on and discuss others’ writing that’s posted on the site, though it’s important to note that not all the content is appropriate for school or all ages, so you might want to check it out yourself before using the site. There are all types of writing on this site, so you may want to encourage young writers in your class to check it out.

Glogster

Students can create their own interactive posters on any topic and customize them as they see fit on this site. It can be used online as well as with a mobile app. Your students can easily add text, links, audio, video, and images to their Glogster and play around with the many features the site offers. It gives them a chance to be creative, while also creating an educational tool for a presentation or project.

CNN Student News

CNN offers informative news clips that cover current events and are only ten minutes long. You can start the day with watching the daily clip with your students and then have discussions about the events or ask a few questions about what they learned.

Free Rice

This website is a fantastic way for students to review different topics and also help out a good cause. FreeRice.com donates 10 grains of rice to the hungry for every answer you get correct when using the site. And yes, it’s legit. You can choose from math, humanities, English, chemistry, geography, sciences, and even various languages. It’s a great way to give students some downtime while also having them work on something relevant to class, but also fun. You might want to offer some kind of prize to the student who has the highest amount of rice at the end of the week or month.

DIY

Students can learn more about topics they’re interested in and also discover new passions through this site. It allows them to complete challenges and earn badges and can also be connected to an adult account so a students’ parents and teacher can follow their progress. The environment is completely safe and gives students the chance to learn more about themselves and what they want to do in the future. After students complete a challenge, you can have them create a tutorial or short presentation on what they learned.

Check out this list for even more technology resources for your classroom.

EdTech Companies You Need to Know

Education technology is a rapidly expanding market that many entrepreneurs have flocked to. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We are putting iPads in classrooms and offering hybrid learning courses. Those things on their own don’t revolutionize education. With the help of some innovative companies, we are doing things we never thought possible. The list below highlights a few of the companies you should be in the know about.

Udemy

Udemy is an online marketplace for users to buy and sell classes. The classes are all tangible skills like app development, learning the office suite, and learning to program. The classes fall within a range of about $20 and up to $100. For those thinking about sharing their expertise, there’s serious money to be had. Some courses have enrolled over 230,000 individuals. That’s some serious cash.

Coursera

Coursera is similar to Udemy in the fact that it provides online classes. That’s just about the only similarity. Coursera’s classes are real college courses and they are totally free. Coursera helped design and offers certifications from the top schools in the nation. This type of platform us unparalleled. Free education at your fingertips – 24/7.

Voxy

Voxy is a customizable, english language learning tool. As a user, you are able to set specific goals and learn skills relevant to your individual needs. Voxy operates off of language acquisition science, but also integrates video conferences and other resources to enhance the user experience.

Kramer

Kramer offers a wireless system to facilitate real-time collaboration between different groups of students on any device. The platform is flexible enough that a single classroom can share on centralized monitor or break into smaller groups using multiple devices. Teacher’s particularly love it because of it’s flexibility and the integration of a central control panel. From it, the teacher can supervise, send different content to different groups, and participate in the lesson. The possibilities are endless!

Story2

Story2 is a comprehensive, online online college essay-writing tool. It’s the first of it’s kind and is helping students all over the country prepare. Story2 tries to take all the pressure out of the equation by providing an interactive writing tool. Story2 helps students step by step through the process of identifying and perfecting their personal story.

ExecOnline

ExecOnline came about due to partnerships with prestigious business schools. The online platform uses university curricula, puts it online, and makes continued professional development available to corporate employees. Corporations have flocked to use the service because it put the education tools in front of employees without shipping them out of the office for days at a time.

6 Qualities of Great Community Leaders

Community leaders who have the potential to make change require a certain set of skills in order to reach their communities’ objectives. A community leader’s job is a difficult one and without strong leadership qualities, it can make the job that much harder. The list below highlights a few of the more prominent skills needed to enact change, bring people together, and ultimately make changes for the greater good.

Self Awareness

Possessing the ability to know yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses, provides you with an understanding of how to lead yourself and others. Knowing yourself also helps you identify when you need to ask for help and where you can improve. Being self aware allows you to take on projects you know you can handle and provide consistent and powerful leadership.

Honesty & Integrity

Honesty and integrity play an enormous part in effective leadership. If you are not honest or operate with integrity, people are going to notice and no longer follow your lead. As a leader, you want to be an exemplary member of the team. Trust from the community you’re serving and the members of the community standing with you will gain traction for your initiatives.

Teamwork

Teamwork should go without saying, but it can be easy to get bogged down with delegating work and leading from above. Having the ability to step back and see when you are getting too bogged down in leadership “busy work” is vital. You will need to work alongside and in the trenches with those who are following you. Teamwork pride grows comradery and general morale.

Forward Thinker

Forward thinking is another key characteristic of an effective community for a few reasons. Thinking ahead is helpful to mitigate future issues and setbacks. Additionally, as a community leader you are not looking to make temporary changes. You need to think years ahead to continue to help the community for the long haul.

Interpersonal Skills

To be an effective leader you need to be an effective communicator. You will have to give direction and guidance to the people following your lead. Conversely, you will be called to communicate the needs and wants of a community to people that have the power to set funding or laws in motion. Interpersonal skills also show your strength in collaborating with other to achieve common goals.

Ability to Organize a Group

As a community leader, you are not going to be able to do everything yourself. You are going to have to organize a talented group of likeminded people together. Rallying the troops for change can be a daunting task, but possessing the skill to excite potential help will ultimately make you and the cause you are fighting for successful.

How to Fight Brain Drain

Now that the summer is upon us and students are not longer in our classes everyday, teacher’s come the new school year are facing their worst nightmare – brain drain. What’s brain drain you ask? It’s the phenomenon that occurs when students go the whole summer without honing their skills or keeping fresh when they aren’t in school. How can parents combat brain drain to ensure their kids are ready to go when the summer is over? Below are some tips and suggestions for keeping the hot summer heat from turning our students’ brains to mush:

Read

Students should be reading as much as possible in the summer. The beauty of summer vacation is that they don’t have to read what they are told to! Your children can explore and read anything they desire! Encourage and challenge your children to read books that excited them and push their reading level. Reading before bed can quickly become something your children look forward to with the right book.

Summer Camp/Programs

Enrolling your children in summer camps or summer programs will give them an opportunity to continue learning in a fun environment! Almost all summer camps have an educational component and curriculum to help your child continue to learn. Bonus: Camp is fun, so your kids won’t even feel like they are being “forced” to learn!

Start a Journal

Encourage your child to keep a journal. They can use their journal to log thoughts for the day, write poetry, or come up with new stories. There are really no boundaries to keeping a journal other than having fun and getting your ideas on paper! By consistently writing, your children will be keeping up their writing chops and will be prepared for the upcoming school year.

Take Educational Trips

Take a trip to the local library or museum. Both of these options require little money, but have a huge potential for learning opportunities. In a museum, your kids will get to interact and learn about art up close and personal. Museums expand the mind and spark creativity. Your children will thank you for a fun trip, especially on a rainy summer day!

Summer learning is an important part of your children’s development and prevents them from falling behind in the coming school year. By giving your children the opportunity to learn and keep their minds active during the summer, you will be giving them an advantage in school as well.