Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up!

"Don't You Trust Me?" with Nancy Erwin

An episode of Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up!

By Make Them Master It
Every teacher hits a low point. Many recover. Some don't.

Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! is a show that brings you stories of how some of today's best teachers have gone from surviving to thriving in one of the toughest jobs there is. Jeffery E. Frieden is on a mission to connect teachers so that we can increase our impact and WIN in the classroom!

Join us as we draw encouragement from great teachers who have pushed past the lowest points in their career and found that teaching really can be the job of their dreams.

Email and share your story.
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"Am I Allowed to Have a Life?" with Dave Stuart Jr.
Dear Teacher, Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have a roster full of students who are at differing levels of ability. And it’s your job to get ALL of them to an acceptable level of proficiency. As the year unfolds, to do this, you realize that you need to stay at work a little later, take home a few more assignments to grade, get up just a little earlier in the morning to be in the classroom for a few more minutes to get it all done. Tired, and leaving your classroom after the sun has set for the third day in a row, in a flash of sudden anger, you say, “Am I allowed to have a life!?” In this episode, you will hear from teacher, content creator, and professional developer, Dave Stuart Jr. Several years ago, Dave started a blog that turned into a website, which has been turned into a couple of books, and eventually leading to the development of a couple of online courses. Believe it or not, a few years into the job, Dave actually quit teaching! For many of us, this is hard to believe. But after you hear his story, you will get a clearer picture of the why behind Dave's writing, speaking, and professional development workshops. You will hear about how Dave figured out how to set limits on himself, two teacher archetypes to avoid, and why you should write an Everest Statement right now. You can reach Dave in the following ways: Website: Twitter: @davestuartjr To hear more stories like Andy’s, subscribe to the Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up!podcast. Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | If you are currently working in education and have ever thought about leaving, or right now, you’re a classroom teacher looking for the nearest exit, I want to hear your story. Please, find me at… Email: Twitter: @MakeThemMastrIt
April 17, 2019
Introducing Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up!
Dear teacher, when it comes to the challenging work of classroom instruction, have you ever felt overwhelmed? Maybe boxed in? How about exhausted? If you have, guess what? . . . That's completely normal! Teaching is a joy, at least it should be, right? My name is Jeffery E. Frieden, and I am here to help CONNECT teachers so that we can intensify our impact and WIN in the classroom. Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! is a show that brings you stories of how successful, joyful teachers have gone from surviving to thriving in the job they love. Teachers who have endured set backs, struggles, and hardships. Teachers like you! SUBSCRIBE TODAY on Apple Podcasts, Google Play,, or wherever you may be listening, and together we can learn to face the reality of teaching in today's classroom, and discover that it really is the most rewarding job a person can have.
March 21, 2019
"Am I Valued?" with Andy Milne
Dear Teacher, When you got your first job, did you get the most undesirable position in your department or grade level? What about passed up for a position because the other applicant had more seniority? Have you presented ideas at meeting only to get shot down? If this sounds like you, I’ll wager that you have looked at your situation and wondered, “Am I valued?” There were many times in my career when I have shared my ideas because I thought they would make the situation at my school better. I would get one of several responses. Sometimes, I was Ignored, but this was rare. Usually I was acknowledged for the idea on the spot, but that's as far as it went--when there was no follow-up, I suspected they did not place much worth in my words. Other times, I was flat out told "no" and given the kinds of reasons that led me to believe that they wanted to maintain the status quo. Our guest for this episode of Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! is National Health Teacher of the Year, Andy Milne. He's a teacher at the top of his game! Outside of his teaching duties, he also runs the website and is a sought after public speaker. And though he presents as very "put together," he'll be the first to tell you that things weren't always that way for him. For a time, he questioned whether he was a good fit for the job. Seven years into the job, feeling undervalued at the school where he was teaching at the time, he walked away. And that time away gave him the perspective he needed. He eventually made his way back to the classroom, and he has some great perspective to share about his journey. If you find yourself in similar circumstances, or you would like some perspective from an experienced teacher, you can reach out to Andy in the following ways: Website: Email: Twitter: @CarmelHealth  Ways to Connect: Also, if you have a story to tell, about a time you considered walking away from education, I want to hear all about it. Here's where you can find me: Email: Twitter: @makethemmastrit Facebook:
March 20, 2019
"Don't You Trust Me?" with Nancy Erwin
Dear Teacher, "Don't you trust me to make good decisions in my classroom?" I don't know about you, but there was a time when I both wanted and didn't want to know the answer to that question. This was especially true when it came to a particular principal I was working under. In my case, I never had to face an interrogation of my practice. Instead, what I experienced can be described as a looming, lurking specter of disapproval. When I was on campus, judgment felt like it was laying in wait around each corner. And even though I did not get called into the front office, nor did I ever get written up, what I experienced internally--both mentally and emotionally--bordered on the oppressive. I know that I am not alone in the experience of being under the watchful eye of a distrusting administration. As a very young first grade teacher, my good friend Nancy Erwin found herself in a classroom where she was watched very closely. Hired by a district that was working to improve certain metrics, not only did she have to learn the ins and outs of being a first time teacher--one where she had to familiarize herself with the curriculum, differentiate instruction, and learn all the different (and sometimes heartbreaking) backgrounds of her students--but she also had to discern when to administer a seemingly never-ending battery of assessments. And if she deviated from the prescribed curricular route, someone was sure to check in just as she was about to get creative with her instruction. She claims that she wouldn't have made it if she didn't have the support of a wise mentor. But after three years of teaching in this environment, Nancy and her husband  had an opportunity that required the family to relocate, which meant that she was no longer teaching in that district. She took the move as an opportunity to question whether teaching was for her or not. After talking with a friend who taught at a nearby charter school, she decided to test the waters there by applying to substitute teach. After one week of covering classes at the school, Nancy was smitten! She knew she had to teach there! She saw a school that trusted its teachers, allowed them to be creative, and that teachers could adjust their curriculum and instruction to meet the various needs of their students, not the demands of a program. As soon as she could, she filled out an application. She was eventually hired, and has been there ever since. She loves her school, and she loves teaching (now Kindergarten). She has found the school where she can be the teacher she dreamed of being while she was an undergrad. If any of her story rings true for you, and you’re looking for some encouragement, you can reach out and find Nancy by email at QUESTION: As a new classroom teacher, what unexpected initiative, program, or practice tended to take considerable time and energy away from planning instruction for your students? To hear more stories like Nancy's, subscribe to the Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! podcast. Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Ways to Connect: Also, if you have a story to tell, about a time you considered walking away from education, I want to hear all about it. Here's where you can find me:
February 20, 2019
"Am I Enough?" with guest host Justin Kirkpatrick
Dear teacher, "Are You Enough?" Has that question ever crossed your mind? Seven years into my career, during the fall semester, this question was continually before me. Something had to change. My name is Jeffery E. Frieden, host of Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! I am on a mission to connect teachers so that together we can intensify our impact and WIN in the classroom! If you have ever given serious thought to leaving the classroom, but you hung in there and it got better, we need to hear your story. Email me at and tell me about the time you came close to quitting. In This Episode: Since this is the launch of this podcast, I wanted to introduce myself and tell the story of the time I almost walked away from teaching forever. But, as I have learned over 14 years in the classroom, if I talk for 30 minutes straight, people will tune me out. So I invited my good friend Justin Kirkpatrick to be the host while I played the part of a guest. Thanks, Justin! When I started teaching, just like most newbies, I was idealistic. I kept thinking that if I could explain things just the right way, or put enough comments on papers, everything would click for students. I invested a lot of time into my teaching. The idealism never faded, and I developed unsustainable habits. As my family grew, this became more apparent, and I hit a point of crisis where I experienced a lot of guilt over how much time I was giving to the job and how much time I was missing with my loved ones.  Since I wasn't willing to sacrifice my family for my job, I started to give serious thought to quitting. And just before I was about to move forward with finding a new profession, something stepped in and changed my perspective and my approach. It was at that point that hope was restored and I eventually found the joy promised all young teachers when they enter the profession. Listen to hear what made the difference. How We Can Connect: If any part of this episode resonate with you, let's connect. Here's where you can find me: Website: Email: Twitter: @makethemmastrit Facebook:
January 23, 2019
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