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Transparency in Teaching (stuff)

Transparency in Teaching (stuff)

By Transparency in Teaching
Three middle school teachers and their guests share what it's really like to be in a classroom today, how policies affect teaching and students, and what teachers actually think would work better. Listen in to their off the cuff, unscripted discussions, debates, and sometimes, plain silliness as they discuss today's biggest issues facing schools.
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026 Why Teachers Quit 2.0: Find out why Carolyn quit the classroom.
The very first episode we produced remains one of our most popular. Why teachers quit should be something every would-be teacher should ponder before taking out loans to pay for college. You don't want to be one of the 44% of newbies who quit within the first five years, because then what will you do with all that useless college loan debt you accrued?   We contacted a teacher friend of ours who had recently fled the classroom to preserve her sanity. She gave up the wear and tear of teaching for a position helping teachers avoid the stress that caused her to leave in the first place. We've known Carolyn since her first days in the profession. Now as the middle school curriculum math specialist for her district she's able to share her experiences with new teachers and offer them the kind of support all new teachers should have.   So today we revisit the day-to-day issues teachers have to negotiate. Believe me, if it were just teaching we had to do, there wouldn't be the quitting issue  But teachers deal with so much more than delivering the curriculum. There are discipline issues, extra duties before and after school, lesson planning and grading that follow you home, parent phone calls, meetings... Those are just the physical issues. Let's not forget the emotional toll of caring for kids who come from all kinds of homes and deal with all kinds of unknowns. The teacher may be the only positive connection in a student's life. This job has no quitting time.  We also give our two cents about what can be done to avoid the problems in the first place. Unfortunately, credentialing programs don't really do the best job of preparing virgin teachers for the classroom. You can listen to our other podcast on that topic here. If you're thinking of becoming a teacher, this episode is required listening. Teaching is the toughest job you'll ever love. I know that's pretty cliche, but it's true. It's really THE most important job on the planet 
September 18, 2021
025 When Did Public Schools become Public Enemy #1?
Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become the latest way to demonize public schools. I admit when I first heard CRT I thought it was some medical test for the heart. Now it has become the fear-raising focus of concern among many people inside and outside of education. To better understand what CRT is I spent a lot of hours looking at where it came from in the first place. The research makes me believe that most people don’t really understand what CRT is or its purpose. An article from The  tries to help journalists learn how to better cover this controversy. The author quotes Dorinda Carter Andrews, chairperson for the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University She explains that “Critical race theory is not an ideology or a political orientation that assumes white people are bad; it assumes white supremacy is bad in all of its forms. It’s a practice or approach that provides language and a lens for examining racism at institutional and structural levels, Underlying this is the premise that racism is endemic to American society and that white supremacist ideas and practices should be dismantled.” Janel George. who teaches CRT as part of a graduate course called Racial Justice in K-12 Education Policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, says CRT is a theory devised by legal scholars in the 1970s. CRT initially was taught in law schools but eventually was adopted in other fields such as education and sociology.” She believes, and so do I after doing the research, "there is some mischaracterizing going on here.” George says, “Because critical race theory has the word ‘race’ in it, perhaps [people] are intentionally equating critical race theory with anything having to do with race or the teaching [about] racism.” Some parents fear that CRT is increasing not decreasing the idea of racial inequity. David Ryst notes in an article in the Daily Bulletin that, "'These concepts are not unifying students, they are reinforcing negative division. They are not giving teachers proper training. A lot of teachers who are vocal with their liberal ideas are pushing those ideas on students. It’s a good theory to examine maybe at a college level,' he said. 'But, what they’re teaching here leads to guilt, shame and victimhood. And everything is viewed as oppressor versus the oppressed. I’m all for inclusion, but this is not it.'” Now the fear for teachers is states are beginning to regulate what can and cannot be said about race, racism and slavery. But finding elementary, middle, and high schools that actually teach CRT has been near impossible. So where does that leave teachers now?  What is actually happening in the classroom? How can discussions that are bound to come up be dealt with? What history is allowed to be taught and what history must be skipped? Is there really a problem or is this just politics to gin up the 2022 elections? Listen to our take on this controversial topic.
August 16, 2021
Tricks for Cost-Free Travel (or almost free) – With Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie
My husfriend and I just got back from a trip to Hawaii. It was his birthday gift to me. Nice huh! We had to jump through a few hoops to get there. Our vaccination cards made it possible to avoid a 10-day hotel quarantine. (Get vaccinated, already!!🙄). It was a quick 7-day trip. Too short, but it’s always too short when I visit the islands. On the plane ride home, the flight attendants, take advantage of people’s recent trip to paradise. They encourage passengers to sign up for the airline’s credit card. They tempt you with an ungodly amount of miles, enough for 2 roundtrips back to the islands. I took an application and started thinking of all the ways I could acquire miles. This brings me to this episode. Today’s bonus episode, features teacher, travel-guru Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie. You may have heard her on a previous podcast published almost a year ago when people were still dreaming of the day when travel would again be possible.  I thought now that people are finally stepping out of their homes and starting to travel, that this episode replay may be especially helpful and deserves another listen. Jackie is famous for knowing how to travel almost cost-free and she shares her tips and tricks with us in today’s show.  For more information about Jackie, her travel tips and to see her phenomenal photography of all the amazing places she has visited go to The GlobeTrotting   Has your district taken up arms for or against CRT? If so, how will your teaching be different? How will you approach those conversations that you know will inevitably come up in class? Let us know! Write or leave us a  voice comment here or go to and leave one there. While you're at it, we'd love it if you'd rate and review us on your favorite listening app. Your support means we can continue to bring these important discussions to you. Stock media song used in introduction provided by: Twoword_recordings/ Pond5
July 29, 2021
023 What Makes an Effective Teacher Effective?
What makes an effective teacher effective? That's a pretty subjective question, isn't it? I'm beginning to believe that so much of what people think makes education good is subjective. Like, who decides what kids need to know for state tests and how to decipher those scores? Or who decides what is important and should be taught in schools.  Not to mention, who comes up with the best way to prepare college students to become teachers? It's all someone's opinion. Somehow the "Powers the Be" (and whoever decides who they are) have to agree on what it means to be educated and who is best qualified to educate. So what does make a teacher effective? In today's podcast, we delve into how districts decide who stays and who goes? We examine the various qualities an "effective" teacher should have and who sets those standards. We also discuss the board certification process! Ummm, did you know there was a board certification procedure for teachers? (pssst, I didn't until recently). Why aren't districts and universities doing more to help teachers along that path? But wait! Is certification even the ultimate sign of effectiveness? Sharyn, Jen, and I get into what we think makes teachers effective. Surprise! Basically, it is a big mix of many factors that cannot truly be quantified in some objective way. There are too many variables. Too many moving parts contribute to a teacher's ability to make a difference in their students' lives. So what's a parent, an administrator, or district to do to be sure their students have the best teachers possible? Listen, and see if you agree with our take on what makes an effective teacher effective! Leave us a voice message! Visit to get all the resources used in today's episode
July 4, 2021
022 New Teachers, This One's for You!
This school year is FINALLY ending (thank god for small favors) and we are packing up our minimally used classrooms. For many teachers, this will be their last time having to do this. Covid caused many to throw in the eraser this year and turned in keys. They will look forward to new challenges this coming fall that don't entail lesson plans and students.  But for others, who are holding newly minted diplomas and teaching credentials, this summer offers time to plan for a new classroom and get ready for the beginning of an exciting, rigorous, and rewarding profession. With that in mind, today’s episode will be especially interesting and informative. We depart a bit from our usual back and forth banter to welcome a guest, Victoria Lucido! Vickie has recently retired after 33 years as a middle school History and Drama teacher.  Her teaching ability has been recognized by “Who’s Who of American Teachers” seven times, and she was awarded “Monterey Teacher of the Year” in 1999 by Monterey Rotary. Now, she has a new book out called, Classroom Confidential: How I survived 33 years in a public school classroom, and you can too! This book gives new teachers access to 33 years of experience in just 160 pages!  Today Victoria joins Jen and Anne to share her best advice for beginners.  Even us old pros can pick up a new insight or two. So grab a notepad and pencil and get ready for the advice you wish you would have learned in all those fancy college credential classes, but didn’t! Stay tuned! For more about Victoria: You can find her book on Amazon Her website, where you can find out about appearances and her many accomplishments. YouTube interview here and Read an article from the Monterey Herald
June 12, 2021
021 What does a Teaching Credential Really Prove?
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the 2017-18 school year there were 3.3 million full and part-time traditional public school teachers. That is the most recent count available. That's a lot of college tuition and credentialing fees. So does all the investment in a piece of paper that supposedly certifies a person is a competent teacher really mean anything? What does a teaching credential really prove? Every state requires public school teachers to jump through the hoops to earn a credential. This usually means earning a bachelor's degree, performing a few months of practice teaching, and passing a test or two. In my humble, 34 years of experience, opinion, the way colleges prepare teachers for life in a real classroom lacks enough real experience. Course work and student teaching hardly mimic what it is really like to be in charge of one's own group of pre-formed student minds.  I remember my first year of teaching. I cried a lot. Like every day. My then-husband would pat me on the back and say, "You'll be Ok. We need the money," as he guided me out the door.  I was the first one on campus and the last one to leave. I brought home a box of work and papers to grade every night. More than the sheer weight of the responsibility of imbuing knowledge into middle school minds was the struggle with classroom discipline. That, more than anything else, was the biggest headache of my early career. I don't remember anything in my credential courses that prepared me for that! Earning a credential does not a good teacher make! Jen, Sharyn, and I talk about what it takes to get a credential. We discuss what it means, and more importantly, what it doesn't mean. Of course, as always, we give our suggestions as to how to fix the credential process.  If you're considering a teaching career, this is a definite "must listen." And if you've already gone through the gauntlet, I'm sure you'll be doing a lot of head nodding in agreement. If we can only pass on these brilliant suggestions to those credential gatekeepers, we might lower the number of new teachers who turn in their classroom keys when they figure out what it really means to be a teacher.
April 26, 2021
Minimum Day #4 : Back in the Classroom
Here's how the school year progressed. It started as "We won't likely be returning to campus this year." Then it changed to  "I doubt it will happen." Which changed to, "Maybe it will happen." Then to, "It's happening," and finally... "It happened!" Last week we were back in our classroom with students!  Well kind of... Families had the choice of returning to campus or continuing with the distance learning protocol we had been following since school started. We weren't sure how many would show up on Tuesday (Mondays are still virtual for all students). Turns out, not many!  The biggest class I had was 11 students, which considering each cohort has only 15, seemed large. It was all downhill from there. My other classes had 6, or 3, and in one class, one lonely student was forced to spend two and a half hours alone in a classroom as if it were after-school detention. (I sincerely hope he didn't feel that way😳) Can you say "Awkward?"  Other teachers had even fewer, like zero. No students showed up.  So while it was amazing to see the students' faces (well half of their faces as they were all wearing masks) it was difficult to divide my attention adequately between those in person and those who were still on the computer. I found myself forgetting about those distance learners. I mean, when you have live people who you see react to your stupid teacher jokes versus those who are still hiding in the virtual void, silent behind their anime icons, who would you pay attention to?  All I can say is it was exhausting. But hey, one week down and 9 to go!  In this quickie episode, Jen, Sharyn, and I (Anne 🙄) discuss how our first week back in the classroom went. The good, the bad, and the ugly of it.  How many kids showed up, how lesson planning went, and what we think would have worked better.  Thanks for taking time out of your day to listen. Your patronage is greatly appreciated. I mean.... really, really, really appreciated. Please rate and review us! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️! It helps others to find our podcast. Maybe you can pass the link along to your friends, and they can pass it along to their friends, and so on and so on (anyone else remember that shampoo commercial? 😜)
April 14, 2021
020. Tackling Teacher Tenure
In 2005 then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to make changes to California's teacher tenure, increasing the time to achieve tenure from 2 to 5 years. He also proposed that teacher pay be based on merit, not length of tenure, and that continued employment be tied instead to performance, not, as he put it, “just showing up.” He called the system, “an educational disaster” “Our education system,” he said,  “is in desperate need of reform with the current tenure system locking problem teachers into our schools, and making it nearly impossible for principals to make employment decisions based on the needs of students,” Proponents have their reasons for supporting tenure. Lily Eskelsen Garcia, MEd, President of the National Education Association (NEA) explains, “These policies don’t prevent bad teachers from being fired; they prevent good teachers from being fired for bad reasons.” The topic of teacher tenure remains a contentious one, and In this episode we delve into its history, why it’s so hard to fire a bad teacher, and what are the benefits and problems associated with tenure. Of course, it’s not all seriousness. Not when Jen and Sharyn have opinions. So grab a seat at the table in the virtual teacher’s lounge and see if you agree with us about what to do about teacher tenure.
April 2, 2021
019 Going Back to School (for real this time)
We are rapidly approaching the end of our 3rd quarter and it looks like a pretty done deal that after spring break, we will be going back to school for real this time!  So what does that really mean? We've been polling our students and so far it seems like most will be opting to stay right where they are, at home on Google Meet. So does that mean I'll have a class of three little people sitting at their desks staring at me through their plexiglass barriers and mumbling answers through their masks? No idea.🤷🏽‍♀️ We start the episode with a review of current education news. Well, actually not so current. In this episode, we report that Miguel Cardona was on his way to Senate confirmation after making it through committee, but actually, Cardona is now officially the new Secretary of Education. (Consider this an episode update 😜) We discuss the new updated CDC recommendations, and Jen shares her disappointment that it looks like the Biden administration won't be doing any major student loan forgiveness.  Sorry, Jen... Sharyn, Jen, and I take apart what returning to school may look like, the pros and cons, and what we think would be the best options. How much learning time will be lost trying to get our returning students situated while still occupying our distance kids? As it stands right now, we are going to be doing both groups simultaneously. Will there be state testing? It looks like the answer is probably. Will teachers be vaccinated? Answer, our district's teachers were! Although it will be great to see our students' faces, well the part that isn't covered with masks, the learning environment still won't be what kids really crave. They want the ability to socialize again. To eat with friends. To hang out in hallways and gossip. To play basketball and soccer at lunch. They want the ability to make connections with their teachers and be seen and heard. In-person learning cannot be what they want, not yet.  In any case, going back to school for real this time is still really full of many unknowns. Thanks for listening! Don't forget to visit our website and leave us a comment. (Please, so I don't have to beg anymore? Listen to the beginning of the show!) We'd love to hear how your school Is planning to get kids back in class. You'll also be able to get the links to all the resources we used for this episode. As always, please rate and review us on any of your listening platforms. The more stars the better! 🙏🏽 👍🏼. Stay safe and take care of each other (Well at least the people in your "Covid bubble")
March 6, 2021
018 Difficult Discussions Don't Have to be Hard
It should have been expected that the attack on the Capitol last month (has it been that long already?😳) would prompt controversial classroom discussions. Students want to explore their questions and find answers to their concerns. This puts teachers in an awkward space, where discussions must be guided without involving a teacher's implicit biases. But given the current political climate in this country and the seemingly growing divide between sides, educators often wonder if this discussion is worth the risk of upsetting parents or a potential invitation to the administrator's office.  I and my colleagues even struggled with whether or not to allow students to watch the Inauguration during class. After all, this is something extraordinary that happens every four years and is an example of our country's Constitution at work. However, the fear of the possible parent backlash about why we were allowing their children to watch a celebration of a "stolen" election seemed very real. I mean, with the number of people who supported Trump there were bound to be parents who might feel that way.  Trump himself accused the public education system of indoctrinating students, saying "the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools." Some Facebook parent pages are also posting similar sentiments. So, as teachers, should we wade into these waters and chance getting bitten by angry sharks? Personally, I think we must.  One of the most important parts of education is learning the art of discussion. As educators, we have an obligation to help students learn how to have productive disagreements with those who do not hold our same views. There are several vital skills that help pave the way to good discussions. For example, learning to listen and respond without accusation, can help disagreeing parties stay open to each other's ideas. Students need to learn to do research that helps them find information, data, and facts that are trustworthy and relevant. Acquiring good questioning techniques will lead to deep discussions. Also important is that students learn one doesn't have to agree with an opposing point of view to understand it. And it is this understanding which makes compromise possible and solutions to problems attainable. In today's episode, we talk about how difficult discussions don't have to be hard. We offer tips and suggestions on how to get students talking without letting teacher biases sneak in. Jen shares how the 7th-grade curriculum stirs up issues every year. Sharyn shares how she fosters productive conversations. And Anne reveals ways to help make students more comfortable with sharing.  We hope you'll find encouragement to engage in difficult topics of discussion in this episode. As always, thank you so much for listening and taking the time to rate and review our efforts. For more great discussions head over to and leave us a comment. Help start our own productive, positive, enlightening discussions by clicking the link here to leave us a voice comment that we can use on a future episode.  We look forward to all the enlightening discussions that follow!
February 6, 2021
017 Forget Covid -- There's a Teacher Depression Pandemic Killing Us
So it's Winter Break and we've had a little time to collect ourselves and get refreshed for round two of Online Learning.  I wish....  I don't know about other teachers but, Sharyn, Jen, and I are feeling a little burned around the edges. Actually, I think a lot of teachers are feeling like toast.   Covid is raging on. Here in California, it doesn't look like the end is anywhere in sight, vaccine, or no vaccine.  But, forget Covid.  A viral teacher depression pandemic is killing us.  Ok, maybe not literally. But it is killing our spirit, our enthusiasm, and our drive.  Many teachers are feeling like they are dying -- inside. This is not what we signed up for.  It's not only teachers who are worn out. Parents, who were so full of praise and admiration for what we were trying to do back in the spring and summer, have lost their patience, too. They are fed up with Johnny being home. They are tired of monitoring their child's work and online behaviors. They've realized that teachers were lying when report cards said, "Pleasure to have in class." They are hungry for someone to blame. So that early praise and admiration for educators' work has morphed into "When are you going to stop your damn messing around online and get back to some real teaching?!"  I'm not making this up. A parent really did say this to one of our colleagues. In today's episode, we reveal Biden's choice to replace Ms. DeVos, and what this candidate for Secretary of Education has to offer. Hopefully, bringing some light to the end of that dark tunnel.  Later, we discuss how we are feeling and what can be done to help get us through the depression, frustration, or whatever "-tion" you want to label it.  Sharyn harps on "having balance," (listen for her guinea pigs agreeing in the background). Anne discusses how her home situation makes her feel obligated to do more, and Jen explains how "'therapy" walks help her cope.   Feeling like you need a place to commiserate and have a "Me Too" moment? Then this is the episode for you! Leave us a voice comment about what is really bugging you right now. Let it out! It's good for you! We promise to validate your feelings!  We may even use your comment in an upcoming episode. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen! We appreciate you more than you can know! Check out all our episodes at  There, you can also find links to all the resources we used in this episode.  Rate and review us on your favorite listening platform. It helps others find our podcast and makes us happy, too (If that matters to you😜)
January 3, 2021
016 Bye Bye Betsy - Who Will Be Biden's Pick for Secretary of Education?
So the election is over (or is at least supposed to be over...) and Biden has a lot of work to do to help put the country back together. Of course, being teachers, we're rather focused on Mrs. DeVos's replacement. In this episode, we discuss a few of the possible people who are on the radar to replace her. Sharyn shares a little history lesson on the Department of Education and Biden's education platform.  Biden has pledged to choose a public education teacher to fill the Secretary of Education position. We discuss a few names of potential candidates. The top contenders are Randi Weingarten, a former high school history  teacher and now president of one of the biggest labor unions, the AFL-CIO, and  Lily Eskelsen Garcia (Who we have affectionately nicknamed L.E.G.). L.E.G, who actually started as the school lunch lady before becoming an elementary school teacher, is currently president of the National Education Association (NEA). Both are pro union, anti-voucher, and are big fans of public education. This is a big swing in the opposite direction as DeVos, a fan of vouchers, pushed to redirect federal monies to help fund charter and private schools.  Of course a lot can change between now and January 20th, so we'll have to wait and see who ultimately gets the privilege of working to improve the education situation in the United States. There's a great deal of work to be done on so many education fronts. From helping to rebuild unsafe school buildings to working to avoid a teacher shortage, the Secretary of Education will surely have a long, uphill road to walk. Let's hope  that whomever fills Mrs. DeVos's shoes is not wearing some red-soled Louboutin heels but rather a good pair of sturdy work boots. Anything that will help to get a L.E.G. up, or a Weingarten or a Jahana Hayes or Denise Juneau or ...
November 22, 2020
015 The Value of Teacher Evaluations
Hello Faithful Listeners! So, yeah, this episode is a bit late, (or a bit early if you want to pretend last week didn’t happen). Here’s why: The end of our first quarter of distance learning has just come to a close. If you’re a teacher you know that means it’s student desperation time. The students who never looked at their grades the entire quarter, decide to the night after everything is due. Then it’s the “Huh? How come you gave me a D (or F)?” reaction. (emphasis on the YOU GAVE like it’s my fault the work was never turned in) This is then followed by the “here’s my 20 late assignments. Please grade them now” email. Then come the parent emails explaining how Johnny is crying and if there is any possible way to bring his grade up please let me know.” Since Jen, Sharyn, and I are real teachers with real (virtual) classes with real (virtual) students, and this podcast is our side hustle, it took a backseat to the job that pays our bills. So we’d like to extend our appreciation that you are still here and listening. Today Heather, the principal, and Anne (#2), our teacher’s Union representative, are joining us to discuss the topic of teacher evaluations. You know, that lovely time when an administrator sits in the back of your classroom taking copious notes while watching you attempt to be completely natural while teaching. We discuss: What admins are really looking for, the purpose of these evaluations, rights teachers have if they receive a bad evaluation, and of course, our suggestions for how to make evaluations more effective. Speaking of evaluations… We’d LOVE it if you’d evaluate us. Please rate and review our podcast on your favorite platform so more people can find us. And share this podcast with other education-minded people (which means everyone, because everyone should care about education!) By the way….anyone else find it interesting that education was hardly mentioned in the run-up to this election? I remember when claiming to be the “education candidate” was a thing.  Just sayin’   Hope you enjoy today’s show and thanks again for listening! Please visit for more episodes!
November 1, 2020
014 Minimum Day #3 with Angel
Our guest co-host, fellow co-worker and single parent, Angel, joins us today to share her unique (or not so unique, depending on your family dynamic) situation of juggling two elementary school aged children during distance learning, while also wearing the seventh grade science teacher hat. She discusses how she often must excuse herself from teaching her junior high students, to help her daughters as they stand just off camera, staring at her, while quietly mouthing the word " Mom...Mom...." and how she must deal her first grader's melt down when things go south during an online session. Angel gets real about how today's current demands can bring feelings of inadequacy in both her roles as teacher and mother.  The girls go off on blank assignments students turned in for credit and how students seem to think this level of work should count. They discuss the value of boredom and Angel and Jen share a game they played with their students that increased engagement and helped develop a better class dynamic. Anne also shares a lesson that reminded her why she loves teaching. Finally, Anne gets on her pulpit to remind us that teaching is the most important profession of all. The sharing of knowledge, the passing down of wisdom, admitting our errors and helping others learn from our mistakes, is the basis for improving and developing a working society of intelligent, empathetic humans who have the common goal of making sure all people have the opportunity to succeed.  So, go proudly forth into yet another Google Meet and get after it.  For more fun and adventures, go to WWW.TRANSPARENCYINTEACHING.COM  Leave us a voice comment to share on our next episode Let us know how you like (or dislike, or are mildly annoyed by, perhaps even incredibly delighted by) our new shorter format. Share your thoughts in the comments.  PLEASE rate and review us on your favorite listening platform. Your comments are extremely helpful!
October 5, 2020
013 Minimum Day #2
I think distance learning is finally getting to us. We're tired.  We're punchy, We talk about alcohol more than usual.  Today we get into how parents and students are coping with the situation from the teacher's point of view. We talk about how we are dealing with lesson planning and the myriad of emails and virtual meetings.  The situation could be dire, but thankfully we still have a sense of humor.  Ever been in that situation where you start laughing so hard that you almost end up crying? Yeah? Well, that's where Jen took us with her imaginary field trip suggestion. (I think maybe she's closer to losing it than she lets on. )  All I can say is during times like this it's a necessity to have a sense of humor if one wishes to hang on to some semblance of sanity. Thank goodness we have co-workers who double as best friends and support systems. May we all have people to lean on who are  dedicated, determined, and slightly demented to help get us through these strange times. Check out all our demented tales and thoughts on what is happening in classrooms today at  Subscribe and support teachers, especially in these unusual times. Your support helps keep, Jen, out of rehab....😜
September 18, 2020
012 Back to School Interlude -- Minimum Day Episode #1
We are feeling swamped with back to school Covid Style. Planning lessons for 2 1/2 hour synchronous classes and 150 minutes of weekly asynchronous work is time consuming. So until we find our rhythm we are bringing you mini lunchroom conversations about topics that are on our minds now and updates on how teaching virtually is virtually killing us.  Today we discussed what our first week back in front of our computer monitors was like. We talk about what is good, getting to interact with our students,  and what is bugging us , taking attendance and not being together. We talk about how the tech we are supposed to be using is not working properly, (Blocksi is a program we use to monitor student screens ) or how that tech is a pain in the backside. (C'mon Google Meets? What's up with no integrated breakout rooms???) We hope you enjoy our mini version. Don't worry, Sharyn still has time to drop a bunch of F-bombs!
September 5, 2020
011 Classrooms, and Covid, and Kids, Oh My! with special guest Travel Expert Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie
There's no more waiting for it to arrive.  It's here! School has started and teachers are in a frenzy to get on board the Distance Learning Train!  In today’s episode, we try to stay optimistic as we talk about what we are thinking about as we get ready to start our own school year next week! What’s the latest with Covid? What are other teachers saying about returning to school? And what do parents wish we would consider when developing our protocols?  Stay tuned as we finish this episode with an awesome interview with Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie, from The GlobeTrotting, whom we talked about in episode 10. (Go back and listen to Episode 10 if you missed it) She joins us to share her money-saving travel tips and tricks. For all the links to things discussed in this episode and to get the links Jackie shares for travel and her classes on how to master the credit card points system, be sure to visit our website This brings us to the end of Season 1! Thanks for getting on and going for a ride with us. As REAL classroom teachers, we are submerged in the preparations for this school year and drowning in new materials and technology to make this year a good one for our kids. As we prepare for Season 2, we'll be popping in with updates and conversations about all kinds of things that we're experiencing and making sure to keep you informed as to how this experiment in education is going. This is truly a rare opportunity to try something different, to attempt to really change the way our classrooms work, which really hasn't changed much in the last 100 or so years.  I hope we all embrace the challenge and venture out of our comfort zones. So all I can say is "CANNONBALL!"
August 21, 2020
010 Travel Ideas for Teachers (One can dream, can't they?)
Today we get into ways teachers can save money on travel (once travel is a "thing" again!) Never too soon to start planning! We discuss ideas for social distancing conscious travel and how to make your "safer at home" quarantine seem more vacation-like.  You'll also get an update on the HEALS Act education funding, which is still being debated. (I want to know who the person is who stays up all night thinking of these "catchy" acronyms!) And Anne and Jen share their own news that's awesome but could mean a lot more work...😳   To get all the links to today's show visit While you're there, leave us a comment about the show. How have you been spending your summer? How do you stretch your travel dollar?  Yeah, I know. Our travel budgets are going a lot farther these days because we're not going far at all.  Soon,  my friends, soon...   Happy Back to School or back to your computer that's substituting for your classroom.  Hang in there. Be safe. Stay sane! 
August 7, 2020
009 Restorative Practices in the Classroom with Middle School Principal Heather!
(My sound engineering still sucks, as you'll hear in the beginning. I need a tutor! Any volunteers? See how transparent I am!)  In today's episode, we start with some news about the current bill in the State which is geared toward protecting school districts from Covid related lawsuits, also the reversal of the student visa deportation issue.  Special guest Heather, a middle school teacher from Orange County shares how she brought restorative practices to her school and why they work.
July 24, 2020
008 Going Back to School Safely? Truth or Dare?
We are a bit concerned about what August might entail as pediatricians and the president push to reopen schools, but at whose expense? We start the episode with a discussion of what the California state budget holds for education, plus a little history of how education is funded in our state. Then we get into the debate that surrounds what school might look like in the midst of the current rise in Covid cases.  There are so many factors to consider that it seems impossible to be truly prepared. Plus the fact that we will only have 3 weeks to create our lesson plans based on what our district decides to do.  So pull up a chair, plug in your headphones and get in on the conversation.  Be sure to check out our website at  Leave your opinion on how schools should reopen. You can also use this link, to leave a voice message. Let us here the calm in your voice (or the rage of disbelief!)
July 10, 2020
To be Sick or Not to be Sick? The Sub's the Question!
In Episode 007  you'll hear: Discussion about what we think this next school year will be like Two new education laws that were passed having to do with prohibiting cell phones in schools and incorporating suicide prevention classes for K-6 students What are different states' requirements or lack thereof for becoming a substitute teacher The advantages and disadvantages of subbing Suggestions on how to make subbing better and Jen's sex education 🍆🍑and barforama 🤮 substitute teaching stories. Fun times! For resources used in this episode and more stories about other teacher's substitute teaching experiences go to our website. and subscribe!
June 26, 2020
006 Racisim in the Classroom? Let's Get the Conversation Started
On today’s episode Sharyn and Anne Zoom with co-workers Jimese and Diedre, who bring their perspectives as black educators to the conversation about what we all need to be thinking about and doing differently in our classrooms to ensure equity for our students. As the dialog about race and racism in our country once again comes to the forefront, we felt it was important to have an honest discussion about what teachers need to be aware of when dealing with the diversity within our own classes. We talk about the importance of having those difficult but frank conversations about bias, out in the open, instead of behind closed doors, and about holding each other accountable when things are done or said. We also discussed the idea of standards to hold students to when dealing with language and culture and how to take advantage of those teachable moments as conduits towards change. In light of the movement for massive change within our country that is now pushing forward, we delved into the topic of civic responsibility and to how to get the right people into our classrooms and into government office so that major change can more readily be accomplished. Diedre and Jimese are a joy to talk with, and in this frank no nonsense conversation, Sharyn and I learned a lot. We hope you will find today’s dialog just as enlightening, and come away with some ideas on how to bring more equity to your classrooms and campuses. Please share your own ideas and thoughts on this topic with us by leaving comments on our website, Thanks to the listeners that have shared their relevant links: VABB (Culturally Responsive) Links to resources used in this episode: My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege; I Decided to be Honest State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Calls on Schools and Communities to Take Action to Address Institutional Racism and Educational Inequities 10 Examples that Prove White Privilege Exists in Every Aspect Imaginable  Tony Thurmond Video 15 ClassroomTeachers Talking about Race  Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest  Social Justice Books : Teaching for Change Project         A list of young adult fiction. Instagram accounts referenced. @realrapwithreynolds @callmeshivy Instagram live:Teacher Talk Live (6/3/20)
June 13, 2020
005 Those Who Can't Do, Teach. Yeah? You Try it!
Jen, Sharyn and I start the show by discussing the latest education news which in this case is what the proposed 10% budget cut might mean for schools (for me, it might mean retirement!) These could be the single biggest cuts to education in the history of California! Write your state representatives people and let them know we need to leave our schools out of this! I’ve included a letter  template you can use.I  feel a fight coming on. Teaching is a tough profession. I’m thinking now that many parents have been attempting to keep their own offspring on track, they may have a more valid picture of what we do every day, but times 30! Teaching from home has its own set of issues but today we focus on all the little and not so little things teachers deal with in the classroom, which those who haven’t spent much time in a classroom may not realize. Little things like, having time to go to the bathroom, or deciding to go to work sick because it’s easier than calling for a sub. Or perhaps it’s that duty free lunch we’re guaranteed, that sometimes isn’t so duty free (can you say, rainy day?) This all started with a conversation about that lovely adage, “Those that can’t do, teach.” (stick a knife in my heart, ouch!) We hope this episode helps to show what we do, do and change that little phrase to something more like, “ Those that can’t teach, do something less important.” Ok, there are other jobs that are very important, but ummmm, I think they needed a teacher to get them to that job, right? Don’t forget to comment and like us in Apple iTunes or your other listening platforms.  It helps more people find our show and listen to our calming dulcet vocal tones. If, after hearing today’s conversation, you have something to add to our list of things teachers do but no one thinks about, add it to the comments on our website. We’d also love it if you added your suggestions of topics you think are important for people to know about teaching.Thanks for listening!   Please do write your legislators and ask them to consider cutting funds from other places besides education.   Click on the link below to be taken to the Education Votes webpage. There you can fill out a form to have a letter sent to your federal congressperson asking for them to take action on the Federal Education Funding. Here are links to the resources used in this week's episode:
May 29, 2020
0004. Should We Put a Fork in State Testing?
Hey Anne here, wanting to thank you again for taking time to give us a listen. We really do hope that you find these episodes informative and hopefully a little entertaining. Too. This week’s episode starts off with personal updates about what we’ve been doing with our Covid time.  Then, in a new segment, we discuss some Education news. We hope to bring to light information about laws and regulations that are currently being discussed federally and at the state level. Today we talk about the 355 million dollars that California received from the Federal government to help with the education issues due to the current pandemic Then, In our main topic Jen, Sharyn and I get into a discussion about State Testing, every teacher’s favorite time of year, (or maybe for some of you that shouldn’t be read with a sarcastic tone?) When doing research for this topic, I started with researching who even writes the questions for this test? Of course, it occured to me that the questions are based on the Common Core.  So then I had to find the backstory to how the Common Core even came about, in the first place. What I discovered was surprising to me and maybe to you as well. It explains a lot about why so many people were against the Common Core to begin with. I will be posting the links in the show notes on our website to all the resources we used to help put together today’s episode. So I hope you enjoy today’s dialog. We would love it if you would visit our website and rate us on Itunes or any of the other platforms you use to listen. Hit that subscribe button and download our episodes for later listening and ask all your friends to listen too.. Also, please leave us comments about today’s episodes and your opinions on State Testing or any other topics you’d like to hear discussed or questions you have about what it’s like to be a teacher. We look forward to extending the conversation with you! Be well, And, now here’s the show
May 19, 2020
#003 Teaching in the Time of Corona (Special Lengthy Stuck-In-Your-House Edition )
SHOW NOTES:  Hey, Anne here. Thanks for hitting the “Listen Now” button. I know there are sooooo many other things you could be doing with all your free time now. Glad you chose to spend some of it with us. In this episode Jen, Sharyn and I discuss how we’re keeping sane at home. Then we get into the good, the bad, and the crazy of Emergency Remote Teaching. Finally, I interview two “Teacher Mommies” who are navigating how to manage homeschooling their own small children while trying to teach everyone else’s. We recorded this from our own homes (you know, practicing responsible social distancing), using a combo of Zoom (who wishes they had stock in that company now?) and the Anchor App which lets us call in and use our cell phones as mics. The audio isn’t always perfect and I had to do a lot of editing when the Internet quit or slowed or whatever it does when a bizillion people are all on at the same time. So be gentle in your criticisms. In any case, I hope you find this entertaining, and informative or  well, maybe you just need some background noise to fill the void your real friends would if you were out to lunch with them at the local restaurants that are all closed up. Whatever your motivation for listening is, we’ll take it! Don’t forget to download and rate us on Apple ITunes or all the other listening platforms you are using. This helps other people find us (as well as potential sponsors, c’mom Sponsors!), and help me, build back my currently devastated retirement accounts so I can retire next year, and not live under a freeway. Visit our Website
April 7, 2020
#002 Grade this!😝
In this episode we start with a little about the history, the how and the why, of grading. (Did you know that grades were originally A, B, C, D and E?? Where did F come in?).  Then we get into grading practices used today and how they affect our students. We debate methods like percentage based, standards based, and narrative grading and how they might be implemented in real classrooms (How logical is narrative grading when many of us have 150+ students??). We talk about: the subjectivity of grading, implicit bias, the varied ways teachers choose to grade grading’s effect on student motivation the lack of any training in how to grade what we wish parents knew about grading. Ultimately, we come to the conclusion that there is no conclusion about grading. What’s your take on this topic? Leave us a comment and add to the discussion. Leave Voice Comments here,  or visit our website at to find links to resources and other materials (read Anne's Rant on grading) for this episode. Please rate us on Apple iTunes and elsewhere! It helps others to discover this podcast and learn about these important topics. (and, frankly, we just want to feel popular) Link to the story sent to us from our listener, Maria: Teachers are walking away from their careers in Alabama because of unruly students References used in this episode: Do no zero policies help or hurt students? Effective grading policies Test failures  Are Letter Grades Failing Our Students? What Traditional Classroom Grading Gets Wrong Why it’s Crucial and Really Hard to Talk about More Equitable Grading Call to Action for Equitable Grading An A Is Not An A Is Not An A: A History Of Grading Grading Systems - SCHOOL, HIGHER EDUCATION - Students, Grades, Teachers, and Learning Teaching More by Grading Less (or Differently)
April 6, 2020
#001 Why Teachers Quit
Anne, Jen and Sharyn discuss why they became teachers and why they think so many teachers leave the profession. They give their suggestions as to what needs to change and what new teachers should consider when applying for a job. 
February 29, 2020
Transparency in Teaching is Here, (finally)
Anne, Jen and Sharyn share a little about what to expect in their off the wall new podcast that takes you into the "teacher's lounge" and lets you listen in to real conversations from real in the trenches teachers as they discuss the real stuff that happens in today's classrooms. Their "no holds barred" talk and frank uncensored opinions will have you laughing. while getting you to think about what your friendly, neighborhood teacher is really dealing with in the classroom. 
December 25, 2019