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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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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