About Jake Miller

Mr. Jake Miller is the 2016 National History Day Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, a 2017 NEA Global Fellow to China, and a former candidate for county-wide office. Miller has written more than 500 articles, most of which have appeared on The Educator's Room. He's the opening contributor to TER's book When the Fire Is Gone. Learn more about Jake at www.MrJakeMiller.com

“Remember, it’s not going to be easy – it’s going to be worth it.”

truthforteachersBlogger, consultant, and educator extraordinaire Angela Watson ends every one of her “Truth for Teacherspodcasts with this Art Williams quote – one that any educator would agree we know all to well. But the content of her podcasts do make the various battles in education easier, and, most certainly is worth the listen.

Beginning with her first podcast in December 2014, Watson has released more than 70 episodes over the span of 4 seasons (and growing). All the podcasts are free (with no advertisements, either), and there are honest and compelling truths in each. Some of my favorites include (with links to the specific episode where you can read the transcripts or download the audio):

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  • When is it okay to say you’ve done ENOUGH for a student? – it’s pretty much summed up right here: “We all have students who consume a disproportionate amount of our time, and it’s okay that those children need more from us. But they can’t take all or even the majority of it.”
  • Can a teacher really work a 40-hour week and do a good job? – Watson plugs her paid program The 40-Hour Work Week, which I’m strongly considering joining. Like pastors who could spend the entirety of their time on their congregation, teachers can spend their lives on their students. But when do you draw the line? When it’s time to go home — that’s when!
  • How to be proactive with uninvolved and (overly-involved) parents – I’ve found capturing each parent’s email at the beginning of the year to be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever implemented. Parents receive at least bi-weekly email updates from me, and the proactivity offers teachers the benefit of the doubt, whereby parents know that we’re on the same team for their child instead of at odds with another.
  • Avoiding discouragement in a thankless job – Watson says it best herself here, proclaiming “the most important part of avoiding discouragement in a thankless job is believing deeply that you are making a difference, even when you can’t see it.”
  • Gain energy from kids instead of letting them drain you – Watson asks the truly million dollar question here: “If you don’t enjoy [the students], what’s left? The meetings? The paperwork? The testing? The kids should be your greatest source of joy!”

While I haven’t had time to listen to all the podcasts, I would say that each one I’ve listened to has made me think about my pedagogy and profession in a profound and precise manner. While I might not employ everything mentioned on the podcasts, it causes me to reflect on what I do and to improve what is already in place. That said, many of the topics discussed on “Truth for Teachers” become maxims in and reinvigorate the way I teach. The beauty of it all is the longest podcast I’ve seen on there is 35 minutes, so she packs a solid amount of information into a short amount of time – perfect for your car ride to work on Monday mornings (new episodes appear most Sunday evenings).

If there’s one podcast that each educator should be tuning into, it’s this one. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why I’m giving it a solid A+.

And, while listening to all those past episodes “won’t be easy,” don’t worry – “it’ll be worth it.”


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