10 episodes

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 makethemmasterit@gmail.com. and share your story.

Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up‪!‬ Make Them Master It

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 9 Ratings

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 makethemmasterit@gmail.com. and share your story.

    "Am I Burnt Out or Demoralized?" with Doris A. Santoro

    "Am I Burnt Out or Demoralized?" with Doris A. Santoro

    Dear Teacher,

    Ugh.

    If you’re like me, the middle of the fall semester is the most difficult time of the year. And it was my plan to release this episode last month, but October. Just before we entered the month of November, I learned of a new acronym (Just what Education needs, right?). It’s DEVELSON. That’s D-E-V-E-L-S-O-N. It stands for Dark Evil Vortex of Late September, October, and November. I don’t know of a more fitting acronym for education for this time of year.

    If there is a season that makes me question whether or not I am going to stay in the classroom, it is this time of year. It was October of my seventh year of teaching when I came very close to the decision to leave the profession for good. Everything we are expected to do as teachers (which includes those expectations we place on ourselves), seem to collide into one six-week window, and for many it becomes too much.

    I see many teachers online talking about self-care as a way to manage burn out. I think leaving work at work and making time for those things that make life worth living are essential in sustaining our energy for the work. But sometimes self-care doesn’t seem like enough. At those times, we educators need to be asking ourselves, “Am I burnt out or demoralized?”

    In this episode of DEAR TEACHER, DON’T GIVE UP! I talk with Dr. Doris A. Santoro, a philosopher of education and chair of education department at Bowdoin College. As a professor of education she conducts empirical research to study, and theorize about, the moral and ethical sources of teacher dissatisfaction and resistance. She wrote the book Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay, which is a wake up call! All educators need to read this book!

    Connect with Dr. Doris A Santoro:


    Email: dsantoro@bowdoin.edu
    Twitter: @DorisASantoro

    For the past year, as I have interacted with educators on social media, I have seen periodic calls for teachers to exercise self-care to avoid burnout. And depending on the situation, especially one where a teacher is heaping unrealistic expectations on themselves, this is needed advice. But is self-care enough for those situations where teachers are being asked to give all of their time and energy to parts of the job that do not involve teaching or working directly with the students? It’s not. Keep listening to find out why.

    • 49 min
    "Does My Principal Even Want to Hear My Ideas?" with Dr. Christina Podraza

    "Does My Principal Even Want to Hear My Ideas?" with Dr. Christina Podraza

    If you're a teacher with ideas and you are looking to connect with your principal about getting them in motion, this is the episode for you. 

    Back in February of 2019, I posed a question on Twitter that got a lot of attention. It sparked an ongoing conversation with on of the administrators initially tagged in that Tweet. that conversation has brought us to this episode of Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! 

    In this episode, I talk with Dr. Christina Podraza, Principal of Jefferson Elementary. The conversation is wide-ranging about how teachers and principals can better relate with one another. In the end, teachers, we can walk away with some actionable tips:


    Engage with your principal on a personal level, assuming he or she is open to the idea of building any kind of relationship.
    Announce that you are trying something new, and invite your principal to give you feedback.
    Teachers, HAVE A PLAN. The faculty meeting is not a public forum, or brainstorming session, where you get to volley half-baked ideas for change.
    Show your principal that you are connecting with their priorities BEFORE offering your suggestions for improvement.
    REMEMBER, it’s not a once-in-a-life-time sales pitch; it’s a process.

    If you would like to connect with Christina further, you can find her the following ways:


    Website:  christinapodraza.com
    Email: Contact form at her website
    Twitter: @christinapod
    Instagram: @jeffersond205 (The account of Christina's school)

    As for me, the host of the show, 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, contact me


    Email: makethemmasterit@gmail.com
    Twitter: @MakeThemMastrIt
    Voxer: Makethemmaster (Find me, title the chat w/ what you want to discuss, & talk!)

    • 46 min
    "Where Are My Peeps?" with Michael J Crawford of Edspace

    "Where Are My Peeps?" with Michael J Crawford of Edspace

    Dear Teacher,
    When putting our best teacher foot forward, we will inevitably hit snags, set backs, or difficulties of some kind. At times, those set backs are small bumps in the road. And sometimes the problems we run into are deep, serious, and abiding. Whatever the case may be, all of us need support. But lots of teachers leave the profession because they did not get the support they needed, and they did not get the chance to develop the resilience needed to remain in the classroom.
    When it comes to the support we all need, some teachers will wait for it to come to them. Others are more proactive, and they seek it out. Most of those go-getters start at their campuses, looking for a teacher-friend who will help them overcome their roadblocks. And if they can’t find those friendly colleagues at their place of work, they will extend their search for like-hearted educators through social media.
    I am fortunate to work alongside great people who help me when I need perspective and challenge me when I may be stuck in a rut. In addition to my wonderful colleagues at my brick and mortar location, I also have made amazing connections through Twitter, Facebook, and Voxer. I truly believe I am living in a great set of circumstances as a teacher. And my situation is NOT the norm for many teachers out there, but I have faith that there is another teacher, or group of teachers, out there who are ready to connect and support teachers in need.
    In this episode of DEAR TEACHER DON’T GIVE UP!, you may find a space that will help you answer this question: “Where are my peeps?”
    Sometime ago, while interacting with teachers on Twitter, Michael J. Crawford suggested that I would be able to find the answers I was looking for on an app he and his team were building. When he explained that it was being designed with tons of teacher input to be a space where teachers could connect, I immediately understood the potential.
    Shortly after that interaction, he and I set up a time to talk, and the link to the audio above is our conversation. As a teacher who is continually growing his professional learning network (PLN) through various apps (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and Voxer), I gravitated toward the concept of a Social Learning Network. Instead of individual teachers "hacking" social media to network with colleagues around the world, Michael and his team are designing a space that fits that purpose, and it's called Edspace.
    If you're interested in learning more about Edspace and what their platform can offer you, check out the following links:

    Website: edspace.live
    Twitter: @EdSpaceLive
    Michael's Email: michael@edspace.live
    Michael's Twitter: @mjcraw

    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: makethemmasterit@gmail.com
    Twitter: @MakeThemMastrIt

    • 45 min
    "Am I Present at Home?" with Aimee and Rob Skidmore & Lindsey Frieden

    "Am I Present at Home?" with Aimee and Rob Skidmore & Lindsey Frieden

    Dear Teacher, 

    If you’re like me, you struggle with knowing how much time, effort, and energy you should give to the job. My lessons are never good enough. I worry that I have not given enough to assessing my students’ progress. And I am constantly tinkering with my craft to make it just a little bit better. When I give so much of myself to the job, I don’t leave time for the other parts of my life that matter. I have missed moments loved ones. There have been plenty of occasions where I am in the same location with my family, but I am NOT present with them. 

    As my wife and started having children, this started to eat at me more and more. And a few years after my first child was born, I started to ask myself, “Am I Present at Home?” 

    Shortly after launching Dear Teacher, Don't Give Up! Aimee Skidmore (@skidmoreaimee) sent me an email sharing about the time that she almost walked away from teaching. She included details about how it affected life at home, so I reached out to her and Rob inviting them on the podcast to talk about how that difficult time for Aimee was also a difficult time for her loved ones at home. Aimee has been teaching Language Arts for over 20 years, and Rob does work in international development, which caused a few moves over the years. At present (and I get the impression that they plan to stay), they are in Geneva, Switzerland. 

    A few years ago, Aimee stepped into the role as Head of English in her middle school, and as she invested herself in this new position, things started to grow dim rather quickly. Over time, Rob noticed that Aimee was perseverating on her work as a teacher, and because she had such high ideals for herself, she worried over everything. He did his best to help her see what really mattered, which eventually led Aimee to make the difficult decision to step down from that role and focus on teaching. When she did, Aimee found new life and energy in the profession, even starting a Forward Thinkers group for like-minded teachers who wanted to get more involved in their own professional development. Aimee loves connecting with other educators online at Twitter and LinkedIn. She invites anyone who identifies with her struggle to reach out to her.  


    Email: aimeeskidmore1170@gmail.com
    Twitter: @skidmoreaimee
    LinkedIn: Aimee's Profile


    Also joining us on this episode is my wife, Lindsey Frieden (@Lindseyspalette). When I meet people who ask what my wife does for work, I tell them she's the CFO -- the Chief Family Officer. She spends her days taking really good care of our four children who are 10, 8, 5, and 6 months, at the time of this post. Before she took on this roll, she was a classroom teacher for four years, teaching junior high and high school art. She has stayed active in art through painting and making decorative wood signs.

    Sometimes I had to face tough conversations about my priorities. She's sharing about how even though I carried the burden of my work, she experienced the stress and anxiety I brought home with me too. We have both learned a bit more about how to approach conversations about these seasons of high stress, and she has some words of wisdom to share with those who may be married to a teacher who is very dedicated to the job.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    "Am I Saying 'Yes' to Too Many Things?" with Matthew M. Johnson

    "Am I Saying 'Yes' to Too Many Things?" with Matthew M. Johnson

    Dear Teacher,

    When I was in my ninth year of teaching, out of the 180 I was contracted to spend in front of my students, I was out of the classroom for 33 of them. For thirty of those days, I was out of the classroom for one of the three district committees I was participating in. I'm ashamed to admit, that the other three were due to illness and the birth of my third child! Luckily, for our family, she was born at the very beginning of a break in the calendar. At the end of the year, I had to look at my situation and ask, "Am I saying 'yes' to too many things?"

    Several months ago, I started interacting with Matthew M. Johnson. Beginning a friendship around the content we publish online, we eventually learned one another's stories about the twists and turns of our teaching careers. There were a few stand out parallels, and I asked him if he would be willing to share about the time he almost left the teaching.

    As Matthew learned what opportunities to say 'yes' to--and which ones to pass on--not only did he become a better, more focused teacher, he was also able to make time for what mattered most: his loved ones. With the little time what little time remains on his calendar, he writes about how writing teachers can give timely feedback, deeply improving student writing, all while make it home in time for dinner each night.

    If you're looking to make your writing instruction feedback loop tighter and more robust, you can reach Matthew in the following ways:


    Website: matthewmjohnson.com
    Twitter: @a2matthew

    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: makethemmasterit@gmail.com
    Twitter: @MakeThemMastrIt

    • 37 min
    "Am I Allowed to Have a Life?" with Dave Stuart Jr.

    "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: davestuartjr.com
    Twitter: @davestuartjr

    To hear more stories like Andy’s, subscribe to the Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up!podcast.

    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Anchor.fm

    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: makethemmasterit@gmail.com
    Twitter: @MakeThemMastrIt

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

J71203 ,

In the Nick of Time

I have rusher for over 20 years, and still love the job and the kids. However, as so many teachers know, our kids struggle more and more with mental health issues and we get little help with helping them. The state and federal politics are not kind to public education. It’s overwhelming! My current administration in my district are highly supportive and encouraging, so that is a blessing. This podcast refocuses me on what really matters and how I can take care of myself so I can better educate my kids. I found this podcast through Dave Stuart Jr., but I have listened to the other episodes and can not wait for more! My colleagues and I NEED this.

Deeshub912 ,

Listen now!

Many teachers face struggles that are common to our profession that lead to burn out, such as conflict over personal life/work life balance, interpersonal conflict, or demoralizing work environment. When our work environment becomes too overwhelming, when the desire to quit a profession we once loved overtakes us, Jeffery’s podcast helps us examine why teachers give up and affirms the challenges we all face and helps us figure out actionable steps toward staying in the profession. Dear Teacher is an excellent podcast, whether you are in year 1 or year 20.

askid ,

Refocus!

Jeffery and his guests help to refocus on what is important and remember the reason we got into this on the first place. Realistic but unrelenting in his positivity, Jeffery brings us hope.

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