35 episodes

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.

Transparency in Teaching (stuff‪)‬ Transparency in Teaching

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 29 Ratings

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.

    Rebroadcast of Episode 028 Is it Time to Stop Promoting Social Promotion? with BETTER audio

    Rebroadcast of Episode 028 Is it Time to Stop Promoting Social Promotion? with BETTER audio

    When initially released, the audio volume was sooooo low that listeners had to turn the sound way up even to hear it and then got their ears blasted when the interlude music played. I'm sure that was annoying enough to cause people to stop listening, which is a shame because there is a lot of great information in this episode! So I decided to figure out how to correct the audio so that one can listen at a reasonable volume minus the frustration. I'm happy to announce that I was successful! I hope you will give this episode another go because the topic is definitely one that needs attention, especially since the reports coming from the latest NAEP tests are so dismal.

    According to an article in the New York Times, "This year, for the first time since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests began tracking student achievement in the 1970s, 9-year-olds lost ground in math, and scores in reading fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years. " This begs the question, What do we do now? Promote these kids to the next grade, or do we retain them to catch up? 

    I don't think there's any one good answer. We just need to figure out what protocols will give students the most bang for the taxpayer's buck. Why do we look at 9-year-olds' scores so closely? Well, they are third graders. That is the year when education makes a massive shift, from learning to read to reading to learn. If students are not at grade level by the end of the third grade, they tend to struggle to catch up, if they catch up at all.

    Listen and see where you stand on this issue. Then leave us a comment or answer the poll questions to give your opinion. We'd also love feedback on how were are doing and what you'd like to hear us discuss. This show is nothing without our listeners!!

    Thanks again for taking the time to listen. We are appreciative of every set of ears that lends itself here. If I could ask a giant favor, can you please forward this episode (or any of our fantastic episodes) to at least one friend you feel might benefit? That is the best way to get our podcast out to a bigger audience. 

    To read the show notes that originally accompanied this podcast, go back to your feed or visit TransparencyinTeaching.com. 


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    • 1 hr 1 min
    028 Is It Time to Stop Promoting Social Promotion?

    028 Is It Time to Stop Promoting Social Promotion?

    Hey, it’s Anne here to introduce today’s episode all about social promotion, you know, that practice where schools promote students to the next grade based on age instead of mastery. The idea is that keeping kids with their peer group is better for their self-esteem, not to mention promoting students with behavior problems provides some relief to the teacher, knowing that the student who made class crazy won’t be back in their class next year.

    The alternative has been retention. The idea is that repeating a grade will let struggling students improve skills that weren’t at grade level. Research, however, doesn’t back this idea up. Instead, retention increased the dropout rate and lowered students’ self-esteem. And though initially, it did boost student performance, the gains didn’t continue over the long haul.

    So what’s a teacher to do? In this episode, we discuss what Ed Code and district policies say about retention and promotion. We explore what research is saying and what’s happening in our classes. Then, of course, we explain our suggestions for how to fix this mess.

    Oh, and a new voice joins us in this episode. Welcome, Yvonne, who shares her elementary school teacher perspective. Now we have voices from grades K through 12. Unfortunately, Yvonne’s audio isn’t as clear as it should be, and some of her insightful comments may be difficult to hear. AND Sharyn was mobile on headphones and left us when her phone died. However, she did get in her usual insightful comments in the beginning.

    Again, as always, thank you, dear listeners, for tuning in and sharing our podcast with friends, family, teachers, and others interested in knowing what is really happening in our classrooms. Please rate and review us on your favorite platform, as it really does help listeners find us. Leave us a voice comment, and we just might use it on our next show!


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    • 1 hr 1 min
    031 Teachers MIA? The Where, the Why, and What to Do to Solve the Teacher Shortage.

    031 Teachers MIA? The Where, the Why, and What to Do to Solve the Teacher Shortage.

    Don't be surprised if you find someone named "TBA" teaching your child's class. There will apparently be A LOT of TBAs in charge of classes this fall. School districts across the country report record numbers of unfilled positions at the start of this school year. 

    My state, California, reports a shortage of 50,000 teachers going into the 2022-23 school year. It's not just teachers either. Madison, Wisconsin, says 199 teacher vacancies along with 124 non-teaching positions. This means districts are also short paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians. What gives? 

    Desperate districts are trying all kinds of things to lure teachers back. Some are giving raises or retention pay. Others are trying four-day weeks or have resigned to hiring uncredentialed people to fill in the gaps. The reasons for the shortage are not surprising. The Pandemic and remote teaching exacerbated teacher burnout, which was already affected by low pay, lack of respect, and workload. 

    In today's episode, we discuss in depth the extent of the current shortage and its causes. Then we give some pretty damn good ideas for bringing teachers happily back to the classroom and keeping them there. Someone needs to send this episode to the Department of Ed.  

    Also, here are the links to the Key and Peele Teacher Draft video that Sharyn mentions. If you haven't seen it, you should 😂. It's funny as heck but also kind of sad when you really think about it.🙄 And Jen's reference to the Schweddy Balls video can be found here. Oh, and the actor whose name we couldn't think of was Alec Baldwin. I was right! It was the guy who played Trump! 

    Listen to the podcast to find out how these two videos fit in.   Again, as always, Thank you for your support. Please leave a comment and rate and review the podcast so that others can find us. Also, I'd like to ask you to share this episode with one friend who you think would enjoy it. That would be such a nice thing to do for us! 

    For those of you heading back to class, may your rosters be smaller, your duties few, and your paychecks bigger. Hands in. Three, two, one...Teachers ROCK! Now go get 'em!


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    • 1 hr 14 min
    030 Back to School Blues (and what to do about them)

    030 Back to School Blues (and what to do about them)

    Hey, it’s Anne. Welcome to another episode of Transparency in Teaching. As summer vacation is ending, I was wondering if you are beginning to get a nervous tick when you hear, “Back to School Sale?” Or do you find yourself tearing up when you walk by the school supplies aisle? Or do you awaken in the fetal position, gripping the crumpled notification of your preservice professional development days? If any of these situations apply to you, you might be a teacher.
    I'm retired, but I know Jen, Sharon, and a lot of you are gearing up to go back to the classroom and feeling some anxiety about what the new school year holds. I can't blame you after the way the last school year felt. I was there for that. Today's episode is all about that back-to-school blues.
    For me, the beginning of the school year was always exciting. New ideas, new lesson plans, new school supplies, and rearranging my classroom were all things that helped me gear up for the new school year. I looked forward to seeing everyone at in-service.
    But after last year, so many of us are skeptical. We are concerned about how classroom discipline will be handled. We’d like to know the new policies admin will lay on us. We also must contend with the daunting task of bridging COVID-caused educational deficiencies (on top of the weaknesses already there)—also, the decaying public opinion of education in general.
    However, every new school year does bring a classroom full of promise. The point is to remember why we are here in the first place, the kids! Teachers are change makers! We helped craft the leaders, the scientists, and the parents who will help shape our future. Students need good, caring, intelligent educators more than ever now. Sometimes we are the only bright spot in a child's day. Sometimes we're the only ones a child feels they can talk to. Teaching is so much more than imparting knowledge. What we provide in our classrooms teaches social skills, empathy, critical thinking, organization, responsibility, and citizenship.
    So, calm your ticks, dry your eyes, and get up. You have a vitally important job to do. The most vital of all occupations, if I say so myself. The future depends on you! No, seriously. So go get your room ready, um, right after you finish listening to our podcast or even better while stapling that new paper to your bulletin board.

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    • 41 min
    5 Lessons Learned from the School Year From Hell

    5 Lessons Learned from the School Year From Hell

    Thank goodness teachers can put the 2021-2022 school year behind them! If ever there was a school year that deserved a "middle finger" 🖕🏼🖕🏼that was one! Many teachers felt this year was beyond their job description and called it quits. I'm sure parents and students may have similar stories to tell about what they learned from the school year from Hell.

    But as with any challenge survived, there are valuable takeaways. In this episode, we discuss 5 lessons learned from the school year from hell! To begin, above and beyond Covid, students arrived Infected with a year and a half of remote learning. Their symptoms included an addiction to their cell phones, and forgetting, not only how to dress for school, but how to behave like humans. Also having to teach social-emotional learning lessons (SEL) to students gave teachers their own SEL issues. As an added bonus, at the end of the episode, you'll find out how Sharyn discovered the importance of setting a timer. 

    So give this a listen and see if your experiences were on par with ours. I know you are on summer vacay, so you might want to grab a "beverage" if you think It might help numb any "triggering issues."  In any case, you know Jen's laugh will make everything, OK. I keep a recording of it on my phone to play when I get stressed out, like when driving in traffic or paying bills. 

    Happy Summer


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    • 56 min
    027 You're Not the Boss of Me...or Are You? Parent Power's influence in the classroom.

    027 You're Not the Boss of Me...or Are You? Parent Power's influence in the classroom.

     Happy 2022! Let's hope this year makes up for the last two! It's always good to be hopeful. And on that note, I hope public education survives. Last year brought educators and their curriculum under the microscope in a way I don't remember ever seeing. Much of the uproar seems to come from the usual media rabble-rousers and pot-stirrers. Today's episode delves into our side of this twisted narrative. Listen and see where you land.

    For years, some politicians have claimed to be "education candidates." Their platforms promise money and better school facilities. Once they count the ballots and fill their campaign coffers, good intentions go to the bottom of the "to-do list." Today, these "education-loving" candidates are promising a different kind of help to schools, and it's getting them elected. Now officials win by going after the evil wizards of indoctrination, TEACHERS, and their textbooks of evil spells! They rally their pitchfork and torch-carrying followers with cries of "No CRT!" and "Don't hurt my child's feelings!" Frenzied crowds storm school board rooms and drown out meetings with cries of "Foul!" and other four-lettered words. It might be akin to Frankenstein's Monster or The Purge if this were a movie.

    This thing plays like Twilight Zone's "Monsters on Maple Street." The main characters hear rumors of something evil that has come to live in their neighborhood. They spread the news, and like the telephone game, it gets more prominent and distorted as it passes. Before you know it, everyone believes it's true. And when they finally beat down the door and blow up the house, they find they were wrong all along. However, the damage is done. The city is burning, and innocent people have been disposed of. 

    Today we talk about this scary movie; only the movie takes place in our schools. Some very vocal parents and politicians are claiming teachers are working to indoctrinate children, forcing them to bend to the will of CRT, and mind-meld with liberal ideologies. They want to ban particular curricula and regulate what teachers can and cannot say. It makes about as much sense as going to the dentist and telling my hygenist which tools to use and how to hold the mirror properly. Jen, Sharyn, and I share our in-the-trenches view of what is really going on, and I swear there are no monsters under your beds.

    Teachers want parent involvement. They want politicians who genuinely care. We don't need people who are largely uninformed and get their misinformation from the Internet, Aunt Sally's Facebook page, and those with hidden agendas. Put down the pitchforks and get involved with your school. Get to know the teachers, join the committees, volunteer, go to the school and spend some REAL time in the classroom. There's power in seeing things for yourself. When you take an objective look, I'm pretty sure that you'll find the monster you think is hiding under your bed is just a big clump of dust bunnies you forgot to sweep up.




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    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
29 Ratings

29 Ratings

Bubblepopper2012 ,

Informative and entertaining and RIGHT ON!

I love listening to this podcast with Anne, Sharon, and Jenn! I listen and find myself laughing and learning and agreeing each episode. Even though we are hundreds of miles apart I feel like I’m at lunch with them again :) Thank you ladies for your insightful podcast!

Peace to All 💕 ,

Oh the joys of teaching

Listening to these teachers is a joy! I always laugh and I love their different perspectives.

robadob94 ,

Great!! Even for non-teachers

This is a great podcast not only for new and current teachers but even for non-teachers like me who are interested in what’s happening in the education world. Very informative and funny with lots of good stories of their experiences teaching. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the education world.