OK, so…. taking a leap into the unknown here — starting a podcast in the next little while, and I’m super excited. It’s taking a while to germinate and get set up, but that’s ok. It’s not as if the world is waiting with baited breath and demanding the next episode!
Backstory is this – -I retired from full-time classroom teaching in June 2022, after a career of about 45 years. In that time, I taught every grade, from beginning reading all the way up to adult learning, though most of my time was spent in middle and high school. I taught mostly humanities subjects the first half of my career — English, history, politics, philosophy, etc, in high school. Halfway through, I went back to school to learn programming (that’s another story), and then segued into educational technology and computer science, mostly in the middle school.
Along the way, I learned a lot. Hey, if you make it that long in teaching, it’s because you learned a lot about how to survive and thrive. Since retiring, I felt what a lot of retirees feel — now what? I had a successful career and while I just couldn’t do the daily full schedule of classes, advisory, supervision, and all-around student support any more, I still loved the learning! So what to do with my “free time”?
Truthfully, it’s been a process. My first inclination was to recreate what I’d done, just more online and part-time. I have always loved the classroom energy that happens when kids are excited about learning and I can facilitate that. So it seemed logical to continue with that. I started my own business (CrouchingPython EdVentures), offering tutoring, instruction, curriculum, and consulting. I got an LLC, built my website, make contacts, got some great mentoring on the business piece (about which I knew basically nothing), and worked hard on getting this all running.
And I learned a LOT. But along the way, my thinking has moved in a different direction. Perhaps instead of trying to recreate what I had created in the classroom, it might be more fruitful and interesting to share what I’ve learned in 45 years of being in the trenches every day. I never aspired to administration, a normal career path for teachers. First off, I don’t have the organizational chops for that. And secondly, I had no desire to get out of the classroom, because that’s where all the action is! Nothing against administration — it’s totally necessary and I’ve served under some amazing administrators who have done the hard work of making it possible for people like me to teach their classes without worrying about all the other pieces of running a school.
I wrote a book (you can check it out here), where I explained how I built my learning environments to the point where I had students literally running into the classroom every day to get working on their projects. As with anything that a person does “naturally”, it has never seemed like that big a deal to me. But a long career has taught me that not every teacher operates the way I do, and it occurred to me that others might benefit from my experiences and thoughts.
And I also built my own PLN (Personal Learning Network) over the years. I’ve always been that teacher that looks for other teachers doing cool stuff, wherever they might be. Email, conferences, then Twitter, now Mastodon, wherever I can find teachers doing engaging, authentic learning! So I happen to know a lot of people like that. And I am still always looking for awesome teachers doing cool stuff with their students. For some reason, we always seem to connect, one way or another.
That’s a long backstory! Now I’m getting ready to launch my own podcast, where I’ll chat with teachers who are doing cool stuff every day in their classes. Nothing against the “experts” with research and data! All necessary. But as a teacher, what I want to hear is great nuggets of wisdom — actual things that you’ve done in your classroom that have kids jumping out of their seats and excited about learning. And I’m pretty sure that’s what other teachers are looking for, too.
So look for the launch of this podcast Real Soon Now! I’ll host it here on my site for starters, then branch out from there. And if you’re one of those teachers like me who reads stuff like this and says, “Me me me!”, please…. hit me up and let’s talk! I’m eager to meet you and bring your story to the rest of the world.