Podcast Episodes

Isaacs picture

When Kathryn Isaacs was in 8th grade she proudly read an essay aloud in class, comparing her very demanding teacher, Mr. Del Rossi, to the Wizard of Oz. At the end of her essay, she describes him as "merely a language teacher" and learns a painful, but important, lesson about the ways people often talk about teachers. To discover the ultimate irony of the story, find out what Kathryn does now for a living. Kathryn also reflects on the uncertain future posed by the pandemic and on the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Story added: 2020-07-13
Jason_DiGioia

Jason DiGioia, an English teacher in Denver, Colorado recalls two teachers who contributed to his love for writing and literature. Following in their professional footsteps, Jason explains how he encourages his own students to discover life lessons in the books they read.

Because of the pandemic, Jason and his colleagues are learning to cope with the sudden closure of their school, and the effect it's having on the social and emotional well-being of his students and colleagues. He also shares a chilling story about how, in the midst of the current protests over racism and social injustice, his school became the victim of a chilling act of hate.   

Story added: 2020-06-17
Jackie_Pict

When COVID-19 hit the state of New York, many teachers, including Ms. Jackie Rooney, a high school social studies teacher, were suddenly separated from their students before they had a chance to say goodbye. Despite the heartbreak, Ms. Rooney found a way to reconnect to her class. In this podcast episode, she shares a heartwarming letter of apology and reads some of her students' responses. But the pandemic isn't the only crisis affecting her work as a teacher. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minnesota, she shares her thoughts about how educators can confront racism and police brutality with their students.

Story added: 2020-06-15
Barnard_Lund

Mike Barnard's first high school theatre audition was a disaster, but he finds the courage to try again and lands a part in another production. With the support of his drama teacher, Jim Lund, Mike develops confidence and acting talent and eventually becomes a leader within the school's drama community.  Years later, Mike becomes an award-winning filmmaker, an achievement he traces back to his teacher, Mr. Lund.   

Story added: 2020-06-08
Ken Futernick

Many of the teacher stories published here about teaching and learning during the pandemic point to silver linings -- positive and often unexpected outcomes that have emerged in the midst of this health crisis. In this episode, Ken Futernick, founder of Teacher Stories, says, "We need to hear stories of hope but just as importantly we, especially those of us in a position to make a difference, must hear stories about people—especially children, who face unbearable obstacles—those for whom there are no silver linings."  Ken offers suggestions on what many of us can do to make a difference.

Story added: 2020-06-04
Rachell Auld Picture

While most schools across California and the nation are closed due to the pandemic, Rachell Auld, a high school biology teacher, must find ways to connect and teach her students. In this podcast episode, Rachell describes the challenges and rewards of teaching, learning and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this podcast episode, you'll learn:

  • What Rachell is grateful for (1:30)
  • How students are coping (3:22)
  • What Rachell thinks students should consider doing with their time right now (6:30)
  • The rewards of virtual teaching (9:30)
  • What Rachell is doing to help struggling students (12:05)
  • How this crisis is fostering resilience (15:20)
  • The silver linings of this pandemic (17:51)
  • What Rachell's colleagues are doing to stay connected (20:00)
  • What Rachell hopes for the future (23:00)

If you enjoyed this story, please view a video Teacher Story with Rachell, "Finding One's True Calling" on our website and YouTube channel

Story added: 2020-04-30
Tina Tran Pict

When Crawford High School in San Diego closed due to COVID-19, many of the school's families lacked internet access and the technology that would allow their children to participate in online classes.  With the help of a teacher, a group of students banded together, reached out to parents, and helped solve the problem.  Pictured here is Tina Tran, student body president, working on their outreach plan.  

Story added: 2020-04-19
Carmen Garvis Pict

Carmen Garvis left her job as an engineer in 2004 to become a high school engineering teacher. One of her priorities has been to encourage young females to choose a pathway in science. Carmen describes how she helped a bright, but shy, student find her voice. Carmen also explains how, during the COVID-19 crisis, she and a few of her her colleagues are using 3-D printers to produce face shields for the school volunteers in their district who are preparing student meals.    

Story added: 2020-04-15
Bird-Ansari

Just fourteen years old, Mahboba Ansari fled Afghanistan and the Taliban for a better life and a better education. She landed in Modesto, California in 2016 unable to speak English. Just four years later, with the support of her high school social studies teacher, Lindsey Bird, Mahboba was accepted into the University of California at Davis and will begin classes in fall 2020. Lindsey and Mahboba talk about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons that they hope will be learned.

Story added: 2020-04-11
Meg Sargent Pict

Megan Sargent, an experienced homeschooling parent, describes "a perfect storm" -- a recent day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when she and all three of her children were crying at once. While little academic learning took place that day, they all learned important lessons about relationships, kindness, and forgiveness. 

Story added: 2020-04-10
Valerie_pict

Life as a beginning teacher is hard, and many quit within a few years. Valerie Sujanani is not only a first year teacher with 30 second grade students, the closing of her school due to COVID-19 has forced her to teach and support her students online-a challenge she and most of her colleagues were not trained to do. 

Listen to Valerie's story to find out how she's managing during this crisis and whether she will return for a second year. 

Story added: 2020-04-03
Tavis_Danz

In a previous podcast Mr. Danz, shared a story about teaching Mindfulness to his 5th grade students. In this follow-up interview Mr. Danz, some of his students, and his principal respond to concerns raised by author, Alfie Kohn in another teacher story podcast, who worries that trendy concepts like mindfulness, like other trendy ideas,  grit, are often used simply to get students to be compliant -- to tolerate situations that shouldn't exist in the first place. 

 

Story added: 2020-03-06
Landi Tessman

Landi Tessman, a special ed teacher in the Minneapolis area, describes the "profound impact" the coronavirus is having on her students and the challenges she and her colleagues face educating students while their schools are closed. She also shares lessons of hope that are emerging from the crisis. 

Story added: 2020-02-03
Lesicko_pict

Dean Lesicko has spent much of his 30+ years as an educator supporting "marginalized" youth. That may not have happened were it not for Dean's 3rd grade teacher, Ken Meberg.

Story added: 2020-01-08
Alfie Kohn Picture

Alfie Kohn (alfiekohn.org) has written extensively about teaching, parenting, education, and schooling. In this thought-provoking podcast, Alfie says we must be clear about our shared, long-term goals for children before we can describe what good teachers do in the classroom. If we want thoughtful, life-long learners then we would want teachers who encourage their students to be questioners and challengers and in control of their learning -- not passive receptacles of facts.  

Story added: 2019-12-21
Tavis Danz Pict

Tavis Danz is a fifth grade teacher and has incorporated "mindfulness" into his classroom to enhance academic, social, and emotional learning.  But he has occasionally worried that the parents of his students might disapprove of this approach.  When he received an email from a parent with the subject line, "Mindfulness, " he thought his worst fear was about to be confirmed.          

Story added: 2019-11-29
Robert Nelsen

Robert Nelsen was content to work on his ranch in Montana and to ride in the rodeo.  As "punishment" for being a "smart ass," Nelsen's high school teacher made him apply for college. Now Dr. Nelsen is now president of one of California's largest public universities. 

Story added: 2019-11-17
Karina thumbnail

Until becoming a teenager, Karina Figueroa-Ramirez had never had a teacher who shared her cultural background or looked like her. That changed when she was assigned to a Latinx English teacher in 7th grade who supported Karina's interest in books, who listened to her, and who challenged her to imagine a different future. Nearly 20 years later, in a very different educational setting, Karina is paying forward the gift she received from a caring and inspiring educator. She also remains in touch with this teacher who has since retired.

Story added: 2019-08-19