Podcast Episodes

Teach Plus Image

Three of America's finest teachers -- Justin Johnson from Illinois, Eric Hale from Texas, and Juliana Urtubey from Nevada -- were selected to represent their respective states as Teachers of the Year, in part because of their extraordinary influence as teacher leaders. Each one is also a policy fellow for Teach Plus, an organization that empowers teachers to take on leadership roles with education policy and practice. Teach Plus…

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Story added: 2021-04-30
Dino Luna Picture

Dino Luna was about to become a pilot but switched careers after accidentally falling in love with teaching. Now a veteran educator, Luna reflects on what it takes to be of service to his colleagues as an instructional coach. He also shares a touching story about a former 5th grade student who took time, years later, to tell him about the profound effect he had on her life. Turns out it was just a few kind words of encouragement. "You never know what simple thing you…

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Story added: 2021-04-27
Malik Boykin Image

Malik Boykin (aka Malik Starx) is an accomplished musician and a professor of psychology at Brown University where he teaches a course on stigma and prejudice. Boykin shares two transformational teacher stories--the first from second grade when he was sent to the principal's office for raising questions…

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Story added: 2021-03-25
Perri Klass

When 4th grade teacher Miriam Marecek turned down the lights and lit the reading candle, magic happened. Pediatrician and journalist Perri Klass describes what it was like being one of Ms. Marecek's students and the impact it's had on her life and professional career. Now, as national medical director for Reach Out and Read, Dr. Klass, promotes reading aloud together starting at birth.

In this episode she…

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Story added: 2021-03-05
Insurrection Teacher Image

Like most Americans, these three veteran teachers were horrified as they learned about the insurrection at the nation's Capitol on January 6th, 2021. But each of them had to decide how to address this highly controversial topic with their students. What's the proper role for a teacher with an event like this? What if some students' parents or the students themselves supported the insurrection? Is there any way to talk about this and other controversial topics with very…

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Story added: 2021-03-03
Sean Bui Picture

After practicing law for several years, Sean Bui, the son of Vietnamese and Filipino immigrants, suddenly realized that he didn't love his job. What he really wanted to be was a teacher and to make a difference in young people's lives. But this career shift presented a daunting challenge. Growing up, Mr. Bui's parents and grandparents had only endorsed three career paths -- medicine, engineering, and law.  And now, after successfully following one of them, he wanted to…

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Story added: 2021-01-19
Brandt and Osorio

Until one of his former students, Daniel Osorio, nominated him as Teacher of the Year, Marty Brandt considered himself "just another guy" -- a high school English teacher who would never become the educator he hoped he would become when he entered the profession.

Daniel recounts the time when Mr. Brandt had asked his students to write their own ending -- any ending they wanted -- to The Great Gatsby.  "I had never been engaged like that before,"…

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Story added: 2021-01-19
Dumas picture

As a high school student, Don Dumas didn't feel he mattered because the curriculum was disconnected from his experience. "I was kicking and screaming on my way toward graduation," he said. But Joyce Suber, a Black high school English teacher, took notice, introduced him to books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Manchild in the Promised Land, and urged him, Dumas says, to use his experience "for your own elevation and your own self-realization for who…

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Story added: 2021-01-07
Bali and Mahr

Eleven year-old Kaia Bali launched her own podcast called, "Through a Gen-Z's Eyes," because she is worried the current state of politics and our country's future. In this episode of Teacher Stories, Kaia talks about being a podcast host, her favorite episodes, and the one (surprising!) person she'd most like to interview.

Also joining us is Sam Mahr, Kaia's sixth…

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Story added: 2020-12-30

After 22 years as a public school teacher, Tom Courtney finally hits his stride after discovering the virtues of the authentic connections he has created with his 5th grade students' families. Mr. Courtney, also known as "The Minister of Fun," conducts home visits and and holds monthly student and family get-togethers like star night, ice-skating night, opera night, and library night. Mr. Courtney, joined by his student teacher, Rachel Petrivelli, say the benefits of…

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Story added: 2020-12-18
Chris Hasegawa

Chris Hasegawa, a highly accomplished teacher educator, describes what great science teachers do to help students understand and love this subject. "You have to make yourself a little bit vulnerable," he says, and to elicit joy in what you're doing. The art of teaching is being able to teach people that don't learn the way that you learn and who may not enjoy school the way you did. 

Chris also shares stories about three teachers who made a difference…

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Story added: 2020-11-11
Fred Shoemaker

Fred Shoemaker is considered one of America's best golf teachers, but in this provocative conversation about teaching, learning, and life you'll discover how his success has come by helping students discover their own capacities for performance and enjoyment and not by fixing what's wrong with their golf swings. 

Much of what Fred has learned can be applied to parenting, coaching, and classroom teaching at any level. Here are a few notable quotes:

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Story added: 2020-09-27
UCSB Students

Four Black college students talk about their unique experiences in public schools, sharing stories about their teachers and professors, the curriculum they were exposed to, and the structural racism they periodically encountered along the way. They also suggest ways that schools can promote equity and anti-racism, by hiring and supporting teachers of color, for instance, and enabling new and veteran teachers to examine their own biases and to learn about culturally…

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Story added: 2020-08-31
McClurg and Rothman

Rob McClurg, a wise and extraordinarily accomplished elementary school teacher, shares stories from his own classroom, the privilege of being an educator, and a few of the teachers who shaped his life. Rob describes his work as a volunteer educator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and at the Soledad State Prison.


Story added: 2020-08-19

Lisa Godwin waited 20 years before telling anyone about a traumatic childhood experience. She credits a first grade teacher and a guidance counselor for helping her cope and eventually overcome this painful episode in her life. Now, as North Carolina's Teacher of the Year, Lisa has found the courage to share her powerful story with educators and parents. She offers wise advice for teachers and for others who may have experienced similar trauma.   

Story added: 2020-08-18
Mosely and Bellinger

Before founding the Black Teacher Project, Dr. Micia Mosely taught high school history in San Francisco, California. As a beginning teacher, Micia worried that she was unable to fully connect with and help Belinda Bellinger, one of her students, who was struggling emotionally and academically.

Unbeknownst to Micia, Belinda graduates from high school, earns a bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College…

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Story added: 2020-08-17
Tettegah in DC

Dr. Sharon Tettegah, a Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, shares stories about her life and her most memorable teachers. Growing up in Wichita Falls, Texas (a completely segregated community) all of her teachers were Black. Here, she received an excellent education and was two grade levels ahead of her classmates when, as a fifth grader, she and her family moved to San Francisco. She soon moved across the Bay to Oakland and was fortunate to have…

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Story added: 2020-08-06

Unsure what to do with his life, Josh Gaston decides to become a teacher of English -- first in Asia and then in other countries around the world. His stories are about navigating the striking, but sometimes subtle, differences in local teaching practices and cultural norms. In Korea, for instance, where students were accustomed to lectures, he had to figure out how to get students to work in small groups.  In Uzbekistan, he wanted to give a voice to his female students…

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Story added: 2020-07-24