Podcast Episodes


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

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…

Read More
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

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…

Read More
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…

Read More
Story added: 2019-08-19
Nikki thumbnail

Nikki Ahrenstorff believed her high school was "reserved for a special group of people" and that she wasn't part of it. That changed when she took an English class with Mr. Childs.  

Story added: 2019-06-21
Efraim thumbnail

Efrain Solis, a professional opera singer, honors his high school music and drama teacher who helped him discover his voice.

Story added: 2019-06-21
Gwen Reid thumbnail

Gwen Reid develops a passion for "cowboy poetry"...in her sixties.  Her junior high summer school teacher and great grandmother had a lot to do with this.

Story added: 2019-06-21
Brian Rankin thumbnail2

Brian Rankin's high school physics teacher lies on a bed of nails. He then places a cinder block on his chest and asks Brian to smash it with a sledge hammer -- all to demonstrate a key physics principle to his students.  Brian is now a physicist using laser technology to solve real-world problems.  

Story added: 2019-05-27
Bob Futernick pict

Bob Futernick, former Associate Director of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, sends a thank you note to his high school art teacher, Neil Bohr -- 50 years after taking his class.

Story added: 2019-05-27
Marvin Reed pict

Marvin Reed, pictured here with his students, reflects on his first year as a third-grade teacher -- the only African American educator in his school in a diverse neighborhood in Berkeley, California.

Story added: 2019-05-24
Lehrman thumbnail 2

Jon Lehrman's 40-year career as a doctor was shaped by a medical school teacher who challenged him to think about his purpose in becoming a doctor.  

Story added: 2019-05-22
Gabe thumbnail2

After graduating from high school, Gabe launched his own catering company. He credits Chef Inks, his high school Culinary Arts teacher, for showing him what it takes to prepare high quality food and to run a successful business.  Gabe also works part time as a teacher alongside Chef Inks and hopes to obtain a teaching credential in the near future.

Story added: 2019-05-19
John L thumbnail

John Lescroart is a New York Times best-selling novelist who says that he might be still be a typist in a law office--or, possibly, homeless were it not for his English teacher, Father Stadler at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California.

Story added: 2019-05-18
Danz thumbnail 2

Emili works with a teacher in South Central Los Angeles who helps a young, angry high school student deal with her emotions--through dance. This teacher story is about trust, the freedom to fail, and how the arts can transform lives.

Story added: 2019-05-17