#StoriesFromTheClassroom: Introducing our new podcast!

Seven years ago, I became a mom for the first time. It was a huge moment of growth. Each day felt simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting, time both crawled and flew, and I had a million questions about the tiny creature in front of me. 

It struck me as similar to the moment I became a teacher, looking around at 23 wide-eyed nine year olds for whom I was responsible. How could I challenge the kids who were reading several grade levels ahead of their peers? How should I handle the student who crawled under her desk every day? How should I plan for Back to School Night effectively? So. Many. Questions. 

As a mom, I had the great fortune to find an online group populated by ten thousand local moms (for real, it’s called Garden Moms and it saved my sanity and my time, and helped me through the many moments in parenting where I thought: “What do I do now?” ). In that community, I could get my mom questions answered by people who had exactly the experience and expertise I needed. I had stumbled upon a treasure trove of information and a giant family of moms who were looking out for each other and all of our children together.

This is what we want to build for teachers. We want to create a space where teachers can find trustworthy, tried-and-true advice, resources that fill that specific need, answers to questions that are un-Google-able, and a community of people who care about everyone’s kids. 

The Better Together Podcast is one step towards building this community. Through the podcast, we are hoping to reach more educators in a format that is easy to find and listen to, as opposed to being yet another thing to read. The podcast format also allows teachers’ real voices to come through to reinforce the message: we’re all in this together. 

The main content of each episode is a teacher (or pair of teachers) sharing the story of their own teacher-led innovation or change. This format is loosely based on the How I Built This podcast, in which entrepreneurs tell the story of their company’s founding and growth. Spoiler alert: every successful entrepreneur encounters setbacks and moments of doubt along the way. 

We want to normalize this concept for teachers: teachers who do amazing things also encounter setbacks and moments of doubt. Teachers who plant and tend to their seed of an idea usually don’t have special degrees, certifications, permissions, or resources. They just take the first step and keep going. 

Additionally, the podcast will include calls from the Better Together Podcast hotline, where educators call in to (anonymously) share moments from their classrooms that other educators will appreciate. These are small moments--those  funny, brilliant, inspiring, embarrassing, heartwarming, or heartbreaking things that happen in the course of a day in classrooms everywhere. 

We hope you will give our podcast a listen (first episode will be available weekly on Tuesdays, starting November 12th), share it with colleagues and teacher friends who are looking for connection, inspiration, humor, call the hotline and leave us a message, or share your story (#storiesfromtheclassroom)...and most of all, we hope you know regardless of where you teach, who you teach, or how long you’ve been at it: we’re all in this together! 

- Maria Fenwick, Teacher Collaborative founder and Executive Director (and former fourth grade teacher…and mom of three!)