Episode 12 – Bill Price

 

billpricephotoAnybody in power can come and take away your life, they can take your wealth, they can take your freedom, but they can never take your education,” shares Bill as he recalls the lasting impact his grandmothers words has had on his teaching life. “…that really stuck with me and I thought, ‘Yeah, she’s right.’ They can stick me in a prison cell, they can keep me away from the people that I love, they can take all of my material wealth, but they can’t take what I’ve learned. And if I can’t play rock and roll guitar […] then I want to plant seeds, I want to grow gardens on these young impressionable minds and have them be the next change makers.”

Fast Facts about Bill

  1. Full name: William “Bill” Price
  2. Years teaching: 6
  3. Grade(s) taught:
    • 2012-2012: Preschool
    • 2014-2016: Lower Elementary, 1st-3rd
    • 2016-present: Upper Elementary, 4th-6th
  4. Current position: Upper Elementary Montessori Co-Teacher
  5. Current city: Oakland, CA
  6. Favorite books:
  7. Favorite resources: Go to a recycle bin and dig out some art supplies to give students any means necessary to demonstrate understanding. Bring your instrument to work and your favorite books, share what you love with your kiddos.
  8. Why teach? My grandmother told me they can take away your freedom, your life, your wealth, and your family, but they can’t take way your education; I want to plant this seed.

Noteworthy Outtakes from Bill’s Chat

With a combination of his Boston grit, and his Oakland inspired civic pride, Bill courageously shares how stories from his underprivileged childhood has shaped his passion for teaching. From sharing about his father abandoning his blind mother to raise him and his sister, his poor upbringing and his use of those stories to connect with students – Bill’s emboldened vulnerability has delivered the most heartfelt chat with teachers yet.

Listen in as Bill encourages teachers to take risks in speaking to students about things like social justice and to engage with administration for support when needed. Bill is also a self-described “white, middle-aged, male career changer.” He talks about his admiration of lifelong teachers and their fluidity, while also recognizing his unique ability to understand the big picture scope of what lies ahead for his students in a variety of fields and life experiences.

Bill is also a devoted family man whose two children attend the public school he teaches. As a rather new charter school in Oakland, CA taking on bold moves towards transforming public education in a diverse community – Bill says his investment in the school is not just as an educator, but as a parent who “needs” the school to succeed for the sake of his children.

From the strong, yet empathetic way Bill connects with his students to the very real reasons he feels he owes his life’s work to his grandmother, Bill’s “rock and roll” personality is both engaging and warm.

Episode 11 – Barry Turner

 

barryturner“One thing I do know as far as black males [in] this country, that is only 2% of the teaching population. And I question that, why? So to me, I feel like it goes back to mentoring again,” shares Mr. Barry on the topic of the low representation of black male teachers in the classroom. “… I think black students do need a black male teacher […] I talk to black male students and I ask them, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ ‘An athlete or a rapper..” and that’s it. I ask students, ‘What do you think about being a teacher?’ And just the look on their face, it doesn’t even come across as an idea, and I feel like it’s because they don’t see it enough.”

Fast Facts about Barry

  1. Full Name: Barry Turner
  2. Current city: Oakland, CA
  3. Years teaching: 17
  4. Grades: Early Elementary, and currently a mixed 1st-3rd grade Montessori Classroom
  5. Favorite books:
  6. Why teach: “I always hope to inspire other children to teach – mainly other African American children.”
  7. Resources Barry mentioned:

Noteworthy Outtakes from Mr. Barry’s Chat with Teachers

From his time as a communications professional turned educator in private schools and now working as a teacher in an Oakland school taking Montessori public and transforming the way children learn — Mr. Barry talks honestly about his journey and his passion for connecting with his students, especially his student’s of color.

Barry also shares his take on the importance of professional development and why it’s imperative that teachers continuously seek out opportunities for growth. Whether to spark motivation, or inspire ideas, professional development and collaborating with peers in the field can be a great way for teachers to stay passionate about what they do.

Episode 10 -Iain Lampert

 

Initially I thought that the best teachers were able to create success stories out of any student, but it really does take two to tango,” says Iain Lampert when recounting one of his own personal a-ha moments as a teacher. “I initially was hurt when a student would transfer out of my class, because I took it personally. And the challenge was realizing how sensitive I was … and to stop taking it so personally.”

14316712_10153870036428202_3288112764384533690_nFast Facts about Iain

  1. Full name: Iain Gabriel Lampert
  2. Current city: Van Nuys, CA
  3. Years teaching: 7, including coaching Speech and Debate since 2010 and teaching speech classes since 2014
  4. Grades taught: 6th-12th
  5. Favorite books:
  6. Why teach? If we don’t, who will?
  7. Some of Iain’s favorite resources:

Noteworthy Outtakes from Iain’s Chat with Teachers

Listen in as Iain takes us on a journey through his time as a child who had no desire to become a teacher, to a High School student who found his voice and passion for speech through various theater and debate classes. And, finally to a dedicated teacher to a future generation of confident communicators.

Iain shares his love for speech and debate and how he  uses his passion to teach children to use the skills they learn in his class in all parts of their lives that include communications – whether interviewing for a job or communicating with a partner.

Some valuable tips he also shares for any new teachers in the field, regardless of grade or content area, is the value of self-reflection. As a lover of all things speech and theater related, Iain talks about teaching being a stage for educating children. He has a deep recognition of all the roles a teacher plays: teacher, friend, counselor and more – many roles that a  teaching program simply cannot prepare you for. But be that as it may, Iain encourages new teachers to never walk into a classroom for the first time without first recording yourself and playing the recording back twice.

First to listen to the audio only. By isolating your voice, says Iain, you are able to hear whether or not there are any problematic things in your voice, such as verbal flubs. Second, Iain suggests watching yourself with the video portion of the recording only to see if you have any awkward hand gestures or if you move in any unstructured or unfocused way that may be distracting your students.

Episode 9 – Meredith Jacobs

 

meredithjacobsAs an art teacher you’re a huge advocate for the arts in general – the arts lead to pretty much everything. We back up all of the other academic areas. The arts does back up your ELA, the arts does back up your math…

Fast Facts about Meredith

  1. Full name: Meredith Jacobs
  2. Current city: Plattsburgh NY
  3. Years teaching: 12
  4. Grade(s) taught:
    • (1yr) K-6 Elementary Art Teacher AuSable Forks Elementary,
    • (10yrs) K-12 Art to Children with Special Needs @ CVES BOCES Plattsburgh/ Mineville NY Campuses
    • (1yr) Toddler Teacher
    • (2 months) Orchard Elementary, Rio Linda School District AmeriCorps NCCC* Mentor
  5. Favorite books
  6. Why teach? It feeds your soul and grows others around you.
  7. Check out more about the arts program at Meredith’s school, Champlain Valley Educational Services

artNoteworthy Outtakes from Meredith’s Chat

During our chat, Meredith shares her thoughts on the current state of politics and how it affects arts education. From cutting arts funding to the notion that arts programming is disposable, she expresses how her students with special needs use art as an avenue for not only learning, but meditation, joy and relaxation – skills her students, and many others are often not encouraged to incorporate into their academic lives. As an art teacher, Meredith also recognizes that not all children learn the same way and that the arts is one of the few times in school that learning is concrete and tactile, leading to skill building in other academic areas as well.

Meredith also shares valuable tips and strategies for engaging with your community to help give your students a platform for showcasing their art and to help with putting resources into your classroom – Meredith says one year she walked into her local pizzeria and asked for pizza boxes to help her students bring home mirrors they made at school as part of an art project!

Listen in on how Meredith describes her passions for incorporating arts into education, despite the fact that art teachers are often shied away from this path because of the notion that they “won’t have a job in a few years.”

Episode 8 – Edwina Lucero

 

edwinaimage“I see them survive through the inherit grit that they bring every day with them to the classroom – a skill I don’t need to teach them.”

Fast Facts about Edwina

  1. Full name: Edwina Lucero
  2. Years teaching: 13
  3. Grades taught: 9-12
  4. City: Denver Metro area
  5. Favorite resources:
  6. Favorite books:
  7. Listen to Edwina’s Music!

Why Music Education is so Important, according to Edwina!

Edwina has taught classroom music in the Denver metro area for the last 13 years, in private, public, and public charter schools.  After completing her Master’s degree in music education at the University of Colorado, her focus has been on how to provide equitable access to robust arts programming for under-served populations.  She lives in Arvada with her husband, two children, and a bossy miniature schnauzer. When asked about her thoughts on the importance of music education and her feelings about the current state of arts education in politics, here is what she had to say:

“I am inspired by my students at the high school I teach at in Denver, Colorado.  My students are primarily Latino/Hispanic, and a large percentage are children of undocumented parents, or are undocumented themselves.  I see these young people defeat the odds every single day.  

I see them survive through the inherit grit that they bring every day with them to the classroom – a skill I don’t need to teach them.  I see them dream and hope and love and create.  I also see them fear and wonder what the future brings.  These young people inspire me to be an active citizen – as the saying goes, we will never be truly free until we all share the same rights as you and me.

The arts are the avenue I travel with these young people. It is on that road that we are able to intersect with things like human spirit, empathy, empowerment, and knowledge of self.  This country is full of free-thinking, critical-thinking, and forward-thinking people. Regardless of your politics, the arts are an integral part of our existence. Whether you are celebrating triumphantly or marching in resistance, you are doing so to the beat of some drum – the music, the art, the expression of self – they are part of who you are.

We cannot allow the tyranny of fear to overtake our culture. Now is the time to write, sing, play, dance, sculpt, and create our destiny.”

Episode 7 – Connie Lam

connieimage“My teaching experience started with just struggle and absolutely being thrown into just chaos,” says Connie Lam, teacher of three years in Oakland, CA. “I think that I definitely don’t regret everything that happened because it’s made me a stronger person and hopefully a stronger teacher in the future.”

Fast Facts about Connie:

  1. Full name: Connie Lam
  2. Years teaching: 3
  3. Grades taught: 1st-3rd Grade SDC (Special Day Classroom), Kindergarten
  4. City: Oakland, CA
  5. Favorite resources:
  6. Favorite books:
  7. Why teach? For the children!

conniesfeedbacknoteNoteworthy outtakes from my chat with Connie

Listen as Connie talks candidly about her not-so-great experience with Teach for America and how she feels new teachers could use more consistent support in their first year’s teaching. Connie shares her struggles as she embarked on the unknown in a new city miles from home and with a population of students she had no experience with. From aha moments that taught her that constant smiles won’t win her student’s respect, to still being challenged to accept that being a teacher is a learning experience in itself, Connie talks in depth about her growth in the short three years she’s been teaching, as well as how far she realizes she still needs to go. Thank you for chatting so honestly with teachers Connie!

Episode 6 – Danielle David

 

ddavid“I’m a Caucasian woman from an upper middle class town where I was raised… I moved to Oakland when I started teaching in Oakland – and so I think that actually living in the city that I worked in, especially considering Oakland has many different neighborhoods, but there is a lot of impoverished areas of Oakland, it was humbling for me and that helped – immersing myself in the culture. I had some falters throughout the years, people may or may not have called me racist, I don’t think it was true, I know it wasn’t true, but people get defensive when it comes to their kids or somebody that is trying to help them but they feel like it’s a challenge. So, I just became very humbled and I listened, and you know what I learned… you don’t always have to have an answer for something, and the most valuable tool you can give to someone is your active listening… you’re just listening with your ears and heart.”

Fast Facts about Danielle

  1. Full name: Danielle David
  2. Years in education: 11
  3. Current position: Teacher on Special Assignment in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
  4. Grade(s) taught: TK, K, 1, 2, 3 as a classroom teacher but I have worked with all grades from TK-8th
  5. Favorite books:
  6. Why teach: Because I want to help enable our future to make better decisions than those from our past.

Noteworthy outtakes from Danielle’s chat

During our chat, Danielle mentioned some of the following topics. Click on the links below to learn more about them:

  • Transitional Kindergarten (TK) – a relatively new grade that began in California about five years ago to accommodate children with Fall birthdays who did not meet the state’s most recent kindergarten age cutoff of turning five before September 1st.
  • Montessori – Danielle mentioned Montessori briefly in comparing it to the very play-based TK program she helped to launch at Emerson Elementary school in Oakland, CA. More about this topic in an upcoming post as a Montessori trained teacher is on the schedule for an upcoming podcast!
  • Caring School Communities

daniellejpowerMeet and Spin with Danielle in Person!

Danielle is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and also doubles as a spin studio instructor! If you happen to live in, or around, the Benicia, CA area, be sure to attend one of her spin classes at JPower Studio. You can find Danielle combining her passion for both teaching and exercise here every Wednesday morning at 5:30am, Thursday nights at 5:30pm and alternating weekends – check out the schedule.

 

 

 

Episode 5 – Elizabeth Isralowitz

 

liz_headshot001“Failure doesn’t feel good, and we know that failure in school leads to a myriad of other consequences including psychopathology, depression, anxiety. Often time it leads to delinquent behaviors and it can impact a child’s social skills and ability to have friends as well… a child who is hitting is doing that for a reason. Maybe it’s because they know they don’t get what those things on the paper are, and maybe it’s because they just can’t communicate what they need. Or they haven’t learned the skills to even sit for five minutes…. For me looking at it at all ages, the biggest thing is that you have to look at the whole child. Even if it’s subtle, behavior and academics are always going to go hand in hand.” – Elizabeth Isralowitz

Fast Facts about Elizabeth

  1. Full name: Elizabeth Isralowitz, MA BCBA
  2. Years teaching:  10 years teaching, 3 years of clinical work and school administration (Behavior Specialist/Board Certified Behavior Analyst), over 20 years working with children with special needs
  3. Grades taught: Early Intervention to 22 years
  4. Current position: PhD student/graduate student researcher at University of California, Riverside: SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center
  5. Current city: Los Angeles and Riverside, CA
  6. Favorite books:
  7. Why teach? Every day is different, a triumph, a challenge, an accomplishment, and a chance to change the lives of children and their families.

Useful Resources Shared by Elizabeth!

Elizabeth is a wealth of knowledge and hopes to use Linkedin, in the new year to begin sharing some of her professional development workshops and intervention resources. If you found her podcast useful and informative, be sure to let her know in the comments below.

Episode 4 – Vanessa Donino

 

vanessadonino“I completely admire the profession of education more so than anything. Please don’t ever be discouraged … if you’re overwhelmed reach out to fellow educators who understand what you do because what we do is truly, truly noble!”

Fast Facts about Vanessa

  1. Full name: Vanessa Donino
  2. Years teaching: 3
  3. Grade(s) taught: 1st-3rd and Alternative High School
  4. Current position: Educator of Incarcerated Youth at Oneida County Prison
  5. Current city: Oriskany, NY
  6. Past cities Vanessa has taught in: Bronx, NY, Clark County, NV
  7. Why teach?: I teach because I want to help fight educational injustice and policies.
  8. Favorite books:
  9. Resource mentioned during podcast interview: Engage NY

 

Episode 3 – Melissa Asencio

 

melissaascencio“If you open yourself up and get yourself to a place where you’re putting everything out on the table and saying, ‘this is who I am as a person,’ they [your students] will show you their cards too.” – Melissa Asencio

Fast Facts about Melissa

  1. Full Name: Melissa Asencio
  2. Years teaching: 16 years in total, with 12 spent as a lead teacher and four in administration or other educational capacity
  3. Grades taught: 6th-11th grade in all core subject areas. Melissa has also taught adult education as well.
  4. Current Position: 8th Grade English Teacher
  5. Why teach: I teach because I know it makes a difference
  6. Favorite books:

*Another fast fact about Melissa is that she hid out in her car from her two young children during this interview, leaving them inside with their dad in order to take the time to chat with teachers uninterrupted. She was also so determined to her commitment to this interview that she continued on despite a cold that made her voice, “sound like a man…” as she adeptly put it. Thank you Melissa!