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The Teachers' Lounge Podcast

The Teachers’ Lounge Podcast provides a space for educators to candidly discuss their successes, challenges, and concerns. It is about honesty, community, and commonality. Diverse experiences and perspectives are encouraged. Check out our website for book reviews and other resources.

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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Episode 0

This episode will introduce you to the what, why, how and who of the show. Welcome to the Teacher’s Lounge Podcast. I’m your host, George Helfenstine. This is titled Episode 0, so hopefully you’ll listen to this one first. I want to give you a quick overview of how this came to be and what it’s all about. As I looked through the podcast and educational content landscapes, I noticed that most seemed to be expert-based. Someone has a big twitter following around ed-tech and a podcast specific to those strategies. They are an expert, helping folks level up their teaching. Publishing companies have podcasts specific to the use of a new curriculum or tool they’ve developed. You get the idea. What I didn’t see in abundance was opportunity for regular teachers to have their voices heard. People who wouldn’t self-identify as a ‘guru’ or ‘master’ or ‘black belt’, but have their own experiences, struggles and successes - stories and ideas worth sharing. That’s who this is for. Think of it like a Friday happy hour. There’s a level of honesty, vulnerability, and EQUALITY that the fermented hops and grains bring out.  It’s cathartic to give voice to our successes, failures, and struggles - both in the classroom and with our colleagues. We get to learn about and learn from one another in an environment where all are equal, regardless of experience or position. The newbie teacher has a voice equal to the district teacher of the year or assistant principal. While there will be opportunity for guests to solicit advice and listeners to provide tips and tricks, the purpose is space. Space for voices to be heard without judgement and without someone trying to ‘fix it’. Maybe this honesty will move our profession forward - give parents and policymakers a glimpse behind the curtain. Or maybe it won’t. But the voice of teachers needs to be amplified, if only into the echoing abyss of a listener-less podcast. Now, a little bit on format. Guests are allowed to remain as anonymous as they want. This means some episodes will have ‘a teacher’ while others will have ‘Ms. Arroyo from Brownsville, Texas’ or ‘Mr. Smith from PS137 in New York’. Our goal is honesty and transparency, not a 45 minute gripefest. However, some leaders, schools, or districts may respond negatively or take offense to the content regardless. Different contracts have different stipulations around who can say what, where, when, and how. Personally I find these gag orders offensive to the entire profession, but it would be a great travesty to lose incredible teachers for simply speaking their minds and seeking support in their struggles. Other than that, we may have the occasional book review, listener Q and A, guest panel, or anything else that pops in my head and seems like a good idea. But the heart of this podcast is and always will be teachers. If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering who is behind the voice in your ears. The short version - my name is George, I’m a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, who taught for 5 years before transitioning out of the classroom where I spent 4 years as content specialist, instructional coach, and administrator. Now I host this podcast… And try to help schools and non-profits lead well and have a positive impact on their communities through my company, Noble Educational Leadership. Hit us up with a like or follow; our handles are @lead_nobly on FB, IG, and Twitter. Ok, that’s enough of that. Other things to note: I love feedback, so shoot me an email with your thoughts, suggestions, questions, and comments. Full disclosure, I don’t have a background in broadcasting, I’m just a guy with a computer and microphone. So your input is definitely welcome.Lastly, a bit of a confession. As you’ve probably noticed, I have a stutter. I’ll edit it so it’s not a distraction from the conversation, but in 30+ some-odd years I’ve never been able to get rid of it, so just bear with me. If you or someone you know wants to be on the podcast, reach out! We’re always looking for more guests. Check us out at TheTeachersLoungePodcast.com. And with that, we’ll go ahead and wrap up right there. 


20 Apr 2020

Rank #1

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Episode 1

Our first guest is an instructional coach who shares with us their thoughts on disillusionment, feedback, balance, and the importance of being predictable.


24 Apr 2020

Rank #2

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Episode 3

Our guest this week is a teacher and instructional coach on the West coast. We discuss student needs, the use and impact of technology, and what it takes to be a teacher.

1hr 5mins

1 May 2020

Rank #3

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This week’s episode is a book review covering “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. We’ll talk about the practical applications of a framework for leading and managing change - Directing the Rider, Motivating the Elephant, and Shaping the Path.


7 May 2020

Rank #4

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Episode 4

Part 1 of a two-part conversation with a 3rd grade teacher from Texas. We discuss teacher prep, building trust, supporting and recruiting teachers, and the ever elusive work-life balance.


13 May 2020

Rank #5

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Episode 5

Part 2 of our conversation with a 3rd grade teacher from Texas. We discuss documentation, rubrics and evaluations, and the idea of accommodations vs. concessions.


20 May 2020

Rank #6