July 6, 2022
Welcome to “Season 5” of Hallway Conversations! We hope you’ll notice a couple of changes; most notably, we have new microphones, so we hope you’ll find the audio quality a better listening experience. But the basic idea of this show is the same: we hope these are meaningful conversations for you to listen in on that will encourage, challenge, and inspire you.
Today we have a question from a listener! Brenda asks us about what we might be able to “take off of teachers’ plates.” This is an idea we hear talked about quite a bit–and one we’ve even brought up on the show in the past–so we were excited to think this one through. We have a few ideas of the kinds of things school leaders might be able to do to address teachers’ workload. We hope this might spark some creative and courageous conversations at your own schools.
We’d love to hear from you–whether with a question of your own, or feedback on this episode or any other episode. You can always reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’d be willing to rate this show, or write a review, we would deeply appreciate it!
June 29, 2022
Due to some unforeseen circumstances related to our summer travel schedules and other responsibilities, we were not able to get into the studio to record a new episode this week. (Sorry, loyal listeners!) But we have one from the archive: a question from some of our students prompted this discussion about the challenges of teaching today, and how to cope when it all seems like too much. We hope this is a word of encouragement to all educators who have completed a very trying, taxing year. Grace and peace to you all, and we hope to be back with a new episode very soon.
June 22, 2022
In this episode, Matt kicks things off by sharing a quote from Brené Brown’s excellent book, Dare to Lead. The key question we consider is, “How do we open our hearts to be receptive to feedback…and also still protect ourselves from criticism that we ought to dismiss?” Educators by the public nature of their work are often targets of critique, whether fairly or unfairly, and we think together about the ways we personally take feedback, and how we deal with criticism. We hope that you’ll be encouraged in this episode to be resilient in the face of critique, and continue to discern what feedback you should listen to…and what feedback you can disregard.
- Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead is available here: Amazon link
June 15, 2022
In today’s episode, Abby mentions a tweet that she read recently that prompted wondering about what free reading could (should?) look like in middle school and high school classrooms. We jumped into talking through the joys and challenges of creating a culture of reading–and how it might be more of an expectation at the elementary grades, but could have huge benefits for older students as well. We question the role of accountability programs like Accelerated Reader, and discuss the ways AR actually doesn’t promote a healthy, positive culture of reading within a school. Abby shares from her expertise as a literacy instructor about ways to scaffold reading instruction as part of fostering choice-based reading. Lots of dreaming in this episode, but we hope you’ll be encouraged to think about the culture of reading in your school, and possibly imagine ways to strengthen that culture.
June 8, 2022
Dave’s Facebook memories recently reminded him of his former role as a Technology Director in K-12, when part of his job involved printing report cards, which got him thinking about the purpose of report cards, and whether they do what we think they do. Dave shares his frustration about the reductionism in trying to compress a whole term’s learning into just one symbol–a letter grade. We candidly share our own school experiences with getting grades and how they were reported on report cards. We wonder together about alternative ways we could think about communicating learning in ways that would be helpful for students, families, and teachers. Grades, comments, narratives, gradeless reports, standards-based approaches…we talk a little about it all! We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in response; please drop us a line at email@example.com.
June 3, 2022
Consider this a peek behind the scenes...we really are friends, and we really do just hang out together and talk about things. When we get set to record, we usually start with a sound check, and then jump in. But sometimes we go off on a tangent right from the get-go...and that's what happened here. K-pop, fiction we're reading right now, Dave's recent vacation...it all shows up in a 10-minute window. We hope you enjoy this bonus episode!
June 1, 2022
Our check-in today is about the different rhythms of summer; Matt starts us off with the myth of “summers off” for teachers, but we recognize that we do have different opportunities with the coming of the summer months. Late bedtimes, smoothies for lunch, and changing exercise routines–we have lots to enjoy with the coming of summer!
Our main topic of discussion today comes from Matt’s recent re-reading of Parker J. Palmer’s impactful book, The Courage to Teach. (Which is one of Dave’s very favorite books ever.) A central concept in the book is one we’ve mentioned on the show before: “teaching who you are.” Matt shares a passage from the book that introduces Palmer’s idea of teacher identity, and we take a little time to think out loud together about what this means for us, and how it shows up in our own practices. We hope you’ll be encouraged and inspired by listening–and that it might spark a hallway conversation for you with a colleague about your own teacher identity.
- Parker Palmer’s book, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of the Teacher’s Life is one every educator should read. You can order a copy here: Amazon link
May 25, 2022
Many thanks to you, our dedicated listeners! We are in that hectic season of wrapping up our semester with all of the final grading and reporting and final details, so we did not have margin to get into the studio (a.k.a., Dave's office with a cheap microphone) to record a new episode. But you are in luck! We are pulling a classic episode out of the archive. In this episode, we discuss the problems and potential of the staff room. What happens in the staff room? What should happen in the staff room? We hope you'll be challenged and encouraged by listening, and we'll be back with new episodes soon!
May 18, 2022
We educators are such busy people, aren’t we? In today’s episode, we consider a selection from Jenny Odell’s book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. Maybe this sounds like we are encouraging slothfulness? Not that, exactly…but we discuss the idea of being intentional in planning ways to be fully present in Creation, with family and friends, and perhaps choosing to do different things. We consider the magnetic pull of social media, and the way it pushes us to feel FOMO (fear of missing out.) Odell suggests that we instead embrace NOMO (the necessity of missing out), and we discuss this idea, and what it might look like to live this way. We hope that this episode is a word of encouragement for educators as we wrap up our teaching for this academic year and set some different rhythms for rest and play–and maybe put our phones down?
May 11, 2022
Oh boy, friends…are you ready to talk about dangerous ideas?? In this episode we discuss an essay from the New York Times by Matt Gross entitled “Your Kids Can Handle Dangerous Ideas.” (With thanks to our former professor, Jim Schaap, for recommending it to us!) The key quote from the article: “Parents–or at least the parents who seem to win media attention–are freaking out over everything their kids see, read, and do.” We think through some of the reasons why parents and teachers might be so worried about the kids, and consider some of the cultural forces that seem to be in effect. We also wonder about why (many) Christian schools seem to be afraid to approach potentially “dangerous” ideas–despite perhaps being the ideal place for having faith-informed, honest discussions about potentially-controversial topics. We welcome you to listen in, and as always, your feedback is most welcome!