You, the Teaching Channel community, have watched millions of minutes of Teaching Channel videos. You have responded, commented, and annotated them hundreds of thousands of times. You have tried, shared, pinned, and tweeted too many times to count. It’s because of you that this community continues to grow and flourish. It’s because of you that the way we talk about teaching and learning is changing. Yet, in all of this multimedia motivation, we still need to listen. To hear. It’s the hard work Madeleine L’Engle talks about when she says, “Part of doing something is listening.”
Teaching Channel is excited to launch its newest endeavor in meeting you where you hear: the Tch Talks podcast. When you listen, you’ll hear teacher stories and learning stories; stories of improving practice and sparking imagination. Teaching Channel invites you to listen. To learn. To do what this community does so well: get better.
And I couldn’t be more proud to contribute the inaugural series, Sarah & Friends. It’s a collection of conversations with educators who revisited their earliest teaching selves to answer the question, “What advice would you give to your first-year teacher self?” Like any good story though, these interviews were far less about that one question and far more about the arc of experiences that shaped how they would answer. In other words, these aren’t just interviews with our newest colleagues; rather, they’re shards of wisdom from teachers who have asked themselves the toughest questions.
When you listen, you’ll hear about treacherous first years and moments of epiphany. You’ll hear about teachers who have never left the classroom and others who redefined what “classroom” would mean for them. You’ll hear plain talk about fighting isolation and building community. You’ll hear the untold stories behind some of your favorite Teaching Channel videos, and you’ll meet teachers that I’m sure will quickly become a part of your tribe. In short, these are the stories of us, the ones that I hope will affirm and challenge, inspire and provoke.
So find the closest pair of earbuds, push play, and get ready to hear from the educators who make me want to get better every day. Perhaps it’s fitting that we start with my friend and one of your Teacher Laureates, Josh Parker, who opens up in the most genuine ways to give us some beautiful slices of his teaching story.
Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. She is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and Laureate Emeritus for Teaching Channel. You can follow her work at sarahbrownwessling.com or connect with Sarah on Twitter: @SarahWessling.