Podcast Episodes

Berkowitz and Bell Image

This episode is part of our series on what schools can do to help save our democracy. Guests include Dr. Marvin W. Berkowitz, McDonnell Professor of Character Education at the Center for Character Education and Citizenship at the University of Missouri at St. Louis; and Dr. Kashina Bell, Deputy Superintendent for the School District of University City in St. Louis, Missouri. Both talk about character education -- what it looks like, how it's done, and…

Read More
Story added: 2021-07-25
Bruce Stewart Picture

Bruce Stewart is a life-long educator who dedicated his career to social justice and high-quality education for all. As a history teacher and guidance counselor at Walter Hines Page Senior High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, he led the effort to desegregate the school 1963. Stewart became a Quaker educator and later served as Head of School at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. from 1998 to 2009. 

In this episode, Jennifer Futernick, a…

Read More
Story added: 2021-06-20
David Berliner Image

David Berliner, one of this country's preeminent education scholars, tells the story of a teacher named Jennifer, whose classroom he visited many years ago. "I like visiting classrooms," Berliner says, "in part because they are so difficult to understand. It is an enormous intellectual challenge to make sense of teachers and students with curriculum materials in a classroom setting...[Observing teachers] is a bit like trying to study what comes out the end of a funnel–…

Read More
Story added: 2021-05-10
Peter at White House

Peter Boykin, a history teacher in Detroit, Michigan, recounts the amazing story of his great-great grandfather named Johnson Chestnut Whittaker who was born into slavery in 1858 and was the subject of a book and TV movie titled, Assault at West Point. Whittaker would later become a teacher and a principal, which inspired Boykin to become an educator himself over a century later. 

Takia Maxxwell, one of Boykin's former students, also pays tribute…

Read More
Story added: 2021-05-06
Teach Plus Image

Three of America's finest teachers -- Justin Johnson from Illinois, Eric Hale from Texas, and Juliana Urtubey from Nevada -- were selected to represent their respective states as Teachers of the Year, in part because of their extraordinary influence as teacher leaders. Each one is also a policy fellow for Teach Plus, an organization that empowers teachers to take on leadership roles with education policy and practice. Teach Plus…

Read More
Story added: 2021-04-30
Dino Luna Picture

Dino Luna was about to become a pilot but switched careers after accidentally falling in love with teaching. Now a veteran educator, Luna reflects on what it takes to be of service to his colleagues as an instructional coach. He also shares a touching story about a former 5th grade student who took time, years later, to tell him about the profound effect he had on her life. Turns out it was just a few kind words of encouragement. "You never know what simple thing you…

Read More
Story added: 2021-04-27
Malik Boykin Image

Malik Boykin (aka Malik Starx) is an accomplished musician and a professor of psychology at Brown University where he teaches a course on stigma and prejudice. Boykin shares two transformational teacher stories--the first from second grade when he was sent to the principal's office for raising questions…

Read More
Story added: 2021-03-25
Perri Klass

When 4th grade teacher Miriam Marecek turned down the lights and lit the reading candle, magic happened. Pediatrician and journalist Perri Klass describes what it was like being one of Ms. Marecek's students and the impact it's had on her life and professional career. Now, as national medical director for Reach Out and Read, Dr. Klass, promotes reading aloud together starting at birth.

In this episode she…

Read More
Story added: 2021-03-05
Insurrection Teacher Image

Like most Americans, these three veteran teachers were horrified as they learned about the insurrection at the nation's Capitol on January 6th, 2021. But each of them had to decide how to address this highly controversial topic with their students. What's the proper role for a teacher with an event like this? What if some students' parents or the students themselves supported the insurrection? Is there any way to talk about this and other controversial topics with very…

Read More
Story added: 2021-03-03
Sean Bui Picture

After practicing law for several years, Sean Bui, the son of Vietnamese and Filipino immigrants, suddenly realized that he didn't love his job. What he really wanted to be was a teacher and to make a difference in young people's lives. But this career shift presented a daunting challenge. Growing up, Mr. Bui's parents and grandparents had only endorsed three career paths -- medicine, engineering, and law.  And now, after successfully following one of them, he wanted to…

Read More
Story added: 2021-01-19
Brandt and Osorio

Until one of his former students, Daniel Osorio, nominated him as Teacher of the Year, Marty Brandt considered himself "just another guy" -- a high school English teacher who would never become the educator he hoped he would become when he entered the profession.

Daniel recounts the time when Mr. Brandt had asked his students to write their own ending -- any ending they wanted -- to The Great Gatsby.  "I had never been engaged like that before,"…

Read More
Story added: 2021-01-19
Dumas picture

As a high school student, Don Dumas didn't feel he mattered because the curriculum was disconnected from his experience. "I was kicking and screaming on my way toward graduation," he said. But Joyce Suber, a Black high school English teacher, took notice, introduced him to books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Manchild in the Promised Land, and urged him, Dumas says, to use his experience "for your own elevation and your own self-realization for who…

Read More
Story added: 2021-01-07
Bali and Mahr

Eleven year-old Kaia Bali launched her own podcast called, "Through a Gen-Z's Eyes," because she is worried the current state of politics and our country's future. In this episode of Teacher Stories, Kaia talks about being a podcast host, her favorite episodes, and the one (surprising!) person she'd most like to interview.

Also joining us is Sam Mahr, Kaia's sixth…

Read More
Story added: 2020-12-30

After 22 years as a public school teacher, Tom Courtney finally hits his stride after discovering the virtues of the authentic connections he has created with his 5th grade students' families. Mr. Courtney, also known as "The Minister of Fun," conducts home visits and and holds monthly student and family get-togethers like star night, ice-skating night, opera night, and library night. Mr. Courtney, joined by his student teacher, Rachel Petrivelli, say the benefits of…

Read More
Story added: 2020-12-18
Chris Hasegawa

Chris Hasegawa, a highly accomplished teacher educator, describes what great science teachers do to help students understand and love this subject. "You have to make yourself a little bit vulnerable," he says, and to elicit joy in what you're doing. The art of teaching is being able to teach people that don't learn the way that you learn and who may not enjoy school the way you did. 

Chris also shares stories about three teachers who made a difference…

Read More
Story added: 2020-11-11
Lori Caldeira Image

Lori Caldeira, a teacher near Salinas, California describes an act of racism directed at an Asian school board member. She and a few colleagues facilitate an Equity Club where students can discuss issues of race, sexual orientation, and social injustice. Lori suggests students and the local community would benefit by actively recruiting for a more diverse teacher workforce at her school.  Lori also shares stories about the teachers who had the greatest influence on her…

Read More
Story added: 2020-11-04
Fred Shoemaker

Fred Shoemaker is considered one of America's best golf teachers, but in this provocative conversation about teaching, learning, and life you'll discover how his success has come by helping students discover their own capacities for performance and enjoyment and not by fixing what's wrong with their golf swings. 

Much of what Fred has learned can be applied to parenting, coaching, and classroom teaching at any level. Here are a few notable quotes:

Read More
Story added: 2020-09-27
UCSB Students

Four Black college students talk about their unique experiences in public schools, sharing stories about their teachers and professors, the curriculum they were exposed to, and the structural racism they periodically encountered along the way. They also suggest ways that schools can promote equity and anti-racism, by hiring and supporting teachers of color, for instance, and enabling new and veteran teachers to examine their own biases and to learn about culturally…

Read More
Story added: 2020-08-31