There’s no such thing as other people’s children.
Because we belong to one another.
The intention of this podcast is the nourishing of our teacher souls in a time that is more difficult than ever. Why do we do this work? What can it teach us? How do we release the tyranny of perfectionism and show up fully in our own gifts in our own way to serve our kids the best we can? We explore these questions and more with teachers like you and me in a way that is warm and casual, just like the chats we have in the copy room.
It is with love and reverence for what you do and who you are that I say, Welcome to the Copy Room
Paying it Forward - Mary Chai
The last episode for our season on paying it forward drops on Sunday with my new friend, Mary Chai. I’ve long believed teaching to be a spiritual practice, one that stretches us as much as it saves us, one where we use every ounce of who we are in service to our kids, even the kids (especially the kids) who we wish some days were absent. Mary is the first guest I haven’t known and loved for years; in fact, the first day we met was the day we recorded this episode. Interestingly enough, this may be the most episode vulnerable thus far because the way we think about our kids and teaching? Mary and I just might be soul sisters.
Since pretending to teach her youngest brothers as children, Mary has always had her heart in teaching. She has had the pleasure of educating children in the first, second, fifth, and sixth grades for the past 14 years. In addition to teaching, she is currently working as a speech therapist in a special education preschool program. She has bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education, as well as Communication Disorders. Mary’s educational philosophy focuses on educating individuals in a safe, challenging, and nurturing environment. Watching her students achieve their dreams and conquer the day-to-day challenges with grace and courage is the drive behind her passion to teach. She is married to her best friend, Nate, and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they have two fantastic children, Isaac and Melea. As for hobbies, Mary loves the wilderness and is happiest wandering forests and red-rock canyons, exploring new places, polishing rocks and minerals, and spending time with her family and Great Dane, Lucy.
Paying it Forward - Julie and Briana
In the last of our episodes featuring both the inspired and the inspiring, we listen in on Julie and Briana talk about teaching, friendship, and paying it forward. They belong to one another, and something tells me Julie will always be Briana’s teacher, no matter how old we all get.
Briana Krist was born in Hayward, CA and grew up in the Hayward and San Lorenzo School Districts. The world of Academics was where she always felt most comfortable and she realized early on that she wanted to be a teacher. She got her Bachelor’s at USC and then came back to the San Lorenzo Unified School District to substitute teach. After a few years of substitute teaching she went back to school at UC Berkeley to get her teaching credential and Masters then got hired at San Lorenzo High School where she has taught for the last 10 years as an English teacher. She has also been a class advisor and assistant activities director and currently is an advisor for Link Crew.
Julie Calderon is a mother, writer, and educator with over 25 years of service to the Bay Area. The eldest daughter of Peruvian immigrants, she is a proud alumna of San Lorenzo High School, UC Berkeley and the University of San Francisco. She has worked as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, vice principal and principal of alternative education. She was the 2020 ACSA Region 6 Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year.
Paying it Forward - Lisa and Briana
In our second of three duos this season, we meet Lisa and Ana. Ana was Lisa’s student and, with Lisa, she found her voice. Now she uses that voice to do the same for her students. This conversation is a testament to what it means to be a teacher.
Lisa Jilk grew up in small-town Minnesota and taught high school math in urban schools for 10 years. She earned her doctorate from Michigan State University and currently works with school districts to reculture their secondary math programs. Her work focuses on building teachers’ collective capacity to create classroom communities steeped in strengths rather than deficits where all students actively engage with each other as the construct mathematical understanding.
Ana M. Torres is a 6th grade Math Teacher, Math Coach, Curriculum Writer and STEP (Stanford Teacher Education Program) Supervisor. This is her 8th year teaching math, 7 of which she taught in her home town of East Oakland. Ana has always taught math using collaborative structures that offer students opportunities to explore how and why math works. It is her goal to help students feel empowered by their own ideas, strategies and perspectives.
Paying it Forward - Chris and Lynne Dier
When you’re a teacher in large part because of a teacher you had, there is no greater gift you can give than to tell them so. In the next three episodes, you’ll meet three teachers duos, one inspired, the other inspiring. Truth be told, in every case, the inspiration most definitely goes both ways. First up is history teacher, Tik-Tok-er (@cmdla), Stanford Hollyhock Fellow, and Louisiana State Teacher of the year, Chris Dier, who brought with him the teacher that most inspired him, his mom, Lynne Dier, now in her 45th year of teaching. Their mutual adoration will leave you knowing for sure that we belong to each other; their ethic will remind you there’s no such thing as other people’s children. This episode is a must listen if you want to remember just how important your work is.
Lynne Dier is a first grade elementary school teacher in Chalmette, Louisiana. She is a seasoned educator with over 45 years in the teaching profession. Her tenure began on Guam in 1975. After retiring in the public school system, she emerged from retirement to teach elementary school.
Chris Dier is a US history teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dier is the 2020 Louisiana Teacher of the Year and a 2020 National Teacher of the Year Finalist. Dier also authored The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre, published by The History Press. Dier was featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Today Show, NPR, The Canadian Broadcast Corporation, CBS, and CNN for his work in the classroom and his student advocacy.
Paying it Forward - Samuel Bradbury
If the last episode was personal, this one can only be characterized as *very* personal, as I interview my dearest friend and high school sweetheart, Samuel Bradbury. In many ways he paved my life’s path; in some ways I may have paved his too. In this episode, we explore both as well as the deeply important role teachers play in the lives of our students who, for one reason or another, are lost and lonely and fear they may be unseen. These are our kids. They are all our kids. Because we belong to one another.
Sam has been an educator for 14+ years as a teacher, dean, Director of Special Education, and assistant principal. His experience as an educator has reinforced his commitment to providing our children with a safe space to take risks academically, and more importantly in sharing their own stories. Young people want to be heard, and will provide us insights into how we can support them. Sam reminds us, we just have to be willing to listen.
Paying it Forward - Dr. Michael Matthews
This episode is a personal one, where I talk with the teacher who, more than any other, helped me develop the identity of “student” which opened the door to the work of my life and heart. The conversation brings me full circle, a circle 35 years in the making.
Mike Matthews was a high school teacher for five years, a site administrator for 14 years, an assistant superintendent for six years, and a superintendent for eleven years. He is married and has two sons, ages 30 and 18. After 11 years as superintendent of Manhattan Beach Unified School District, he is taking what he calls a “mid-life gap year,” to figure out whether it’s time to embark on a new challenge in public education, or to retire and take on some other kind of challenge. You can find out more about Mike at drmdmatthews.com, and on his cooking site principalchef.com.
Paying it Forward - Dr. Micia Mosely
Dr. Micia Mosely is the Founder and Director of the Black Teacher Project. She’s also an academic, a comedian, a storyteller, and a teacher. In this episode we talk about the importance of communities of belonging as well as the fuel of love and legacy; her story serves as the perfect bridge between seasons one and two and it was my honor to spend an hour talking to her about the work of our lives work that honors those who came before us in service to those who come after.
Micia Mosely, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to helping students reach their full creative and academic potential. A teacher, analyst and product of public education, she designs custom reform strategies that help educators and administrators increase equity while maximizing school performance. Mosely brings a wealth of classroom experience to her work, infusing bold strategies with real-world approaches that understand the burdens faced by educators and administrators. She is an expert on leadership, cultural competence, data-based inquiry and school design. Mosely began her career as the Social Studies department head at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in San Francisco, CA and received her Ph.D. in Education, with an emphasis on Social and Cultural Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.
Paying It Forward - Season Two Introduction
Welcome to Season 2 of Copy Room Conversations. This season we focus on paying it forward, honoring the legacy of those who came before us by serving those who come after us. In this season you’ll meet educators I’ve known and loved for decades, and another who I met IRL the day we recorded our episode. My intention with this season is to remind you just how important your work is, including the opportunity to consider how you are both the result of and the catalyst for greatness.
Season One, Episode 8: BONUS Episode with Lydia and Responsive Reads
Lydia McClanahan is a decades long teacher, instructional coach, and librarian who specializes in culturally authentic texts. Because we teachers LOVE to talk about great practical tools in the copy room, Lydia will be joining us in our copy room for the last episode of every season. In these episodes you get to listen on us chatting like we do, and learn along with me about a culturally authentic text that goes with the theme of the season. This episode features the book, Harbor Me, by Jacquline Woodson, about a group of sixth graders and their quest to belong.
Lydia McClanahan has been an educator for 20+ years and earned her MLIS at San Jose State University. She began her journey in cultural and linguistic responsiveness in 1998 as a facilitator for LAUSD’s Academic English Mastery Program and went on to become one of the founding middle school teachers at the Culture and Language Academy of Success (CLAS). During her time at CLAS, Lydia began serving as an instructional coach for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning. She has served as a lead instructional coach since 2015, during which time she began to curate Responsive Reads in an effort to illuminate texts and authors that reflect the authentic lives and experiences of marginalized people/groups. Lydia is now the Program Specialist for Literacy at CCRTL as well as an instructional coach and professional learning facilitator. Learn more at Responsive Reads, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Season One, Episode 7: Mary Milton, The One Who Serves
Mary Milton, the name conjures up a vision of joy and curiosity, love and support, and a relentless desire to serve. In this episode Mary and I talk about where that desire to serve comes from and how she’s used it to care for and empower our kids, our colleagues, and our community. In this episode we talked so long we forgot the Copy Room Quick Tip! Mary’s is Practice gratitude. In each of your classes today, identify one small reason to be grateful, and take that home in your heart.
After graduating from college, Mary Milton immediately accepted a job teaching language arts at the middle school level because her parents had convinced me that she was a born to teach. After three years she left the classroom to enroll in a Master’s Program in Library and Information Science because she had wanted to be a librarian for as long as she could remember. The California School Library Association offered her a scholarship if she agreed to work for at least one year in a school library after I completed my degree. That one year quickly morphed into 30, the majority of which were spent in the San Lorenzo USD. I can honestly say I loved every minute of it because of her love of reading, the importance she places on information literacy, and the value she has for being a life-long learner.