In this article you will get access to life changing podcasts and books for teachers!
First, let’s start with a story…
During the summer of 2018 I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and depressed. It was the much anticipated summer break and I was overcome with anxiety.
How could this be?!?
I was supposed to feel relaxed and overjoyed to have so much time off!
Have you felt this way before? You’re supposed to feel a certain way and then don’t?
Teaching is such a demanding job that requires constant energy. And when school ends abruptly it can leave us feeling empty and looking for ways to fill the void.
I often filled the void with sugary treats and more work…paint the guest room, dig up the back yard, clean the garage, get a second job, work on my website, write curriculum for Teachers Pay Teachers.
Teachers are workaholics, I know I am. I told myself I was accomplishing so much and this was a good thing, but inside I knew something needed to change or I was going to go crazy.
One day, that summer, a colleague and friend of mine was talking about this podcast she was loving. I had heard of podcasts before but never listened to one myself, I was eager to try it out. I had been voraciously listening to a book a month via Audible for about a year. She said listening to podcasts was so easy and pointed to a purple button on my iPhone called “Podcast” and told me I could search for anything I wanted.
Little did my friend know, she had just opened up a whole new world of support for me.
As I listened to podcasts and worked and ate junk food to cope, I began to think that keeping this website and business was too much. The health of my body and mind were at stake. I felt constant anxiety and overwhelm.
So I quit. No more blog posts. I stopped writing curriculum for teachers and publishing it on Teachers Pay Teachers. No more social media. I stopped everything.
It felt so good to drop off the face of the online world for awhile, I highly recommend it to all.
I spent time with my family. Living in the moment and meditating at least once a day became priorities. I also listened to a ton of educational and self-help podcasts as well as Audible books (see below for details).
Eventually, I started to miss my website and writing.
After a couple of months I went back to it, rejuvenated and inspired by all the podcasts and books I was listening to.
Almost a year after my mini-break-down, I want to share the podcasts and books that have made my home and school life happier and more peaceful. These podcasts and books have literally changed my life for the better.
I’ve learned that it takes effort to take care of yourself, but we all deserve it, especially overworked teachers.
I still work a lot but I know when it is time to rest my mind and body. I no longer use junk food to cope and I have not missed more than two days of exercise this year. These changes were not easy. But as time has gone by, and I’ve kept at my habits, things have definitely gotten easier.
I hope this summer you will check out some of these resources, because I guarantee there is at least one podcast or book (probably more) that can change your home and school life forever if you give it a chance.
So, without further ado…here is the big list of life changing podcasts and books for teachers…
Chalk Full of Life
Kelli Wise has taught me everything that happens in my life originates from my thinking. This podcast must be listened to in order from episode one to fully grasp the self-coaching model that Kelli teaches. I am so much more aware of the ongoing thoughts that cause me anxiety and Kelli has provided me with the tools I need to cope, without using junk food. I can’t recommend this podcast enough! Here are my favorite episodes:
The Life Coach School
Brooke Castillo is Kelli Wise’s coach. Brooke Castillo teaches about the CTFAR Model, as does Kelli. The c stands for circumstances, the t stands for thoughts, the f stands for feelings, the a stands for actions and the r stands for results. There is much, much more to learn about this model and it very well could change your life if you listen to this podcast. It has definitely changed my life in so many ways. My relationships with my students and family are vastly better. My mental and physical health are better than they have ever been in.my.entire.life because of this podcast and Kelli’s! Here are my favorite episodes:
I discovered Melissa Monte’s amazing podcast while listening to Ask Pat (one of my favorite business podcasts). I gave it a try and was completely sucked in. The topics Melissa chooses to cover and her beautiful voice have taught me so much about mental health and being a well rounded and healthier person. I’ve even shared individual episodes of hers with family and friends because I felt it could help them in some way or another. Here are a list of my favorite episodes:
Truth for Teachers
Angela Watson’s podcast is such an important one for teachers to know about! She has over 200 episodes about so many topics that just aren’t talked about in schools, but should be. Angela also runs The 40 Hour Work Week Club. I just became a member this year and am absolutely blown away with the value. Here are some of my favorite episodes from her podcast:
Happy Teacher Healthy Teacher
Jessica Martin’s sense of humor and willingness to share the realities of teacher life make her podcast so inspiring and entertaining to listen to! It is a fairly new podcast, but Jessica is consistently adding new episodes every week for teachers. I highly recommend you give it a listen! Here are my favorite episodes:
Inspiring Education Podcasts
Cult of Pedagogy
Jennifer Gonzalez’s podcast has 120 episodes to choose from and each and every one has the power to transform your classroom. Every episode is packed with inspiration for teachers. Here are some of my favorite episodes:
Betsy Potash’s podcast currently has 64 episodes and every one of them is full of inspiring and creative ideas! I absolutely love Betsy’s calming voice and how excited she is about bringing engaging instruction into the classroom. I’ve utilized many of her ideas after listening and my students have loved me (and her) for it. Here are some of my favorite episodes:
Why I Write
This podcast only has 25 episodes but the premise of it is outstanding. It was produced by The National Council of English Teachers and hosted by C.C. Chapman. Chapman interviews well-known authors about their writing process and asks each of them such an important question: why do you write? You will love listening to every episode and each author’s unique writing process and reasoning for why they write. The writing process and reasons for writing are so incredibly different from author to author. Here are some of my favorite interviews:
I can’t list podcasts that have changed my life without listing my own! I started my podcast in November of 2018 and I have had an absolute blast recording every single episode. Every week or so I get a trickle of wonderful feedback from teachers about what I am doing, so for them and for future listeners I will continue this work!
*The links to these books are Amazon Affiliate links. This means that if you purchase any of these books I will get a small commission.
Life Changing Books
The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle argues all we have in this life is the present moment and he is absolutely right. We spend so much time agonizing over the future and past that we miss out on the incredible intricacies and simplistic beauty of the present moment. In The Power of Now, Ekhart demonstrates how to live in the present and reveals how crazy it is that most of us spend our lives lost in thought about things that don’t matter. Audible Version
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey’s can transform you into the kind, generous and honorable person you were always meant to be. I reread this book often to remind myself to always assume the best about people, no matter what. This book will seriously make you a better person after reading it. There is so much actionable advice in this book real life stories that put things into perspective. Audible Version
Atomic Habits by James Clear gives readers actionable steps to make change happen in their life. If you are overeating, not getting enough sleep, not exercising or have some other bad habit, this book can seriously can help. James argues that change is challenging but it doesn’t have to be if you start with the tiniest actions of actions, like getting getting up and putting your work out clothes on in the morning.
And if we can just focus on the tiny, atomic things, those little actions will build up over time if you never skip more than two days. I have exercised almost every day since I read this book back in January. I also quit eating sugar forty days ago. He also has an awesome habit tracker journal I use so I never skip more than two days of my new healthy habits. Audible Version
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo’s reveals that we can live a very simple life and doing so can bring incredible happiness. We only need to keep a few things that bring us joy. After reading this book, I am very careful when I buy something new and have massively decluttered my house and classroom. It is so much easier to clean now and I treat all of my possessions with care. Audible Version
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza shows us that we can create any reality we want. With a combination of meditation practices and the everyday choices you make, your mind can make incredible things happen. This is actually a book I plan to reread this summer because it is packed with so much valuable information. Audible Version
HeadSpace: The Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness was written by Andy Puddicombe, the creator of my favorite meditation app…HeadSpace. I started using HeadSpace about two years ago and know for a fact that it has made me a calmer person who pays attention to thoughts but doesn’t always act on them, because they are fleeting and not always right. Andy shares his life story in the book while also convincing readers of the power of meditation.
Andy Puddicombe has taught meditation and he can teach you too. It is not a waste of time and can truly change your brain and life!
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King documents his childhood all the way up to the present day and reveals the truth about being a writer…it takes a lot of work. All of his advice is brutally honest, realistic and practical. It is satisfying to know that someone as talented as Stephen King is human just like us. This book made me more motivated to write my own book someday. Now, I get up at 4:30 am every day to write. Audible Version
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg analyzes the most influential scientific case studies about how habits work in the brain. It is riveting! Not only that, he shows us how these case studies can help us change our own lives and habits. At the end of the book he takes you step by step through the process of changing a simple habit by using an example of a habit he wanted to break…eating a cookie every day. Audible Version
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is for all people, because all people have creativity inside them. In Big Magic, Gilbert talks about the many, many fears we have and the bravery it takes to allow your creativity to thrive. But, my favorite chapter was about how ideas work. She argues creativity is magical, ethereal and we must pay attention or it will move on to someone else.
Inspiring Education Books
Ken Robinson is my hero and if you haven’t heard of him you are missing out! If you don’t want to read his book, at least watch his animated TED Talk below. In his book, Robinson discusses the history of our school system and discusses how our world has changed but astonishingly, the way we teach schools hasn’t! The good news is that there are inspiring stories of schools doing things differently to engage their students and prepare them for this fast paced, technological world. If you are a teacher who wants to change things, reading this book is the first step. Audible Version
Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher wrote this book together and it is one of the best educational books I’ve ever read. It is rare to find secondary teachers who use the workshop model. These teachers are paving the way for middle and high school teachers to start using workshop! It goes into specific detail about planning out an entire school year, the units they teach and the struggles they faced along the way.
The Book Whisperer
I don’t know many teachers who haven’t read this book and been changed by it. Donalyn Miller helped me realize that every student has the potential to fall in love with reading. Her caring, responsive approach hinges on giving students choice and making excellent titles available through school and class libraries.
Whole Novels for the Whole Class
by Ariel Sacks is a book all teachers who teach class novels MUST read. Her approach is unconventional and involves students having the opportunity to read the entire novel at their own pace. Students are allowed to enjoy the book first and not until afterwards do they really start to analyze, discuss and dissect the many components of a novel. My reading instruction has been transformed thanks to this book.
I am so stoked for summer, as I’m sure you are! I hope this article has given you some inspiration for how to spend your time this summer and possibly change your life in the process! Now it’s your turn, what books or podcasts have changed your life? What are your favorite summer self-care podcasts and books for teachers? Tell us in the comments…