What I’m Learning From Listening to Education Podcasts Part 2

My podcast listening is now officially bordering on obsession. In addition to #EdChat Radio and Cult of Pedagogy, I have now started listening to (and I’ve listened to at least 4 episodes of each of these), Always a Lesson’s Empowering Educators, Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers, Dads In Ed, House of #EdTech, Pushing the Edge with Greg Curran, and the shiftED Podcast. By my estimation, I have listened to close to 60 hours of education podcasts in the last 2 weeks (I CAN QUIT IF I WANT TO!). I have learned lots about what I do and don’t want from my own podcast as a result, so here are my thoughts.

Gimmicks, Gimmicks Everywhere

One big thing I’ve noticed about a lot of these podcasts is their gimmicks. For example, Dads in Ed includes their “Dad Moment of the Week”, a closing thought in the format of “An article, a video, and a book,” and then a “mic drop.” Certainly Dads in Ed are not the only ones who do this. House of #EdTech includes 3 or 4 specifically formatted things each episode, Greg Curran closes out his show with the “Lightning Round” each episode, and Gretchen at Empowering Educators starts every episode by telling you you’re an “elite educator, because to be elite means to improve your craft….”

None of these are inherently wrong or bad podcasting, and some are more gimmicky than others. This also isn’t to say that these podcasts don’t also have great content, because they all really do. For me though, I can get lost in the gimmicks and lose interest in the content. Also, they take away from the natural, conversational tone of the podcast.

My Takeaway: No gimmicks. My podcast will be a conversation between me and another teacher. I don’t need a formatted feel, a weekly thought, or magic moment (besides, my title of Planning Period Podcast has all the alliteration I need).

What if I told you pretending to be positive doesn't make others feel positive?

This complaint has less to do with education podcasts specifically. This is more of a constant annoyance in life for me. Many of these podcasts are excessively positive. Cult of Pedagogy, Empowering Educators, and Truth for Teachers are some of the worst offenders on this one.

I get it, I understand what they’re going for. Teaching is tough, and many educators feel worn down or beaten. We need a pick-me-up from time to time. And sure, for some people, being told “it won’t be easy, it will be worth it” or that they are “elite educators” could be what they need. It isn’t what I need though, and it isn’t what a lot of educators I know want either. For many, this feels like false positivity, especially in the face of the mountains of adversity we often feel like we face (even though many times those mountains are actually windmills).

My Takeaway: be honest. When dealing with a tough subject, we don’t need to try to put lipstick on a pig (too many metaphors?), but instead say this stinks, and there may not actually be a solution to it. The flip side of this is that I don’t want my podcast to become a negative vacuum. Even when we can’t fix a problem, it doesn’t do anyone any good to wallow in it. We can address it, and then find the best methods we can to address it within our four walls.

Stay tuned to this blog for a big announcement coming later this week. Hint, it may have something to do with this podcast I keep saying I’m going to make….

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