During our time writing on MindShift we’ve been lucky enough to meet, talk with and see inside the classrooms of amazing teachers all around the country and world. We are inspired by the creativity and dedication of the teachers we meet. Most are constantly thinking about how to improve outcomes for their students and are putting in long, grueling hours to meet the expectations of state and federal regulators, while trying to satisfy their own professional integrity.

So, we’re very excited to announce that MindShift is launching a podcast dedicated to showcasing the stories teachers share with their friends, families and loved ones. These are the stories they find themselves telling over and over again, the ones that have made a mark on them as people. Some are funny, others poignant, but all are told in the teacher’s voice, with their energy and thoughtfulness, something that’s often missing from the education conversation.

Katrina Schwartz (left) and Ki Sung (right), hosts of MindShift's new podcast Stories Teachers Share.
Katrina Schwartz (left) and Ki Sung, hosts of MindShift’s new podcast Stories Teachers Share. (Christina Z White/KQED)

When asked why they keep teaching, many teachers will say they continue despite indignities and difficulties because they care about the kids they teach. There’s nothing so rewarding as watching a student “get it,” and kids are funny, sweet and thoughtful too. But teaching can also be lonely and isolating. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to continue being upbeat about math or reading, history or science, when some students come to school stressed or tired and others just don’t seem to want to listen. And since many teachers are experiencing those same things, it doesn’t always feel necessary to talk about it with one another, which can make it even harder to feel part of a unified community.

We’re launching this podcast to give a voice to those stories, the real stories of teaching beyond news headlines. Ultimately, we are all teachers and learners at some point in our lives, which makes us each uniquely able to empathize with these experiences.

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To start, we’re bringing you seven stories including one about an English teacher who discovered something unforgettable about a student through a creative writing assignment. Then, you’ll hear from a special education teacher who struggled through her first year to ultimately blossom as a teacher. We’ve got hilarious stories about the questions pre-teens ask sex-ed teachers when they’re really allowed to let loose, and a touching story of a decade long friendship between a high school basketball coach and his player. But this isn’t the end. We’re constantly looking for more stories only teachers can tell.

If you have an experience you’d like to share, email us at MindShiftStories@kqed.org. You can even record yourself on your smartphone and send the file to us. We’ll try to include these stories on an upcoming episode. You can also call us and leave a message at: 415-553-2200.

Stories Teachers Share is a slightly different take on the education conversation than what MindShift the blog offers, but we hope you enjoy it and share it with others. And of course, we want your feedback on this brand new endeavor.

Thanks so much for reading (and listening) to MindShift and Stories Teachers Share.

Ki and Katrina

Introducing ‘Stories Teachers Share’ Podcast From MindShift 28 January,2016Katrina Schwartz

  • Elizabeth Lehman

    i love the idea for this podcast!! will this be available in itunes? i searched but can’t seem to locate it!

    • Katrina Schwartz

      Hi Elizabeth – We’re so glad you want to listen. The podcast is available in iTunes now. You should be able to find it by searching or at this link: https://itun.es/us/HMktab.c.
      Thanks for listening!

  • M McKinney

    Stories Teachers Share, I have really enjoyed listening to the podcast (especially the story about the SPED teacher who never gives up)! I just listened to the the Prank story and I have pretty strong feelings about the inappropriateness of risking traumatizing young people for the sake of a prank (essentially, making someone else feel stupid, less than, or duped). I disagree with Mr. Fernandez: to intentionally harm someone else IS NOT human nature, or if it is, teachers SHOULD model cooperation, kindness and lifting others up for young people who may have experienced violence, neglect, poverty, etc. The staff at my school have been studying the effects of trauma on brain development (http://mentalhealth.vermont.gov/topics/trauma) and ways to design lessons so that the student incorporates self-regulation strategies for optimal learning. I’m appalled that a teacher would put his student in a situation where he risked GOING TO PRISON. What did this prank teach the 15 year old students at World Languages High School? The teachers in the podcast claim that it brought the students and teachers closer together and changed the “teacher is someone to be feared” stereotype; I posit that playing pranks on young people actually destroys the trust that most of us teachers strive to build with our students.


Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She’s worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She’s a staff writer for KQED’s education blog MindShift.


Ki Sung

Ki Sung is the senior editor of MindShift. Prior to joining MindShift in 2014, she was a digital news trainer at NPR.

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