Professor Irvin | Brad Shreffler

Is there really a teacher shortage? Should we have to “sell” our schools? And should we all call Glen “Professor Irvin”? These compelling questions and more are answered during this week’s OnEducation podcast.

One of the key issues Glen and Mike discuss in the episode is school promotion--specifically, are we to the point where schools should hire public relations firms and publicists to promote their district’s story? The truth is that many schools are already doing it. The OnEducation team receives PR emails regularly from schools looking to promote their innovative work or approaches. And then there are schools creating promotional videos, like this one from the Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools. 

In his keynote, Dr. Joe Sanfelippo (Go Crickets!) emphasizes the importance of telling your school’s story. If you don’t help write your school’s narrative, then the public will do it for you. Self-promotion of schools, be it through professional PR firms or students and staff creating promotional materials in house, is not the wave of the future. It’s already here.

Another way to promote what’s happening in our schools is to amplify student voice, and that’s what Matthew X Joseph wrote about in his post on the District Administration website. When we provide opportunities for students to create and pursue their own projects and interests, we also have great artifacts to share with a greater audience. Joseph shares ideas such as student-created movie trailers for units, writing talk show scripts, and getting involved in community projects. 

Glen and Mike also share some of the positive news of the week, such as 13-year-old Chase Neyland-Square creating a school closet for classmates who can’t afford new clothes. They also celebrated this Hogwarts classroom by Staci Lamb (@EngagingStaci), who clearly shows her Harry Potter fandom! 

On a more serious note, Glen and Mike also discuss the issue of teacher shortage, and why we need to stop using this phrase. The catalyst for this conversation was the Forbes article written by Peter Greene, who claims the essence of this problem isn’t a lack of young people to join the profession; it’s a lack of pay and respect. Tim Slekar uses the term “teacher exodus” with Wisconsin Public Radio because a shortage would mean that pay is going up. Currently, teacher pay remains the same, yet teachers are still leaving the profession and young people are taking other career routes that provide better pay and more respect. Then, there lurks another problem: standardized testing. The high pressure of accountability drives even more educators from the profession, yet tests have done little to reduce the inequity in the US. 

It’s just me and the host…in that moment, in my experience of it, it’s just me and you. And I think that’s why [podcasting] is so personal to people.
— Brad Schreffler

Brad Shreffler, a digital instruction coach and the host of Planning Period Podcast, joined Glen and Mike as a guest on this week’s podcast. He developed the podcast to give a voice to great educators, especially those who aren’t on Twitter or social media but have great thoughts to share. The three chat about Brad’s streamlined interview strategy of asking the same three questions of his guests, the intimacy of podcasting compared to other mediums, and the “whales” they would love to have on their podcasts.

This still leaves one unanswered question: Will Glen require his students to call him Professor Irvin? Listen to the episode to find out.


Melissa PilakowskiComment