Updated: Oct 12, 2021
Whether you’re a newbie, veteran, or educator at heart, you’ll gain insight that will empower you to teach and live authentically.
Welcome to the first episode of The AfroEducator Podcast! In this episode - EPISODE #1 - listen in as I outline the inspiration for the show and what you can expect from future podcast episodes!
It all started with a little push from my friend Amber Harper. If you follow me on Instagram already, then you know Amber as The Burned-In Teacher and you may also know that she and I have done several collaborations together at this point. She has been telling me for the better part of 2 years now that I should start a podcast. She would constantly tell me that my “stories” on Instagram were “gold” and that the things I’ve said…or ranted about…on Instagram deserved their own dedicated space where people could have access to my commentary and conversations beyond the 24 hour IG story cycle.
For a long time, I thought Amber was bananas but as I began to DM some of you back and forth and I started to notice how people engaged with my opinions and comments in my posts and stories, I realized that she was right and I’m so thankful to her as well as some other friends and mentors for their encouragement.
I am officially a podcaster and I can’t adequately express my gratitude for your support. In all transparency, the perfectionist in me is nervous but I’m also excited.
What You Can Expect From This Podcast
I’ve been sharing my voice for a while now on Instagram and as a guest on various podcasts and blogs but never did I anticipate actually having my own podcast where I could literally share my voice and connect with you guys on a regular basis about all things burnout, bureaucracy, and beyond. The K12 space is…complicated and the pandemic definitely hasn’t helped…after the year of uncertainty and all this time in quarantine that people had to evaluate what truly matters to them, many teachers decided to take some time off or step away all together. And these instances further serve to prove the point that the teacher crisis is real and we can’t continue doing the same thing and expecting different results. We also can’t continue to reimagine without action. That’s where this podcast comes in.
I’ll be releasing new episodes twice a month on Tuesdays that look at what it really means to teach and live authentically. So often teacher wellbeing is relegated to a series of actions that can help us feel better but this podcast is for educators and educators at heart who are ready to be better. This show is for the whole teacher.
I’m super excited for this new adventure but I’m even more excited to create a space where educators feel seen, heard, and valued and where they see themselves reflected in the conversations. When I started the AfroEducator in 2018, I knew that connection was important and I wanted to be able to connect with other educators who could empathize with my experience. During that time, I was burned out and desperate for something anything that would help pull me out of yet another burnout experience.
My Journey Through Martyrdom Mentality
I burned out the first time about 4 years into my career. So, this was around 2016. I was still teaching at my first school and my belief about good teaching revolved around sacrifice and working as hard and as much as possible. At first I didn’t classify my experience as burnout, but I eventually realized that what I was experiencing—the exhaustion, the overwhelm, the extreme frustration, the long hours. I was over it, but I didn’t think that I had any options. I thought I had to continue on in my present course of action. I have to do this. This is just how it is, I thought.
Those beliefs had been engrained in me throughout my teacher prep. Whether it was coursework or my internship, I thought that martyrdom mentality was a sign of an effective educator. Get there early. Stay late. Take work home. Maximize creativity. Go far above and beyond as often as you can.
These same notions stayed with me when I interviewed and ultimately got offered my first position as a 2nd grade teacher in 2012. I remember my first principal telling me I “didn’t have time to be new.” And I remember thinking “Challenge accepted.” At that time, I strived to mask my naivety by dedicating my time and creativity to compensate for the lack of real experience. I spent most nights of my first few years grading, creating, and planning to perfection. I wanted to look and sound like a veteran.
The Moment Everything Changed
In hindsight, I realize the toxic nature of my beliefs and the unrealistic standards my principal had laid out before I’d even started the job but at that time, I simply thought it was necessary. It wasn’t until 2016 that I truly burned out for the first time. And it wasn’t until 2018 that I realized I had to do something about it …or at least try.
That was really the first year that I felt that I had a responsibility to shift my own mindset so that I could continue to teach and be well. I created The AfroEducator on a whim…only intending for it to be a clever twitter handle that encompassed who I believed myself to be. And educator with deep roots that define me as self-assured, determined, and strong. I wanted to share space with other educators with the hope that sharing something about my experience would help someone else or maybe someone else’s experience could help me.
Little did I know that things would turn out the way they have. I’ve met the most incredible humans, some of which you’ll meet here on the podcast, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of nearly a dozen conferences, and I’m using my words and my voice to elevate and empower educators.
My Hope For You
I hope that something you hear or glean from this podcast helps you come home to yourself, discover new zeal, make a change, or just makes you think a little longer about how you’re showing up in your classroom and in your life.
You deserve to teach and live authentically and I’m determined to help you do just that.
Thank you for being here with me on this journey, The best is always yet to come.