The Balance with Catlin Tucker: Featuring Shaun Woodly

In this episode of The Balance, I talk with Dr. Shaun Woodly, who is a decorated K-12 teacher, university professor, author, and speaker. He is the architect behind the educator movement “Teach Hustle Inspire,” and he wrote the bestselling book MC Means Move the Class: How to Spark Engagement and Motivation in Urban and Culturally Diverse Classrooms.

Dr. Woodly and I chat about our early years in the classroom. We both entered the profession with specific ideas about what it meant to be a teacher and what learning was supposed to look like. Our assumptions were challenged, and we quickly realized that we did not want to teach the way we were taught. Dr. Woodly wanted to “move” students and support their creativity, curiosity, and artistry. Dr. Woodly speaks specifically about working with culturally diverse schools and schools in urban areas. He shares what he has learned as an educator and researcher about working in this context.

If you are part of a professional learning community, the questions below are designed to facilitate a conversation–in person or online–about the issues discussed in this episode of The Balance. If you do not have a PLC at your school but you want to engage in an online conversation with other educators, check out my Facebook page!

  1. What preconceived notions did you have when you entered the teaching profession? Have you had to unlearn anything you were taught or confront specific assumptions you made at the start of your teaching career? 
  2. What is one lesson you have learned as a result of your work in education? How has learning this lesson impacted your approach to teaching?
  3. If you designed each lesson with the goal of engaging students, how would that impact the way you construct your lessons? Would that allow you to focus more on the creative and artistic aspects of teaching? 
  4. What aspects of your job stifle your creativity? Is there a way to shift your time, focus, and energy away from these creativity killers? 
  5. Think about the four elements of urban education that Dr. Woodly described in this episode–awareness, achievement, alliance, and artistry. Which of these elements are most evident in your work with students? Which of these elements could you spend more time developing in your work with students? How might these elements of education help you to more effectively move your class–academically, personally, socially, emotionally?

If you want to connect with Dr. Woodly, you can check out his website and Facebook page or find him on Twitter and Instagram!

Thank you to StudySync for producing and sponsoring this podcast! StudySync is committed to helping teachers find balance in their lives by providing them with a robust multimedia ELA platform that simplifies lesson planning, automatically differentiates tasks for learners at different skill levels and language proficiencies, and blends online and offline engagement to help students develop as thinkers, readers, writers, and speakers.

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