Month: January 2021

85. 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year Eric Hale!

This one is a history-making episode, y’all, and instant classic. We go for an energetic and inspirational ride with Eric Hale, the 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year. The first Black man to earn this award in the history of Texas. We cover a wide range of topics, from serving your community and meeting its needs to raising the achievement of his students who come from historically marginalized communities, to raising money in the wake of a tornado that devastated his community. Also, we discuss his critical perspective on the TooDope Top Five MCs .He has appeared on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, as well as the Kelly Clarkson show, and now he is with us!

Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy this conversation! It left us ready to run through a wall, honestly.

84. “I Didn’t Have Teachers Like Me” LGBTQ Educators of Color

This week we have a fun, insightful, and heartfelt conversation with Julio and Daniell, two queer educators of color in our city. In this honest and direct conversation, they explain the spaces they inhabit, their process of accepting and celebrating themselves, and the daily identity negotiation that comes with working closely with students and their families. 

Our podcast has not done nearly enough to bring stories of LGBTQ educators of color to light, and we are grateful that these two brilliant and energetic educators shared their stories with us. The discuss their childhood, the impact of adults, the influence of educators and mentors, and their hope that they can be role models for LGBTQIA students, students of color, and students who live in those intersections. Plus top five rappers.

You will not want to miss this episode.

83. Outta Pocket

This has been hard. Gerardo is at his breaking point. Hard week, and Kevin noticed that it’s starting to boil over a little. He’s a lil snippy in department meets, scowls in front of his camera during staff meetings and is running his mouth without thinking first. Kevin is concerned. We have a little therapy session, the fellas blow off some steam, discuss all kinds of stress-inducing events from an attempted takeover of Congress to return to school which is just days away for us.

We close out by commemorating Dr. King and his lessons for us today.

Mind the volume on this episode, it’s a loud one.

Bonus Episode! Natalie Vardabasso of #educrush

In this bonus episode, Gerardo sits down with Natalie Vardabasso, host of the #Educrush podcast. In this conversation, we discuss the ways in which antiracist and culturally responsive practice must merge with principles of feedback and student growth. Natalie shares her insights on feedback, grading, and growth rooted in relationships.

This episode is a crucial listen if you are a teacher who is weary of the grading rat-race. Enjoy!

80. 2021 Premiere: Cornelius Minor!

What better way to kick off the most uncertain semester in the history of public education than with educator, author, revolutionary, superhero and trickster Cornelius Minor? He sits with us for a fun, energetic, optimistic and wide-spanning conversation that covers such eclectic topics as race in education, a pedagogy centered in Black and African spirituality, community and intellectualism, basketball, comic books, movies, and the Dr. Xavier of BIPOC educator-superhero-tricksters. We laugh, we become serious, and he has a special offer for the first 5 TooDope Patrons to join us this month!

Also, fun fact: this is our 80th regular episode but our 100th overall episode (including mixtapes and emergency episodes)! Thank you for helping make this possible!

Bonus Episode! Lauren Piraro of Teach to Blossom

We’ve really tried to avoid thinking about work these last couple of weeks. However, we agree that in these few days before we see students, some planning is in order.

Lauren Piraro is a brilliant early-service teacher in the Bay Area. She teaches high school history, and like so many of us, is dedicated to doing the best she can for ALL students, especially her students from communities of color and LGBTQ communities.

We found her on instagram under the handle @TeachtoBlossom, where she shares a wide range of professional experiences. From her exemplary planning and leveraging of digital platforms to her own work as a graduate student in History, her field of passion, Lauren works hard to connect to others and build community.

Planning is at the center of equitable praxis. The more energy we dedicate to planning and responsiveness, the more we reach all students, especially students from traditionally oppressed and marginalized communities. Her Instagram account reflects these realities in a powerful way.

In addition to, and more importantly, Lauren makes her content relevant and accessible to students. Her students complete a local history project, even in her Advanced Placement History class. We mention the AP class because she has taught us and so many others that there is ALWAYS a call to make content and skills applicable to students’ lived experiences, and curricular demands, especially high-stakes assessments must NEVER throw us off that focus.

Gerardo has a fun conversation with Lauren. Follow her at @TeachtoBlossom on Instagram where, in the interest of community and collective learning, she unselfishly shares her wisdom and resources.