Episode #44: Five Ways to Empower Yourself as an Educator in Today’s World with Gretchen Bridgers

Podcast Transcription

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Amber: Hey there, Burned-In Teachers…

Thank you so much for tuning in to Episode 44 of the Burned-In Teachers Podcasts one part burned out and all other parts action inspiration and support for teachers dealing with burned out. I’m your host Amber Harper and I’m so grateful and  I’m actually extra grateful today that your spending your precious time with me. I’m feeling like I just said a lot of extra gratitude and I like to take a minute to tell you why.

See, the day that this episode airs is actually September 30th which is National Podcasts Day but that’s not all September 17th was the one-year birthday of the Burned-In Teacher Podcast, uhhh it’s not a baby anymore!(laughing) And I was too into my daily grind to even notice. You see, I talked about this before, being busy can do real you from taking time to show gratitude for all the growth and connections that have happened when you're  trying something new. So I wanted to take a minute to celebrate podcast and how they’re having a serious impact on our world and on our personal and professional growth by sharing some podcasts that have influenced me over the years. I’ll link those in the shown outs. So the quick and dirty list is this:


  1. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
  2. The She Did It Her Way Podcast by Amanda Boleyn
  3. Rise by Rachele Hollis

Lately I’d  really love, 

  1. The Way I Heard it by Mike Rowe
  2. The Speaker Lab Podcast with Grant Baldwin
  3. The Courage and Clarity Podcast with Steph Crowder
  4. The 10-minute Teacher Podcast with Vicky Davis


And of course I have to give my EPN crew a shoutout here. I'm extremely honored be grateful to be part of the education podcast that were founded by Chris Nesi who by the way is now editing the Burned-In Teacher Podcasts because I realized that it was something that I needed to let go of and I wanted to practice what I preach in order to avoid burned-out, Thank You Chris so much for doing this. I am part of this network of educators serving educators and I’m so honored and grateful for it, so I want to give all of them a quick shout out and if you’ve not listen to any of these I strongly suggest that  you do, they all touch on different pieces of education and you can certainly find one from the education podcast network that serves your needs. Okay here we go…

We have the House Event Tech, The Google Teacher Tribe, Educational Deputy on education, Shooks and gift, Ed-tech Bites, The Cult of Pedagogy, empowering educators, Kindergarten Kiosk, Edumagic, Teaching Learning Leading k-12, Podcast PD, Teachonomy Talks, Assist Learning, Leader of Learning, Reimagine schools, Instant relevance, Partial Credits, Teachers need Teachers, Leading Equity, Shake up Learning Show, Infused Classroom, Ditch That Textbook, Principle PLN, Transforming a principle and about the tea and stem. Thank you all so much  for inviting the Burned-In Teacher Podcast to be a part of your network. I’m so extremely grateful and especially to Angela Watsons, Kasey Bell and Matt Miller who even before I started podcasting had such a huge influence on my day to day teaching and my perspective in education, Thank You! And Happy National Podcast Day. And Happy Late 1- year birthday to the Burned-In Teacher Podcast. 


We are now  a full-week into fall here in the United States and you can smell the changes in the air, although I’m a summer girl myself I just can’t help but get a little giddy about the changes that are to come. And you know me, I love me some changes. Yes I know not all listeners are from the States but here in the Midwest the leaves are changing, the air is cooling well at least it should be, it’s 85 degrees today in Indiana and siders of all types are hitting the shelves. Okay I want to ask you a question I’d love your opinion, are you a PSL lover, you know pumpkin spiced latte? I am not! I could take it or leave it. I think too much of anything isn’t great but how about you? So jump on social media, tag me and  a picture of you with a nice warm or cold pumpkin spiced latte. Are you a fan or are you not a fan of pumpkin spice, what if it went away? How would you feel? 

You see what I did there, the good-old what if? 


It’s a scary thought what if there’s aint enough, what if I don’t make it? What if they don’t like me or my ideas? What if they get mad at me? Last week we talked about the two sides of what-if and I’d love to hear your feedback on that as well. Have you flipped your what if on its head yet? Have you thought about what would happen if you ask what if with a different perspective like what if I don’t change? What if I said no? What if I did something different and scary for me but good for me at the same time? Kind of look itself care a little bit differently right? Well getting to the Burned-In Teacher Facebook Community   at bit.ly/bitcommunity and share with us your story and what you’re doing to ask yourself, what if? I wanna know what you’re doing with what you’re hearing here from the podcast and I couldn’t imagine following last week’s episode any better than we are today. Because to begin where we are no matter where we are or again what season it is, we have to reflect. Now, you stop rolling your eyes, I see you burned in and over teacher and I see that look of concern on your face burned and unbalance teachers. Something else to do you asked no something essential and for all of you burned and bored teachers out there who need to pumpkin spiced it up a little bit (laughing) I see you too. You’ve reached the wall and you don’t see any way over, under, or around it. Well it’s a good thing that we have today’s guest on here today. She is a returning guest and she is going to empower us to think more deeply about where we can make changes and how we can activate our mind to make necessary changes no matter where you are in your career.


Today’s guest is Gretchen Bridgers, she’s an elementary educator turned teacher coach, turned trainer, she specializes in instructional strategy implementation for all levels of educators. She has a soft spot in her heart for new teachers and let me tell you, she’s gonna talk about new teachers today on the episode.


Gretchen is the host of Always a Lesson Empowering Educators Podcast. Between her blog, podcast, classroom resources, PD webinars, and published books, Gretchen pours into teachers every day with the content that she curates. She’s also a good friend of mine and I’m so glad she’s here to end September with begin where you are. She’s got 5 excellent tips for us today and I can’t wait to get into this interview with her. 


Amber: Gretchen Bridgers! My friend, my business and teacher bestie! I’m so excited to see you, Yeah I know you listeners can’t see her face, but it so good to see your face. I cannot wait to hear what you have to share to our listeners today.


Gretchen: Thanks for having me back on, always such a good time to chat all things education and catch up so well I appreciate the invitation to come back.


Amber: Yeah! You got some awesome stuff to share with our teachers specially for here in the beginning of the school year and some exciting things to share later but I’ve really want a catch up with you. So let us know what’s going on in the world of the Bridgers. 


Gretchen: It has been crazy! So, I have two little ones at home while also being an educator and some of you might feel that  same stress of how can you be great at both things when there’s just not enough time in a day. And so I have learned grace. Grace is a word up chosen for the year after I failed miserably at being great at all things and I’ve just want to understand that I’m not gonna have a perfect day and as long as each day I wake up trying again and reflecting on what I can do better personally and professionally then that’s all you can ask of yourself. And when I looked back it’s the long journey of the year, I have accomplished a lot so far but when you look at the days sometimes you feel like, “What did I get done?” You know how I’m living for? How I’m getting better but then when you look the long distance, you like “You know you travel alone sometimes you’re so in the needy giddy you don’t feel that way. SO it has been a year of blessings a lot of change but all good things.


Amber: Yeah so I’m so excited to hear more about that but I have to tell you Gretchen, You and I have been Marco Poloing, boxing, chatting, texting for almost  a year!


Gretchen: Sshhewwd! Hasn’t been that long!


Amber: It has been almost a year because it was right after I start with the podcast and Burned-In Teacher is.. The Burned-In Teacher Podcast rather is almost a year old. By the time this episode airs, it’s probably a year old and I was so lucky to be put in touch with you from our mutual, virtual friend Corey Knight. 


Gretchen: That’s right!


Amber: And so…You and for those of you who are new to the podcast, Gretchen and I have a history. So she was on Episode 10, 11, and 12 in celebration of the 10th episode of the Burned-In Teacher Podcast I asked Gretchen  because she and I have so many awesome conversations about educators, education and students and our philosophies, match up so well I thought we need to do a mini series. So we did always a burned-in lessons. So I will put the links to those episodes. 


Gretchen: Yeah they were so good. 


Amber: They were so good, they were gold and I know they have kind of gotten lost in the archives of the Burned-In Teacher Podcast now as were going on 50 episodes. 


Gretchen: Wohoooo!


Amber: Yeah! I know! I can’t believe it but we just… I’m so excited to hear that your word is Grace and actually I knew that already and Gretchen you’re so good at focusing on the goals you set for yourself and showing yourself grace when you have to kinda move and progress with guided flexibility.


You know me pretty well and you know that I’m always the visionary. Like ooh! We should do this! or Oh my gosh have you considered this before? And you’re like? I’m gonna focus on the goal that I have set for myself which is such a great quality. How do you??


Gretchen: Oh I don’t know! I mean,  I just feel like I have gonna put blinders on and it’s a survival  mechanism because there are so many things I want to accomplish and before kids I would work all day, all night and all things education and I had big dreams, big goals and I had to slow down but my mind doesn’t slow down. It’s like I still wanna keep moving at that paced but there is this other part of me that’s also a great opportunity reason to teach little humans and I have to honor that. And it has been the major struggle and I have had to learn to recalibrate my expectation with myself be okay with these change of hats like I’m an educator today, I’m a mommy right now, and I’ve also had to learn how to still have big audacious goals but there are more reasonable for the season I’m in. And I still everyday struggle and talking with other people who are doing great things, I want to do great things to and I want to move faster and I just I have to stay in my lane. And this is the season that has its own wonderful blessings if I stay the course but I’m gonna messed up the greatness in front of me if I keep trying to do other things. And so every time I get thrown up course I get to realize, you’re not focused on what’s the most important right now so I just have 3 goals at the beginning of the year this is what I want to accomplish for myself and here we are uhm at the end of August and I have accomplished all three. And the first one I’ve got a Facebook Group for new teachers if you have not hopped in at that group I highly suggest you to do that and I wanted that to be a very engaging group were it’s not just me doing all the work of telling you the tips and tricks but I really want you to ask questions and need to help you think through it and so that have gone up on a great foot on that and I thank  you for that. I also wanted to rewrite a book from new teachers, it’s called Elementary Education 101 when they didn’t teach you in college and it’s basically all with the mystical things that you don’t know until you’re in it. And I made so many glunders and so I wanted to update it because it has been years since I have done that. It took a long time because I just don’t have time. And then my third goal was to get my mentorship program up and running for new and newer teachers in the first two years and I was able to get all those modules created and figured out how I wanted a best support teachers and rolled it out. But starting on January 1 and it’s taken me until now to be able to do just 3 goals that maybe normally I could do that in the first quarter of the year and that’s okay because the season I’m in these are reasonable goals for me to be able to achieve this year and I choose them early to know that tells me okay maybe next year we’ll gonna do 4 goals. Maybe this one four quarter and there’s gonna be big and great and have an impact in education and I want to keep continue helping people. So it’s definitely  been a year of ups and downs of telling myself “Hey! It’s okay that today you weren’t able to accomplish your daily goals because your mom life took over or the weather was bad, or you just had a lot or work you had to do and I don’t know I guess grace is just a word that really that explains how you can appreciate what you’re growing through and allow yourself to still grow without getting frustrated and stopping your growth and you can't talk to other people and encourage other people who have different paths without getting caught up in what they’re doing or allowed to pressure you by staying focused whether you write the goals and put them on your mirror like I did or everyday you check in with yourself and you say okay, Gretchen we’re having a meeting, it’s a staff meeting, a staff of one and this is what you are going to accomplish and nothing else and everything else in the world is going great and if opportunities come great, but if they do not align to this 3 things we’re not going to do them right now until you’ve made it through them and you can reflect and say Hey! You know I can add a goal or you know that was perfect enough or maybe they weren’t big enough, or they were just small or whatever! But I think reflection and prize it was probably attributed to me be being so successful this year.


Amber: I always look everything that comes out of your mouth because you’ve always such a great and it’s funny that you were disgrace because you always have such a graceful way of putting things.  (Gretchen laughs!) And you know I have to even say though it might be very candid we have had trouble scheduling this interview.


Gretchen: Because of life! (laughs)


Amber: Because it had not gone our way in fact tonight it almost didn't happen.  


Gretchen: Yes of life! Uhm so and neither one of us are like this by the way! We are the most dependable like type A people that you know are gonna all we show up they are the ones you can count on and yet with the two of us being that way we still weren’t able to get it together until now. 


Amber: Yeah and we just have to focus on you know we really we have some time we are trying to be prepared if it doesn’t work tonight we really can, we have a backup plan, and it’s really okay. So I think everything that you have said here Gretchen is really great lead to really thinking about this month’s focused on the Burned-In Teacher Podcasts which is the begin where you are. Really I loved that you started out by helping me to.. to helping to fill me in with your goals because you and I sort of went through this whole setting practiced together back in December. And I was so inspired by your focused on 3 goals because I have like a hundred! (laughs) And that’s the really dangerous thing right? Is that we can’t, I literally cannot do one hundred things well in one year. 


So tell us a little bit about what advice you have for teachers especially even if you want to focus on your new or newer teachers at the beginning of the year. Now a lot of the listeners who listen to this podcast have been teaching for 5 plus years but this would be a really good maybe  practice to come back to these things you want to share today, about beginning where you are beginning your school year or beginning your teaching career for that matter. 


Gretchen: Yeah, I think new beginning start all the time like I’m a better educator and this threw me for a loo. You know you see you’re never clear of being new on something and maybe the season of life or the grade level changes are the content area or the school or whatever. You’re gonna have a moment where you’re new again. And it’s important to say on yourself, and this is what I said to myself because I did have more than 3 goals but I looked on it and said is there a common threat or thing in terms to I can’t make it over reach my goal? And there wasn’t so but I said okay which out of this list is gonna have the biggest impact? Like okay if I update my website, that’s great but like I said is that  really gonna be giving back to the teachers that need me? No. So I had to find things that were going to push the lever to help education.. Educators grow and these were the 3 goals that I knew not only was professional development for me but professional development for other people and that’s thing you know that’s your sweet spot so in the classroom for me it was always is there a new curriculum that I need to learn because that always takes precedence, is there a new student or a new type of dynamic students that I need to read a book about in terms of classroom management or some other uhm tool maybe a tech tool to track interventions or something so whatever is causing the miss or the change on your situation that is where you can find what you should be focusing on  what your goals should be. And so for me it’s all about serving new teachers because that was the direction we have chosen within this year.


Amber: So, it’s so interesting that you bring this up because shout out to my out the door by 4:00 teachers out there who are going to that course, you know that I definitely touch on that in that course for sure is that focusing on what has the biggest impact on student outcomes. Sometimes I can’t be really hard because you want everything to be perfect or Instagram worthy or you want to you know you want to do all the punish stuff ah rather than like you said  focusing on the curriculum you’ll be teaching or focusing on the student’s needs that are coming into your classroom. That’s not always the most fun thing to focus on. 


 Gretchen: I don’t know, It’s the hardest stuff. And it’s a lengthy stuff. Like it took forever to accomplish its not something you can just do in a day. You can’t just go to professional development meaning or read the book to get it done. I know how to implement this on a daily basis and see results. These are things that are gonna take  the calendar year the school year to get done and that’s how you know your dreams are big enough for yourself and you can’t do it in one seating. 


Amber: Right. Right and then you continue to get better as you get into that practice and you make it better. 


Gretchen: Yeah can also say what this goals settings. So if you decided you know okay I know my 3 goals, you’ve got to figure out how you gonna get there you know because just having 3 goals it could take you to the end of the year before you even do them because you have not set them steps to even get there. 


Gretchen: You know so you’ve really got to think through the back explaining method of “How do I get there?” “What support do I need?” And I actually was thinking about this conversation I’ve come up with 5 steps for someone who needs to begin where they are which is your theme for the month whether you’re a new teacher or you are just on a new season on your career. So you care about giving you listeners  about this 5 tips?


Amber: I am more than ready, let’s hear them! 


Gretchen: So step 1: Acknowledge your current tool bell, you can mend on the situation with something, If you’re new teacher give that student teaching  experience or you’ve got some feedback you perceived done writing lesson plans, you’re coming with something, if you are better in teacher you’ve had a whole experience in the classroom already. Met lots of students, you’ve worked with lots of teachers, you’ve worked in different building, so you come with something that you need to acknowledge what you are coming with. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Because we can’t start sending goals  until we even evaluate what’s in front of us. Just think of having a tool bell and you dumped it all out on the floor and you can’t but seem the area find out, coz what am I working with? And if you’re not really sure exactly what that might look like you maybe you change careers tested new teachers I’ve worked with they had a whole new different career privilege to teaching and I would tell him “Hey you have time management skills. That’s huge in the classroom!” Uhm or you know practising and repeating whether you are in the basketball court like there’s  always something from life too that you have that is applicable to the classrooms. So just think about your whole experiences even if you don’t have a lot in the classroom. So step 2: I want you to then choose a focus area and this goes back to the conversation Amber and I were talking about. You know, what are your biggest levers? What if you did right now? What have your hugeist download fat to how prepare you towards whatever this goals are towards achieving what’s best for students uhm it you will like I don’t have any idea where to start. I have a laundry list of ideas, how do I know it’s important? My best advice to you and this is just my personal advise Amber, you might disagree. I always say its lessen design, not just writing a less something but designing all the things that happen within  a lesson as well as behaviour management. So if you’re not sure where to even begin those are my 2 big levers that I guarantee, if you focus on one of them that is gonna have a huge impact. So you acknowledge your tool and you choose a focus area. Tip 3: Connect with an expert or a mentor within that area. SO just because you look up to someone on Instagram or you got someone down the hall who’s been teaching forever and or your bestfriend that’s great and everything but if they are not great in what you want to be great then it’s not gonna be a great ally. And if you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of time, I have to be very smart about who I spend time with and who I learned from because I’m so limited. Uhm So if you are like I don’t have anybody brand new, well here we go, two faces, Amber and I are something you can connect with to learn more to ask questions, you can go in to Twitter chats, and join Facebook groups for your grade level, in your subject area and whatever there are people there that will answer all your questions that you might have in that one area that’s moving towards your goal, not just all things education that will just get so overwhelming. 


Amber: Uh uhm..  I’m so glad you mentioned  that because that was actually one of the topics of always a burned-In lesson was finding your PLN, your Personal Learning Network  and there is no limit to finding the people, finding your people, finding those mentors, and finding the people that can help to guide you to be great.


Gretchen:  Oh yeah! They are everywhere. If you are.. They are everywhere  if you are very focused and if you know what you’re looking for, you will find them and that’s why it’s so important that you do your homework of acknowledging what you got and going in with the game plan because of you just walk in like hey! I need a mentor. It’s like Oh my God you gonna get so derailed.


Amber; Very very true. There,  being intentional about who you surround yourself with is so important, you are the average of the 5 people you hang around with the most and you should certainly be surrounding yourself with people that are better than you at some things. 


Gretchen: At some things, yeah I thought whatever thing you are trying to get better at. 


Amber: Absolutely!


Gretchen: Uhm..okay let’s dive back in, yeah at number 4: Journal all your feedback that you’re getting from people so that you can implement your strategies and the reason I said journal it, you are going to forget and there is gonna be days we’re you’re  like “I’m trying all the things and nothing’s working! And then go back like have that staff meeting of one Why you gotta pay inside, okay this is the feedback I have gotten from mentors or from other people from the building, Have I done all these things and then you’re tracking what you did because they might just give you a general tip and then you break it down, I did this with Johnny, or I did this in social studies whatever it is document everything you’re doing because you gonna go back and look at this and say, I can clearly see what worked and what didn’t work and I am seeing a pattern and it helps you get perspective faster because  you’re in the needy greedy, you’re frustrated with emotions but if you have it on paper it’s like the data just sits off into your eyes and into your brain and you’re like “Oh I see it so clearly now!” So take time to journal everything that’s happening with only these three goals and data points are great way to do that. Uhm, I highly suggest videotaping yourself no one needs to watch it but that’s awesome for you to find out if you are working on delivering a lesson, you can look at mannerisms, you can look at your confidence, you can look at clearly of directions, I mean there’s so much that you can pick up from just 5 minutes of a video. 


Amber: So two things about we just said, number 1: When you truly sit down and get quiet and reflect on your own practices, and whether or not because we sometimes think that we are really focusing really hard and doing all the things that we really need to do but if we are really honest with ourselves sometimes and we take the time to get reflected and get quiet we realized that oh.. I really wasn’t reflecting, I was not focusing on the right thing at the right time there. 

And that can sometimes be hard but it can also be equally if not more important than you find as mistake and you backtrack and you self correct going forward and I also have to say about recording a video of yourself you know teachers would not be the only profession where you would do something like that. Uh my husband and I loves stand-up comedy. 


Gretchen: (Laughs) I do to! 


Amber: And a lot of times when you watch a stand-up comedian go to the stage, do you know where I’m going with this? What do you see?


Gretchen: No!


 Amber: They get up their phone and they set it on a chair, and you see them do a quick tap.  What do you think they are doing? 


Gretchen: Uhhh.. I don’t care to ever noticed.

Amber: They are recording themselves, they are analyzing their pauses, they’re analyzing how they’re saying certain things, they’re analyzing the laughter, how many laughs they’re getting. There’s a Science about this delivery, you know. And there’s no difference between you standing in front of a huge crowd of people big or small and trying to make them laugh and standing in front of a crowd of students and trying to make them learn. 


Gretchen: Uhmm! Boom! That’s quotable!


Amber: So I think there’s a huge, 


Amber: Hey! You heard it here, You heard that for, you also heard the staff meeting of one. (laughs)


Gretchen: Yes! 


Amber: Actually I have missed you so much!


Gretchen: I know, let’s wrap it up! Let’s go to check 5. So This is the best part. This is celebrates the growth of your toolbelt. And you might say, what if I am not actually gaining any attraction? Well you’re thinking action? So therefore you have something to celebrate. You are doing more than you’ve ever done before. You are working with intention, you are working with purpose and because of that, that is something to celebrate and I would tell you that you can go to your administrative coz you would probably get your PEP yes or ever might be called something else but you will have your Professional Education Plan that basically they just want to check in with you at the end of the year to see all you  have accomplished their goals, did you have any year goals whatever. And you can say, Hey I’ve been keeping this journal of my progress of my own goals and my own data points. And they’re gonna say, this is a great evidence to showcase that you are a professional, that you are going above and beyond what’s required to get even better and they will give you credit for going above and beyond. And so make sure that you share this when you have an exec meeting or whatever though they’ll ask for that information. But I think this 5 steps: acknowledge your tool bell, choose the focus area, connect with experts, journaling your feedback and celebrate growth are going to ensure that you start where you are but then you actually get where you’re trying to go.


Amber: Such a solid advice. I know that this is not the only place that we can hear these and learn these 5 strategies. So tell us little bit about where you can also find this and even more great tips and strategies for being a new or newer teacher and how you can, how to need to grow as an educator and hone in on your craft. 


Gretchen: Well you can come to alwaysalesson.com and find me and I’ve got resources and I’ve got a podcast named Empowering Educators Podcasts. I have got webinars that I create to do professional development on such topics,  I also have classroom materials I’ve created to make your lesson design and behaviour management top notched. I’ve just released that book “Elementary Education 101: What they didn’t teach you in College” It’s paperback and has audio versions if you want that. We are also doing a book study starting on September 1st if you want to hop in even if you hop in after we started that is a-okay. And then I’ve got a Mentorship Program,  if you are like listen, “I can’t buy anymore programs, I just want somebody to sit with me and talk with me and personalized this for me then I’m your gal. Just get in touch with me Gretchen at alwaysalesson.com. 


Amber: Such an amazing resources! Honestly, I want to hear more about the book. If you’re willing to just share with us a little bit about you know what is this book focused on? Or what is one topic that you tackle? Because I know from being a teacher for 12 years there’s a lot they don’t teach us in college. 


Gretchen: Yes! It’s so frustrating! So this is what, this is the story of what happened. So as I started teaching, first of all let me go even further, Since I was a child I really want to go teach. I got my high heels on and I was teaching my parents, they were goofing off trying to help me become better behavior management like they were hilarious they drive in put names on papers, like they were really pushing me to be my best. 

Gretchen: I know right, So I know for a long time I have wanted to do this and every Christmas Santa would bring me different uh books on education and different things personalized with my name and I was like die hard and I got there. And a well, I’m not gonna say I didn’t have a great year but it was really hard for someone that was not prepared and it shouldn’t be that way. And I was thinking back in the first three years why this was happening. And I was like these are situations that I didn’t encounter and no one told me about this and  like that specific things that I can tell you from the book, but just life as a new teacher and your first career I mean there’s just a lot that’s connect you at one time and you are not necessarily mature already to do it and then there are things that would just accept the jobs that you just have never been in that situation that maybe a college would not even know to put you in that situation because it’s very in need to the students you serve or the community or the administrator’s style, uhm and so when I started doing as a way to come back this was I wrote all these ideas that I was learning, or searching for unknown cards. This know cards turned into a word document, so I ran out of know cards. And every student teachers I have, every mentor you’ve gotta reduced the cards, These are all greatest ideas. None of them are mine but they really can be helpful for you. Every student teacher I met was like Wow! This is some common knowledge stuff like it’s not like wow! That’s like a brain buster  but it’s like I would have remembered about that or none. No one has ever told me that! And they were you know fearlessly writing notes and I was just why I can’t photocopy all of these? But maybe I could send you the word document. And then the Word document got to be almost a hundred pages and I was like okay I gotta just publish this thing. And that’s what I did, I was a third year teacher with a book on Education like as if I have any business with that. But that wasn’t the point, wasn’t that I was an expert. It was like hey, before I forget all these lessons that were new to me let me hear you and tell you about it because soon I’m gonna forget that I didn’t know that. It’s just gonna becomes second nature and I think that’s why a lot of people don’t practice new teachers because it becomes old hat and you don’t realize that you never knew it. 


Amber: Well it seems like you were doing is you were actually celebrating that growth. And I , I if somebody disagrees with me you know that’s okay but a first year teacher can be an expert. I mean you are an expert at being a first year teacher because you have gone through it.   You have learned a lot of lessons. And there are student teachers and teachers that are in college that can benefit from your expertise is being a first year teacher. And it’s just walking away with knowing things that you didn’t know before that you simply wanted to write down and share with others makes you someone who is worthy of sharing what you’ve learned. 


Gretchen: Yeah, and I am recently I wanted to rewrite it,  not rewrite it but update it because I spent a long time in the field of…..


Amber: Yeah you shared this with me! You shared this with me that you went through and you edited it!


Gretchen: Yeah!


Amber: And you said something, you mentioned something about writing.


Gretchen: Oh! It’s horrible! I was embarrassed. It was so disorganized, it was so like list like, Uh like where was I going with that? And that’s when you know like you wrote it from your brand but didn’t  take time to really write it for somebody else. It’s almost like looking at your lesson plan that you wrote for you but not a lesson plan you leave for a sub. And it was just like Who could ever be looking on this? So it took a long time for me to reorganize it and then hashed it out like really flushed it out of what the heck I was trying to say. And then add to it based on my experience since the last time. And now I’m like, okay this is much more helpful to get someone started and I start since you know I’ve also coached teachers and interviewed principal and teachers so I have all that experience of how to get the job, uhm when you’re first hired, things that you need to do, getting everything ready before that first day of school, there’s got so much not just decorating your classroom that you need to think about. 


Amber: That should be the last thing that you worry about doing.  I know it should be the first, but it should be the last! 


Gretchen: And if you’re stressed out, decorating makes you feel better!


Amber: Nah!


Gretchen Anyway, so let me go through like the needy greedy and then once you’ve got the needy greedy how do we go beyond. And then last checker is really for any teacher, any educator because it’s chock full of where do I go from here? Uhm and that’s why a love begin with where you are because it could be for a 20 year better first year teacher. It’s you’re gonna be always starting fresh if you are someone that sets goals or wants to be  better.


Amber: It’s so so true. And you also know what I love about you going back  in rereading your book and finding those mistakes, and you know wondering where your you know young  20’s something brain was whenever you on this together is that it makes me think that I'm just so excited about this agents of change is that, ah You were not a perfection patty. You weren’t saying you know if this not perfect it’s not good enough to share to the world. It was not, you said yourself, I have something to share. I wanna help. You were trying out Trevor, You were I am brave enough to try new things, make mistakes, learn from them and you just want to put something out to the world that doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be Instagram worthy, it can just be worthy. 


Gretchen: Amen!


Amber: I’m so excited for you to have this full back in to the world, and free to have your mentorship program, I guarantee you listeners, it is gold. So definitely go check it out. Tell everybody again where they can find those 2 incredible resources. 


Gretchen: Just go to alwaysalesson.com, everything is linked up there, social media handles. Alwaysalesson everywhere if you’re trying to find me but uhm what thing I can tell you is reaching out to someone and asking for personalized help is the best way uhm because it’s not your situation right now is not one-size fits all. And that’s so so great about being connected with Amber an any of ou groups programs and connecting with me is because we can take what you got going on at our experience and our advice and help you get toward your trying to go and sometimes when you’re reading a book, or you purchase a program online, things it’s not gonna help you then you’re still just stucks it's because someone needs someone to help make it fit your circumstances and so I recommend finding someone one on one to work with. 


Amber: Yes, Amen! I totally agree with that 100 percent. Well Gretchen, so grateful you were here with us today. I do have one more part of this interview and I don't think that we did this in our 3 part series. Correct me if I’m wrong.


Gretchen: Wait, is that the “If that or whatever?


Amber: Yes,We are doing the teacher lightning round. So quick round, Okay!


Amber: Pop music or rock music?

Gretchen: Pop

Amber: Alright. And stuffed animals or dolls? No you have very little littles.

Gretchen: Yeah, stuffed animals.

Amber: Okay, How many do you think you have in your house? 

Gretchen: Way too many, because every time someone comes to visit they bring more things. 

Amber: Pancakes or waffles?

Gretchen: Pancakes!

Amber: Oh is that a Southern thing, is that a North Carolina thing? Or isn’t just a personal family preference? 

Gretchen: I mean we’ve got waffle house some people surely do have one waffle house but pancakes are just tastier for me i don't know. So I think it's just amazing!

Amber: Finally, hot chocolate or coffee?

Gretchen: Hot chocolate from Dunkin Donut. It’s the best!

Amber: Ohhh I’ve never had it, I like a good cup of hot chocolate maybe once a winter but I’m a coffee lover myself. 

Gretchen: You are on the coldest place on earth, you should have it everyday.

Amber: Oh my goodness! Tell that to the listeners up in Minnesota. We have it pretty good here in Northern Indiana. Alright Gretchen, it was so good to catch up with you in how things are going, I'm just so excited about these things you’ve shared tonight so thank you so much!


Gretchen: Thank you for being my support system. I appreciate you for you know always keeping  it real and for pushing me to think bigger and for just being someone telling on everybody needs somebody and I highly suggest you just reach out and tell people anything about yourself and find a connection because that person coz we were totally random and you know, we haven’t stopped talking so you’ll just never know where that person is.


Amber: Uh right back at you, I never really know where I might  be without you Gretchen Thank you! That makes me emotional! (laughs) We are gonna talk soon I know it.


Gretchen: Sounds great, thanks for having me! 

Amber: Alright! See yah!

Gretchen: Bye!


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