Teach, Lead, and Inspire Podcast: Episode 1- Igniting the Spark!

Monday, February 19, 2024

Primary Blog/Podcast/Teach, Lead, and Inspire Podcast: Episode 1- Igniting the Spark!

Title: Teach, Lead, and Inspire: Empowering Educators for Transformative Change - Episode 1: Igniting the Spark


Welcome to the inaugural episode of "Teach, Lead, and Inspire: Empowering Educators for Transformative Change," where we embark on a journey of growth, learning, and inspiration in education. I'm your host, Dr. Jordan B Smith Jr. I'm thrilled to kick off this podcast series dedicated to empowering educators to make a meaningful difference in their classrooms and communities.

Setting the Stage:

In this episode, we'll delve into the heart of teaching, leadership, and inspiration in education, drawing inspiration from the transformative principles outlined in Jordan B. Smith Jr.'s groundbreaking books: "11 Effective Strategies for Teaching Math to Students Who Have Given Up on Learning" and "Annapolis Creed: Why Teacher Leaders Like Me Matter." These books serve as guiding beacons for educators seeking to ignite change and create a brighter future for their students.

Main Chapter

To Ignite the Spark - We first must begin with “why.” So first, I want to know if you are courageous. Webster defines “courage” as possessing or displaying courage; facing and dealing with danger or fear without flinching. What does it mean to be a courageous educator? Are you willing to rock the boat?

If your answer is yes, then you need to be able to identify what specifically is your “why” Why do you teach? Why are you an educator?

I began creating a podcast and blog  because of a conversation with a young teacher (Kathy) from Ohio who came to her first NCTM conference in Seattle, Washington, February 7-9, 2024. I was sitting in a row behind her as she was conversing with another teacher about the pain points of teaching some of her students. She was a special education teacher. She came to this session about using AI to engage her students. You could see the frustration in her facial expressions because she had been trying everything she could to help students who had simply given up on learning especially mathematics. We chose this conference session because we were both looking for resources to maximize engagement in learning.

I was taking notes and preparing questions to ask during the upcoming session. Still, unfortunately, the speaker never showed up, and my lesson for that brief moment was to listen to her conversation. I came to Seattle to learn and also to share my knowledge. My session was scheduled for that same afternoon, and I reached inside my bag of books and offered her an unknown resource. She looked at the title and said OMG, do I need this. We briefly discussed a strategy for her to use when she gets back to Ohio. She stopped and asked me to autograph the book, which I did, and then we parted ways.

When I travel to present at a conference, I often go to the room where I will give. I noticed the day before that there was seating for 175 people. If I had 35-50, that would be good. I had yet to learn about what was going to take place. About an hour or so later, I was waiting for people to arrive at my session, and upon arrival, I saw more people in attendance than I had ever seen in my previous seven years. Something was happening. My session at California Math Council (CMC) in Palm Springs in November 2023 was completely full within 1 minute of the doors opening. This session had 75 people in attendance at around 2:15, and the session had not even started; a line started outside the door, and at 2:30, I began my session with no room and standing room only. What was happening? Although I had presented over 25 times in the past, this one was different. I was making an impact and hit a pain point among my fellow math teachers. It had to be titled “11 Effective Strategies for Teaching Math to Students Who Had Given Up on Learning.” That was the title of my first book about teaching math, published in April 2023. It hit me that after 20 years of teaching, every teacher has had and still does have students who have given up on learning, and that is why my last two speaking sessions at the California Math Council (CMC) and the regional National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference was standing room only.

Today’s objective is to share some reasons that motivated me to write two books about teaching and leadership from within the classroom. The first reason is that I found out that I had received a stage 1 cancer diagnosis in November 2022, and I thought I was going to die. So, I felt an urgent need to share my experience of helping thousands of students overcome their fear of mathematics with the world. To help those students, I had to find and research multiple strategies. After researching, I used my classroom as an experimental learning laboratory. I have been teaching at an alternative high school, and this was perfect because if it worked for this student population, it would work anywhere.

So today, in this first episode, I want to share some of my research and experience. I will share up front who this podcast is designed to help. I will share some of my stories as I continue this journey, going around the country and speaking at conferences and other events. I became a teacher with a vision of changing how math was taught to those students who had given up on learning. With that being said, let's begin with…..:

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Hi, I Am Dr. Smith

CEO Of Teach, Lead, and Inspire Best Blog Ever

Welcome to "Teach, Lead, and Inspire," your go-to resource for educators and leaders seeking to reignite the spark of learning in students who have lost their way. Our blog is dedicated to providing practical teaching strategies, insightful leadership advice, and motivational learning techniques designed to inspire both educators and students alike.

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