18:02 PM

'Hear' to Help

Sourcewell launches podcast with educators in mind

Being an educator is not like other jobs. You put your whole self into it - it's soul work.

Allow us to feed your soul with Ed Soul - a podcast created by educators for educators; a way to reach teachers, administrators, and support staff anywhere and anytime with approachable conversation on insights, techniques, and strategies.

Rachel Logan, an education consultant for Sourcewell, is one of the masterminds behind the bi-weekly messages. We sat down with Rachel to learn more about the podcasts and why she believes you should make time to tune out and tune in.


Q: Why did Sourcewell start a podcast?

Rachel: We knew we needed to rethink the way we offered professional learning to educators. A positive that came from having our world turned upside down by COVID was forcing us to think differently about the way we structure learning opportunities. It's always been difficult for teachers to get out of their buildings to attend professional development. Being away from students is hard and sometimes it's not even an option because finding guest teachers (or substitutes) is also a challenge. 

Through the podcast format, our regional teachers can access high-quality professional development featuring local and nationally recognized educators on their own time and at a place that works for them. And the cost is pretty great - it's free! We've been able to reach over 1,000 people in a matter of months! Those are numbers we would not be able to hit with in-person trainings alone.


Q: Is the podcast geared solely toward classroom teachers?

Rachel: Absolutely not! We hope to see entire school staffs or districts use the episodes to support topics they're focusing on in their own schools.

One of our regional schools plans to use the podcast episodes as a portion of a two-part professional learning day. Staff will get to choose one or two episodes and topics that align to something they are interested in learning more about, listen, and then teacher leaders will facilitate round table discussions about the learning. 

Sourcewell will provide a facilitated discussion guide and next steps based on three categories: mental health, wellness, and resilience; culturally responsive mindsets; and relationships and engagement.  


Q: What can listeners expect to gain from the podcast?

Rachel: It's our hope that listeners will gain both broad concepts, theories, and perspectives on current and relevant educational topics from experts in the field, as well as practical strategies they can put in place right away.  

We use an interview style, so it feels like you're right there with us having a conversation. In fact, one of our regional listeners told me she felt like she was sitting at the table with Lisa Worden and myself during our five-part social and emotional learning series, which is perfect! We want listeners to feel part of the conversation and we invite feedback, questions, or suggestions to be emailed.

We also end up sharing a lot of stories that many educators can relate to. It's high-quality learning, but it's also entertaining and sometimes funny. Teaching is tough and sometimes you need a good laugh. Every episode includes references, resources, and links to more learning; so, if listeners are looking to continue to expand on a topic, they have a next step ready to go.


Q: What topics will listeners learn about?

Rachel: Sourcewell is here to come alongside you and help you achieve your goals. This podcast is intended to be a resource for you to use as it connects to your own personal work and journey. Our topics are generated with our regional educators in mind. We work with our district strategy partners to gather insight as to what schools are asking for and what they need. 

Our pilot season was focused entirely on social and emotional learning with our on-staff expert, Lisa Worden, because this was an area where we kept getting (and continue to get) requests for support. Some other topics include student-centered discipline, student engagement, and literacy support to name a few. 

In addition to topics generated to support our regional educators, we also bring in themes that keep us connected to what's happening at the state and national level and choose topics that connect with specific groups, including Native American Heritage Month, Black History Month, or Women's History Month. 

This helps our regional educators have both a mirror for their practice (something that reflects them and their current needs), as well as some windows into other people or topics that they may not come across naturally. Providing windows and mirrors equips them to also bring those same needed windows and mirrors to their students. 


Q: Who have been some of your guests? Who are some upcoming guests?

Rachel: Our guests and topics have included:

  • Lisa Worden from Sourcewell and Kristin Van Marter Souers (Fostering Resilient Learners) connecting listeners to topics including mental health, wellness, and resiliency.
  • Jacki Brickman from the Catalyst Approach, whom we've partnered with for years, with student-centered discipline and engaging in difficult conversations. 
  • Seema Pothini, national presenter and co-author of Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education, kicked off season two helping us examine some common school practices through a culturally responsive lens.
  • Local legend, Brainerd-area educator, and community leader Charles Black Lance stopped by to engage in a conversation focused on Indigenous People's Day.
  • We're starting out the new year with Marceline DuBose from Due East Educational Equity Collaborative sharing her perspective about how to revitalize our curriculum through an equity lens.

Additional guests this year will include:

  • Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author, to share information from his newest book, The Cultural Toolbox: Traditional Ojibwe Living in the Modern World.
  • Dr. Deb Peterson from the University of Minnesota and Sourcewell's Mary Jacobson will talk about what's happening in the world of literacy. 
  • Megan Dayton from the state Demographer's Center will give us a picture of the future of north central Minnesota.
  • Tina Boogren, featuring Marzano Research.

That's not even everyone! Plus, we have a handful of our own education staff here at Sourcewell collaborating with external experts on topics including college and career readiness, arts in education, and teacher wellness. There is so much great stuff coming up, I can't wait to share it all!

Tune in wherever you find your favorite podcasts. Look forward to a new episode every two weeks.

Listen now >> mn.sourcewell.org/education/podcast