Three Elk Valley teachers have joined forces to create a locally famous podcast supporting educators during the pandemic.
The podcast Quaranteachin’ is hosted by vice principal of Rocky Mountain Elementary School, Thomas Skelton, along with Katie de Bruycker, a grade three and four teacher, and Sam Stremecki, a grade one and two teacher.
The podcast was originally created to offer support, advice, and discussion about the new and evolving educational reality resulting from COVID-19. What began as a podcast to keep fellow teachers positive soon took off, evolving into a multifaceted production, garnering surging views, increasingly popular guests, and touching on broader subject matters. Continuing to grow in popularity, Quarenteachin’ has made its way into the Apple Education Podcast charts, achieving a top ranking of 25th in the Canadian Educational Podcast charts.
“In late March, all anyone could talk about was how we were going to tackle emergency remote learning,” said de Bruycker. “We wanted a space to share ideas and resources, but also to create a sense of comfort in a time when it was hard to know if what we were doing as educators was the right thing. Hearing perspectives from industry experts really helped us and our audience to relax a bit and focus on what was important.”
The podcast currently has five available episodes, interviewing a variety of prominent educators from throughout British Columbia. Topics discussed range from specific lessons teachers can do with their students, to anecdotes about kindness.
The first episode features an interview with Carole Fullerton, a math expert and consultant from British Columbia. Another interview with Adrienne Gear follows, wherein they discuss ways to support literacy while also touching on Gear’s new book, Powerful Writing Structures. Episodes continue with George Couros, an educational leader and author who inspires teachers to develop innovative mindsets, as well as Leyton Schnellert, a professor of rural education at University of British Columbia Okanagan. Schnellert discussed how to make learning meaningful during the pandemic, also diving into tips on how to achieve greater success in online meetings. The most recent episode interviews Dr. Jody Carrington, an author in child psychology, about how to support one another as matters continue to move forward.
Skelton, de Bruycker and Stremecki are still recording episodes, with one more set to be released in June, two in July, and one more in August. Future guests include Leon Logothetis, a television host and best selling author who stars in the show Kindness Diaries.
According to Stremecki, the feedback from their podcast exceeded all expectations, with principals from throughout the province using their interviews as discussion pieces in weekly meetings, as well as to encourage other teachers to explore new ideas.
The podcast was also recently picked up by voicEd, a Canadian podcast company that shares education based podcasts from across the country. The trio is hoping that similar upcoming opportunities will allow them to connect with more educators from across Canada.
“Creating this podcast has been a lot of fun,” said Skelton. “We’ve been able to expand our professional network through this, while developing ourselves professionally through talking to a lot of interesting educators and experts.”
Currently, all episodes are free, and last anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. Those interested in listening to the podcast may access it by searching Quaranteachin’ on Apple and Spotify podcasts.