Listen to the episode by clicking the link to your preferred podcast platform below:
Lindsay Lyons: What has the greatest impact on student learning and achievement? Fresh out of graduate school, looking to change the world, Mitch felt like there was something he was missing. No matter how hard he tried, many of students were still struggling. One thing was clear. In order to help his struggling students, he needed tools to use in heterogeneous classrooms, resources that would move the needle for underperforming students but also empower those who were succeeding and everyone in between. He assumed he could amplify the impact of these resources if there was common adoption across subject areas and grade levels. It just needed content agnostic tools for use in diverse classrooms, but they were missing. It's from this place organized binder began. The initial challenge was finding time. Educators are hired to teach a subject or grade level and his job was to teach Biology. He found there was rarely enough time in the school day to do that job well. Where would he ever find the time to also teach his students the skills and habits they needed to achieve academically.
Then one day it hit him. He should embed practice using these skills directly into his classroom routine. If you can figure out how to do this, his students would gain daily practice employing these skills and he would have time to do his job. Moreover, he would create a predictable and dependable learning environment for students.
Win, win. win. What coalesced in the following two years of design and constant redesign was the initial iteration of Organized Binder. It was amazing. His students begin to succeed and they began to see themselves as capable learners. They developed agency and confidence.
10 years later, Organized Binder is an evidence based MTSS Tier one universal solution that creates a structured and dependable environment with clear expectations and routines. This content agnostic platform gives students exposure to goal setting, reflective learning and meta cognitive practice, time and task management, city strategies, organizational skills and more. Organized Binder aligns directly with universal design for learning framework and is an integral component for ensuring least restrictive environments. Mitch founded this company to widen the impact of Organized Binder beyond the walls of his classroom in school. He's honored to work with K-12 districts, networks in schools as well as colleges, home schools and individual families around the country and internationally. The positive impact has been overwhelming. Schools are increasing their scores. Exceptional learners are reporting huge gains, and initiatives such as PLCs are finding needed continuity and cohesion. In addition to empowering students Organized Binder helps educators implement best teaching practices.
I am so excited for you to hear from Mitch Weathers in this conversation. For reference, this conversation was recorded in September 20th, 2021. Now let's get to it.
Hi, I'm Lindsay Lyons and I love helping school communities envision bold possibilities, take brave action to make those dreams a reality, and sustain an inclusive, anti racist culture where all students thrive. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach, educational consultant and leadership scholar. If you're a leader in the education world, whether you're a principal, superintendent, instructional coach or a classroom teacher, excited about school wide change like I was, you are a leader. And if you enjoy nerding out about the latest educational books and podcasts, if you're committed to a lifelong journey of learning and growth and being the best version of yourself, you're going to love the Time for Teachership podcast. Let's dive in.
Mitch Weathers, welcome to the Time for Teachership podcast.
Mitch Weathers: Thank you for having me, I'm happy to be here.
Lindsay Lyons: I'm so glad you're here. And I wanted to have ride in my first big question for you is in line with what Dr. Bettina Love talks about. She talks about freedom dreaming and she describes it as dreams grounded in the critique of injustice. As I love this quote from her, it's pretty deep, pretty powerful, but I'd love to know, thinking about that, you know, what is the big dream that you hold for the field of education?
Mitch Weathers: Well, thanks for having me, first of all. My big dream is rooted in my experience as a classroom teacher and it's a little intro. I'm a high school teacher. I still am a high school teacher. This is my 20th year in the classroom and if I had to say one big dream is that we would take the modeling of and teaching of skills column, executive function or non cognitive skills or what some schools that we work with called studentness, that we would take the modeling and teaching of those skills or that suite of skills as serious as we do, the contents or curriculum in our grade levels or classes. Recognizing that for any and all learners, that's the foundation or the bedrock for learning.
And yet, what has frustrated me for two decades now? If you follow, just to be blunt, if you follow the money in education, you find a lot of it in outside of salary and payroll benefits of course, but you find a lot of it wrapped up in testing and in textbooks and in technology, all of which are not bad things, but none of which really laid the foundation for learning. So that would be my big dream.
Lindsay Lyons: That's a great dream. I love that idea of like taking those skills seriously and thinking about the fact that if we did that, like, what, you know, dreaming of what all of those possibilities could be for school as opposed to, you know, test prep centers or whatever they are now, like you described. So I think that's a big shift for people. So people listening may think that is not how my school currently does things. We are very much a test prep institution. And so I'm wondering in terms of, you know, the mindset that is required to really prioritize those skills that you're describing,
what are the things that you would suggest for a teacher or a leader who's listening and thinking like, okay, yeah, that's interesting. And now how do I wrap my head around doing that? Like, what's, what is that mindset that they would need to have moving forward?
Mitch Weathers: That's a really good question. And if I could add to it. Mindset, yes, but the challenge, the real challenge to this work is that we're hired to teach that content and were assessed and so are our students by these tests. So it's also a time issue where, and it's also a budget issue. There's no, as far as I've learned, there's no executive function budget, right? Where we would the money makes it a priority in education. So it's like, wow, I really want to do this work, but how would we ever fund that? And for the classroom teacher or any teacher, it's a time thing. You name any teacher listening to this who has enough time in a school year to cover everything they want to cover.
So there's other factors, just besides mindset in terms of approaching this. And so the key is this, and this is, well, here's what I would say is one of the keys. If you are lacking for time, but you recognize that the agency that students develop when they figure out how they learn and so they can approach their learning with more dexterity and too often, and certainly for my students and I would bet anybody listening for certain populations are certain students, it's as if they are passive objects in their education instead of active subjects. The way I've described it often as like students are there, they are present, but it's like their education is happening all around them or to them and they don't quite understand how to jump in and participate.
You can kind of be there, but it's spinning all around them. And these executive functions are these non cognitive skills that research has overwhelmingly indicated what give students that dexterity and that agency to jump in and participate are key. But the key here is the modeling of and practice with those because I don't have enough time to finish what I'm doing. And to be perfectly honest, if I looked at some of these skills that research has indicated help students just having another lesson on the importance of them would probably be pretty boring, right? So it's like, here's what meta cognition is a retrieval practice or even goal setting. Students don't want to have a lesson on the importance of goal setting. Instead, let's set goals within the context of our subject and then measure them and work with them and evaluate them and reset them throughout the school year. So they're kind of like a working part of our course.
And so the key that this belabored point I'm making here is that if students can gain exposure to and practice with these executive functions by virtue of classroom routine, then I don't infringe upon the time I need to teach my content. And that's what Organized Binder does for the classroom teacher.
For the students, it's all about practice with these skills and habits which lead to mindsets. But for the teacher, and this is what's often kind of unknown or missed about Organized Binder, is that it creates for students and for teachers a very predictable routine. And by virtue of that routine, just by engaging in it, and I mean very simple, like how we start, how we transition, how are we organizing our materials, How do we end. Like predictable learning spaces are safer and students are more likely to take the risks inherent to learning in those spaces.
And if by virtue of that predictable routine, I happen to get practice with all these skills, it's a win win. So I'm actually freeing up time to focus on my content while giving students exposure to these skills.
Wow, that was a really long winded answer to your question about what kind of mindset a teacher would need. So I hope that I didn't miss the mark there.
Lindsay Lyons: No, not at all. I think you said it perfectly. So I'm just envisioning like, you know, a priorities list almost in my head, just to make it concrete. And so just like taking a step back, at times for me as a teacher was important to be like what is most important, what is my priority for today? And a lot of times it would be, if I were to really ask myself that question and think about it, it would be that we have practiced with goal setting or we have practiced with this thing. And so yeah, how can I then mindset shift, how can I then embed it, you know, in terms of a way that gives me more time back. And I think that that is exactly how we have to look at it because we can't continue to cram things in, which is I think historically how we try to do it. It's like, let's add this entire executive functioning curriculum to my existing subjects, like that's not possible and it's also not practical.
So it's, I love this blend and this reframe that you're sharing, It really makes sense.
Mitch Weathers: I've asked, first, in any talk I give or presentation at a conference or whatever. I always start with just a blanket question of what has the greatest impact on student learning and achievement? Just throw it out there and let people brain served. I can tell you, I've never heard in a long time, a lot of years and I've been all over the country asking this question, somebody say really good textbooks, which again, are not a bad thing. More technology, not a bad thing. Like it's, it all comes down to these, you know, it comes down to relationships with students of course because this is a human to human endeavor. But it's always these content, agnostic skills and habits that when I developed, again, it's that agency is a learner that's so often missing and I made the mistake as a new teacher. I'm a science teacher and lucky me, right? We get to blow things up and go outside and drop watermelons off buildings. And that stuff is all fun and engaging, but it does not equate to learning all the time if these skills and habits are missing.
And that's what we're the kind of history of my work as an educator. That's what really struck me when I first came into the classroom and I came out of a nonprofit background. And so I had quite a few years of experience working with young people and when I entered the classroom and how to interact with young people, which is gonna take a few years for some teachers to figure just that piece out. But the relationship piece I kind of, I could do and it just became like overwhelmingly clear like, oh, you don't know how to do this school thing. And most of them, I worked with a large, migrant population, undocumented population, second language learners, historic academic failure and yet gifted. And too often students, many students are viewed through a deficit lens as opposed to an asset lens, meaning our industry sees them for lack of better expression.
Our industry sees them for what they don't bring to the classroom rather than what they do. And it became clear to me like we have to uncover all of those because you'd have a lot of these executive functions already as well as others. But how do we uncover those? Practice them and leverage them in the classroom as assets?
Lindsay Lyons: That's such a powerful point. And I think it takes me to my next question to which is kind of what does that look like at the classroom level. So I know you have Organized Binder, you have all of these great approaches and practices. Do you mind walking us through like either a strategy or just kind of like what that might look like in a school day?
Mitch Weathers: Yeah, I'm glad I'm really glad you asked that. I didn't know you were gonna ask that. I became completely obsessed when, so Organized Binder just came out of my classroom and in my practice. And answer your question in just a moment, like what's one specific? But one thing I can't stand about our industry is, well, first of all, any professional development, that's a one time flash in the pan, we never see you again? Done.
We need to just banned those people and whoever is doing that, it's not worth it.
That's not to say a key note's wrong. But when we were talking about professional development and to your really important question of what's it look like tomorrow in my class, I would sit through these, you know, even really inspiring and helpful professional learning experiences. But to make it a part of my daily practice took so much work on the backside that eventually it just became another thing on the shelf. Then my officer in my classroom that I never really could get around to and I never wanted that for Organized Binder.
So I, once it kind of came about and again, I had no intention of sharing this whatsoever, but colleagues started showing up and saying, hey, I'm working with the same kiddos and I'm not having any success and they're all telling me about what's going on in your room and they're fired up about it. And I was like, what are you doing? And I'm like, well, I've started designing this, the system that the kids called Organized Binder because there actually is a physical binder to it and they actually were organized for the first time and that's where the name came from, for better or worse. But I wanted teachers in an audience to sit through a training or experience, and the next day, hit the ground running with almost no friction and that's possible.
That's something that I'm really proud of now.
What's it look like? I can tell you that when I first started teaching I had, this is just one example, I had a really, really out of control tardy situation our school did, but not so much truancy, but tardy and it drove me crazy. Come on, kids would be standing outside my classroom. They'd be like running down the hall. They would be up and like, it was just like, I think in their mind, like if they were kind of even in the general vicinity or geography, that that's like good enough.
And for me, it hit me one day. I was like, okay, well I just assumed, and that's the "A" word in education, right? As soon as we make one assumption as a classroom teacher, like we always have to check ourselves because as soon as you start making assumptions, you could be so off the mark, right? But I just assumed everybody knew that when the bell rang, because we were a school that had bells, that meant class started. And when class starts, that means you're in your seat. I've assigned you a seat and you're at least facing forward so we can talk, You know. And I just assumed that everybody had that understanding.
And then it hit me one day, like, oh, big classes back then was really challenging students.
Like it wouldn't be uncommon to have like 40 kids in my class and be like... So there's my idea of what it means to be on time, and then there's 40 other versions of that and we've never talked about it. I don't even know what you think because you might think being outside the class, which is driving me crazy. And now we're having like a relational conflict and I'm having to be the authoritarian, all because we haven't communicated. It has nothing to do with like, the expectation, It's just a lack of clarity. And so I didn't, I certainly didn't ask anyone's opinion on what it meant to be on time. I just had to make my expectations hyper explicit.
So one of my favorite books is called Other People's Children by Lisa Delpit. And if I had to summarize her thesis in that is that we need that which is implicit in the classroom, we need to make explicit. And I could no longer just assume that you knew what it meant to be on time because I hadn't made that hyper explicit.
And so where Organized Binder really became like a, I really like it spark of magic was, I became obsessed with creating hyper predictable classroom routines that I could communicate without using words. So with this again, I tend to get a little long winded here, so cut me off whenever, but you asked what does it look like? I would, once it came about and you, I wish everyone had an Organized Binder in their hands because they would see that it's this physical tactile, yes, everybody out there, it's actual paper and a binder, and it exists digitally, if you're curious, but I'm a proponent of this physical binder. But it's all color coded for visual queuing in the classroom, and if you work with second language learners or students with learning differences or whatever it might be, and I would say anybody having these visual cues so that I'm reducing barriers or friction so that you can engage, better engage with the class community, it's all good.
So I would say this, I'd walk into class, whatever when I'm going over what it means to be on time in my first week of school. And I would do it this way and say, okay everybody, Mr. Weathers welcome blah, blah, blah, here's what it means to be on time in my class. And I would walk out of the classroom not very long because that's against ed code. But I would just kind of like mess with them a little bit and then I'd walk back in. I grabbed some kids binder, they're Organized Binder. I would find an empty spot, I would sit down and I would open my binder to this white B tab and in there they're called weekly lifelines and they're white. And I would just sit there. And then I would stand up and I'd hand that kids behind her back and I'd walk up to the front of the class and I'd say, okay, now turn to your neighbor and tell them what it means to be on time. And the whole class would erupt in conversation. And then of course we would, you know, perish it, tell me what you heard and if by doing so everybody knew, I'm like, hey, look, that's all you have to do.
Just get here on time. It's, we, it's what I've often said is, there's a lot of gray areas in teachers and oftentimes in teacher's lesson plans. A lot of ambiguity and that's where we lose Kids. Like those undefined spaces even if they're 30 seconds or 15 seconds or and I'm not saying this is like an authoritarian thing, but we do our students a favor by painting the gray areas black and white. That's what I've always told my students to like, look now you have a decision to make. I call him character questions. You're going to show up or not. Like if you know what's expected and it's fair and you can do it, then I've kind of left that up to you and that's where some of this agency starts to come in. And by again by virtue of that routine. I get practiced with these different skills, it can be a win win.
Lindsay Lyons: That's an excellent example and I love that you're naming to, I'm thinking about for Multilingual learners who are relatively new to English, just being able to watch you do that, watch you come into the room, sit down to get the binder flip to that page,
like that is already like a hurdle that we're overcoming. That could be a hurdle if we were using words initially. I mean there's so much there that's just like universal design for learning.
Mitch Weathers: Yeah. And the other thing I didn't mention for a classroom context, everything that a student has in their physical Organized Binder, this is why it actually exists digitally. I'm projecting in the classroom, so they're seeing it in their binder. If there were 40 kids in the room, which I hope there's not, there's 39 other versions and it's up there. So I'm constantly and I always see it as reducing friction. Like what I'm trying to do, let's talk about second language or multi language learners for a moment. They tend to spend a significant amount of cognitive energy just navigating the school day or the class period, just trying to keep up. And if you've worked with those students and those populations, there's a certain fatigue on their face at the end of the school day that I don't think is the result of like, oh I've just learned so much, right? I don't think that's what's going on. It's just taxing, it's so taxing to everything I'm learning.
In other words, everything I'm seeing and I'm hearing for the most part I'm translating, and I'm constantly just trying to keep up. And so if I can reduce friction or in other words, if I can have such a hyper predictable learning routine that you just know what to do to engage with the learning community, then I'm liberating percentages of cognitive energy that once was spent on navigating and what win for the students, right? And they just feel better because it's safer and it, I want students to walk to my learning space knowing exactly what to do to be successful.
And here's the other thing. When they do, it gives me an opportunity to acknowledge the successes and I always call them victories because for many of the students that I've worked with historically, they don't have all that many successes or victories in an academic setting.
And these victories Lindsay, that we're talking about are not tied to content mastery. And most of the time in the modern classroom, success for victories are largely tied to content mastery. Such that if I'm struggling with the content, I may see myself as a learner is less a part of this learning community because I'm not as "smart" or as gifted as some of these, others. I could be wrong about that interpretation, but as soon as I start telling myself that, students tend to lean back rather than lean in and I've seen this work over and over when students experience celebrated victory. So I have to acknowledge it too. It's not just them figuring it out on their own. And so with the students I was first working with, when Organized Binder started to coalesce, like I could walk around and be like, way to go, you have your binder open to the B page, the weekly lifeline. Or with like all these little things that had nothing to do with the lesson. You and I this whole time had yet to talk about any subject matter any less in any context and that's the whole point, right?
This is a content agnostic tool. But when students experience those celebrated victories at a minimum, they just like being there because they're tired of failing. Who likes to fail all the time when they show up to something? But they can begin, there's a paradigm shift that can happen. I've seen it happen. Well, they'll start to lean in because we know when you're struggling, that's the time to lean in and try even harder. But sometimes we have to foster that, and this is one way to do it.
Lindsay Lyons: Absolutely, okay. I love that. And I also know, you said this is the start to, but it helps teachers as well, right? If I am thinking about planning units worth of lessons once they have a two month unit, okay, now I'm facing down, you know, however many units that would, or lessons that would be the 40 lessons, and I want to get creative and I want to engage students and now I'm on teachers, pay teachers paying money out of my own pocket to try to do all these creative activities.
When really, if we did five routines and repeated them throughout the entire two months, our students would have more cognitive ability to engage with the content that's changing every day. They would have more success. We would be able to better focus on what it is I need to teach every day. We'd have more energy for student relationships because we're not lesson planning into like, you know, three in the morning. I mean, there's so much that is here that benefits both the students I think and the teachers that is so important. Especially when we mentioned time at the start, like not only do teachers feel like they don't have enough time for the content and fitting it all in, but just to be able to do all the tasks that teachers need to do in their planning time without taking work home is like, time is such a factor. This feels like a win win for students and teachers.
Mitch Weathers: No doubt. It's been, I can't tell you how many times I've heard from in veteran teachers saying, oh my gosh, like on the backside of a training or something. This is all the stuff I've wanted or known I need to do for years and I just have not found the time to do it. And here it is for me, you're gifting this to me and it will actually save class time because you have a more predictable learning routine.
So absolutely a win win. And for new teachers out there, get a hold of us. It's like a Godsend for just having that lesson structure. We're not really going into a whole intro right now, but there's Organized Binder will frame a daily lesson plan, but it also captures teachers unit sequencing, which is just as important. And ultimately what a teacher a couple of weeks ago called the crown jewel at the end of the school year or the semester because they work at colleges as well, students walk with a curated portfolio of their learning from the first day of school till the last day. And I've started calling them trophies because talk about agency and pride, like just beaming and we're not and they keep saying this, we're not talking about content and we're not talking about grades. You could have a C minus and you have your crown jewel at the end of the school year that you've created,
not me. This is your daily reflections, your daily plan. We're doing it together as a class community, but it's a profound experience, but it's all built from this predictable routine that you're noticing for teachers, what it can do to set them up for success as well.
Lindsay Lyons: And I don't want you to give too much away. But I'm curious to know. I think as a listener I had heard about Organized Binder before I actually met you and I was like, oh, I want to like kind of picture what this looks like. And so I'm just wondering, could you know, at the beginning when you were saying, okay, I come in, I flipped the white page. And you specifically said, you know, it's a white pages under the, B tab that, you know, like all of these things like what does the, can you describe a little bit. What the binder looks like? What are the various pieces of a binder that frame like just that lesson level that you're talking about.
Mitch Weathers: Yeah, so, yeah, we'll do this verbally and then everybody just go over to the website and you can see one and it'll all make sense. So there's, as we call it a student bundle and a teacher would get what's called a class set of 40, which is usually more than enough.
But also it's another thing that bothers me about our Educational system when you, there's an initiative at the school and I get my class set and it's like I got 32 of whatever it is and there's 36 kids in my class. So we try to go super heavy because we're all rooted in the teacher's reality and experience. And they would open up their bundle and add this in because we've talked about teachers, we've talked about students and we also have to talk about families because family engagement is paramount for student success. And what every Organized Binder bundle comes with is a bilingual family guide or parent guide that goes home to basically explain the system and how it's used. But to offer kind of sets parents and families up to support learners as well, but with specific prompts to try to move it away from, How was school today? What did you learn?
Nothing. Do you have any homework? Like those conversations can very quickly develop. But if I have specific prompts around the goals I've set in my daily tasks or my reflection or even just knowing like, What you guys do today? Why I can look in your binder and it's all there, that kind of thing. So they would see that, but then the, our binders which are, I'm super proud of this, so I just gotta put it in there. It's one of the only, SFC certified green binders, you'll find. Honestly, it's a pretty hard process to get your stuff certified. So everything that we having, you know, our whole product line is all US made and 100% recycled materials for the lowest carbon possible carbon footprint. And no crappy vinyls and plastics that would end up in a landfill because why should we, you know, nurture the next generation and ruin the planet at the same time, and our industry is a bad actor when it comes to that
so I'm proud of our product line. They open it up, there's eight tabs. If we're talking about K- 12, this is a little bit different for college. A and it's very simple, all color coded A through H. And A, if you flipped the A tab, you would see a gold goal setting page. And so students get to together as a class community, but very individually set goals. And we review and come back to them. Like I was saying each term or each quarter or every few weeks. Then there's a B tab C tab and they're all they're all color coded. I could go through the whole thing. But again, it's all for visual cueing, that I could just see where I need to be and flip to that tab. Does that answer your question?
Lindsay Lyons: That is perfect. Yeah. And I think that's a great point. Like people can actually open this and look at it online, right? You have like these, these templates and there, I think the images are color coded as well, right? They show like this paper is going to be in this color.
Mitch Weathers: Yup., yup. You can see it all and if you want the best way to get that intro. So for all you listeners out there, we can share with you or gift you a digital copy of our bilingual parent guide. And give you access to some tutorials, not as so much of training because I know you don't maybe even know what this whole thing is. But if you did want to check it out and like see it opened up and the working components Lindsay, I think we should do those tutorials. That would be helpful.
Lindsay Lyons: That sounds perfect. So those will be the freebies for this episode and I'll link those in the show notes and on the blog post. So that would be great. Thank you so much for kind of going through all of that. I know we just talked about a lot of different things and there are a lot of different pieces to this. And so if I am maybe like a teacher, my administrator hasn't decided to go ahead and actually purchase Organized Binder. But like I'm starting to get ready to have that conversation with them or I'm starting to like start small in my class and think about like, how do I kind of really wrap my head around prioritizing these learning routines that are, what was the phrase that you used: hyper predictable.
I love that. And you know, what would that one thing be that would get me started on that. If I could just take one step after this episode, what would you say that should be?
Mitch Weathers: Yeah, good question, good questions. In terms of the Organized Binder thing. I would and always do encourage that. So in other words, the pilot: something small, that one teacher or a handful of teachers or maybe one class, or something along those lines so that it's kind of running an experiment to see like, hey, is this, is this worthwhile? Is it going to do everything that this guy is saying, kind of thing. But really to make it your own and the school zone and kind of kick the tires. So that, that's the way I would go about it rather than like a school wide roll out in the first year. I don't, I don't advocate for that.
If you're a classroom teacher and the funding is not there, or you think it's not there then I would say contact me.
Well Mike, I'm sure you can get a hold of me here. We can have that conversation because you'd be pretty surprised about the funding and how we can make it work. But the lens or the review of your own practice, your own pedagogy is, can you, if you're interested in creating predictable learning spaces and that's true of a brick and mortar classroom or our last year and a half in distance learning or whatever that environment, a predictable routine isn't it? It's not just a classroom thing, is what I'm saying, but let's just pretend we're talking to the classroom teacher. Start to review and reflect upon your expectations or your policies or procedures or whatever you call them, and ask yourself if you can communicate them non verbally. Do students know when it's possible, know your expectations without, of course you have to communicate them once or twice, but where you know where we typically see them, I could ask you a question. Let me ask you Lindsay reverse roles: where if you were to walk into a classroom, where most often do you see a list of expectations?
Lindsay Lyons: I would say like a poster on the wall?
Mitch Weathers: Poster on the wall. And I can, there is research around this that if we're not constantly kind of curating that which is on our walls in the classroom and I forget the time frame but it's surprisingly short, that it literally becomes invisible. Like students are not seeing it anymore. And we all do this, that's a good idea. But there's this poster up there and sometimes it's like five years old because you have really good expectations. I'm telling you there, if you're struggling with them engaging with those, it could be your communication modality. So trying to make them part of a routine and trying to make them when possible, communicated nonverbally or at least working towards that, can be really, really helpful.
That's some of the underpinnings of Organized Binder. If you wanted to bring some of this into your classroom, go listen and watch all those tutorials.
I'm basically going to pull the veil back on our online training program for free. For all of you. You don't, it's not embedded and of course, so you can just go watch the videos, just go check them out. And then see what you get from that. But I can tell you all of it is built around the skills and habits that research has overwhelmingly indicated help students be successful. And again, it's content agnostic. So it doesn't matter what you teach, it doesn't matter what grade level you teach. These are universal.
Lindsay Lyons: I love a good content agnostic tool. This is the best. And so as we move to a close, I really appreciate all of just the value that you've provided for teachers and content in this episode and for leaders as well. I'm just curious to know, I think everyone on the podcast is like a self described lifelong learner. I know we're in a mastermind together, so we, you know, we continue to learn and grow, but what is something that you've been learning about lately?
Mitch Weathers: I've been learning that in our next newsletter,
this is the title for it. I've really been struck by this. Don't try this alone is going to be, what are our next newsletter And what I mean by that is in other words teaching and school leadership. Like don't try this alone, that the coaching and the support that's out there. I've been just learning a lot about really cool organizations and entities that are all around coaching or supporting, whether it be school leaders or teachers. And it's just really struck me lately. I've had some really interesting conversations, and also diving into some interesting literature around. Like. getting dialed in on what what does it mean to support and coach classroom teachers so that, but that there is some data and metrics around that. It's not like Kumbaya, not that that's a bad thing. But, so that's that's one thing that has really struck me lately, like this is, we can't you can't do this alone.
And maybe that's why our our attrition rates are so high. You know, in the first 3 to 5 years in our industry and so often like new teachers in certain environments can just be going at it alone and it's hard. It's hard. So yeah, in terms of education space, that's something I've been learning.
Lindsay Lyons: That's awesome and so powerful. Yes, because I was ready to quit after the first three years of my teaching career. And like I love teaching. I think it was actually like a decent teacher, you know, once I got a handle on things, but it took those three years of figuring it out with minimal support and so if that support exists, which it totally does, like it is well worth whatever time or monetary investment that you need to make to get it and just feel better the rest of your career. So yeah,
Mitch Weathers: And you'd be hard pressed and other careers too. That's part of it, right? Like the ongoing support and training and yet with teachers like, right now I'm supporting a brand new teacher, I think I've shared this with you.
She's the second career coming out of second career teacher coming out of a very successful careers and the executive media executive. And her last job that was with MGM and like she's transitioned into the classroom and she has a heart for migrant and immigrant students and she got a job teaching digital media as a CTE teacher middle school. And it's, I mean she's working with it a very marginalized population, and with that comes specific challenges and now we meet every week and we just talk. She's using Organized Binder and we're doing that. And I asked her this last week, I'm like, so it's kind of cliche and everybody says how hard teaching is. I'm like just comparing for me like, is teaching harder than what you've done before? And she was just like, she about fell out of her chair. And she's only teaching three classes, and what she's recognizing is not only just the workload in figuring out how do you, how do you teach?
Like, kind of like, that's just how do I teach all this stuff, right? The emotional, the relational, what's the right word or expression for it? What we've spent a lot, I'll just tell you, we've spent a lot of time not talking about her content or in that like the positive meditation. But like, where do I put my gaze? Because If I have 30 kids in a room and these four are giving me some static every day, our tendency is to just focus on that. And I keep trying to tell her like, but there's 26 other students in the room and you're not, not that you're not seeing them. It's that when you go home at night and you go home on the weekends, I can promise you, you're just focused on those four and it's like the emotional, you know, weight of that. Like, there's certain things about teaching that are taxing that no one can see or they don't talk about in graduate school and all that.
So that's the: don't go at it alone. You gotta have somebody to support you and talk to you.
Lindsay Lyons: That is perfect. And finally, last question, where can listeners learn more about you or Organized Binder or connect online?
Mitch Weathers: Yeah. Well, you know how active I am on social media. I'm kidding, everybody. Best way would be just go to our website, organized binder dot com, and if you, easiest way so you don't have to forget just go to the contact link. And if you want to chat with me, that that won't go to my inbox. But if you say, "hey, I wanna, I heard Mitch on Lindsay's show, I want to chat." I would love to speak with you via phone, meet up on a Zoom, I love doing that. So that's probably the easiest way, but yes, you can find our Organized Binder handle on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all of those places. But warning, we don't post too often.
Lindsay Lyons: Thank you so much for sharing much and thank you so much for being on the podcast.
This was wonderful for me.
Mitch Weathers: This is super fun.
Lindsay Lyons: Thanks for listening, amazing educators. If you loved this episode, you can share it on social media and tag me @lindsaybethlyons or leave a review of the show, so leaders like you will be more likely to find it. Until next time leaders, continue to think big, act brave and be your best self.
Links from the episode:
And for one final bonus...
Mitch has generously offered to give away a physical Organized Binder setup to the FIRST 3 educators who post a screenshot of the episode from their device or a picture of themselves listening to the episode and tag me AND Mitch @OrganizedBinder!
Lindsay is a educator and leadership coach who helps teachers develop engaging project-based curricula, fosters student and teacher voice, and works to advance racial and gender equity and culturally responsive practice.