#70 Angela Watson: Advocating for Teachers and Students


Using backwards design, share your teaching story. Tell the Talks with Teachers audience where you are now and how you arrived at this place in your career.

— Her role is as an educational consultant and and instructional coach. Angela considers herself an advocate for students and teachers. She had 11 years of experience in Washington D.C. and Florida. She started writing books for teachers and curriculum for teachers. 

Identify a mentor that guided you in your journey to become a master teacher and share what you gained from that relationship.

— As a teacher, she never had a mentor. That is why she is so passionate about coaching and mentoring teachers now. Angela did have someone that she shared a classroom with and co-taught with. She was able to see what she did day in and day out. She laughed with her kids but was also able to get her student to work really hard. The experience was valuable because she worked side-by-side for a whole year with another passionate teacher.

What did you learn from a lesson that did not go as planned?

— Angela said that many lessons did not go as planned. Every lesson has that point where it can make that left turn and go off track. It is an important point for teachers to realize that they need to be super-responsive to kids’ needs and be able to turn on a dime and support them in that moment.

What is a teacher need at the moment?

— Angela believe that a great teacher need right now is more autonomy. She believes that teachers feel that they don’t have the freedom to meet their students’ needs They are in this really hard place where they feel like a cog in a broken system. She believes that we have to empower teachers to make choices and make decisions rather than follow scripted lessons.

How does she empower teachers to be autonomous?

— Teachers must focus on what they can control and realize what they can’t control. Often teachers have more freedom than they realize and they have to focus on the small things that can drive them to greater freedoms.

What is motivating Angela in education?

— She’s excited by the trend in which the ways classrooms are being managed. It is no longer about tracking student behavior, it is about connecting with kids and building student relationships.

A book recommendation for teachers?

Pernille Ripp’s Passionate Learners. She talks so honestly about missteps and failures.

How can teachers exist outside the box while still providing benefits for their students?

Teachers need to purposefully and consciously manage their energy.

What are small things that a teacher can do that can lead to student success?

Angela believes that having predictable routines can set students up for success. When student do not know the routines and expectations, it can stress them and take away the energy they need to devote to their own learning.

What are the habits of  successful teachers?

They know how to prioritize. The problem with teaching is that everything feels like an emergency. It can become overwhelming and that can create burnout. Teachers have to figure out for themselves what is most important because they can not give 110% to everything everyday.

What is Angela most proud of from her career in education?

She is proud of the fact that she has earned the trust of teachers and she has kept that trust since she began blogging in 2003.

5 thoughts on “#70 Angela Watson: Advocating for Teachers and Students

  1. I am listening to this podcast right at this moment, and I am “feeling” so much what you say, Angela! The importance of setting good priorities in a job where everything “feels like an emergency” is one of the biggest obstacles that newer teachers have to surmount. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Angela,

    Your podcast is inspiring and I believe you have hit the nail on the head when describing difficulties in education for teachers. I completely agree with your assertions concerning teacher autonomy. Having worked with oppressive curriculum maps I feel that many students miss enriching curriculum because the demands of the map make the teacher move on. In addition, some students who require the extra work are left behind.

    Sean Carroll

  3. Thanks, Sean. Your situation with the curriculum maps is the perfect example of a good idea taken to an extreme. I love the idea of knowing what I’m going to be teaching and when, but once the curriculum map becomes the dictator and I’m not longer free to adapt to meet kids’ needs…that’s a problem.

    You’re not alone in dealing with this. Thanks for speaking up.

  4. 100%.

    This is the most important podcast I’ve ever listened to. Angela, thank you for articulating the struggles that teachers face so perfectly. Also, thank you for helping me refocus on what is truly the most important part of my job: my students. I am teaching for the little ones; not the grown-ups.

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