Ayers Institute launches new podcast series focused on teacher stories

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Earlier this year, the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning & Innovation released the first episode of its new podcast series, “My Why: Stories of Inspiration from Educators.”

This is the second podcast series produced by the Ayers Institute following the professional learning podcast, “Lunch and Learn.” Compared to its predecessor, “My Why” is more story-driven and personal. Both series continue to produce new episodes and contain downloadable resource guides to be used for personal or group professional learning.

Rachael Milligan, managing director of the Ayers Institute and assistant dean of the Lipscomb College of Education, said the idea of this new series is to “elevate the profession of teaching and talk to educators about why they chose to go into the education profession and hopefully encourage others to become teachers.”

Milligan hosts the series with behind-the-scenes help from Julia Osteen, technology integration specialist for the Ayers Institute and instructor in the Lipscomb University College of Education, and Forrest Doddington, content technology specialist in the college.

Each episode features an experienced educator, from preschool to higher education, who shares their love of teaching, or their “Why." Only seven to 12 minutes long, the episodes are kept short and meaningful, the content is centered around the speaker’s “six-word memoir.”

Osteen said this new series focuses on the culture of the profession.

“In the field of education we know there’s a teacher shortage, and a lot of teachers are leaving the field once they get there,” said Osteen. “We wanted to do something to really encourage teachers out there.”

The hope is that each episode will inspire professionals to reflect on their own passion behind teaching.

“People connect to stories,” said Milligan. “Educators spend their lives working to inspire others so it seemed a very natural fit to really target and focus on educators inspiring other educators too.”

The series currently has six episodes published, featuring experienced educators in K-12 schools, higher-education universities like Lipscomb, and 2018 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Cicely Woodard.

The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning & Innovation is part of the Lipscomb University College of Education. Founded in 2012, the institute works closely with the Ayers Foundation to provide innovative, professional learning resources to support teachers and leaders across Tennessee and beyond. “Ayers Lunch and Learn” and “My Why: Stories of Inspiration from Educators” can be downloaded for free at podcast.ayersinstitute.org or on iTunes.