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COVID-19, Class-Sourced Novels & 30 Days to Empathy | Teachers' Lounge Podcast

Jay Rehak performing his TEDtalk

On this week’s show: Jay Rehak. He’s an author and Chicago Public Schools language arts teacher. He and his classes at Whitney Young High School are the co-writers of over a dozen student-sourced novels. 

Host Peter Medlin talked to Jay about how his students are handling coronavirus concerns and the weirdest year of his teaching life. They also covered why empathy is his life’s mission, childhood trauma, the writing process and, since he’s the author of, “10 Short Plays To Read Before You Die,” he gives us a few recommendations of short plays we can plow through while we’re hunkered down at home for a while.


And in the meantime, we're inviting you to be a part of the show. During this COVID-19 crisis, we want to hear from you: students, parents, teachers. Shoot us an email at teacherslounge@niu.edu and tell us what it’s been like learning or teaching from home and helping your kids with their e-learning. And if you want, you can record your thoughts into your phone and send the audio file to teacherslounge@niu.edu and we’ll include in the next episode of the show.


The primary elections in Illinois were also this week! So, we'll take you back a few weeks to when Dr. Jill Biden spoke in front of the largest group of Illinois teachers at a conference of the Illinois Education Association.


Credit Jay Rehak
The cover art of book one of Jay's middle grade children's novel series, "Sideline"



Educator(s) in this episode:

Jay Rehak

Stories Featured in this episode:

NIU Extends Remote Learning For Remainder of Spring Semester

'Very Real Possibility' that Illinois school shutdown will be extended as coronavirus cases nearly double overnight

Dr. Jill Biden Brings Her Husband's Vision To Illinois Educators

University of Illinois System Cancels Spring Commencement Ceremonies


Our show's theme music is from the northern Illinois-based band "Kindoves" and their songs "Popn," "Origins" and "Quiche." You can find more of their music on their Soundcloud page. You can also listen to the episode of WNIJ's own "Sessions from Studio A" where they were featured.

Teachers! People who know teachers! People with stories about teachers! Send us an email and be part of the show! Also, send us your topic recommendations: