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Teacher burnout, representation, and a journey from Chicago to Shanghai | Teachers' Lounge Podcast

Yameira Church
Yameira Church
Yameira Church

On a brand-new episode of Teachers’ Lounge, we’re chatting with Mira Church!

She teaches 5th grade at the Cicero School District. She’s been a teacher for around a decade and her career has already taken her around the world, including three years teaching in Shanghai.

Mira and I had an important conversation about her experience overseas, teacher burnout, knowing your worth as a teacher, and the weight of representation in the classroom.

“I think it's a heavy burden as a teacher of color. Almost always -- except for the last two years where I was at a charter -- I've always been one of the only teachers of color or the only teacher of color,” she said. “I take it so seriously because a lot of times this is a child's first interaction with an African American person or at least a positive role model unlike a stereotype they may have seen or a trope in a movie. It's nerve-racking, like I really try to put my best foot forward all the time. You always will see me just trying to be really happy with the students even when I have a tough moment, like I walk them through my tough moment.”
We also talked about why she wanted to become a teacher and how her perception of education has changed with a decade of experience now.

If you’ve never listened to Teachers’ Lounge before, our show is based on an idea -- we’ve all had teachers in our lives who shaped who we are. And we want to hear about the teachers who inspired you or deserve a spotlight in your community. Every educator we have on this podcast, whether teacher, coach, counselor or professor, is nominated by our listeners.

So, tell us about the person who comes to your mind. Shoot us an email and nominate an educator at teacherslounge@niu.edu and they could be on the podcast! And please subscribe to our Teachers' Lounge newsletter right here where you can stay up to speed on the show and share stories you think we should cover!

Also, Teachers’ Lounge is on the radio! Catch the show as an hour-long radio program every month LIVE on 89-5 FM and streaming at WNIJ.org. We have multiple guests, stories, and exclusive segments. Tune in on the last Friday of the month at noon for future episodes. Our next episode airs on Friday, November 24th at noon and then the next day, November 25th at 6 a.m.

Teachers' Lounge Podcast
Peter Medlin
Teachers' Lounge Podcast


Educator in this episode:

Mira Church

Stories in this episode:

Small school districts want to offer their students as much as possible. But, to do that, many have to share.

Music: 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: teacherslounge@niu.edu

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.