Teaching is a team sport, and the best know that their colleagues, fellow educators, and coaches can help them become better. A generation ago, teachers were limited to small learning communities based on their school or district, but the advent of digital media, such as podcasts, makes it possible for them to access the best minds not only in their district, but in their state or country and, indeed, the world.
In today's fast paced information age, teachers can learn about how to keep up with new educational technology, contribute to the latest education reform campaign, discover new ways to engage students with special needs, or enlist parents to volunteer at school by listening to any of hundreds of different podcasts, or audio series, dedicated solely to teachers and advocates of education.
For today's super busy, cash-strapped educator, free podcasts that don't last longer than an episode of Game of Thrones are most attractive, and won't cause you the heartache of seeing your favorite character die. In addition to being free and short, many podcasts deal with the trials and tribulations of actual teachers and challenge the listener to think about teaching differently.
Here are five podcasts that you, as a new teacher, may find interesting:
1. #Edchat Radio comes highly recommended by online community Edutopia . The ten-minute show highlights conversations from the weekly #edchat Twitter chat topic. The weekly hosts invite a few guests from the week's chat to reflect and share. This is a great show for those building their personal learning network (PLN) or anyone who doesn't have time to participate in the weekly chat.
2. Every Classroom Matters, also a favorite of Edutopia, is a bi-weekly show that interviews teachers and professionals from many classrooms. Winner of Best Talk Show Host in Education, teacher and Edutopia blogger Vicki Davis leads a ten-minute conversation about a variety of best practices.
3. Truth for Teachers, recommended by We Are Teachers , is a podcast that runs 15 to 20 minutes long with the goal of speaking "life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators." In a friendly and supportive tone, National Board Certified Teacher and host Angela Watson addresses topics in education such as staying hopeful in a school with bad morale, keeping kids focused while using the internet, and recovering from teacher burnout.
4. Talks with Teachers is run by Jessica and Brian Sztabnik, and features educators who are leading innovative projects in their schools. It's recommended by Angela Watson.  If you are looking to explore a wide variety of topics discussed by teachers from different backgrounds and grade levels, then this is the podcast to follow. Unsure of where to start? Listen to the 6 habits of teaching excellence and what the standards leave out, or check out a guest you've always been curious about.
5. The Cult of Pedagogy, a favorite of edtech resource EdSurge , focuses on teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology — if it has something to do with teaching, they're talking about it. On the podcast, host Jennifer Gonzalez interviews educators, students, administrators and parents about the psychological and social dynamics of school, trade secrets, and other juicy things you'll never learn in a textbook. Other episodes feature Gonzalez on her own, offering advice on ways to make your teaching more effective and more fun.
If none of these podcasts pique your interest, be creative and start your own. To get started, check out EDU-Talk podcast as it encourages users to upload podcasts too! While teaching is a team sport, become the ultimate player-coach and support fellow educators who can benefit from your unique perspective. Like other team sports, the season is long and full of high expectations: make sure you are pacing yourself to set up for a record-breaking one! Good Luck!