Slate Ask a Teacher podcast: “What’s the best and worst advice you received as a teacher?”

Introducing Slate’s New Education Podcast: Ask a Teacher!

Introducing Slate’s New Education Podcast: Ask a Teacher!

With Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project.
May 5 2015 4:24 PM

Ask a Teacher: What’s the Best and Worst Advice You’ve Ever Received?

TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Rob MacPherson, Lifestyle-education-US-writing Christian Buzzerd, a teacher at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School in Ellicott City, Maryland, helps a pupil write in cursive on Octber 15, 2013. For third-grade pupils at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School, learning to write joined-up letters is a no-brainer, but outside the classroom, grown-up Americans are debating whether the nation's children should be studying cursive at all. AFP PHOTO / Robert MacPherson (Photo credit should read Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 1 of Ask a Teacher:


Welcome to Ask a Teacher, Slate’s new education podcast presented with the Teacher Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In this week’s episode, host Matt Collette asks three teachers questions submitted by Slate readers, including, “What is the best and worst advice you were given as a new teacher?”

This episode’s teachers are:

  • Valerie Lake, an eighth-grade English teacher and literacy coach at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School in New York. 
  • José Vilson, an eighth-grade math teacher in New York's Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood. He's also the author of This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and the Future of Education. He blogs at
  • Jeanna Chavetta, a seventh-grade Spanish, language arts, and social studies teacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann School in San Francisco.

Want to submit a question to Ask a Teacher? Here’s how to do it.

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses, offering more than 500 lecture series taught by top professors and experts, available in audio and video formats. Go to for a special, limited-time offer.