Updated: Aug 11
Welcome to another episode of the EduMagic podcast! Today I have Andrea Fitzgerald, but you might know her as Mental Fizness over on Instagram. She is a math coach and a new teacher supporter. During this episode, she shares her passion for helping new teachers, math education, and her book, the Rookie's Playbook. Let's jump right in!
Please share about your teaching journey
I want to make an impact on the world.
I played basketball my entire life. What can I do is still do sports, but I want to wear sweats every day. So I was like, Oh, I'll be a PE teacher. Well, that didn't work out. So I became a math teacher.
It was just a whole lot more than I ever could have expected. My first year I was stressed out my first, and then, from there I started to see that, it was really about the relationships.
Essentially it's about empowering kids to believe in themselves.
I became a much better teacher, and the results showed, that I was better able to connect to kids, but essentially what I learned is, that without relationships, you're not teaching anything.
You are not anything without relationships and culture
Teaching was a gift for me because it taught me compassion for someone else besides myself. I did that for about six or seven years.
From there I became like a math coach and just supporting teachers
I also have my own company, mental fizness, where we focus math, supporting new teachers, consulting, and speaking.
This school year looks totally different than any other that we've encountered. So what kind of tips and strategies do you have for new teachers entering?
I think some of the same things are. Still, it's still relevant, right? Like, having a structure, like, you know, just like even in the virtual space, it's a school without walls.
I think that even more, I think the relational piece is even more critical now. Right?
Bring your whole, authentic self to this thing because kids can't learn if they don't feel safe.
The technical mastery, as the skills of teaching are still important, but it's also like setting up the structures around, around the virtual space that can make that happen.
Those that accountability, those things are still relevant. What's my run of the show when I'm on it?
Being consistent, showing that you are credible, you know your stuff, you are prepared, you have like an outline of how things are going to go.
You have contingency plans in place, competence, you know, showing, you know.
How do we, how do you promote that confidence and how do we help support or any teachers with that confidence?
I would say the first place is self-awareness. You know, like I may not be like everyone else.
Being self-aware and knowing my strengths and also, where I needed to grow in kind of that helped me
You have passions for math, passion for new educators and a passion for consulting. How did you, how did your journey help guide you to find those passions?
I majored in computer information systems because I said I didn't want to talk to people. I used to be an extreme introvert. I think underneath the surface of all of is in relationships. Often the thing that we're the most challenged with ourselves becomes our purpose and our passion. You know, like you want to help others do it. That's where my passion underlies, like with everything like math, it's still about efficacy. It's still about seeing people believe in their own ability by overcoming challenging things. I think that's, what's kind of been my motivator and in terms of self-efficacy, but the relational piece is personally and professionally. I've had some challenges there and that is, it's just, it's something I'm fascinated by because I'm actually when I'm teaching others, I'm teaching myself.
Would you mind sharing all of that, the rookie's playbook and share about the inspiration behind it, what we can find it.
The Rookie's Playbooks is a new teacher's guide to thriving in their first year of teaching. She uses analogies to convey best practices, strategies, and methods for first year teachers. This book offers real practical advice for any new teacher out there. The bonus workshops can't be missed! Andrea shares that her book aims "to provide new teachers with practical tools and strategies to improve student learning, move student achievement and instruction which supports academic gains for students and teachers. The Rookie’s Playbook is designed to support new teachers and leaders in building their instructional muscles and knowledge to get rookie fit to build a strong culture to support moving student achievement data.
How to create a mindset that will support you in navigating the first year(s) of teaching.
How to set a strong presence and culture on your first day of school and throughout the year.
Identify the most essential soft-skills (relationship building, culture, equity) and how to integrate them in your classroom.
How to create practical structures and routines to build a strong culture in your classroom.
How to build an instructional framework that supports strong teaching and learning for students each day.
How to reset your classroom when you have challenges with classroom management."
Connect with Andrea