6 podcasts to get you fired up about your job and education

Image of child with headphones

“What are you listening to?”

In the Holdsworth office, this is our most common water cooler question. We all travel quite a bit, whether to program sessions, site visits or on daily commutes, and most of us are addicted to podcasts. With Spring Break coming up next week for most Texas schools, we wanted to share a few top picks that will keep you thinking and refresh your sense of purpose over the break.

These aren’t your typical education-focused podcasts. As with the learning sessions we design for school leaders, we believe there’s value in drawing knowledge, lessons and inspiration from unexpected places.

Happy listening.

Logo of This American Life with Ira Glass.Podcast: This American Life

Episode: The Problem We All Live With (two-part episode) & Three Miles

Why you should listen: These two episodes explore racial and economic school segregation in the modern age in a way that is both hopeful and heart-wrenching, and serves as a battle cry to continue the fight for equity in education. An early innovator in the podcast rush, This American Life’s superb storytelling and production set the gold standard for quality. Be careful. These stories are so compelling you might never leave your car.

Logo of the Startup ShowPodcast: Startup

Episode: Success Academy (Seven-part series)

Why you should listen: This series turns the story of Eva Moskowitz and her crusade to build Success Academy, a network of charter schools in New York City, into a riveting drama that will have you hungering for the next episode. Deep reporting and masterful storytelling will make a long road trip seem like a quick jaunt.

Logo of Hidden Brain podcast by NPRPodcast: Hidden Brain

Episode: Zipcode Destiny & The Science of Compassion

Why you should listen: The brain is a fascinating place. NPR’s Shankar Vedantam digs into the science and data patterns (often invisible to the naked eye) that drive human behavior, trends and other phenomena. So many eye-opening stories here. These two episodes explore how much geography plays into economic mobility, and how science backs up the idea that acts of kindness can transform both the giver and receiver.

Logo of the One-Three-Twenty podcast with Daniel PinkPodcast: 1-3-20 with Daniel Pink

Episode: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups with Dan Coyle & The Power of Moments in Business, Work and Life with Dan Heath

Why you should listen: New York Times bestselling author Daniel Pink chooses 1 book, asks its author 3 key questions (What’s the big idea? Why should I care? What should I do?) and wraps it all up in under 20 minutes. Coyle and Heath are both authors who top our reading list, and the Heath siblings have served as guest lecturers in our program for district and campus leaders.

Logo of WorkLife podcast with Adam GrantPodcast: WorkLife with Adam Grant

Episode: The Problem with All-Stars

Why you should listen: Adam Grant, the well-known author and organizational psychologist, presents in this episode a compelling argument for the power of a team. Not a team of individual all-stars, but a well-rounded team of high performers committed to a common mission. He also speaks of the power of humility, using analogies from sports to provide important lessons in leadership.

Logo of the Radical Candor podcastPodcast: Radical Candor

Episode: All of them!

Why you should listen: The authors of the Radical Candor book present a clear, helpful framework for providing actionable feedback to colleagues and direct reports. As a management tool, it focuses on the practical actions that a leader should take to provide supportive yet challenging feedback to one’s team. If you’re wondering how radical candor looks in school systems, read this blog by education leadership coach Amy Jenkins.