So Johnny is in the back, yawning and not paying attention to your instruction. Johnny has been here before, and you’ve just chalked it up to “we can’t reach everybody.” As that may be true sometimes, we need to make certain that we’ve attempted all forms of assistance to help Johnny reach his potential in your class.

Some students show lack of interest because of our subject area, our teaching approach, something happened at home this morning; it may be so many things that we may not be privy to.

These 4 problems may give some insight into those students [and Johnny’s lack of energy and seemingly nonchalant, rebellious attitude] in your class, during your lesson. Let’s check ’em out!

NERVOUS student in a library

Because school can be intimidating to some students, they may show resistance to you and your task: teaching them your lesson. It may have nothing to do with your content or you personally; it’s just the whole concept of going to a place that reinforces what they already know – nothing about learning.

Students may fear — and therefore not like school — because of their past interactions with school and education. Maybe they did not learn the foundations, so now they are intimidated and embarrassed.

Here’s how to navigate this:

  1. Try to understand the student: Find out about his/her past. Ask them. For example: this year, I was given a class half way through the year…like in February. I mean…seriously? With that said, I know they hadn’t had a teacher all year, so my expectations were different for that class. I had to do things differently because I knew their past.
  2. Your responses and behaviors: Some students may not respond to the teacher at the chalkboard lectures. Some students may not respond to the teacher giving them treats without them earning it. Some students may not respond to shouting or ridicule. Get to know your students.
  3. Sit with versus standing over your students: Be more conversational rather than instructional. Talk to your students and not at your students. Now, this does not mean that you won’t be stern and “use your teacher voice” at times, but just navigate the space in a way that your students know that your instruction is only to help them, not only to chastise them.
  4. De-emphasize “FORMAL” lesson/education: Yes, I know you have to teach the standards and it seems you’re evaluated daily, but sometimes showing students the “cool” side or “fun” part of your lesson will help them learn more. Making jokes, showing you care about them, more than your content, goes a long way to helping them connect with you.


Student being bullied because of things other students have heard

We all know all students are not coming to the table with the same opportunities and backgrounds. Even if they grow up in the same neighborhoods, family situations, financial circumstances, and other problems may persist.

Here are some things you can do, if you discover something about your students.

a. Refer the student to services: Some schools and districts have multiple services for students with problems, whether they be financial, abusive, emotional, and more. Reach out to others who are experts, either in the building or not. In some districts, it is your responsibility contractually. If it isn’t and you contact these services for your student, they may appreciate it.

b. Try to help out if you can: I keep bath soap, deodorant, candy, and snacks in my closet at work becuase I know some of my students do not have these things at home. I know that at some time during the day, a student will need a Granola bar or a Honey Bun for nourishment to get them through their next class. See if there is something you can offer that doens’t cross any lines or inconvenieces you, but helps your student attmept to do more or better in your classroom.

c. Make it a Class Assignment: Because you don’t want to make everyone aware of a student’s distressing home life or problem, make it a class assignment and speak in general terms. Everyone has to work on it, and the student you are trying to reach will realize that this is how they can work through their issue – nobody else has to know.

d. Work with them: I’ve had several students who have parttime jobs because they need to help out at home financially. When I am made aware of this, I offer to extend due dates for them; only do 2 questions, instead of all 4; I extend my office hours (maybe an hour or so) if they have questions on an assignment. I realize that every student’s household is different and they’re trying to survive, so I’m there for it!

e. Be THAT person for them: Yes, sometimes it gets overwhleming to have students coming to you to get things off their chest or to just sit with you during lunch, but You my be THAT person for them. They understand that what is said here, stays here (within reason and the law), and that regardless of what’s going on at school or home, they have a champion on their side. Like Rita Pierson says, “Every student needs a Champion!” Are you THAT person?


Some students find it hard to brainstorm and plan for their future, even as seniors in high school

Setting goals — long or short — may be problematic for students, so they freeze up and do nothing. So while they know they need English, Social Studies, or Calculus to graduate, because they cannot see where this will take them or how it will impact their future, they do nothing.

Get with your students and help them make a plan. What is going through their minds as it pertains to their futures? Make a supplemental lesson or assignment if you have to.

I relegate anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks of Life After High School lessons for my students because I’ve seen the nervousness and glossy looks every time I mention graduation and what happens afterward.

Help your students find their future. Even if their plans change, at least someone has helped them navigate to this point.

Heck! Adults are still figuring it all out! At least these students would now have a plan of action.


Student embarrassed at not knowing something

Of course, every student who comes into your room will not remember what they should, do what they should, or even have the skill set to do what they should, but that’s ok.

With the embarrassment, comes the opportunity for you to appeal to their softer side and help them out.

When the student is showing lack of interest in your class lesson because they cannot keep up or they don’t understand what’s going on, talk to them and let them know that they’ll get it eventually, seek assistance from administration or an interventionist, pair them up, group them, sit with them and assist during a lesson. Welcome them into your space, so that they know that they have a chance to catch up and learn at their pace.

So next time, Johnny asks to go to the restroom for the 11th-hundredth time because he has no interest in your lesson, approach the situation from any of these points of view. Johnny may come around and be that exceptional student you know he can be.

Hey, check out this video or products for help.



So I was shopping in Walmart the other day and it happened!

Yes, the holiday displays and the Christmas music heralded throughout the store. I gasped!

I mean we haven’t even cleared Veteran’s Day or Thanksgiving yet.

In any case, I realized that I should be pleasantly surprised instead of flustered because Christmas is my favorite time of year! No, it’s not just because teachers get 2 weeks off (I mean there is that), but people move differently; they act…well…with civility.

So back to Walmart. I’m walking through picking up regular non-holiday groceries when one of my favorite holidays songs came belting through the store. Yessir, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You!” (Don’t judge me!)

So I’m pushing my cart and humming, every now and then nodding my head from side to side. I even had passers-by smiling, and sharing knowing nods, as this was their favorite too. Some of my aisle-mates’ kids looked embarrassed as their parents hummed and hawed through the store.

That’s when I realized that some students have no idea how to discuss and analyze music, much less, Christmas or holiday tunes. We have a generation of students who do not understand the Christmas songs they hear once a year because we never give them an opportunity to hash out and analyze these songs.

Especially this year, I would love for students to feel the same joy I feel during this season; they need an emotional picker upper.

If you think students need to get in the spirit of Christmas, like I do, check out this product I developed. It’ll allow students to breakdown songs they’ve heard before and now will be able to impress their nodding and humming parents. Hey, they might even add new songs to their repertoire.

Check it out!

Some of my annual holiday songs include:

Toni Braxton’s “Santa Please”

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”

Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

Kenny G’s “Greatest Holiday Classics”

Various Artists “The Real Meaning of Christmas” VOL1.

Tamar’s “Sleigh Ride”

Amy Grant’s “My Grown-Up Christmas List”

Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas”

Salsoul Orchestra’s “Christmas Medley”

Bebe & Cece Winans’ “Jingle Bells”

Luther Vandross’ “This is Christmas”

Cece Winans’ “Christmas Album”

                  And there are so many more! I TOLD YOU I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Until we talk again, have a wonderful holiday season! If you do or don’t celebrate it, know that you deserve some rest, festivities, and time to reflect!

Wherever you are around the world, Happy Holidays!

Diverse group of people taking pictures with christmas tree, celebrating festive season with holiday decorations in business office. Colleagues taking photos with seasonal xmas ornaments.

My TpT Summer Plans

So I have to scream out loud that “It is FINALLY Summer Vacation!”

If you are a teacher, I’m sure you can understand the sentiment. I mean to say that we’ve had ups and downs this year would be an understatement. We’ve had school lockdowns, COVID flare-ups, mass fights and altercations, class roster changes, aggressive students and parents, ineffective administrators, and the list goes on, so forgive me if my excitement is a little loud.

With that said, I must focus on what I have planned for the summer because before we can say “Let’s Go To The Beach,” we’ll be back in school.

For my TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) store – and for my own well-being – I will be focusing on 7 things this summer.


Wooden hangers in an empty open cabinet, hand taking a hanger. Clothing, fashion, shopping, new home, wardrobe organization is needed!

Like I don’t know if other teachers go through this, but by the last quarter I start to get lazy at home. I start throwing my bookbag, paperwork, articles of clothing wherever they land. I mean furniture needs to be dusted, items need to be organized, my cat needs to be pet; I’ve just let things go.

Therefore, my summers are for getting my clean swag back on. I need the time to clean and organize…clean and organize.

Put the music on or some tv in the background and just get to work. Let’s make our space feel like home again.


Group of friends having a coffee together. Talking, laughing and enjoying their time. Lifestyle and friendship

My friends (and sometimes family) are vexed with me annually. I never make enough time for them during the school year, but during the summer. I find them…or more so, they find me.

For example, literally the Friday after the last day of school (the Thursday before) a few friends hit me up to ask when we’ll be hanging out. I mean…seriously?

Give me a minute please…Sheesh!

However, I will be hanging out this summer because I need to reconnect. These are my people: the ones who know me, love me, and want to see me succeed; I gotta share my life with them.

So please Angry Teacher Family, remember to make time for your family and friends…even your pets. They are the ones in your corner; try not to neglect them.

3rd THING: Attend TpT Conference and Workshops


Now, last year, smack dab in the middle of the Pandemic, I attended my first TpT Conference [TPT FORWARD] virtually. I loved it! Loved it! I learned invaluable content that I used in my store and have seen a difference in my income.

I will say that I believe education is important for educators; Moreso, for educators turned businesspeople. Needless to say, I also bought about 2 courses and learned through some of the most interesting and knowledgeable TpT Teacher-Authors out there.

It goes without saying, then, that I’ll do the same again this year. I constantly want to learn and make my business a better business.

I am also going to play around with the many marketing and social media platforms I am registered with. Can you imagine: I am paying for some of these and I am not using them to their best capacities; I need to do better.

One thing I didn’t sing up for though was any professional development that relates to, smells like, feels like my job! I need a break from kids and the like. Trust me; I’ve been asked…

Admin: ”Richard, will you be able to..”

Me: Nope

Admin: “Mr. Williams, are you going to..”

Me: Nope

Teacher Bestie: “Rich, remember to sign up for…”

Still Me: “Nope”

Not this year! This year, I’m focusing on me. Hey, teak care of your mental and physical health too. We need you next year.


Get to the gym, walk, run, swim, move around. Exercise physically, mentally, and emotionally are essential to our health! Let’s Get it!

Yup! Yup! You know how I do! The Angry Teacher has to get his workout in! Every morning I hit the gym and try to get something accomplished.

Sometimes, while I’m there, I wonder “WHY am I here?”, but a couple of minutes in – I figure it out. I’m starting to see gains and feel different, so I will keep it up!

Consistency is key. Even my drinking of water, and attempting to eat better I have tried to maintain so far.

Like, everyone knows I hate LEG DAY; however, I killed it this Thursday! Went in there and just killed it! Will I pay for it later? Probably, but it felt good to not have to worry about running off to work. My mental health is already positively affecting my physical health. 😊

Always think of your mental, physical, emotional and your health in general. Go for a walk, do a push up, reach for the fruit, instead of the chips. To feel better, we must get to the place where we are doing better, even if it’s a little per day. Remember: Consistency is key!


Smiling as I get some work done at MY OWN LEISURE!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I said I was going to try to ignore my job for the summer and focus on me. And, some teachers will scoff and say they’d never do anything work related during the summer…and I agree.

Success! You're on the list.

However, to make my year better when I return, there are some fine tuning of syllabi, and other things I need  to get done before entering the building next year because once the year begins, it’ll be students this, admin that, lesson this, sporting events that, so I’d prefer to work on those minor things when I have time.

It helps in that I can kind of coast or not stress as much when the year begins. I mean who wants to worry about lesson planning when you’re cheering on the Mighty Bulls at a Football game?

In any case, always do what’s best for you. I get rid of some of my anxiety because I have all my ducks in a row, lesson plans for the first weeks done, activities planned, processes planned, before even walking into the building.

Some teachers can buckle down and get it down, even with Mary and Susie are in front of them; I’m just not that guy.


We’ve got to be thoughtful and create our to do list of goals, makes notes in personal organizer, return emails, creates blogs, CREATE CONTENT, and CREATE PRODUCTS!

This, I believe, is my favorite thing on the list. I love creating product for my store.

I love the creativity I have to channel and the focus it requires. I love when something moves from idea or concept to product, especially, if I wasn’t able to create it during the tumultuous, busy school year.

Now, I cam able to spend time reading, checking, and enjoying my creations!

Do you guys like the creation stage of being a Teacherpreneur?

And last, the 7th THING: REST!

I have gotten to the point where I’m just going and going and going, not so much like the Energizer Bunny; but, seemingly without end.

Now, this summer, for myself, my friends and family, my TpT store, my Youtube channel, social media accounts, AND my students for next year, I really need to REST.

It’s gotten so bad I have had to schedule rests in my day. I swear…😊

We all need to have our family days, our Netflix and chill days, our lay in the dark – not necessarily thinking of anything days, our shopping spree days, our standing around at the gym not talking about anything serious days.

We all need to realize that this summer we are worth the time off! We deserve the time off!

And, those are the 7 THINGS I plan to accomplish this summer. I will let you know just how successful I am.


Are You Sitting Under the Shade of a Tree?

Learning from other’s hard work is key! Walking in the footprints of those who have paved the way for us is something that we need to do.

Let’s go ahead and enjoy what’s already been done for us in the past.

We have to be grateful for what we have, for how much less we have to do to be successful because someone else did all the research, the work, and left a legacy for you to follow.

It’s amazing how much we can soar when we allow ourselves to learning from the mistakes and/or lessons that we learn from being under someone’s “shade of a tree.”

Positive TidBits

Making the Most of It!

So it’s been really difficult! Uncertainty is all around, but here’s the thing: we have no control over it, so why worry about it?

I’ve come to realize some things are just out of our hands! Some things we just have to release into the atmosphere and hope for the best.

We need to make the most of everything we’ve been given. The good, the bad, the uncertain all are to make us strong and resilient, so let’s try to learn from our new found knowledge, think about how to never revisit the negative past, and trudge on…trudge on…trudge on…

Let’s go out there and make the most of today! You got this!