Elijah Carbajal is a teacher who followed in the footsteps of teachers in his family. He has served as an educator in the state of New Mexico since 2014 and is currently a Title I Reading Interventionist. He is the author of the book A Place They Love and the host of The Shut Up and Teach Podcast. Elijah works hard to make school and his classroom a place that students love! He loves to spend time with his wife, Tracey (an educator, artist and entrepreneur) and his cat, Nala.
Trenches story: recent, 21/22 school year. Hard transition back into classroom routine. COVID made it difficult for him to do what he needed to do. Things in his personal life caused anxiety. Asked self if he should keep teaching. Took advice, what he’d given to others in his book. Transitioned to a diff role. Found another position in same district. Got an email from someone in the district who got a copy of his book-it was the teacher who took over his previous job.
Walk me through the writing/publishing process of your book: A Place They Love. In it, he shares some of the ways that teachers can make learning fun and meaningful, ways to connect with students outside of the classroom, what educators can do to make students feel safe, being your best for students, and more. He has idea for the book because he was blogging. Title came through blog theme. Right after Teach Better ‘19. “Make school fun”. Wife Tracy gave him encouragement. School needs to be a place they love. Compiled some of the blogs. Expanded on blogs in a few chapters. Talks about being an engaged teacher. Edumatch was 2nd place he pitched, right before pandemic. Waited a year. Pitched again & was picked up. Sarah had read the book. His personal writing process took a bit longer than mine. He got comments from Mandy Froehlich also. Added & took out some chapters. Had majority written. Thought of it as him being the artist, publisher being the producer. His book launched 1st day of TB ‘22. He did speak on the branded classroom at Teach Better ‘22. NM educators are starting to see more book, powerful educational PD.
Why the pirate theme? Theme is a nod to Teach Like a pirate. He branded his CR & made it the pirate room.
He has an episode where he pays tribute to Dave Burgess. Met Dave in 2019 at Teach Better. His pirate only came out 1x/year when he was teaching biographies. Has pirate boat, not just a theme. He uses pirate language, “batten down the hatches”. Changed up flexible seating & group names. “Captain’s table”, pirate boat area to sit. Calls kids “smelly pirates”. “Need all hands on deck”-clean up. Prizes-pirate treasures. When he started as a reading interventionist, he heard a kid say “this is a CR for kids who don’t know how to read”. So then he branded his CR. For interventions, he teaches 1,3,5. Sometimes 1 on 1.
What got you started with the The Shut Up and Teach Podcast? wanted to transition from blogging into podcasting. Needed to reflect on who he was. Started recording on his phone. Guests were phone calls. Started as reflections-2 sides of Shut of and Teach coin. Put aside thing that’s distracting you from being present for students. Other side- let’s be better than we were yesterday. Put aside bad practices. The podcast episodes all started as short reflections. Is trying to do a theme for the month.
You blog pretty often on your website. What inspires you to write (some recent are on flowers-poetry or sports-bball). Hasn’t been blogging for TB for a while. Usually related to something he’s learning. “Old mindsets die hard”. When you have the wrong mindset, you speak ill about it. His blog post was written in a poem. Gets inspiration from other educators.
Wife & him are starting EduCouple podcast-will interview married educators. Currently in the middle of planning. Platform is ready, such as intros & outros. They met by him teaching 4th gr and he was art teacher. Taught in same school 3 yrs.
Upcoming speaking engagements? Had a presentation in June, district level principals conference. Will be getting into schools within his district. Will be able to sell merch, set up a booth. Trying to see what works for schedule. Will submit a proposal geared around his book-he offers PD on it as well. (Disclaimer: We discussed the Teach Better ’23 Conference, which was cancelled shortly after recording this episode).
Out of everything? School should be a place kids love to be at. Learning is just one reason. Click To Tweet Some kids only play or see friends @ school. Focus on teaching the whole child.
Where can ppl find you online? www.shutupandteachedu.com podcast,access to book, has merch connected to both podcasts. Twitter, IG, TicTok @carbaeli @elijahcarbal on Fb
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4wgAcbIYwF4