Teach 4 the Heart

In the Teach 4 the Heart podcast, Linda Kardamis will give you the ideas & inspiration you need to overcome your teaching challenges & make a lasting difference in your students’ lives. Designed for Christian teachers in both public and private schools, Teach 4 the Heart strives to present every discussion from a Biblical perspective. Each season will cover a different topic. Season 1: Classroom Management
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Jul 21, 2017

Did you struggle to keep control last year? Join us in Classroom Management 101.

Classroom Management 101 is a complete online course that will guide you step-by-step through the process of developing and implementing a strong classroom management plan.

And right now through August 3, you can choose to pay whatever price you can afford (minimum $40).

Find out more at

When you join you'll also get our bonus Back-to-School Bonus Module which will enable you to quickly get prepared to take advantage of that vital first week of school - even if you don't have time to go through the whole course before them.

Jul 17, 2017

Classroom management is possibly the most challenging aspect of teaching today. But you don't have to end up with a disaster on your hands!

Join guest teacher Latrisha Lott as she shares 4 simple steps she's learned to help prevent classroom management disaster.

Get notes & links at

Join our free Back-to-School Classroom Management Solutions live training at 



It can feel like you’re navigating a maze blindfolded while carrying a 100-pound backpack and getting hit with paintball pellets (Ouch!).

I'm talking about classroom management - one the most challenging aspects of teaching today.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my teaching program did a fair job of letting me know what I would be facing as a teacher.

Textbooks and teacher preparation classes painted a picture of compliant, well-behaved students who couldn’t wait to learn. This may have been the experience of teachers 75 years ago, but it sure hasn’t been my experience or the experience of ANY teacher I know that is currently in the classroom.

I think it is time we be honest.

Now I am not saying you can't get your students to that place, but in my experience, a peaceful, focused on-task, classroom, filled with quality learning requires hard work and EXCELLENT classroom management that is applied with godly wisdom.

Let’s face the facts.

Society has changed.

Students have changed.

Parents have changed.

uh, oh!

Sadly, teachers don’t always have the trust and respect of those they serve, and as the morals and values of a society implode, public servants like teachers are often left to clean up the mess.

It is not your imagination.

A huge number of young people are more disrespectful and rebellious than ever before. Parents often want to excuse their kid's wrong-doing and blame you! Administrators are often pressured to avoid disciplining students, so they might place those pressures on you. The workload is heavier than ever.

You're not alone in these observations.

Teaching. Is. Hard.

I have taught in a charter school, a private Christian school and a public school. I have taught primary and secondary school. I have taught students of millionaires and students that did not know if they would have dinner each night. The classroom management challenges have been very similar in each situation.

But there is hope!

If you are in the classroom now, you have a reason to believe that God has called you to be a teacher for such a time as this.

Students need godly teachers more than ever (in Christian schools and public schools), and He has called YOU!

You can be a better classroom manager. You can build more trust with students, parents, and administrators. You can touch and even transform lives.

However, there are some pesky roadblocks you may encounter, and it takes wisdom to avoid crashing into them!

The roadblocks are often both internal and external depending on your circumstances and environment, but being prepared for them will help your year run smoother and save you lots of time, energy and potential conflicts down the road.

Here are 4 simple steps I learned the hard way that will help you avoid classroom management disaster! 

4 Simple Steps to Prevent Classroom Management Disaster

1. Don’t let students manipulate you with their emotions.

Have you had a student start bawling when you gave them a detention? Have you experienced a student’s explosive anger when they don’t get to go to recess?

Ever have a student protest vehemently that they should have been the student of the week and that you always pick the same kids for everything—hurtfully accusing you of showing favoritism?

When you give consequences or withhold rewards as a part of your classroom management plan, you will likely encounter pushback intended to cause you to feel guilty, second guess yourself or give in to the student’s demands. And this problem can be compounded when students band together against you.

Second guessing and giving in to demands are big mistakes, though, because students will realize they can turn on the waterworks, throw tantrums, or rope you into an emotional debate and control you through the sheer force of their feelings.

Many times the student’s emotions are genuine, but often times students will play up their emotions to see what you will do. The trick is to remain calm and stick to your consequences and rewards.

Once your students see that you will remain calm, resolute, and unshaken in the midst of the storm of their emotions, students will typically try those tactics less and less.

Use prayerful discernment to decide whether or not to console students in the moment or acknowledge their wounded feelings, but don’t by any means let their hurt or upset feelings change your pre-determined set of consequences or rewards.

Of course, there are rare circumstances where you truly feel led to cut the student a break or give them another chance, BUT this should be a rare exception. Otherwise, students will be confused and not know what to expect from you.

The goal is not to become an unfeeling automaton but rather a consistent leader that does the right thing for students even when it is unpopular.

Students ultimately respect someone they know they cannot manipulate.

2. Document everything you can, and let the world know you are keeping track of everything!

A wise veteran teacher once told me to document everything, and this little gem of wisdom has proven true every time.

Sadly, your word alone as a teacher is often not enough. In our society, everybody wants proof, proof, proof! Oddly enough parents will often believe their kids over you (and kids lie….a lot)!

Surprised? I was! It's a strange day we live in, so we must be prudent!

When you call up little Johnny’s mom, it's better to say, “…this week I counted 37 blurts…” rather than “Johnny is being a little too chatty…”.

It is more effective to let the parents know exactly how many assignments their child is missing instead of merely saying their child is not getting work in on time.

Did a student say something (CRAZY?) —write it down word for word. Believe it or not, you will likely forget exactly what they said which leaves room for the student to deny it ever happened, and when you are in that parent-teacher conference, you are going to want to know exactly what was said and when.

You can document in any way that is easy for your personality type, organization level, and style. Just have a system!

It can be as informal as a documentation notebook you carry around everywhere to jot notes down. It can be as fancy as an excel spreadsheet with student names and different columns representing various behaviors and the number of times they occur.

I personally like carrying around a red clipboard with student names and boxes to give "checks" for the most common misbehaviors like talking without permission. When the students see me pick up the clipboard they know I am tracking and documenting their behavior, and it calms them down.

There are also amazing online programs and apps like Class Dojo that make tracking these things a cinch.

Time is in high demand for teachers, and it can feel too tedious to document, but this is one investment that pays dividends.

And the beauty is — students will behave better when they know you are tracking their behavior and documenting what happens day to day. There is instant accountability, and when you follow through with consequences, students will think more closely about their actions!

3. Keep your expectations high, and don’t apologize for it!

This one is tough!

As a teacher, there are so many pressures that might tempt you to lower the bar, but don’t do it! Students may complain when you have high standards and parents may even complain, but true leadership involves holding on to godly principles that remain strong, time-tested and true in the face of adversity!

As society drifts farther and farther from God, the world’s standards and expectations sink lower and lower.

This naturally makes Christians seem all the more peculiar, which is a good thing, but also a challenge at the same time. You see, the most basic Christian standards look like high expectations to the world, and truly high expectations look impossible to the world.

So if you have high moral standards for your classroom, then you might find yourself at odds with a lot of people—even in a Christian school. (This happened to me, but that’s another story all together!)

But don’t give up!

Don't feel bad about expecting students to talk to you respectfully. Don't feel old fashioned when you stop students from using inappropriate language or off-colored jokes! Teach students the importance of honesty, hard work, and integrity!

Encourage modesty and enforce your school's dress code. You may be the only teacher that you know who's calling kids up higher, but you will be a massive blessing in a child's life, even if they are not yet a Christian. Even if they never become a Christian, you will have served them by speaking Biblical truth into their heart and mind.

This same principle remains true if you teach Christian students. Many Christian students are so inundated and brainwashed by the world, that Biblical truth sounds foreign. Christian students need strong, fearless teachers that won’t bend the truth of God’s Word. Speaking the truth and upholding truth might put you on a path of conflict, but don't shy away.

Truth is desperately needed in Christian and secular environments, and God has placed you at your school to be a beacon of light and a proclaimer of truth!

4. Pray without ceasing!

Last but definitely not least, pray!

I have seen God do amazing things through prayer, but sometimes when we are the most stressed prayer seems like the last thing our flesh wants to do! In Matthew 26:41 Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

One teacher’s temptations will be different than another's. You may be tempted to avoid disciplining certain students out of fear of their reaction or even their parent’s reaction, while another teacher may struggle with taking vengeance on a certain student due to their behavior.

On some days you may be tempted to yell and scream at your students while other days you may be tempted to simply disengage, hand out a worksheet and sit at your desk browsing your favorite online magazine with a mocha.

Often we are tempted to simply give up and coast until the end of the school year, but with the Lord's help, we can overcome all of these negative emotions.

I would recommend two types of prayer.

First, I believe it is important to have a daily prayer time where you pray over a list of things that are going on in your life and the lives of those you care about.

Second, I find "5-second" prayers throughout the whole day to be a lifeline! This is sometimes called "practicing the presence of God" popularized by Brother Lawrence. This concept mirrors the scriptural principle of praying without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

You simply talk to God all day.

Ask Him to help your observation go well. Ask the Lord to help you be patient today. Ask Him for more energy and focus.

He wants you to pray and walk with Him throughout your days. Ask Him to make you a better classroom manager and ask Him for courage!

God is more than willing to help you with any and everything you struggle with, and there is nothing too big or too small for him.

If your journey is anything like mine, God will often use teaching as the fiery furnace to burn off things that are displeasing to Him, so don't be surprised when yucky stuff rises to the surface.

Finally, don’t be discouraged by slow progress in your classroom management, and try not to make comparisons between yourself and others. Look for help wherever you can find it; then pray and ask God to help you implement what you learn.

You may not always feel like you are making a difference, but God is using you in the classroom even in spite of your weakness.

Need more classroom management help? Join us in our upcoming FREE Classroom Management Solutions live training where you'll learn how to start the school year off right - and the incredible difference it will make!

Sign up for the FREE Back-to-School Classroom Management Solutions training.

Back-to-school classroom management training


Jul 10, 2017

Getting your room ready for the school year can be extremely exciting. It’s also a whole lot of work. There are books to prepare, desks to arrange, decorations to create……The list seems never-ending.

What we really need to focus on, though, is functionality. Yes, it’s great if our rooms are cute and fun, but it’s more important that we be strategic in how we set things up so that we can maximize our efficiency.

In this episode, we examine 9 practical ways to set up your classroom to save time & help your students learn.

Get notes & links at


9 Areas to Include When Setting Up Your Room

  1. A station for you. You need a place somewhere in the front of the room to stash all those supplies that you need to have handy while teaching. If your desk is at the front, that could work. But if it's in the back, you need a secondary station to keep your notes, pen, etc. 

  2. In/out bins. If you don't use in/out bins in your room, adding these can save a lot of time. I have one large in bin for group work. (After students pass in their papers, the last student paperclips them and puts them right in my in bin.) I then have separate in bins for each class for students to turn in late work or absent work - anything that's individual and not with the group piles. Finally, I have out bins for each class, and these save the most time. Instead of standing in front of class wasting time passing out papers, assign a student to pass them out for you. They simply go to their class's out bin, grab whatever's in there, and start passing them out. 

  3. Sample tests. Post a sample test and/or quiz (one for each subject if possible) in your room so that students can get a basic idea of how you will be testing them. Of course this sample shouldn't include the real test questions, but it should give them an idea of the length, style, etc. This can help allay the fears of students who experience anxiety over testing. (This fantastic idea is from The First Days of School.) 

  4. Post your classes on the door.  If you have a self-contained  classroom, this is as simple as posting your name and the grade level you teach. But if you teach multiple groups/classes, posting them outside the door will help students know that they are in the right place. 

  5. Absent folders. Have a system for getting absent work to students. A simple but efficient system is to give a student in each class the responsibility of recording what you do in class.  This form then goes in the absent folder so that returning students can easily see what they missed.  

    Get an editable copy of the absence form here.

  6. Decor. If you enjoy decorating your room to the nines and you have time, then go for it. But if you're getting overwhelmed (or it's just not in your wheelhouse), all you need to do is create a warm learning environment for your students. The easiest way is to simply put up motivational or instructional posters (like these) throughout your room.  

  7. To-do lists. No, not for you - for your students. Post lists such as what they should do at the start of class and what they should do if they finish an assignment early. 

  8. A place to post start-of-class assignments. If your'e wondering why a start-of-class assignment is so crucial, take a minute to read this post. But you also can't forget about having a place to post it - something consistent so it's in the same place every day and students know where to find it.

    Oh and if you teach middle school math, you're in luck. Grab a set of middle school bellringers for free here.

    Free middle school math bellringers / practice exercises
  9. A place to post homework. Have a consistent place that students can find their homework assignments. I found it extremely effective to create a poster board for each class that included the class name and then had a spot for each day of the week. I would then laminate these boards and put them up along one wall. I could then use a wet-erase marker to write the week's assignments and upcoming tests/quizzes. A spray bottle of water and paper towels easily cleaned them at the end of each week.

Get more tips & resources here.



Jun 26, 2017

Did you spend this past year stuck in the crazy cycle - overwhelmed, exhausted, and never able to quite get caught up?

Join us as we speak with Elizabeth Chapman, a high school English teacher and mom who knows first-hand just how crazy teaching can be.

We discuss why balance is worth fighting for & practical steps you can take right now to do just that.

Get the notes at

Links mentioned:

Jun 12, 2017

Summer is a time to rest and refresh - but also to grow both professionally & personally.

Join us as discuss 10 ways to grow as a teacher this summer.

Get notes & links at

Join one of our summer events at


Other links:

Create Your Dream Classroom:

Classroom Management 101:

Teach Uplifted:




Jun 5, 2017

Did you spend the last few months longing for the summer so you could get a break from your teacher anxiety? Are you already dreading those back-to-school signs that will bring it all back in full-force?

Whether you struggle directly with anxiety as a teacher or would simply label it "stress", this episode will help you examine the true root of these feelings - and how to teach without anxiety.

Get notes & links at

Join Teach Uplifted or our free live training at 

May 29, 2017

What should you focus on RIGHT NOW to best grow as a teacher?

A seemingly simple question but one that’s not always easy to answer. With so many questions bouncing around in your head & so many challenges on your plate, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on next.

That’s why we’ve developed the Teacher Success Roadmap.


Get all the links at


The Teacher Success Roadmap

This roadmap is meant as a guide – a clear path towards success that will show you step-by-step what areas you need to focus on as you seek to grow as a teacher. As well as the resources you need in each area.

These steps are sequential. So take a look at each one in order. If you believe you’re doing pretty well with the first step, move on to the next – until you get to an area where you know there’s room to grow.

And that – right there – is the perfect spot to focus next. Don’t worry too much about the rest of the roadmap. Just take the next step. Once you’ve mastered that, you can come back and continue on the road to success.


Step 1 | Walk with God

Experience the power of a vibrant relationship with God as you spend time with Him and talk with Him throughout the day.

If you try to teach in your own strength, you may be a great teacher – you may even make a difference in your students’ lives. But you won’t have a fraction of the impact that you could have if God is working through you.

That’s why we must value our relationship with Him and make it a priority. We must realize that spending time with Him and talking to Him throughout the day is the most important work we can do – way more important than our never-ending to-do list.

If you haven’t yet developed the habit of spending time with God each day, then that’s where you should start. Here’s some great resources that can help you get started:

And if you don’t know God personally, I encourage you to start with this article here:

How (and why) to Have a Relationship with God


Step 2 | Manage your classroom

Create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.

It's tough to teach when your students aren't listening. That's why great classroom management is key to any successful classroom.

Think of it as the foundation - it's not really exciting, and it's not the most fun piece of the house to work on, but without it, everything else you build will eventually come crashing down.

If you're struggling with classroom management, this isn't something you can just ignore and hope it gets better. You have to make changes. You have to figure this out.

The good news? We’re here to help!

Free resources to get you started:

Go straight to the all-in-one solution:


Step 3 | Plan & execute effective lessons

Structure your lessons so your students truly understand and master key skills.

Are your students struggling in your class? Are you seeing way too many D’s and F’s and getting way too many confused looks?

Our default reaction is to blame the students for not trying, but the hard truth is that sometimes we’re not doing the best job explaining the concepts in a way students can actually understand.

We owe it to our students to be continually improving our teaching methods – always looking for better ways to create more of those lightbulb moments.

Need help planning & teaching effective lessons?


Step 4 | Find balance

Don’t let teaching take over your life. Find balance by learning to teach in a way that is actually sustainable.

Are you overwhelmed by your workload, stressed by your mile-long to-do list?

You can’t let teaching take over your life or you’re headed straight for burn-out. Or, at the least, I’m-so-tired-and-stressed-I-can’t-think-straight-ville. Neither of which make you a very effective teacher.

The good news is that it IS possible to be an amazing teacher without working 24/7. But to achieve balance you must make it a priority and seek out creative solutions.

Which we’d love to help you with 🙂

Free resources to get you started:

Go straight to the all-in-one solution:

40 hour teacher workweek, professional development for teacher productivity


Step 5 | Teach Uplifted

Teach with God’s peace and joy, even in the midst of challenges and frustrations.

So often as teachers we’re worried, frustrated, anxious, or discouraged.

But not only is this not what God intended for us, but we’re also not as effective when we’re distracted by these negative feelings.

Praise the Lord, He has something better. In learning to trust Christ, think Biblically, and surrender everything to Him, we can overcome anxiety and teach with peace and joy, even when everything around us seems to be going wrong.

And what a powerful testimony that can be!

Free resources to get you started:

Go straight to the all-in-one solution:

Learn how to teach uplifted

Step 6 | Embrace Your True Mission

Fulfill your God-given mission to shine His light in the public school or make disciples in the Christian school.

Once you’ve gotten this far on the roadmap, you’ve mastered the basics and have overcome some key challenges. Now you’re ready to truly make a difference as you embrace your mission as a Christian teacher.

Public school teachers: If you teach in a public school, you may not be used to thinking of teaching as a ministry, but that’s exactly what God has called you to. He desires you to be a bright light pushing back the darkness all around you – and drawing others to Him.

  • We’re also considering partnering with CEAI to produce a program that will help you teach with faith, not fear as you navigate the minefield of living out your beliefs as a Christian teacher in a public school. If you’d be interested in hearing more about this program as it becomes available, click here to request updates.

Christian school teachers: As a Christian school teacher, you have the privilege (and responsibility) of directly instructing students in God’s word – not just in Bible class but in every area of the classroom. You must intentionally disciple students and show them how to examine every topic through the lens of a Biblical perspective.



Step 7| Inspire & lead your students

Make a lasting difference in your students’ lives as you learn how to inspire, motivate, mentor, counsel, and lead them.

At this point, you’re a strong teacher – ready to grow your influence and make a lasting difference in your students’ lives.

But how exactly do you best inspire them, motivate them, counsel, mentor, and lead them?

We’re hoping to develop more resources in the future to help with this final stage of the roadmap. But in the meantime, we hope you’ll find these helpful:


One More Thing...

In order to be most effective, all of these topics must be studied
  1) From a Biblical perspective and
  2) Within community

Biblical Perspective: The Bible is not just a wise book that helps us be good. It is the source of truth – the only thing we can be absolutely sure of. We must view every other topic through the lens of Scripture & allow its truths to shape how we think and act.

At Teach 4 the Heart, we strive to examine each topic from a Biblical perspective so that we aren’t simply running from one new idea to the next but are seeking to apply never-changing truths to every challenge.

Community: Too often we make the mistake of trying to learn & grow on our own, but that’s not the way God designed us. God created us to learn and grow together – in community with fellow believers.

At Teach 4 the Heart, we strive to connect Christian teachers in meaningful ways so that we can support & encourage each other. Community happens all over Teach 4 the Heart but most notably in our Facebook group, live trainings, prayer challenges, and premium programs.

Join Teach 4 the Heart.



May 22, 2017

Do you dread tackling that ever-growing stack of essays? Does it take you forever and a day to get through them?

In this episode, we give a simple & easy way to grade writing quickly - while still giving valuable feedback to students.

Get notes, links & a sample grading form at 

May 8, 2017

You're tired, exhausted, wondering if you can make it to the summer. But what if instead of counting down the days, you could make these last days count!?

Join us as we discuss 6 tips to finish the school year strong.

Get notes & links at

May 1, 2017

Students LOVE review games, but when we can't afford to spend more time on the game than we do on the review.

Fortunately, you can play a fun review game without taking time away from the actual review. 

Join us as we discuss 7 review games that won't waste your time.

Get links & written explanations at

Apr 24, 2017

Ever think about flipping your classroom but not really know where to start?

Join us as we answer all your most questions about how to flip your classroom - and why you (and your students) will love doing so.

Get notes & links at

Find out more about MathLight at

Apr 17, 2017

Blank stares, confused looks, bombed tests - these are all signs that your students just aren't understanding what you're teaching them.

Join us as we discuss practical tips to help your students understand concepts that they're confused about.

Get notes & links at

Apr 10, 2017

If you're thinking seriously about quitting teaching, you owe it to yourself, your students, and your families to make the right decision.

In this episode, we discuss 6 key questions to ask yourself when you're considering quitting teaching.

Get links & notes at

Mar 27, 2017

Ever suspect a student of something but you're just not sure? Maybe you think they cheated - or that they're lying to you. But how can you proceed when you don't know for sure what happened?

In this episode, you'll discover a simple solution for those times you suspect a student but just aren't sure what happened.

Get notes & links at

Find out more about Classroom Management 101 at

Mar 20, 2017

Are you struggling with classroom management? Is your class (just a little) out of control? If so, you won't want to miss these 10 classroom management changes you should make right now. (Yes, even if it's the end of the school year.)

Get notes & links at

Sign up for our free live training at

Mar 13, 2017

Dressing professionally can make a big difference in how your students perceive and respect you - especially if you are a younger teacher or if your students are older.

But how do you dress professionally on a limited teacher's income? That's what we're discussing in today's episode.

Get notes & links and see pictures of cute professional outfits at

Mar 6, 2017

A student's failing your class - what on earth do you do? Don't panic, don't take it personally, but don't throw your hands up in the air either. 

Here are 9 practical ways you can help a failing student.

Get notes & additional resources at


Feb 20, 2017

Do you ever feel like you're alone as a teacher? Like you're facing all these challenges and there's just no one there to help you figure it all out?

In this episode, you'll learn how to connect with like-minded teachers who can encourage, support, and advise you.

Get notes & links at

Find out more about Teach Uplifted at

Feb 13, 2017

If you're feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, surrounded by negativity, then this episode is for you.

Join us as we discuss 8 reasons you might be feeling discouraged as a teacher - and how to overcome them.

Join the free 3-day challenge for Christian teachers: Renew Your Joy & Refresh Your Perspective at

Get notes & links at

Feb 6, 2017

When you lose your voice as a teacher, you'd do almost anything to get it back!

Join us as we discuss 5 effective methods to restore your lost voice.

Get notes & links at

Jan 30, 2017

As a Christian teacher in a public school, you may be surprised to discover that religious discussions are not quite as taboo as you might think.

In fact, it is legal to teach about religion in the public school as long as you do it in an academic matter and don't try to convert your students.

Join us as we speak with Finn Laursen, director of CEAI, who shares with us his knowledge of what is and isn't legal for Christian teachers in the public school.

Get notes & links at


Jan 23, 2017

Next week we'll be discussing how Christian teachers can legally bring up God & religion in the classroom. But before we get there, we have to answer a very important question - should we?

In other words, is it morally or ethically right to talk about religion in a public school?
In this episode, we examine two common objections to religion in the classroom and see why they might not be quite as valid as so many tend to think.

Get notes & links at

Jan 16, 2017

Tracking homework and trying to hold students accountable can quickly become a teachers' nightmare. But before you bang your head against the wall, try some of these simple tips to manage homework without going crazy.

Get links & notes at

Jan 9, 2017

When parents complain about you to administration, it's easy to get defensive, frustrated, and even discouraged. 

But if you take the right approach, you can turn a parent complaint into an opportunity for growth and even increased cooperation moving forward.

Get notes at

Dec 26, 2016


Sometimes we think there's no way to escape the 24/7 teacher stress cycle. But that's just not true.

Join us as we discuss 5 simple but powerful techniques to reduce your stress and save your mental brainpower.

Get links & your Intentional Procrastination To-Do List System at

Find out more about Angela Watson's 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club at

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