Now that summer is here, the pressures of the school year are alleviated, at least partially. I can finally tackle my to-read pile! Though as a sufferer of tsundoku—a Japanese word meaning I have a problem with buying books that stack up, but not reading them—the stack of books will likely remain pretty high.

One of the things I will blame for my current state of tsundoku is that even though it’s summer, I’m still running around, taking care of other things on my often-neglected to-do list.   The silver lining of this is it has led me to become a much more avid podcast listener.

Just like with books, there isn’t enough time in the day to listen to all of the ones I would like, but podcasts are quickly becoming the primary way that I am consuming content to challenge my thinking and push my teaching towards new questions. Though there are all kinds of podcast lists out there, I thought it might be helpful to share ones that I think C3 Teachers would particularly enjoy.

This list is far from comprehensive. I excluded the ones that I’m pretty sure are required to show up on every podcast list (This American Life, I’m looking at you…). Hopefully, there are ones you are familiar with, but also ones you aren’t.

Check them out and please share with C3Teachers or on Twitter if you have other recommendations to help our teacher community stimulate their intellectual curiosity in these summer months.


Visions of Education – This podcast, hosted by education professor, Dan Krutka, and high school teacher, Michael Milton, discusses the various issues impacting education today.

  • Featured Episode: Episode 55 — They discussed teaching Mexican-American history with Dr. Maribel Santiago, whose perspective on the issue really challenged me to think about how I was constructing historical narratives concerning civil rights movements.

Revisionist History: Since the first season came out last year, I feel like I have referenced it with just about everyone I know. Needless to say, I am a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan. Of all the podcasts listed here, he may be the best at presenting his audience with a compelling question and conducting an inquiry. Season 2 is coming this summer!

  • Featured Episode: The Lady Vanishes – This is the first episode in the series, discussing how moral licensing can result in steps backwards after significant steps forward. I have listened to this episode several times, as well as played it for students. It has led to some fantastic discussions.

With Friends Like These – Host Ana Marie Cox engages in conversations with people from all over the political spectrum. As the description says, it is “a show about listening instead of arguing.” This is one of the podcasts from the Crooked Media group, the founders having worked in the Obama White House. They are certainly political – don’t come to these podcasts looking for non-partisanship.   However, this podcast is about fostering dialogue across difference rather than promoting any particular agenda.

  • Featured Episode: Women in power are always complicit — Ben Howe of Red State talks with Ana about where he stands with modern conservatism. As someone who loves political discussions with people across the aisle, Ana’s interviews with individuals with whom she disagrees are always my favorites as a model of civil political discourse.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect Radiolab is one of those podcasts that shows up on many lists. But I wanted to highlight their too-brief series on the Supreme Court. Though I wouldn’t have anticipated it when they ran this series last summer, I couldn’t wait for each new episode to drop. Focusing on more modern cases as well as spending some time with the history of the SCOTUS, every episode is an engaging look at their societal impact.

  • Featured Episode: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl – This topic inspired the series, addressing a case of paternal rights from 2011, complicated by the father being Native American. This was a fascinating look at the ways in which historical legacies continue to inform the present – and in not such a clear-cut way.

Presidential (Washington Post): Each episode in this series discusses one of the American presidents. Host Lillian Cunningham doesn’t let it devolve into a dry textbook entry. (One of her go-to questions she asks historians and other experts is what a blind date with the president would be like.) As a history teacher, I was familiar with many of the stories, but also heard a different spin on others.

  • Featured Episode: Millard Fillmore — I know, not what you were expecting? To be fair, I haven’t gotten out of the 19th century. Regardless, this episode delved into more than just Fillmore’s presidency, as she also addresses larger issues of historical memory.
  • Honorable Mention: John Q. Adams – this one had me brainstorming potential IDM compelling questions.

NPR: Code Switch: As described by the creators, they are “all journalists of color, and this isn’t the work we do. It’s the lives we lead.” Each episode is tackling conversations of race and identity in a way that is meant to make listeners uncomfortable, but so as to address the uncomfortability.

  • Featured Episode: Can We Talk About Whiteness? – This was one of the first episodes of the podcast, where the hosts address why the topic of whiteness is one many still shy away from.