Podcast: Supporting SEL in Middle School Science with Autumn Rivera in CO on Teachers in America

30 Min Read
Hero Banner Autumn Rivera

Photo: Sixth-grade teacher Autumn Rivera

Welcome back to Teachers in America, where we celebrate teachers and their lasting impact on students' learning journeys and lives.

Our guest today is the 2022 Colorado State Teacher of the Year and one of the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year, Autumn Rivera. She teaches sixth-grade science at Glenwood Springs Middle School, Colorado.

A full transcript of the episode appears below; it has been edited for clarity.

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The views expressed in this podcast are those of the guest and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

Noelle Morris: Welcome to Teachers in America, a production of HMH, where we celebrate teachers and recognize their triumphs, challenges, sacrifices, and dedication to students.

I am the Senior Director of Community Engagement, Noelle Morris. Each episode, I meet a new teacher friend to learn about the latest lessons and innovations from the classroom. This year, we are going to focus each conversation on a specific instructional practice or theme but always include their teacher journey.

In today’s episode, we’re joined by 2022 National Teacher of the Year finalist Autumn Rivera. Autumn is a sixth-grade science teacher in rural Glenwood Springs, Colorado. As a small-town teacher, Autumn has made the outdoors her science classroom, even leading lessons rafting on the Colorado River.

In addition to her work in the field of science, Autumn holds key leadership roles. She is a member of the Colorado Science Conference Planning Committee and is the President Elect for the Colorado Association of Science Teachers.

Autumn believes in the importance of diversity and representation in the classroom and encourages her students to form and ask their own questions.

Now, let’s get to the episode.

Noelle Morris: Welcome, Autumn. We're so glad to have you here as a guest on Teachers in America. How's it been going with you?

Autumn Rivera: It's been going really well. Thank you for having me. I made it to a Friday, and I'm excited to be here with you all today.

Noelle: It's funny; it's like,"I made it to a Friday." I don't know if you feel the same. Ever since 2020, time just feels like one time goes fast, but then all of a sudden, it's like everything seems like you have slow weeks, you have fast weeks, so I hear you on that. We made it to a Friday and an end of a week. I know you teach sixth-grade science, so we'll be talking about that. But I'd love to start our conversation, if you would do this exercise with me, which is either choose three words that define your teaching journey or three teaching moments that just have really impacted who you are today in 2023.

Autumn: Those are both really good questions. I think I'm going to go for the words that define my teaching journey, and I think growth, challenges, and outdoors are my three ones.

Noelle: Wow. Growth, challenges, and outdoors. Well, because I've done a little bit of research, we're going to have outdoor conversations in the podcast, but I would love to talk just a little bit more on growth personally and growth within the profession. Will you build that out a little bit more?

Autumn: Yeah, I think when we as teachers reflect, this is my 18th year of teaching, and when I think back to who I was on my first year of teaching to who I am now, you almost get a little embarrassed, “Oh my gosh, that's what I used to do in my classroom? How did my students not throw me outside? That's horrible.” And so, I think that self-compassion of we're always growing, we as teachers are humans as well, and that you know grow and you learn, and as we know better, we do better. And so what was a lot of note-taking and memorization has really morphed into hands-on, real-life application. And I'm grateful for the growth and for the mentors and the people that lightly, or sometimes not as lightly, nudged me in the right direction, and I'm grateful because I'm where I am today because of them.

Noelle: I appreciate how you put "not so lightly nudge" because sometimes we have to have that person that might come out a little bit abrupt, but it's out of genuine love and admiration, which I've always found.

Autumn: Yeah, I think that's really true. I think it can be hard too for us as teachers because teaching is such a personal thing. It's something that's really personal, and so to have someone critique it sometimes can feel a little bit like an attack. And so really understanding that we're all trying to learn and grow together, I think, is something that's really helped me, and I'm grateful for those moments of purposeful questioning where people are like, "So, what if you did this instead?" And then it makes you think, and you're like, "Oh yeah, maybe having them take notes every day is not what I should be doing." And so it's been good.

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Autumn is one of the four 2022 National Teacher of the Year Finalists and is the 2022 Colorado State Teacher of the Year.

Noelle: Yes, the wondering questions, that's a great approach. I know you were in the top four finalists for National Teacher of the Year for 2022. So, my first question is, do you know Whitney Aragaki? I'm just curious if the four of you got to know each other in the process of the Teacher of the Year being named and a little bit about the experience of being in the top four of Teacher of the Year.

Autumn: It's really crazy that you asked me this question today because this week, a year ago, was when we were officially announced as finalists, and the four of us, Kurt Russell, Joe Welch, Whitney Aragaki, and I, are the closest friends. I don't know where I would be without them. We went through a journey together that not many people get to experience, and to have a group of people be so supportive. I'm already planning my trip to visit Kurt and Joe this summer, and I'm hoping to get out to Hawaii [at] some point to visit Whitney. We're doing a conference together in March.

And so, just to have that support to go through the experience, the finalist interviews were intense. It was a lot of different pieces, and I was just so grateful to have that experience and to have Kurt Russell be our National Teacher of the Year, to watch the amazing things he's doing, and to support him. He is the voice that we need to hear right now, and I am so grateful that I got to be along with him on this journey and continue to be part of it as we move forward.

Noelle: You can hear the joy and emotion in your voice when you talk about it.

Autumn: I really do love them. I really do.

Noelle: As you said, teaching is personal, which means when you bond with someone, you really bond with them for a lifetime.

Autumn: And I think it's really carried over not just from the four finalists, but that love is in our entire 2022 cohort. We just had our final gathering in LA a couple weeks ago, and just to know it was going to be our last time that we all gathered together was just such an emotional time because it's rare to be in a group of professionals that are all so positive and supportive and that is what this cohort has been. It's the family I didn't know I needed, and I'm so grateful that I've been able to spend this last year with them.

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Pictured with 2022 National Teacher of the Year Finalists Joseph Welch, Kurt Russell, and Whitney Aragaki, Autumn says of her cohort, "it's the family I didn't know I needed."

Noelle: So Autumn, did sixth grade choose you, or did you choose sixth grade?

Autumn: I love this question. I'm going to make it a little bigger. I think middle school chose me, and then sixth grade chose me, so I started as a seventh- and eighth-grade middle school science teacher. I thought I wanted to be an elementary teacher in college, and then one of my mentors said, "Hey, why don't you try this middle school thing?" And so I observed, and after one week, I thought, "These are my people." I love the smelly, awkward, not quite sure what to do middle schooler and have chosen to spend the last 18 years with them. So yeah, it's been a great experience.

Noelle: Love it. I'm a middle school teacher as well, so I completely get it. I thought I was going to be a 12th-grade British lit teacher. You have to have a rite of passage into that phase of your career, and so it started with eighth-grade English language arts, and you're so right. Once I was there, I'm like, "This is my place."

Autumn: Yeah, and I think there's something to be said about a middle schooler when they're just starting to figure out what they themselves are interested in. It's no longer what their friends are, what their parents are. It's really what they are interested in, and it's really fun to be a part of that and get to encourage that passion and also remind them that middle school gets better. No one wants to go back to their middle school years and relive that time. I had homemade vests and braces. It was not a pretty time in my life, and so no one wants to go back to that, but to be able to tell your students, "It's going to get better." I think that is one of my favorite parts about being a middle school teacher.

Noelle: Completely get it. You have that moment where you want the trending haircut, which I'm a product of the '80s, and so there was a moment in middle school when I wanted a perm.

Autumn: Yes, I love that. I love that. That's so great. We have a bulletin board up right now where we have all of the teachers’ middle school pictures to really show the students and the kids, "Look at me," and I'm like, "Yeah, I made that vest. Thank you very much. I'm very proud of it."

Noelle: It's like, "You too will get past this."

Autumn: And you'll look back years from now and think, "Why did I decide that this was the haircut I had to have, or this was the shirt I had to wear?"

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In her 18-year career, Autumn has enjoyed teaching middle school science.

Noelle: I know. Oh my goodness, I'm giggling. So Autumn, another part that I was interested in when I was reading your profile and looking at some of the articles is science. So was science something that you enjoyed and were focused on as a child, or how did you come across wanting to be in that discipline and teach that discipline?

Autumn: Yeah, I always have been interested, especially in the natural world and being outside. My mom was a science teacher, so I always just was really into the science piece. I don't think I really realized I wanted to be a science teacher. But I vividly remember going on a hike when I was growing up at a local lake that was close to my house, and I remember going for a hike and naming wildflowers with my family because we're big at wildflowers and birds and all of those things, and I remember thinking, "I want to learn a lot about something and share it with other people." And just having that moment, and I don't think I called it teaching at that time, and it wasn't until I went to college and majored in biology and continued to just love science that I thought, "I want to help other people love science." And that's when I realized that I wanted to follow [in] my mother's footsteps and become a teacher.

Noelle: Aw. Do you have a favorite wildflower?

Autumn: Oh, that's a really good question. I do love the lady slipper, the fairy slippers, the calypsos that are in Colorado. They're very hard to find. You can only find them in the early summer, right after the snow has melted, and they look just like little orchids, and they're just so beautiful. So, I do love a calypso.

Noelle: I'm going to have to add that to my screensaver.

Autumn: Yeah, it's beautiful.

Noelle: Hey, teacher friends, if you're an HMH user, did you know you have access to Teacher's Corner on Ed? Included with every HMH program, Teacher's Corner is a community of teachers, learning experts, and coaches gathered in one place to support you with a new kind of professional learning: Bite-sized, teacher-selected, and teacher-driven. With on-demand sessions, lesson demonstrations, program support, and practical resources, Teacher's Corner lets you choose how you interact with our content. I like to think about it as inspiration on demand.

Noelle: When you think about this generation of students and learners, what are you noticing that might be different in 2023, a sixth grader, 12 years old today compared to 18 years ago?

Autumn: There's such a huge difference. It's really crazy to think when I first started teaching middle school to when I'm teaching now, and I think a huge part of it is just the increased usage of the internet and social media and how that just people's lives are more visible. It's more just out there, and people are seeing that in public. And so, that has just been a big sort of learning curve for me. As a teacher, I need to move through things quickly, like students' attention span was the length of a movie, then the length of a sitcom, then the length of a YouTube show, and now we're at a TikTok. So, I got to make it move, but it's also fun. I enjoy that challenge. I enjoy embarrassing my students as I try to do the different things and the different trends.

And so, I think it just has really changed that whole piece of it. Just that attention and how education has changed. What students are looking for, where students before could sit and spend more time really looking and getting answers and memorizing things. Students don't need to do that anymore. They can Google something. And so that just whole piece of how we help them apply their knowledge, it's almost a higher level of thinking because they're no longer getting that basic knowledge. We're showing them how to access it, and then, in turn, they apply it. And I also think just even in the last couple years, the students that were coming out of our pandemic, the biggest change I've seen right now is especially in middle school, that's when you learn your social piece. That's when you make awkward mistakes. And I have a list of things that I could share, but our students didn't get to do that.

And so now though maybe their intelligence level has matured, their emotional level is still stunted. And so helping students learn how to have those disagreements without them automatically turning into a fight, teaching them how to work things out and talk things out. They didn't get to do that for two years, and so [they] learned a lot of other things. Don't get me wrong; they learned a lot of other things. They survived a pandemic at the age of 12; I did not do that. But just seeing that piece and realizing that's something that I'm really trying to help support my students through.

Noelle: That's a great perspective because your sixth graders would've been—

Autumn: Third grade was their—

Noelle: Third would've been their interrupted year, and then fourth. You are so right because third and fourth grade, [those are] pivotal years with your friends and learning your timing and when to speak and what to hold back and your silliness, knowing when to push it out and when you should not tell that joke or try to be funny.

Autumn: Yeah, all the different pieces.

Noelle: You're so right.

Autumn: And that's not something you can necessarily easily teach. Sometimes it just takes experience, and so trying to help them. It's a steep learning curve. The emotional piece is a very steep learning curve, but they're getting there, and like I said, I've been really proud of our students. I know a lot of people like to push this idea of learning loss, and I really don't think that's a situation. I think it was a learning shift. Our students shifted what they learned. They still learned a lot. I think my students know more about technology than I do, but it's different learning. And so learning how to celebrate what they've learned and learning how to help continue to support areas where they still need to grow, I think that all of us teachers are working on that.

Noelle: Do you notice this generation being more empathetic and curious about [the] true problems of the world, not just in their backyard, but what people are facing across the world? I'm always curious if you noticed [the] globalization and empathy that I've noticed in many of them.

Autumn: Yeah, I think definitely because our world has shrunk with the internet; I think it has. People are more aware of what's happening. I think about the World Cup, and we were talking a lot about the World Cup in my class and the issues with the controversy around having it where they had it and the pros and cons and where before students would've never been aware of that or had a conversation. You can have a conversation like that with a group of 11- and 12-year-olds because they are more aware.

Noelle: When it comes to the Next Generation Science Standards, where are you noticing your students are excelling and where you have more room to grow and that here's where they are in sixth grade and here's where they'll be when they graduate high school?

Autumn: This is only our third official year in Colorado of implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, but I have really seen in just the three years I've been doing it that the students are really able to explain that explanation of what's happening, identifying a claim and backing it up with evidence and that application piece that's no longer let me memorize all the things, that's let me apply it. And so that has been really fun to see, and then they can apply it to something new, which I love. One area that they always seem to struggle with when they first come to me, however, is the ability to really ask questions. I've really had to work with them on how to do that—how to ask more than just a basic question, how to really be curious. And it's getting better. As the year progresses, the students are getting much, much better at it. But it is always interesting that [the] very first time, it's almost as if some of our students have forgotten how to ask questions and forgotten how to be curious. And so it's really fun to allow them to do that again.

Noelle: Saying that with your learners, is that one of the reasons or purposes of your fieldwork days?

Autumn: Yeah, I think the big reason I have my fieldwork days is I realized when I grew up, I like to say beyond the sticks, I grew up really far away from, the closest town was 30 minutes from me. The closest stoplight was 45 minutes.

Noelle: The closest stoplight?

Autumn: Yeah, 45 minutes from me.

Noelle: Oh, wow.

Autumn: Yeah, and I just had a very different childhood than a lot of people, and I loved it. And it wasn't until I went to college that I realized that my background knowledge of different things was very different than other people's. And professors would talk about different things that I maybe didn't fully know about. I had a different experience or different understanding of other things. And not that it was a better experience or a worse experience. It was just a different experience. And it made me realize that when I became a teacher, I reflected on that. A lot of times, we as teachers do what good teachers are supposed to do, and that's [to] activate background knowledge. But when you are only activating background knowledge that students have had before they get to your classroom, it's already making an uneven playing field because different students have different background knowledge.

And so, I realized after my teaching journey that instead of activating prior background knowledge, I needed to provide prior background knowledge. I needed to have a common experience so all of us were able to have some sort of experience, some sort of background knowledge that we could then build off of moving forward. And so, a lot of the fieldwork I do is to provide that situation to students, so they're able to see, "Okay, when Miss Rivera's talking about the Colorado River, I not only just know it as there's this random river that flows through our town, but I've been on it, I've experienced it, I've measured the health of it." So then we are able to come together with increased collective intelligence to move forward and then build off of that background knowledge.

Quote Cards 1 Autumn Rivera

Noelle: That's amazing. As I was reading one of your articles, the rafting down the Colorado River and being a part of that, I'm so curious, Autumn, because I think about rural Colorado, which I definitely would love for you to describe that a little bit more, but the trust and the process of having that be an experience in a school setting, a field trip, I'm just as in awe of teachers in New York City with field trips and using the subway because just the organization and the trust and the understanding.

Autumn: Yeah, it's so funny because, for me, taking students on the subway is [my] top five fear. Oh my gosh, rafting—no big deal. I'll do that every day. That's really funny.

Noelle: When reading this, I was like, "Rafting, what all do you have to teach them? How do you pay attention?"

Autumn: I'm really lucky that I have an amazing community where I live, and we've used a couple different local rafting guide companies that work with us and are able to provide our rafting at an affordable price. And we are able to take all of our students on the rafting trip. Luckily, the river is really close to our school, and so it's something where we get transported to the put-on spot and then walk home from where we take off the river, and we're able to take all of our students.

And when I say all, I mean all of our students. We had two students who were in wheelchairs, and the rafting company we used at the time had special seats that we could put those students in. And so, even they were able to feel the Colorado River on their face, and it's that community support. None of this would happen without the amazing community that I live in and just how supportive everyone is. And I encourage all teachers to go out and reach out to your community members, find people because they're there and they want to work with you. And it's been really awesome to see what happens when we do that.

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Autumn takes science lessons outdoors during fieldwork days on the Colorado River.

Noelle: You can tell you're not shy; you're probably not afraid of no. Is that maybe why challenges was one of your words? Let's talk a little bit about that as part of your teacher journey.

Autumn: Yeah, I think there are a lot of challenges in teaching. I think just as a teacher in general, what's asked of us has really increased. The challenge of learning how to say no to myself. I think I'm a teacher that always wants to do all the things and be involved in all the things. And I remember being a first- or second-year teacher and looking at a teacher who was probably where I am in my career right now, and they weren't really doing the things that I was doing, and they weren't volunteering for all of the different committees.

And I remember being disgusted by that situation. And now, as a veteran teacher, I'm like, "Oh." You can't do all the things; we have to share the load. And so, I think just those challenges of figuring out who you are, learning the importance [of humanizing] yourself and [humanizing] your students. I think when I first started teaching, I was taught that Autumn and Ms. Rivera were two different people, and neither shall those two mix. And the challenge of realizing that's not actually true, and the students need to know that I'm a human and they need to know the good and the bad, and by humanizing myself, I allow it to be okay for them to be human as well in my classroom. And so that sort of challenge of learning that lesson and just all those separate pieces.

Noelle: With the energy that you have, do you see yourself staying teaching in rural Colorado? I'd love it if you described not just the challenges but opportunities that teaching in that type of geographical area bring.

Autumn: I, for better or for worse, love teaching. With this position that I had and after my year of service, many doors have been opened, and there have been different situations for me to leave the classroom. And I'm not saying that might not change at some point, but right now, I still love to be in the classroom with the students. I still love to teach them. I love to challenge them to really have them just grow. And so I think right now that is something that I will continue doing. And I also love doing it where I do. I live in rural Colorado. My town Glenwood Springs is about 9–10,000 people, which to me was the big city. I live in the place where the stoplight was; the stoplight that was 45 minutes from where I grew up is where I currently teach now. And so, to be part of this area, there are challenges.

There's a lot of work. There are maybe not as many resources as I would have if I were in a bigger school district or in a bigger city, but I actually feel like there's a lot more benefit to having a small community. Everyone knows everyone. There's that support piece, and my classroom is the outdoors. It's right there. I don't have to take a bus for forever to take a student rafting. We can do the whole trip in a 30-minute drive, and then they go down the river. And so that's a really exciting piece about where I live and that I love, and I love the relationships you get to build with the families. Not that you just teach one kid, but you teach all the kids in the family, and you get to know the parents, and you get to know the siblings. And having all of those parts is something that's really fun.

I go to Discount Tire to get new tires, and literally, half the people there used to be my students, which freaked me out because I saw sixth graders, and they were grown men, but I saw sixth graders, and I had to have a talk with them like, "This is Miss Rivera's car. You will put all of the wheels back on correctly.”

But I also got to have a proud moment of, "Look at all of you working hard, and you're doing a great job." And I have taught in the big city, and I have taught in small towns, and I'm a small-town girl. I really love that situation, and I'm really grateful I get to teach where I teach. I think the other big challenge right now is just the cost of living in many of our small-town places. And I've been teaching for 18 years and still can't afford to buy a house in the community in which I teach.

And that's really hard. And then I think I look at our new teachers and think, "Oh my gosh, how are they going to make it as I'm still trying to make it all work out." And so I really hope that will change at some point because there is something that's really important about teachers living in the community in which they teach because you really get to understand what's happening in the community and not just in your classroom, but in the community as a whole, so that when you then go into the classroom, you can then support your students in ways that maybe teachers that don't live in the community might not understand.

Noelle: Aw, that's a great message, a great reminder. And I appreciate too that you're just telling them how they're going to put the tires on your car.

Autumn: Yeah. Oh my gosh. That was like between excited and panicked. It went back and forth.

Noelle: They're probably like, "We remember that unit that you taught us. We know force and motion and all of that good stuff."

Autumn: It's really funny because I'm known throughout the district as the Ninja Turtle teacher because one thing when I very first started teaching, my mentor teacher told me, "You got to get a gimmick." Kind of like you got to get a thing. It doesn't matter what it is, but something that allows you to connect to the student. For her, it was basketball, and for me, it randomly became Ninja Turtles. And so I have a giant collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in my classroom, and the kids, still to this day, remember that, "Aren't you the Ninja Turtle teacher?" I'm like, "Yes, I am." And so it's just a really funny connection.

Noelle: Aw. Do you have a favorite? I liked Leonardo.

Autumn: Very cool. Mine is Donatello. He's funny, yet smart. And hopefully, most all students will know that because it is a test question that appears many a time.

Noelle: That is cool. That's a great teacher tip. It was like a hook of a song.

Autumn: Yeah.

Noelle: They're going to remember you for that. So do you have a favorite phenomenon lesson or favorite experiment that you anticipate doing every year?

Autumn: Yeah, one of my favorite lessons that I do for a phenomenon is taking Coke and Diet Coke and a can of each and placing them in water, and the Coke will sink, and the Diet Coke will float, and the kids just look at it, and they cannot have it make sense. And I just love through questioning and really helping students dig through that, at some point, a kid will finally put together that the Coke has a lot of sugar dissolved in it, where the Diet Coke does not. And then you get to introduce density through that process. And it's just very simple. The kids are always convinced that I've done something to trick it. And I'm like, "I promise you these are just two unopened cans." They're always convinced there's something different, but it's just a really cool phenomenon that gets them hooked, and then we can build off of that.

Noelle: Autumn, as we think about the profession, and I'm sure you're reading those same articles, I'm reading about just the state of teaching. What advice would you have for someone who is wondering if teaching is for them?

Autumn: I think if you're only becoming a teacher because we get the summers off, I might reconsider. It's a lot of work, but you get to be with students as they're growing up. And yes, I get to teach them science, which I love, but I also just get to walk alongside them as they're growing up. And you get to be there for the questions and for the conversations and to be able to be a part of a child's life when they're growing up and to have those memories and then to see them later as they've succeeded and to see that proud moment as they change the tires on your car or as they introduce you to their own children. It's such a cool moment. And you don't get to do that in other professions. You don't get to have those lifelong connections because every year it gets better because every year you build new relationships, and you just continue to build off of those.

And even students I taught 15, 18 years ago, I'm still in connection with them. And to see them being a teacher and being able to have conversations with former students who are now teachers, like all of those pieces, it's just the gift that keeps on giving. And I don't know if you can tell, but I love it. I love teaching. It's really fun, and it's crazy. And don't get me wrong, there are days that I'm not loving it, but it is at its core, being with students, getting to challenge them and push them and celebrate with them, getting to empower them and sit back and watch them change the world is something I would never trade.

Noelle: Full heartedly agree with you. I hear it in your voice. I think it's why it's so energetic and magnetic because it brings just joy and enthusiasm.

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Noelle: I always ask every guest, what is your walk-up song? And the reason I ask this, which I don't think you're going to have any problem answering, but it's because you need to know that you're about to go into that classroom, you're about to bring in the championship of a lesson, or an “aha moment” of a learner, and it's all about the motivation of yourself. So you're going to school on Monday. What is on your playlist that is playing your walk-up song?

Autumn: That is really a funny question. See, my first, I would say, seven or eight years, on the first day of school, I always listened to the exact same song on repeat to psych myself up to go to school. And typically, it was a song by a band called Superchick. It's a very random band, and they had this song called "It's On," and it is about today's your day, come on, bring it on. And it's all about we got to get this done, and I would just listen to that song and amp myself up. But nowadays, I'm sure it's something by Taylor Swift. Anything she sings gets me amped up and ready to go, which is also fun to connect with your students on. And so yeah, anything by that, I'm sure.

Noelle: We are soul sisters now, Autumn.

Autumn: Yay!

Noelle: Because I'm taking my daughter to Taylor Swift, and so mom, daughter Swifties.

Autumn: I got tickets too, hooray!

Noelle: Woo! All right, cheers. But I'm pulling up Superchick, and I'm going to add that to my playlist because you got to bring it, you got to have it, and you got to amp yourself up, and that's what it's all about. And you have definitely amped me up, and it's the end of my day. And so now I'm like, what am I going to do with all this energy? Autumn, you are lovely. I'm so glad and happy that you had the experience you did in 2022 and [that] you have your cohort and your three new besties. We started this episode with just hearing your joy and love, and we're ending it in that same place. So thank you for what you do, and I'm so appreciative that you were a guest. Thank you.

Autumn: Yeah, thank you guys for having me. This has been really fun. I feel like I'm just chatting with friends, so thank you. I really appreciate it.

Noelle: If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the Teachers in America podcast, please email us at shaped@hmhco.com. Be the first to hear new episodes of  Teachers in America, by subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you enjoyed today's show, please rate, review, and share it with your network. You can find the transcript of this episode on our Shaped blog by visiting hmhco.com/shaped. The link is in the show notes.

The Teachers in America podcast is a production of HMH. Executive producers are Christine Condon and Tim Lee. Editorial direction is by Christine Condon. It is creatively directed and audio engineered by Tim Lee. Our producer and editor is Jennifer Corujo. Production designers are Mio Frye and Thomas Velazquez. Shaped blog post editors for the podcast are Christine Condon, Jennifer Corujo, and Alicia Ivory.  

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