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Classroom Cafe

Classroom Café is a podcast created by the UFT Member Assistance Program to support the well-being of public school educators and the social-emotional health of their students.

Classroom Café is all about brewing the conversation with fellow educators. We cover everything from mindfulness meditation to confronting substance use – either your own, your students or a loved one — to navigating interpersonal relationships in challenging times.

Selma Williams is the host. A new episode is released on the final Monday of each month.

Listen to Classroom Café wherever you get your podcasts. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Current episode

Season 4, Episode 10 -

Multiple perspectives can be deserving of respect. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, Sonya Brown, a retired teacher development specialist for the city Department of Education, explains the importance of balancing self-care with community care to experience the power of compassionate detachment. Now a transformational coach, restorative yoga teacher and interfaith chaplin, Sonya encourages leaders to bring their “entire selves” to their roles and to strive to achieve that crucial balance.


Previous episodes

Season 4, Episode 9 -

"I’m not crazy," is sometimes the response to the idea of getting help. But everyone has moments of anxiety, stress and depression. It's important to recognize when those feelings require you to seek more support. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, we are joined by social workers Selma Williams, LMSW; Kathleen Regalado, LMSW; and Steven Sulzer, LCSW, all from the union’s Member Assistance Program. They will provide strategies that support better mental health so no one — not you or your friends, family, colleagues or students — has to struggle in silence.

Season 4, Episode 8 -

Learn ways to lower the stress and increase the learning and joy in your classroom by using mindfulness techniques and movement, theater and the visual arts. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, we are joined by Julie Flynn Badal, a longtime public school teacher and artist, who offers workshops on contemplative practices, movement and the arts at The Meadow. She will explore a variety of ways to engage students and incorporate mindfulness practices and the arts in the classroom, a benefit to both students and educators.

Season 4, Episode 7 -

How do you help a student who is being bullied find their voice and power? In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, we are joined by author and attorney S.P. Brown, who will share stories from her book, "Kyrie’s School Blues," about a home-schooled 4th-grader’s rocky transition to the classroom. Jamie Lepow, a licensed social worker and senior administrator in the city Department of Education’s Office of Safety and Youth Development, joins the conversation to discuss ways to help students overcome conflicts and bullying.

Season 4, Episode 6 -

What does it take to transform your life when you face great adversity? In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, we are joined by S.P. Brown, an author, attorney and former corporate executive. This native New Yorker overcame childhood verbal and physical abuse, spurred on by her love of books and writing. “Gifts in Brown Paper Packages,” her latest novel, shares her real-life experience as she escaped domestic abuse to find her way in the world.

Season 4, Episode 5 -

Are you tired? Do you want to make some changes in your work-life balance but don’t know where to start? In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, we are joined by licensed counselor Norbi Forero, the clinical director of community services at HelloHero. She will address the challenges facing exhausted educators, identify the symptoms of burnout and share innovative strategies to transform our relationship with work and stress.