Season 4, Episode 7 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Mike Roberts

by | Feb 9, 2023 | 0 comments

6 min read

Hacking Classroom Management with Mike Roberts 

This is Season 4, Episode 7 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Mike Roberts. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Academy for School Leadership, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Mike says about becoming a modern teacher, breaking the cycle of past practices, grading, and assessment, classroom management, student empowerment…and so much more.


Mike Roberts Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Mike Roberts has been a middle school Educator for more than twenty years. In that time, he has taught English, has been an instructional coach, and is currently an Assistant Principal. Over the course of his career, he has received numerous awards for his outstanding teaching, including being named the 2014 Utah English Teacher of the Year and the 2018 Utah Middle-Level Teacher of the Year. Mike also teaches college classes focused on classroom management and literacy in the content areas. He has served on many educational committees and has been a featured speaker at dozens of state, regional, and national conferences.

Mike’s most recent book, Hacking Modern Teaching – 10 Ways to Build Student Engagement, Maximize Success, and Inspire Authentic Learning, offers a variety of strategies to help teachers and students thrive within today’s modern classroom. Mike is also the author of Chasing Greatness: 26.2 Ways Teaching is Like Running a Marathon, where he shares advice from some of the best teachers and runners from across the country as a way to help you reach your highest potential. Mike is also the author of Hacking Classroom Management – 10 Ideas to Help You Become the Type of Teacher They Make Movies About, which identifies a variety of strategies that empower students in the learning process.

When he’s not teaching or presenting, Mike can usually be found running ultra-marathons in the mountains. And even after all these years, he’s still not sure which takes more energy…a week with middle schoolers or running a 100-mile race.

You can contact Mike at

You can follow Mike on Twitter @BaldRoberts


FocusED Show Notes with Mike Roberts  

Mike starts the show with a reminder that we need to take risks, show students more about ourselves by connecting beyond the curriculum, and try new ways to support learning.

We’re not so far into this podcast episode before Mike is challenging the status quo of teaching the way that we were taught. 

Joe asked about “engagement beyond the curriculum” and Mike talked about using simple themes in books to apply that concept to popular music. The connections are key. 

Mike says he’s the king of the cameos. Don’t miss what he says about how teachers and leaders can “show up” without losing all of their nights. 

Teachers need to be authentic to who they are; don’t miss what Mike says about authenticity and teacher style. 

You want to hear what Mike says about seating charts and late work–some are better than none and late is better than never. 

Mike’s insights on using self-assessments are powerful. Too many of us jump to conclusions without trying the new strategy. 

Mike’s explanation of classroom management is really about creating classroom culture, doing school with students versus to them. Joe delineates this between a controlled environment and an empowering one. 

We talked about self-reported grades as having a high-effective size. 

Mike talks about providing students with tons of options–the more options the better–and the benefits of this for teachers. 

He talks about giving students a challenge: “do something that impresses me.” 

Mike talked about setting goals and bite-size challenges. Big goals are overwhelming but small ones are inspiring. Don’t miss what he says about manageable chunks and 1% better. 

He talked about Jim Knight being an influence when he was an instructional coach. 

Don’t miss why Mike follows Malcolm Gladwell, Jocko Willink, and David Goggins

Mike wants to help lift up teachers to help them to be the best that they can be. 

Mike Robert Quotes from FocusED

Any time you can connect what you’re doing in one class with another class is critical.

Show students you care by investing in their extra-curricular activities.

We need to be respectful of what goes on outside of our student’s lives

Teaching is the coolest job in the world. The things you say and do can last for generations

Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 


FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next.


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