Matt Miller Interview – Why You Need to Ditch That Textbook

It is time to retake control of your curriculum!

As teachers, we must be true to ourselves in everything we do in the classroom. Sometimes this means trying new things, and sometimes this means not knowing if they’ll work or not. But jumping into these new experiences can be so rewarding! When you teach from within yourself, you create opportunities to transfer your enthusiasm and your excitement down to your kids — and THAT can be the biggest driver of learning more than anything that is plainly written for you in a boring, old textbook.

Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook and Ditch That Homework, recognized the power in ditching the textbook, and that’s why he wrote an entire book on the subject! Matt joined me on this week’s episode of the Punk Rock Preschool podcast to discuss how ditching the textbook in his Spanish class resulted in huge wins for students and for himself. By utilizing all the technological tools at our fingertips, Matt inspired his students to learn so much more than they would have had he stuck to his school’s standard curricula.

Instead, he broke out of his shell and his students broke out of theirs.

Matt offers so many incredible solutions and applications for technology in the classroom. And what’s so great about this episode, he makes all of his ideas translatable from high school Spanish all the way down to Early Childhood Education! By utilizing Genius Hour, creating his own lessons, and bringing his own personality and style to his classroom, Matt has seen unbelievable results. Students created their own YouTube channels, started texting one another in Spanish, and brought their own passions to their school projects. And that’s just the start! Listen here to learn all the ways that Matt “freed his teaching and revolutionized his classroom!”

In this episode, Matt provides you with so much unbelievable information on how to turn your classroom over to students so they have choices in the direction of their own learning. We all know this can be scary and our first thoughts usually go to, “how can kids abuse this power?” I know this fear well. There’s nothing worse than when you have an amazing lesson planned and everyone loves it, but then one or two students take advantage of the freedom you offer. Matt helps us reframe this fear into hope. By focusing on the amazing opportunities that can come from these moments, not just the horror stories that exist mostly in a teacher’s imagination, you are freed up to try new and incredible things in your classroom.

Gone are the days where students have learning imposed upon them. You can help students take ownership of their learning.

This is how you create life-long learners.

THIS is always the goal.

When you Ditch That Textbook, you will see results.

And not just you — parents, administrators, teachers, and most importantly students will all benefit.

By being your own unique, true self as a teacher, you open the world to your classroom.

“Safe” and conventional teaching is actually the riskiest kind of teaching because it doesn’t allow for kids to explore, experiment, and understand themselves and their place in the world. Risky teachers, maverick teachers, the ones that try something new and get outside of the box and outside the standard, traditional, old day-to-day — these are the teachers that become the influential and impactful life-changers.

These are the teachers that we all strive to be!

Now, are you ready to Ditch That Textbook?

Learn how on this episode of the Punk Rock Preschool Podcast!


Show Notes:

  • 03:11 – What it means to ditch that textbook
  • 06:12 – Turning Control Over to Students
  • 10:03 – Letting Kids Surprise You and Helping them Take on Challenges
  • 12:34 – Big Wins that come from ditching the textbook
  • 17:16 – Solutions for people who feel they aren’t so tech savvy
  • 20:50 – How Technology Makes Life Easier for Parents, Administrators, Subs and YOU!
  • 24:35 – Convincing Administrators to Let You Ditch That Textbook
  • 30:00 – Major Takeaway of Why to Ditch That Textbook
  • 31:43 – Follow Matt and Buy Ditch That Textbook

Thank you so much for joining us this week! Was there anything I missed in this episode that you’d like to hear more about? Would you mind sharing in the comments so all the great teachers can learn from your thoughts? Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for the Punk Rock Preschool Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful and greatly appreciated and I will read all of them!  If you have any questions or want to learn more, head on over to! And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates!

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