Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Debbie Silver Talks about Inspiring Educators to Enjoy the Job They Once Loved

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Debbie Silver Talks about Inspiring Educators to Enjoy the Job They Once Loved

When you stop believing that what you do matters, you can’t make a difference anymore. ~ Debbie Silver

About Debbie Silver

Dr. Debbie Silver is a former Louisiana Teacher of the Year, a best-selling author, and a highly sought-after speaker. She has presented to educators, administrators, parents, and students in 49 states, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the Middle East. 

Her best-selling books include Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers, Teaching Kids to Thrive, and the recently updated and revised Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8, and Deliberate Optimism: Still Reclaiming the Joy in Education

Debbie’s high-energy sessions address both the art and heart of teaching. Audiences delight in hearing this 30-year veteran teacher whose presentations are described as “where learning collides with laughter.”

 

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Debbie Silver

Debbie starts off with the fact that her book Deliberate Optimism focuses on leadership, specifically teacher leaders. 

Dr. Silver talks about the need for teachers to have more time without students so they can break the stagnation and build a relationship culture.

Don’t miss what she says about optimism and “what matters.” 

Debbie talks about incremental steps rather than massive changes. We need to balance the art and the heart of teaching. 

She reminds us to look for glimmers, not triggers. 

She dives into the idea of failing better and building our collective efficacy.

She talks about teaching educators to vent properly and not pull the profession down. 

Don’t miss what she says about new teachers not having more than 4 hours of teaching a day so that they can spend more time observing master teachers. 

T.J. asks Debbie about modeling. Don’t miss her response and her call for unity. 

Her insight about teacher training and isolation is thought-provoking. What we expect from teachers, specifically new teachers, is impossible and unlike any other profession. 

Joe mentions the potential that PLC has to support teacher capacity and growth. Listen to what she says they cannot be. 

Her ingredients for leadership success are straightforward: common vision, shared value system, mutual respect, and optimism. 

Debbie brings up Brene Brown, Rick Wormli, Association of Middle Level Educators, and other resources that you’ll want to check out. 

The one thing people should do more regularly is to give others the benefit of the doubt. She reminds us that adults want to be treated like adults. 

Dr. Silver ends with wanting to learn more about how to use Artificial Intelligence. Our riff on Chat GPT is great.

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Five Actionable Strategies for School Leaders Who Want to Avoid Initiative Fatigue and Maintain a Positive Culture

Five Actionable Strategies for School Leaders Who Want to Avoid Initiative Fatigue and Maintain a Positive Culture

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

 

In this podcast, we are completely focused on successfully implementing and managing the multiple initiatives that can be found in every school system. What you’ll find in this episode:

 

1. Despite the enormous amount of various initiatives in schools, maintain a mindset that sees how they all fit into the system versus it being “one more thing.” 

2. Zoom out to gain a greater perspective so you can successfully organize the initiatives and work into buckets. Very often the area of focus may gel nicely with work already being done. 

3. As a school leader, be sure to include the teacher’s voice and their perspective. They will point out obstacles and roadblocks that will save an enormous amount of time. 

4. Let teacher leaders run with the work, but don’t leave them out to dry. Providing ongoing leadership development and capacity building is key. 

5. Lastly, do an inventory of all the programs and initiatives. Sometimes the work overlaps with other efforts and either something can be eliminated or coupled. 

 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover in our short Leading Better & Growing Faster episodes by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Joe & T.J

 

Learning to Lead Like A Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Learning to Lead Like A Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Talk less, listen more. ~ Miriam Plotinsky

About Miriam Plotinsky

Miriam Plotinsky is an instructional specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, where she has taught and led for more than 20 years. 

 

She is the author of Teach More, Hover Less, Lead Like a Teacher, and Writing Their Future Selves (W.W. Norton & Company). She is also a National Board–Certified Teacher and a certified administrator.

 

What You’ll Find in this Educational Leadership Podcast Episode with Miriam Plotinsky

Miriam says that her new book–Lead Like a Teacher–was pretty much an accident. She simply found that the schools with more teachers at the table had stronger cultures. 

She talked about teachers’ misconception of school leaders as well as school leaders’ misconception of teachers. She called this “the empathy gap.” 

Miriam points out that “if you don’t know the story, you’ll create one. And, it might be wrong.”

Miriam acknowledges that we often learn from the models we have around us, which is only a good thing when the model is effective. Otherwise it works against us.

Hear Miriam discuss why visibility is so critical for a school leader. 

Miriam gave us some insights into how the book unfolds, including what she calls “macro” and “micro” aspects of school leadership. 

She calls for more classroom visits. We couldn’t agree more. 

Don’t miss what she says about “Wait Time 1” and “Wait Time 2” as both teaching and leadership strategies. We can’t disagree with talking less to learn more. 

Miriam mentions Twitter as a place to go to find like-minded people and new ideas. 

She identifies some well known and not so well known resources that are valuable for all educators. She points to Teachers Going Gradeless as a cool organization. She also calls out Edutopia and ASCD as well as Solution Tree as great resources.

Miriam uses the ten-minute reset each day to make sure that she does something that she loves. Tune into what she says about movement and breaks.

She talks about being a “dabbler” in a bunch of things, and she wants to learn how to write more nonfiction. And, we all agreed to learn how to be more funny.

Joe reflects on the need to get more people involved early in our process for any given initiative. 

Don’t miss what she used to think about those who wanted to go into administration and how her perspective has changed. 

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Struggling with School Initiatives? Get Them Right Once and For All–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Struggling with School Initiatives? Get Them Right Once and For All–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

If something isn’t right within an initiative, it’s likely that it wasn’t right from the start.

~ Jim Marshall

About Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall’s life-long work lies at the intersection of people and the organizations in which they work—and optimizing the synergy that fertile convergence holds. A Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, his scholarship, teaching, and consulting combine our understanding of human performance and organization development to assess strengths, devise strategies, and improve even the most vexing of challenges. 

With over 200 publications to his credit, Marshall’s scholarship encompasses a diverse range of works that include empirical research, program evaluation efforts, and policy development. His evaluation endeavors are particularly significant and include more than 250 individual studies of funded projects and program investments totaling over $120 million dollars. 

He serves as a thought partner to leaders seeking to hasten the collective impact of their organization’s investments. From assessing strengths and needs to conceptualize strategy and program initiatives and then measuring return on investment, Marshall’s unique approach relies on a proven mix of assessment and evaluation, appreciative inquiry, and empathic understanding that predictably yields quantifiable results. 

His book, Right from the Start: The Essential Guide to Implementing School Initiatives, summarizes lessons learned through the evaluation of hundreds of programs in both the public and private sectors.

What You’ll Find in this Educational Leadership Podcast Episode with Jim Marshall

Jim starts with his experience as the evaluator of initiatives and projects, which led him to write the book. He has been able to reflect on what school leaders could do differently at the start of initiatives, which would make all the difference in the long run. 

Jim calls for careful and thoughtful planning for initiatives so that when we get to the implementation phase we end up with a more predictable result. 

Joe asks about the balance between whether the initiative itself is the problem or the people who execute it. Don’t miss what Jim says about how people interface with the initiative. 

You want to hear what Jim says about his motivation equation: motivation = value * convince. He gives credit to Vroom through his expectancy theory

Jim argues that a “program” is like the tip of an iceberg while an “initiative” should be able to get to the deeper parts of the iceberg. 

We ask Jim to talk about dos and don’ts. Here’s what he says: 

  • Do…try to understand the problem first. Talk to people to know more about what is going on. Don’t trust your own view as accurate of the current situation. 
  • Do…use your needs assessment to create awareness and buy-in. 
  • Do…make sure that the people can see themselves in the implementation and design. 
  • Do…make sure to create a program evaluation process. Jim says that you’re probably already doing this informally; just formalize it to analyze the data. 
  • Don’t…skip steps at the beginning of the planning phase or forget to evaluate the results. 
  • Don’t…forget to develop defined outcomes. 

Jim follows Michael Fullan for knowledge and inspiration. He mentions Change Forces as a favorite. 

Jim recommends that we start by looking for bright spots in our work. He calls it “appreciative inquiry.” We typically look for things to fix, and that’s not always the best way to evaluate what works and what doesn’t. 

Jim wants to know why there’s not more knowledge and shared best practices among schools and outside organizations. Don’t miss what he says about the dissemination of best practices. 

He talks about his continued strategy for growth. He runs through the use of performance engineering.  

Jim used to think of evaluation as “gap analysis,” but now he looks for strengths first. 

Jim ends by saying that this work doesn’t have to be complicated. We couldn’t agree more!

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Stretching Your Learning Edges, Growing (Up) at Work, and More with Guest Jennifer Abrams–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Stretching Your Learning Edges, Growing (Up) at Work, and More with Guest Jennifer Abrams–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

About Jennifer Abrams

Formerly a high school English teacher and a new teacher coach in Palo Alto Unified School District (Palo Alto, CA, USA), Jennifer Abrams is currently a communications consultant and author who works with educators and others on leadership development at all levels, effective collaboration skills, having hard conversations and creating identity safe workplaces.

 Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community, Hard Conversations Unpacked: the Whos, Whens and What Ifs, and Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives.  

 Her newest book, and the focus of this episode, is Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work

 Jennifer shares her work in other mediums as a featured columnist on growth and changes for Learning Forward’s The Learning Professional journal as well as contributing to The International Educator (TIE), focusing her writing on adult development and collaboration skills.

 Jennifer has been invited to keynote, facilitate, and coach at schools and conferences worldwide and is honored to have been named one of the “18 Women All K-12 Educators Should Know” by Education Week’s ‘Finding Common Ground’’ blog.  More about Jennifer’s work can be found at her website, www.jenniferabrams.com. and on Twitter @jenniferabrams.

What You’ll Find in this Educational Leadership Podcast Episode with Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer starts with the fact that “we speak to” being lifelong learners, but are we really living up to that? 

 What if we developed ourselves in ways that allowed us to respond rather than react? Listen to what she says about the typical response to feedback. 

 Joe asked why we have such trouble with a learning culture. Jennifer’s response is profound–time, being “done” as a learner, school leaders assuming that the adult is already good enough.

 You have to hear what she says about the difference between how teachers are given prep periods but not reflection periods. 

 T.J. asked about why educators often become defensive when given feedback or asked to make a change. Jennifer puts it simply: the system is not designed that way. We don’t have the apprenticeship-style learning that would induct us into the profession as a learner. 

 Jennifer talks about resiliency as working on our own emotional and psychological hygiene. Don’t miss what she says about Pigpen and how people can bring in a lot of dust.

 Education is complex. Listen to what she says about shifting from “teacher of record” to “a space of learning” and how it can have a huge void. 

 You want to know how to use the tool she describes to get people to check their energy when we start a meeting. 

 Jennifer follows Shane Parrish at Farnam Street. She also studies Jennifer Garvey Berger, Cultivating Leadership for adult learners.

 Pay attention to her leadership check-in questions that gauge relationship health, but can work well with a team. 

 Jennifer wants to learn how to cook better. But she wants to feel free to fail. Powerful statement.

 Three things to do to learn and grow as a leader: 

  1. Find a conference and attend as a learner. 
  2. Find a conference and apply to co-present with someone. 
  3. If you’re interested in someone’s work, find them. Reach out to them. 

 Jennifer reveals that she has a cognitive crush on Peter Block, author of The Answer to How is Yes

 Lastly, Jennifer reminds us that you can get things done. Just go forth and do it.

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know a topic that you want us to cover by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. Like, follow, share, and comment–we appreciate it!

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Five Actionable Strategies for School Leaders Who Want to Avoid Initiative Fatigue and Maintain a Positive Culture

How School Leaders Can View Problems as Possibilities To Improve Their Schools, Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

How School Leaders Can View Problems as Possibilities To Improve Their Schools

In this episode, Joe and T.J. explore what it really means to mind your mental map. Our minds can be very scary places if we are not careful. School leaders must remain in a productive space in order to lead effectively, but the thread of events throughout the day and week can take its toll. This is why school leaders must do the following:

  1. Flip Your Thinking
  2. Don’t Jump to Judge
  3. Adapt, Don’t Adopt

Key Points from Joe & T.J

T.J. starts the conversation on the crucial importance of being aware of the potential of living on Groundhog Day–experiencing the same set of events over and over.

Joe double-downs on some ChatGPT, unfinished learning, school climate, an increase in student discipline, the teacher shortage, and ESSER funds running out, and how we frame all of these circumstances in our minds is critical. Yes, they are problems, but where are the possibilities? We are firm believers that with the right approach, no problem is unsolvable

 

Take control of your thinking and flip it. Listen to T.J. talk about Tim Ferris and how he approaches an issue

  • Innovation and analysis–think with your team.
  • Don’t jump to judge–so easy to judge others by their actions and not intentions. 
  • Adapt, don’t adopt–put an issue on its side.
  • Perceptual illusion–what don’t you see?

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know a topic that you want us to cover by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. Like, follow, share, and comment–we appreciate it!

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.