Weep with joy, I mean! One of the fabulous perks of this past weekend was the opportunity I had to peruse several of the new books published through ASCD this past year. As if that wasn’t enough, the authors were available to chat with us as well! The three that have jumped to the top of my list have one theme in common. All three want to help you become GREAT at what you do. Whether it be teaching, administrating, or coaching…each of these three books are giving steps and suggestions to get you to be the best you can be.
The first book, “aim high, achieve more: How to Transform Urban Schools Through Fearless Leadership” by Yvette Jackson and Veronica McDermott. While chatting with Dr. Jackson, I discovered that “aim” didn’t stand for aiming high, like at test scores (my initial thoughts!) but instead stands for affirmation, inspiration, and meditation. Now, if you know me…you know I’m all about affirmation and inspiration! She also talked about involving students in the day to day conversations that teachers are having, in a sense empowering them to help validate teacher’s concerns. There are also practical reflection and call to action activities at the end of each chapter.
“When Teaching Gets Tough: Smart Ways to Reclaim Your Game” is the next book in my stack. By Allen Mendler, who was such a pleasant man to talk too! We talked about teachers who get burned out, and how ALL teachers, even the really great ones, have days where they need someone to help them recharge their energy. He cites the causes of burnout as low appreciation, difficult students, and lack of control in their environment…all factors I understand! He suggested keeping a positivity log and having each teacher write at least one good thing that happened each day. Identifying the positive can not only help balance the negative but can also bring it into perspective. As an administrator, he suggested that I needed to get to the bottom line. Find out what drives people and figure out how I can address those needs. I like to think I’m good at the positive…but he was very specific about individual needs. I can’t wait to read the book and see what other tidbits I can find!
Last but not least, I was able to talk with Robyn Jackson, author “Never Work Harder than you Students & other great principles of great teaching”. This was my most interesting conversation. Jackson shared some of her motivation in writing this book and the types of teachers she works with. She lists seven principles to help you start thinking like a master teacher: The mastery principles are
- Master teachers start where their students are.
- Master teachers know where their students are going.
- Master teachers expect to get their students to their goal.
- Master teachers support their students along the way.
- Master teachers use feedback to help them and their students get better.
- Master teachers focus on quality rather than quantity.
- Master teachers never work harder than their students.
As an administrator, she told me the key to helping teachers to the mastery level was to tap into their own personal motivation. She had the great line of “Don’t treat a will problem with a skill solution.” If you have a teacher with a bad attitude, don’t send her to a professional development on classroom management. Find out why she has an attitude problem. I looked up the high low matrix of coaching and thought it was very reasonable. We want every teacher to be genuinely happy/satisfied within the classroom, and I’m hoping this book will help me delve into finding out how to make it possible!
LL’s, leave a comment here about which book you’d most like to read for a chance to win your own copy!
Off to read!