Robert Schaefer, Ph.D., Vice President of Client Services, has been with Steinbrecher And Associates, Inc. since 2005 as an Organizational Development (OD) consultant, executive coach, leadership development expert, statistical analyst, research scholar, workshop facilitator, and training systems designer. Robert is a renowned expert in the assessment and diagnostic debrief of ability-based emotional intelligence, individual and team conflict styles, and the impact of mood and emotions in the workplace.

Read more about Robert here.

The Secret to School Success is Emotion

by Robert Schaefer

“No matter what you do as a leader, you are never going to catch 100% of people in your influence net. It is a two-way street to dance and that dance requires a partnership. You can only show up authentic, genuine, earnest, honest.  Demonstrate, continue to model what you want to see in others and take that constant assessment.”

– Robert Schaefer

Show Highlights

  • How are you showing up? Robert reveals how leaders regulate the emotional experience for teachers and students. 
  • Robert shares how to overcome the dog eat dog culture and climate to win over incredibly hard to work with individuals.
  • Don’t take it personally, but use it personally.  Sharpen the saw by exercising constant, continual self-improvement. 
  • Robert explains how emotional reactive triggers are influencing the goals we take into our interactions.
  • Robert’s essentials to consider when creating emotional lessons to shift our own moods to co-regulate with the learning community.
  • Make your interactions a place of sanctuary and you prime everyone to absorb new information and retain the wisdom you’re offering.
  • Robert explains how to model emotional hygiene. The impact the status quo of our emotional state is actually bringing to the classroom or to the board room.
Full Transcript Available Here

Daniel (00:00):

Welcome to the better leaders, better schools podcast. This is your friendly neighborhood podcast host Daniel Bauer.

Daniel (00:12):


Daniel (00:12):

Better leaders. Better schools is a weekly show phone ruckus makers. What is a ruckus maker? A leader who has found freedom from the status quo. A leader who makes change happen. A leader who never ever gives up.

Daniel (00:29):

Today’s conversation was one of my favorites. And here’s the thing, we tapped into emotion. The conversation starts off in almost ends in a circle where I can connect the dots. We start the conversation with Robert’s tenure at Kinko’s, a very positive experience. And the idea that the company believed in me as a kid, matter of fact it’s not the idea. It was that feeling that they left him with that trust, that credibility, that connection and the emotions around it. And we end our conversation talking about what is school for? If I asked you this ruckus maker, what do you remember about school? Maybe you remember some of the things that you were taught. You definitely remember the connections and relationships and you absolutely remember how you felt. What if emotion is the secret? So Ruckus Maker, thanks for being here and before we jump into the episode, I’d like to take some time to thank our show’s sponsors. The better leaders. Better schools podcast is brought to you by organized binder, which increases student active engagement and participation and reduces classroom management issues. Learn more at organizedbinder.com.

Daniel (01:59):

Ruckus maker, is email a soul crushing distraction for you. It was for me and that’s why I subscribed to SaneBox. Start your free two week trial and get a $25 credit by visiting sanebox.com forward slash B. L. B. S

Daniel (02:19):

Isolation is the number one enemy of excellence in isolation is also a choice. There’s a better way. In fact, here’s what Michelle, a school leader in Maryland has to say about the mastermind. “The Best part of the mastermind is a supportive community. School leadership can be isolating, but knowing I have a team of other school leaders with whom to share ideas, struggles, and wins gives me the courage and resolve to do what’s best for my school community.” Get connected and level up your leadership by applying to the mastermind today. At better leaders, better schools.com, forward slash mastermind. Right.

Robert (02:59):

Hey, great Daniel, thank you very much. I remember in our intro chat that you talked about working at Kinko’s for 15 years and you said this quote that I loved, “the company believed in me as a kid.” We’re gonna start there. And what did they do that made you feel like that, that the company believed in you as a kid? Wow, that’s really interesting. You know, I would say that what they did was accept me for where I was at in my development and trusted me. You know, that there’s a certain vulnerability that the company was willing to tolerate. You know, after all, they could have trusted me with responsibility and then I could have disappointed them. I could have made mistakes. I could have cost the company money and time and resources, but, you know, I didn’t, and I think that most of the time when you bet on people, they pleasantly surprised you.

Robert (03:58):

Now, unfortunately, there are those times when people will disappoint us. But that is either an opportunity for us to create,the two, to learn from that and to be better at discerning. And it’s also a chance for us to help the person when they do fall short because other people, you know, in a leadership capacity. The other people are watching how we treat the others around us. So I think, you know, it’s a situation where they invested in me and I would like to think that it paid off. I love it. And I think about how teachers interact with students. And sometimes students might be a little rascally from time to time. They’ll get wound up and that’s just normal. But if you have this expectation that they’re all troublemakers or they’re going to struggle with the content, et cetera, and they meet those expectations, take the same kids, give them a different teacher who expects them to.

Robert (04:55):

Carry themselves in a certain way or to achieve at a higher level. And guess what? Same kids meet those expectations. And so that’s what I, what I’m hearing you say in terms of the company and the trust and meeting people where they’re at, they just, they believed in you and they communicated that to you. Yeah. You know, I think that what happens is the way that you, and this is of course in the workplace, the way that the company treats the employees, that is almost a perfect correlation to how those employees treat customers and how they treat the business and their personal respect and personal involvement and engagement level to the business. All of a sudden I became super loyal to that company. That gave me a chance. Yeah, I felt like an owner at that point because I was emotionally an owner. Yeah. You didn’t directly challenge the ruckus maker listening, but I will.

Robert (05:52):

And so what I heard you essentially say there too, if you’re seeing teachers treating kids in a way that is out of alignment with what you want, you have to reflect and look in the mirror and say, well, how am I working with my faculty? You know? And when I work with people one on one or within the mastermind, I’ll ask them about that. Right. How, how do you roll out your faculty meetings? Is it as dry and boring or worse then what you see in the classroom? Or is it engaging in personalized and differentiated, you know, do you incorporate their voices and all that kind of stuff. So that was Kinko’s and then you move on to a new company. What, we won’t necessarily give the company’s name, but you had an opposite experience and it was toxic. There were two terrible years for you.

Robert (06:43):

And you said that those two terrible years taught you more than the 15 great years. There was one person specifically who was incredibly hard to work with. So can you share the context of that relationship and tell the story of winning him over? Wow. Well, you sure. So in this particular company, I would say that it was just about everything you could imagine that was framed as negative leadership, poor leadership skills. So there wasn’t trust, there was suspicion. There was a kind of an emphasis on what I’ll say a more of a competitive over the top results orientation to where people didn’t matter only what you did to further the agenda mattered. And so in that kind of a more of a dog eat dog culture and climate that people are in and the really negative emotional climate, which is the key, I entered the the organization with people reporting to me that didn’t trust me, that assumed probably the worst in me.

Robert (07:51):

And one particular manager that was on my team was very upset because that individual had applied for the job that I eventually received. They hired me from the outside. And so I was dealing with this person who really had a lot of underlying resentment, disappointment, anger, confusion, a lot of different negative emotions. And a lot of, you know, how do I deal with this and turn this around and bring this person closer to me in a positive way. And so I used this person’s ambition in a way to build trust. And the way I did that was I could sense the emotion. I can sense the verbal and nonverbal communication that was being directed at me and I just sat down with that person and said, look, tell me a little bit about yourself. Tell me about where you want to take your career.

Robert (08:50):

The person shared with me while I would like to be a vice president at this level, this kind of organization, within five years, and so my response was, that’s really great. It’s my job to make sure that you get there. So I want to be a person who you see as a resource to achieve your goals. You know, to hell with the organization. Forget about that. Put all of that aside and let’s just focus on you and me and that individual attention was one of the, one of the five aspects of transformational leadership is the individualized attention that I made the this individual person feel unique, special, and important. That’s a critical thing for even most students, a student needs to see that my teacher understands something special about me. My teacher understands something about me that connects me to him or her and allows me to perhaps open just a little bit and allow the teacher in. The same thing with leaders and in the business organization is what can I do to make that person feel as though I empathize with them in a very personal, authentic and genuine way.

Robert (10:09):

That’s how you really open the person up and allow development to happen. Such an empathetic approach and it’s really understanding, you know, who you serve and how you can help in this case him achieve his goals but it doesn’t always work. You know, it doesn’t always work. Yeah. To dance, right, to dance. You need a partner. Well I guess you don’t, you could be the first one to dance and that makes you a leader and people follow. But in the metaphor I want to use here to dance, you need a partner and I’m just curious how you’d handle the situation. Cause I, if you remember, I shared this story during the intro call too, but I had one that got away and I took that approach and it was an AP on my team. She applied for the principal job. They ain’t even give her an interview.

Daniel (10:56):

Right? No. You know what I mean? So they didn’t even get to that step. And when I arrived at school, she hated my guts. I truly believe that. I asked, Hey, I asked everybody on the team, cause I had two APS that I had very nice and lovely strong relationships with. Who do you want to become? How can I get you there? What have been your responsibilities in the past? How can we change things up to build your skillset, et cetera. And so for two, well, for three I tried to make that happen and two resonated with it. But this other one I could just never win over. I also found out that she was stabbing me in my back and saying nasty things to the faculty and feeding my supervisor lies, lies, stuff that wasn’t even true. That got me in trouble. I’m okay. It taught me a lot.

Robert (11:46):

It was a learning lesson, but that’s the one that got away. And so what do you do in those situations when you still take I think the right approach. You have the right inputs but you still get the lousy result. Well you know, no matter what you do as a leader, you are never going to catch 100% of people in your influence net. It is, as you mentioned, it’s a two way street to dance and that dance requires a partnership. You can only show up authentic, genuine, earnest, honest, demonstrate, continue to model, accountability, behavior, continue to model what you want to see in others and take that constant assessment. Cause there were some things that I probably did in a case where I had the one that got away the person, the manager on my team that I just couldn’t turn around. I could, for whatever reason, maybe it was a combination of this, things like there could’ve been something about me that was like nails on a chalkboard for this person that I can’t control.

Robert (12:50):

But I also along the way used it to sharpen the saw off myself. I mean, I, so I use this as kind of an exercise of constant continual self-improvement. You know, is there something to the other person’s point of view that could have at least a kernel of truth? Yeah. You know, there are probably, there were some things that I could have done differently that I could have done better. And so I just used it in this case, I look back on it and one thing I did kind of well was I didn’t take it personally, but I used it personally. So I realized that you can’t control ultimately the emotions of another person. We use this term in emotional intelligence world of co-regulation. So in our culture, a lot of times we make the mistake of thinking, I’m responsible for way I I feel and you’re responsible for the way you feel.

Robert (13:49):

Let’s show up and do work together. The truth is that we co-regulate each other’s emotional experience. And so there are always things that I can do to always reach out and co-regulate the experience of others. Now to the degree to which they’re going to respond, I guess it’s a numbers game, you will end up catching most of the fish in your net and there are going to be some cases when you just don’t. You can use that as a positive way to constantly and continually self-improve and let go of the judgment. Let go of the second thought. Let go of the past. You know, you can’t hold onto that as a failure. Gotta let it go. So ruckus maker that’s listening to unpack some of that wisdom Robert just shared. You catch a lot of fish and it’s a weakness of mine and instead of seeing the 40 fish I caught in the great meal I’m going to prepare, I look at that one fish that got away and that’s the one I want. So put your focus on the 40 not the one. Seneca

Daniel (14:52):

Says, and here’s a quote that I want you, a ruckus makers to memorize, right I judge you unfortunate because you haven’t experienced misfortune. You’ve gone through life without an opponent, nobody knows what you’re capable of, not even you. And so to that last point, Robert, that you made in terms of not taking it personally, but helping it, helping you improve personally, that taught me, that my communication style wasn’t working and I, I should have over-communicated and probably looped her in and had her closer, which, which seems paradoxical because she was a bit of a threat, but she felt out of the loop and probably my weaknesses and blind spots just continued to push her away and I need to bring her in with communication. And then the other piece too, I’m really great with people in how I treat them. Oh. So that wasn’t a struggle, but I did have a struggle with holding her accountable. Right. And probably cause I just so desperately wanted her to like me. And so knowing what I know now, I’d approach it a million different ways. So man, I’m loving this conversation. We’re, we’re going to pause here just for a second to get a message from our sponsor. But when we get back, we’re going to talk about the inside game.

Speaker 4 (16:06):


Daniel (16:07):

Better leaders. Better schools is proudly sponsored by organized binder, a program which gives students daily exposure to goal setting, reflective learning, time and task management, study strategies, organizational skills, and more organized binders. Color coded system is implemented by the teacher with the students, helping them create a predictable independable classroom routine. Learn more and improve your students’ executive functioning and noncognitive [email protected]

Speaker 4 (16:37):


Daniel (16:38):

Today’s podcast is sponsored by SaneBox inbox zero that’s a thing of the past ruckus maker. You’re so inundated with email that it’s no longer about responding to everything. It’s about responding only to the important things, the messages that truly matter. That’s where SaneBox comes in. Think of it as a robotic Marie Kondo for your email as messages flow in SaneBox, tidying up your inbox, leaving only the important emails and directing all the distracting stuff to your sane later folder. Now you know what messages to pay attention to and what stuff you can get to later on. It also has nifty features like seeing black hole where I drag messages from annoying senders that I never want to hear from again and seen reminders which pings me when somebody hasn’t replied to a message I’ve sent out. Best of all, you can use SaneBox with any email service out there. See how SaneBox can magically remove distractions from your inbox with a free two week trial, visit sanebox.com forward slash B L B S and you’ll also get a $25 credit that sanebox.com Fords slayers. B L B S and we’re back with Robert Shaffer and we’re going to get to a concept that I’m just so excited to talk about a ruckus maker. This is a game changer and it’s called the inside game. And so you have this book meaningful alignment out and a concept that is so important. It’s called the inside game.

Robert (18:17):

Tell us about that. Yeah, so in our work and our program and alignment and add the book, we talk about things through a term we call the inside game. And also there’s the outside game. Well, the outside game is simply the skills, the tool that the bag of tools we teach people how to regulate their emotion, how to really make sure that we are executing a conversation in a way that will lead to align what we call alignment, which is the deeper appreciation understanding of one another. But this other side of the coin is the inside game and that really refers to what is going on emotionally with us and in terms of how we show up to an interaction with other people. And so our assessment, it does it. One of the scales that we look at is what we call athletic intensity. So we take a look at the degree to which you uniquely show up in difficult conversations.

Robert (19:19):

So this is linked to a lot of the research on the sympathetic nervous system and differences between individuals and how sensitive we are and how strong our emotional reactive triggers are. And this influences the goals we take into our interactions, especially ones that are very important where there’s a lot of emotion at stake. There’s a lot that business could be at stake. The relationship could be at stake. So we have a tendency to bring though that energy to the conversation. And each of us are a little different. So this helps us to understand what we need, the work we need to do in terms of growth and development so that we become better at being able to interact and engage with other people. So ultimately the inside game refers to our ability to regulate and express emotion. So we kind of think of it in two ways.

Robert (20:16):

One is how good am I at being emotional, exactly when I want to be emotional and the degree to which emotional. And also, you know, when I do choose to express emotion, am I able to control that? That’s we call that regulation regulation. Sometimes people think of it as I’m trying to stifle, well that’s not necessarily true. It is that I am expressing emotion to the exact degree that I want. Yeah. And also with positive or negative, you know, and am I showing these precise emotion that I want to show as well as hold stronger intensity. So that’s the inside game is the ability to really manage ourself. So that we show up with other people in a, in a way that is going to be highly effective. [inaudible] I was working with a leader one-on-one and she was just gone through a heck of a time and there was some change that, you know, she’s trying to roll out.

Robert (21:17):

Ah, so that’s already tough enough and within that teachers are tired and this kind of stuff. So, you know, that takes a lot to support there. But on top of it, somebody in their finance department, misunderstood,uhow she wanted to approach enrollment and thought that she was getting into some muddy, thewaters and doing some improper things. And so, essentially told the board about it and there was this huge investigation and they went through the process and it was a misunderstanding. So she’s in the clear, but it hurt, right? It hurt going through it. And to have somebody, I guess like mistrust or misunderstand the intentions, you know, that hurts as well. And then to go through all of that, it’s like really rough. I remember her saying like, how do these CEOs and these business executives, you know, there’s this idea and vision of this guy who doesn’t feel right.

Daniel (22:11):

And I’m like, I’ll call her Beth. Hey Beth, you don’t want to be a robot. Like that’s not the answer that these, these hard things happen. And then you don’t feel at all. And to be quite honest, your passion is one of the biggest reasons you’re so effective at your job because you care about the work so much. And so let’s figure out how to regulate and think about these things. But you don’t want to become a robot. I’m wondering, Robert, is there, is there some practical, if somebody wants to start working on their insight game, is there, is there a practical exercise or step that they could take to level that up? Good question. Okay. I’m going to be editing here because there’s that that opens a whole new Avenue. Yeah. So I’m kind of, we’re kind of you know, camera cut. I’m working through this with you a little bit.

Robert (23:00):

Yeah. One of the things that I’m concerned about is that people don’t realize the gravity of this. So before we get to the point to where, how do I manage my emotional experience? Yeah, it’s really important upfront to first recognize what is the current impact that I’m experiencing. So we know through research and this is like good Mark brackett’s work at Yale on schoolchildren and emotional intelligence, that 75% of the experience of feeling that students have is negative emotions, stress, depression, boredom, things that aren’t constructive creativity, learning and learning retention. And the interesting thing in that research is that they also took a look at all of the data of how teachers feel, right? Because how their leaders showing up. And so we can, we can pause and I think if you answer it that way and say, Hey, before even given a practical tip, what’s important to consider is the impact you might be having.

Robert (24:13):

And that is actually the practical tip to reflect on how you’re showing up, right? Right. The first practical tip is, Whoa, let’s back up and really take a look first at the impact. So I don’t know if you wanted to start fresh or how you want to do that. Yeah. Let’s just count to three in your head and then just roll with your answer. So before we get to what do you practically do to regulate the emotional experience? This inside game? Yeah, you first have to acknowledge the impact that the kind of the status quo of our emotional state is actually bringing to the classroom or to the board room. So what we know from research, and this kind of goes was to the research done by Mark Brackett at Yale. He’s the director of center for emotional intelligence for learning, mostly for children. Is that an all that they did, this huge data analysis of the emotions that children experience while they’re in school and 75% of their emotional experience for negative boredom, stress, frustration, anxiety.

Robert (25:26):

So right off the bat, if we kind of know that there is a tendency for students to feel this way, we then can approach the issue a little bit more firsthand and say, well, if I know that students are likely to feel everything from boredom, distressed, frustration, whatever pressure they’re under, how can I alleviate those feelings in myself? And also co-regulate the experience of the other students so that they’re in a place in terms of their mood and their aspect where the lesson that I want to give them is actually going to stick you’re are going to be able to receive the new learnings. So even if you, if you think about if you have like 15 minutes, if you have like 15 minutes with a student in a middle school in a class, if you could just get 20 minutes of deep and real learning, huge, huge.

Robert (26:20):

So even if you spend 30 minutes regulating the emotional experience of that student, other students in the room to where you could get 20 minutes of extremely deep, meaningful, highly retained information, it’s a huge victory. So the part of the problem that we have is we’re not really cognizant in our day to day of just how important mood and our emotional experiences in terms of our ability to create, to learn, to retain. And you know, so you think about just the concept of creativity. You know how important creativity is in education and in business. A lot of times we kind of think of creativity as being the product of IQ or intelligence. And indeed, yeah, they were correlated with each other almost perfectly until you get to average IQ, once you go smarter than average IQ, when men creativity flat lines. So creativity is related to general intellectual ability, general cognitive ability until you get to average intelligence.

Robert (27:30):

Then from that point on creativity as a product of emotional experience that’s so important to manage the emotions in the classroom to get meaningful results in terms of what they actually retain and learn. And Mark Brackett himself tells a great story of when he returned back to a middle school that he went to as a kid and what really stood out for him was he could not remember very many details. You couldn’t remember the names of a lot of his teachers cause it was, you know, some 30 years past for 20 years past. He couldn’t remember the names of peers, couldn’t remember anything that that he really learned. But he could remember crisply, sharply as though it happened yesterday. How a teacher made him feel and as he walked down the hall, it was like floods of emotion coming back and he said that is what really sticks with a person and you think about every teacher that made a difference for you in your life.

Robert (28:37):

It was emotional on the emotion that they were able to use to connect to you, to reach out to you. So with, we know that 70% of the emotion coming into the classroom is not conducive to that. Then it behooves us to really focus first and foremost to have an emotional lesson plan. What are we doing to shift our own mood so that when we show up, we are co-regulating with those students to bring them to a place where they’re really primed to learn and absorb new information. That’s the secret there is am I, why is everybody wins. When a leader gets better, everybody wins when you get better. And part of that is there’s a weight and responsibility to the quote, but we’re ruckus makers, right? We make change happen. We break free from the status quo. We never ever give up. And it’s, it’s something I believe, but it’s a maybe counterintuitive and risky and get some people to be a bit uncomfortable like, what’s the point of school?

Robert (29:43):

I want to teach kids, I want them to learn. I want them to develop critical thinking, be creative, solve interesting problems. I think a lot of it’s about how do we connect as human beings? How do we build relationships? And a big reason I believe all this is because just like your a colleague there, I don’t remember so much what I learned in school. I try really hard to go back there and remember. But I do remember how I feel and I remember how connected or worse disconnected by the time you were bullied, et cetera. Like Whoa, right? That’s the secret. It really is. So if we, if we think about, if you’re the ruckus maker, you can’t control what the students experience at home. You can’t necessarily control everything about the climate of the school unit around you, but you can make your interactions in your classroom a place of sanctuary.

Robert (30:46):

Hmm. You can make your classroom, your experience with your students here and now as a place where people can trust you with their emotion and allow you to regulate their feeling and that therefore you’re priming those students to absorb new information. So you can think of the things that we teach in our, in our program, meaningful alignment. We really emphasize the power of things like mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, work, really the tools of positive psychology of the last several decades to help make sure that we are engaged in what I call emotional hygiene. So a lot of the problems we have in our culture are the kind of a rugged individualism is these, again, we’re back to, I’m responsible for my emotion. You’re responsible for yours. Let’s work together. And that doesn’t work and it doesn’t work because we are co responsible for one another’s emotional experience and especially this is going to be true with a student that only has so much emotional development behind them where they really understand why they’re feeling the way that they’re feeling.

Robert (31:58):

They just know that you made, you did indeed make them feel a certain way. They don’t necessarily know why. So as a leader in that experience, the instructor needs to be able to model the kind of emotional space that’s going to be conducive to learning. And now this gets kind of complex because if I’m teaching a highly creative subject, I want the students to be on a certain emotional state that might be different than if I’m teaching math. So a lot of the emotional intelligence in terms of understanding the consequence of the specific emotion or emotional state or a specific mood state. There’s recognizing how do know when I’m really in a space where I’m excelling in math, when I’m excelling, doing mathematics as a, as an exercise versus if I’m trying to process literature or I’m trying to really understand the impact or something I’m reading about in history and engage with it and synthesize it into my life.

Robert (33:01):

So what are the emotional states that you want to bring the student to based on what you’re actually engaged to doing? How can I bring myself to that state so that people hear in my voice? See in my body, the emotion that I’m projecting will be contagious to them. So if we’re not conscious of the, of the emotional experience we’re projecting, we’re not going to be very good at understanding the emotion we’re creating. So it does unfortunately start with the teacher becoming more emotionally intelligent and becoming more cognizant of the impact that they have on the emotion they project. Everything from the tone of voice, the enthusiasm, all those things are going to matter greatly. And we know from the research that emotional contagion is a powerful force. So if I am in a certain emotional state, I’m going to have an influence on you that I probably can’t fully appreciate, but it’s real and it happens quickly.

Robert (34:11):

Sometimes an emotion can be kind of caught like, you know, you’re catching a cold, we call a contagion. It can, it can happen in less and far less than a second, you know? So everything from my facial expression to how I use my body, to my posture, to the tone of voice, everything matters. What is your emotional lesson plan for the day and consider two things. Well, my internal mood and do I need to regulate that? And also what do I want to achieve? Where do I want to take the student emotionally and how do I get there? And to really think mindfully, intense intentionally about how I’m going to take them on a personal journey.

Daniel (34:58):

And there’s the same for the ruckus maker, listening, leading her school, thinking about where she wants to take her staff. Now, Robert, I could have this conversation all day. This is like right in my wheelhouse that we’re going to have to say goodbye here soon. So last two questions I ask every guest. What message would you put on all school marquees across the globe if you could do so for just a day?

Robert (35:21):

There’s so many things to choose from. One thing I came across recently was a Teddy Roosevelt quote that I just fell in love with that” no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care and love that. And that would be a great marquee slogan, I think. Absolutely would. And now you’re building a school from the ground up, Robert. You’re not limited by any resources. You’re only limitations your imagination. So how would you build your dream school and what would be your top three priorities? Oh, no, three priorities, huh? Wow. Well, what comes to mind just intuitively is, is instead of forming rules, you know, it is more about can we create a manifesto of how we want to make each other feel? What kind of feelings do we want to generate at school? You know, I want to feel challenged, I want to feel safe, I want to feel okay, I want to feel good about myself.

Robert (36:21):

I want other kids that I go to school with to feel the same way. And if we can think of what if we had emotion rules and no behavior rules at all, but just so that, that might be a little bit abstract but that’s what comes to mind. But those are the best ways that we, take a look at this question. And what I like about it is that, you know, Robert, this is all invented. You can give me three priorities. You could give me 50, you can give me one. It doesn’t matter how you answer because you already got an A, you showed up like who you are and you delivered a great conversation. Oh, today. And so I like that priority. There is what if we scrap the rules, right? Well, if we rebuild school around these agreements and really considered how do I want staff, my students, and my parents and community members to feel as a part of this school? And if we just figured that out, we’re in a lot of great stuff happen as a result. So Robert, thank you so much for being a part of the better leaders, better schools podcast, of all the things we talked about today. What’s the one thing you want to ruckus maker to remember? The degree to which you take care of your own emotional wellbeing is directly correlated with the success you will have as an educator in your students for retaining the wisdom that you’re offering.

Daniel (37:51):

Thanks for listening to the better leaders, better schools podcast for ruckus maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel at better leaders, better schools.com or hit me up on Twitter at alien earbud. If the better leaders, better schools podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more ruckus makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode. Extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at alien earbud and using the hashtag B L B S level up your leadership at better leaders, better schools.com and talk to you next time. Until then, class dismissed.




  • Organized Binder is an evidence-based RTI2 Tier 1 universal level solution
  • Focuses on improving executive functioning and noncognitive skills
  • Is in direct alignment with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework
  • Is an integral component for ensuring Least Restrictive Environments (LRE)

You can learn more and improve your student’s success at https://organizedbinder.com/



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