Joshua is a middle school administrator in North Texas. After graduating college with a Fine Arts degree and working in the graphic design field for a number of years, Joshua returned to school to attain his teaching certificate. Joshua worked as an Art teacher and coached at the middle school level for 6 years. Inspired to affect change at the campus level and in education, Joshua completed his Masters in Educational Administration, and he has spent the past 7 years as a middle school administrator. In addition to being an administrator, Joshua is the creator and host of Aspire: The Leadership Development Podcast. The podcast is designed to help those who are looking to build their leadership capacity by providing an opportunity to learn from the most experienced and accomplished educational leaders.
Overcoming Bias in Leadership
Joshua is passionate about reconciliation and believes that working together creates an environment that fosters innovation and growth, yielding both academic and social success. Utilizing restorative practices guides Joshua in building healthy relationships and community at his school.
Joshua and his wife, Leslie, became foster parents in 2011, and had the privilege of adopting three of their five children. Joshua is trained in trauma-informed practices for meeting the emotional, social and behavioral needs of children who have been through adverse childhood experiences, which Joshua also applies to his role as an administrator.
- Use Joshua’s tools to break the box: Overcoming stigmas, labels, and bias in education
- Learn how leaders are made in the art room and on the field
- Student success is impacted by movement and creativity. Hear Joshua’s tips and resources for connecting the body to the brain
- Create an immense impact in 30 seconds
- Joshua shares how good leaders find solutions by pushing boundaries and challenge the status quo
- How to avoid a structure of fear and find a system that is better for the emotional stability of your learning community with restorative practices
- Working with aspiring leaders will help hone your passion and enhance instructional practices
“Unfortunately, a lot of our students don’t know how to act socially, but also how to reflect and to change that behavior. Their behavior is a language really. If we’re able to understand that language, it helps us better as educators. My goal is to have our teachers, everyone that we hire, whoever’s in my building to make sure that we are hitting the social emotional needs of our students just as much as we’re doing the academic, because if one is lacking, the other one can’t thrive.”
Joshua’s Resources & Contact Info:
- Aspire: The Leadership Development Podcast – Home
- Aspire: The Leadership Development Podcast by Joshua Stamper
- Joshua Stamper (@Joshua__Stamper)
- Joshua Stamper (@joshua__stamper)
- Hanlon’s Razor: Are Your Coworkers Evil or Just Dumb?
Looking for more?
Full Transcript Available Here
Welcome to the better leaders, better schools podcast. This is your friendly neighborhood podcast host Daniel Bauer.
Better leaders, better schools is a weekly show, for Ruckus Makers. And what is a Ruckus Maker? A leader who’s found freedom from the status quo. A leader who makes change happen. A leader who never ever gives up. A lot of leaders face biases that they need to overcome. Maybe people don’t give you a fair shake based on your gender or sexual preference. It could be your faith, could be the color of your skin. For today’s guest, it was based on his experience. We want to put people in boxes. I don’t know why. Maybe it helps make the world make sense in our own minds, but the fact is people get put inboxes and that is something that today’s guest Joshua Stamper faced. You see his background as an educator, was teaching art and for some reason all the interview committees and the district leadership wondered could an art teacher really be a school leader? So we dive into that story and dig into how Joshua overcame that bias in today’s episode. So, Ruckus Maker. Thanks for being here. Before we jump into the show, let’s take some time to thank our show 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 [email protected]
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.co/ B L.B. S.
Have you ever wondered what kind of leader makes a good mastermind member? Well, recently I asked the leaders I serve and here’s what they said about their peers. Arlene, a deputy head in Qingdao, China said, mastermind members are supportive wise and not afraid to kick your butt. Chris, a vice principal in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, courageous risk-takers and learners are how I describe my mastermind peers. And finally, Melody, a principal in Kentucky said, mastermind members are generous, driven, and never satisfied with the status quo. If that sounds like you or peers that you’d like to surround yourself with, apply to the mastermind today at better leaders, better schools.com./ Mastermind.
All right, ruckus maker. I’m joined by another amazing leader. We have formed a friendship and relationship where we’re both podcasters, both leaders and I really appreciate the work that Joshua’s is doing. Joshua was a middle school AP in North Texas, a podcast or blogger, leadership coach and education presenter. He’s an advocate for trauma informed strategies, restorative practices, inspiring leadership and creating an environment. That fosters innovation and growth, which yields both academic and social success. Joshua, welcome to the show. Thank you so much Danny. It’s an honor. Obviously I’ve had you on my podcast, but it’s so much fun to flip the script today. Flipping the script, let’s do that right away. This is great because I don’t know how much of this you’ve revealed on your own podcast and maybe we’ll get to some nuggets that will be new for folks.
You were an art teacher and you made the shift from being an art teacher to moving into administration and people had some biases around that. What was that like making the shift and what biases did you have to overcome? Obviously there’s not too many folks that I know that have been an art teacher and a coach and an administrator. Um, I was doing kind of a dual role in that and so when I ascended into leadership on my own campus, I realized that there was a bias that folks didn’t really see me as a core teacher or someone that had a lot of knowledge in the classroom even though I taught every single day and night and had things that I was trying to hit on, as far as instruction. But then I realized as I was going through my leadership journey that even at the district level when I was going through interview questions, they were really honing in on instructional practices and making sure that I knew what was going on in the classroom And even some of their questions were really focusing on the fact that I was an art teacher. And so I went through, I’ll be honest, I went through the interview process with my district the first time and I actually didn’t make it through and that’s when I really realized that there was kind of a stigma there that I had to break. And so I had to figure out what I was going to do, to show that I had the experience in the classroom. And that I was an instructional leader and kind of push away the idea that just because I was a fine arts teacher and art teacher that I didn’t know what I was talking about in the classroom. I’m trying to find ways to do that. Yeah, I appreciate you sharing that. And I think, you know, for Ruckus Maker listening, shout out to uh, Erica, she was a band teacher before moving into administration and I’ve always had had a love for the arts.
It’s interesting, if you don’t advocate for yourself or tell your story, and I’ve shared this before on the podcast, other people tell that for you. I once was involved in this one church community and the pastor was like, Hey, you can run our kids’ ministry, you know, and give out graham crackers because that was his understanding what I do, you know, as an educator. I won’t tell you what I thought or what I might’ve said, but that was really interesting. You know, people want to put you in a box. And the crazy thing about it, and I wonder if you could riff on this idea too, here’s the thing, like art for me, I love to draw still.
I still doodle. I love comics. That’s how I grew a love for reading.I was in band, I was in choir. Those are my favorite classes. That’s where I really learned leadership. And the other thing too is that those are some of the most profound experiences because it was authentic. Like you have a performance coming up so you had to know your stuff as opposed to a stupid state test. Right. This is about you, but uh, do you have anything to add sort of to that idea? Oh totally. Danny, you’re speaking my language right now because the only reason I was in school as a kid was because of art. Like I would not have shown up at the doors if I didn’t have that. And there are so many kids out there that that’s what they need to get up in the morning to go to school.
And there’s so many programs like that are just being cut because of budget and other things. And it’s so sad because we just pound reading and math, which are important, don’t get me wrong, but those aren’t the end all and be all. And for me art was the only reason I went to school, in addition to athletics because that was another passion of mine. But like those programs for real-world to me, I knew that’s what I wanted to do eventually in my life. And in fact that did occur. I was a graphic designer at one point in my career after college. So that did come to fruition. That was my goal, it was hard for me to sit in a classroom and learn a lot of different things that I felt like I wasn’t going to use, but when I had art I
I knew exactly what I was doing. It was something I was passionate about and explored at all times. When I was in math class, I was drawing, my notebooks were full of like you said, comics. I had, you know, every X-Men comic I could possibly think of where I was going to buddy’s house, look at it. I mean, I was reading right but I would get in trouble at school for reading those things. Even though data shows now, with the visuals it’s higher level, um, conversations within those comics. You’re getting all these different things. There’s so much, it says such a higher level than just reading a typical book. And so, looking back now I’m like, yeah, what up teachers? I was actually reading a higher level and you didn’t even see that.
Right. So art for me was just all encompassing . I learned so much through that and I felt like because of my art teacher in high school, that’s the whole reason I got into education was because of the impact that she made on my life that I wanted to replicate that and be that for some other kid. I don’t want to stay here too long cause we’ll lose the ruckus maker. Listening maybe unless they are a comic book nerd, my first job was at a comic book shop in Chicago, Palatine Illinois outside of Chicago. Sixth grade. He’d pay me in pizza or Italian beef, $20 and then every comic that I could read and I would count the inventory so he knew how many books or how many comics to buy in the coming months, you know? So it was, it was cool learning some business lessons too. So I might be dating myself, but Jim Lee was drawing the X men back then.
Yeah. I don’t know if that was the book that you were reading and that was the artist, uh, for you and I, I’m really curious, who was your favorite X-Men character? It’s dual gambit and Wolverine. It’s like we’re brothers. Those guys are so cool. Those were my two men and those were, and I dunno, like again, we’re going to date ourselves, but the nineties X-Men cartoon that came out, like I was glued to the couch every time they came on, I was like, the music, I’m still listening. I can hear them in my mind, but like I was so into that back then I was drawing my own comics. I can talk about that forever. But that was definitely passionate growing up was just like that place where I could use my imagination and creativity and I just felt like that was stifled in school.
I didn’t really get an opportunity and the art room really allowed me to be that creative person. I was Spiderman number one and Spawn number one signed by Todd McFarlane. Yeah. If there’s a Ruckus Maker who’s into comics, there’s a Spiderman Easter egg in the podcast. I don’t know if you ever hear it, but it’s there for you. I’m just going to put that out there. All right, let’s, let’s bring this back to leadership. Some folks call it soccer. Me living over in the UK and Europe, we call it football. But that was, that was big in your life. Tell me why, uh, soccer was so important. Why moving around was so important to you. Yeah, so the kinesthetic piece is for me and as you can probably understand, like based on just a few nuggets I’ve given so far, I wasn’t very successful in school.
And the reason for that I think was because I was required to sit for so long during, during the school day and I was extremely active. And so anytime I was outside of school, I was running around like crazy and the pitch or the soccer field allowed me to get that energy out. But it taught me so much more in regards to team building, which I use today. My first leadership experience was on the soccer team. I got to be a captain at a young age and really tried to lead through that experience. And the coach of course gave me that opportunity and really built into me as far as what those leadership attributes were. And because of that, you know, even in college I got to be a captain on my soccer team my senior year. And that was really the time where I was like, I want to pursue leadership further.
I don’t know what that looks like later in life, but I really enjoy the impact that I’m making. Soccer for me was all of those things combined as an adult and as a leader at a school, I still try and use those things. Kinesthetic movement, how can we have that occur in the classroom so we don’t have kids bouncing off the walls, getting in trouble and getting kicked out of class. How do we, you know, for me as a leader, what team building activities can we do as a staff so that we’re all on the same page moving forward. What are those same concepts that I learned as a kid? I’m utilizing them today as an adult. Absolutely. You know, I’ve been known during admin meetings, uh, to stand up and just be there in the back of the room.
because my mind wanders, I get bored, I’ll fall asleep. Like I really will. It’s embarrassing. But there’s been some classes that I’ve observed. Some of them were kind of boring to tell you the truth. I’d be falling asleep at my computer taking notes and if I didn’t stand up and start moving, if a person just talk, talk, talk, it’s so bad. How does that relate to maybe how you were as a teacher now as a building leader? How you set up classes or like furniture and these kinds of things? What are some creative stuff that you’re doing there? As a teacher it was great because as an art teacher you can do a lot of different things with kinesthetic. If you’re being still then you’re not doing it right.
So for that, that was easy, as a teacher because I would love to get out of the classroom to any opportunity to get out in nature and get my kids to walk and do different things where it required them to get up. We used to do classroom projects where they would have to collaborate together to create a piece. And so that would require us to move the furniture and have a big canvas in the middle of the classroom and they would paint and do different things. So my kids, sometimes they’d be like, Oh, they’re grown. When I would ask them to do something, but they also knew like they were going to get up and move and be active. And honestly at the end of that class period, all of them were like excited and pumped up and we got a really good result because of that.
Now as an administrator, I’m just like you, if I’m sitting there for a long period of time, I’m falling asleep. It’s just like church, like my wife gives me the elbow and I have to wake up. It’s the same thing as an administrator when I’m doing the observation and if I’m falling asleep then that’s an indicator that my kids are doing the exact same thing. And so there needs to be something that changes. And so that’s when I have the wonderful opportunity to provide that feedback to the teacher, to say, what else can we do to get some movement and to get some energy? I’ll go right into data in regards to that too. As far as, you know, how the brain works. If we are still, our brain is not activated.
It’s when we get up and we move around and that’s when that’s occurring. Furniture like you brought up, there’s so much furniture out there. It costs an arm and a leg to purchase it, but there’s furniture out there that allows those things for kids to move and to be active. We have these balancing boards that we have for kids, especially with those who have ADHD and there’s those rubber bands that you can stick on chairs, under their feet and get that push back. A lot of kids have sensory needs too, so it’s kind of a dual thing. They get the sensory need, but they also get the kinesthetic movement for them. There’s so many pieces out there that were, um, kids can pedal or move their legs swinging back and forth. They’re standing desks. We have a lot of standing desks at our campus now we’re purchasing. There’s just a lot of opportunity. Kids want it, it promotes their movement. But then also the collaboration piece. You know, we’re trying to find furniture that has wheels and things on it so that the kids can be independent, but then also move it to create a group and try and get those soft skills to be able to create as a group versus create by themselves.
Yeah, we’ll be moving, I can’t reveal where yet, to a more long term place. We won’t be in Glasgow starting this summer, but I’ve been eyeing some standing desks because I think that’s something that I would really enjoy as well.
I’m right with you. I have a standing desk in my office.
Did you build it? Was it a specific brand?
No it’s literally an extension to the wooden desk it has an the extension on it, It’s got a little lever on it and it can slide up and down so I can sit and still work if I really want to, which rarely happens. It’s usually if I have a parent or a teacher in my office, but if I’m working independently in my office, it is up. I have a bouncing board in my office when I need to get some movement. So, I don’t just have it for my kids. I have in my office too,
I actually don’t know what that is. And so maybe the listener doesn’t know either. Can you explain, I’m hearing you say balancing board, is that right?
Yeah. So it’s like, it looks kind of like a warped skateboard. So it’s kind of a slight U shape. It’s got two little platforms on each end for your feet and then it just balances. So there’s no wheels or anything like a skateboard, but it just kind of balances. So it gives you that movement and you can just stand on it and you’re, your legs are obviously like naturally, your muscles are being used because you have to balance. But if you want it to rock and whatnot, you can do that too. And it can swivel a little bit. So it’s just to kind of get that, if you’re antsy and you need that extra additional movement, allows you to do that without it really affecting your work. It’s kind of mindless, really,
On a quick riff on it costing an arm and a leg. That’s true. Right? That’s fair. Every price is negotiable, I hope every listener understands that. But with that being said, that’s a really good investment because if you believe what science shows and what our lived experiences are, that we are more active and engaged when we’re moving around, then therefore the students’ success will be impacted. That’s a really worthy investment. Quick story. I’m teaching vocabulary sixth grade. It’s an inclusive class so we have learners of all different types within the class. And vocabulary can be hard, right? We’re teaching some difficult words that are new to the kids and some kids would do really well. Of course for the special ed kids, we had accommodations. So Joshua, listen to this. When I started adding kinesthetic, to the way I taught vocabulary, so we’d have a new word and we would act out what it meant and we’d have really a lot of fun with it, right?
I started to see that the special ed students were really scoring much higher. And as a little bit experiment, we started to pull back a bit, the accommodations just to see what would happen. And we were going to give over the quizzes if they weren’t doing well, but here’s the thing, they all started ACEing the quizzes without accommodations. Are you hearing me right? I’m not saying ignore an IEP. That’s wrong. You got to follow the law and give kids a fighting chance, but there was a really interesting thing that happened when we started moving around, acting out the vocab words and all of a sudden kids just knew what words meant because it was in their body and in their brains. It makes such an impact and I don’t think folks really understand that. Absolutely. Let’s pause here for just a second for a message from our sponsors and when we get back. I want to hear about why you started your podcast and maybe we’ll have some time to jump into restorative practices as well.
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 and dependable classroom routine, learn more and improve your students’ executive functioning and noncognitive [email protected]
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And we’re back with Joshua Stamper and we’ve been talking about the biases he had to overcome as an art teacher moving into school leadership and the importance of kinesthetic learning. I don’t know that Ruckus Maker listening would start listening in the middle of the podcast, but if you did somehow, go back, especially if you’re a comic book fan because we nerd it out a bit about the X-Men and it was totally worth it?
Joshua, tell us about your podcast and why you started it. My podcast is Aspire: The Leadership Development Podcast, and the whole reason I started it was because I had a program in my last district was for aspiring leadership and we were kind of a pilot program for the district. They didn’t have anything in place at the time for aspiring leadership. And so we spent two years just on the West side of the district. Each year we had participants and it varied, as far as what they wanted to do with their leadership experience but some was administration, some counseling, some instructional coaches, and we just tried to give them opportunities outside of the classroom based on that cadre, they actually took that over, The district did and made it district wide, which was great, but for me it took away one of my passions was this program that I had really spent a lot of time in and so I was trying to figure out a way for myself to be able to work with aspiring leaders and kind of hone in on my own passion.
And so I actually visited Todd Nesloney, the co-author of” Kids Deserve It” and he was actually running his kids deserve it podcasts at the time when I got to his school. And so he’s like, Hey, sit down, I’m going to do this real quick. It was like a 15-20 minute podcasts and I watched him and I was like, man, that looks fun. I wonder if I could do that for aspiring leaders. And so kind of riff back and forth with him and saw that it was manageable. I could do it. And then just talking to some other friends, they were like, you should definitely do that. And so I did. I just kinda jumped on in. I never created a podcast before and I didn’t know anything about it, but I just jumped in and started watching YouTube videos and talked with different people. And it’s kind of spawned this fun, passion project of mine that hopefully is helping aspiring leaders.
I can relate a lot to what you’re saying. I think our stories are very similar in that sense. Before the Ruckus Maker listening, those are leadership qualities. The fact that you say, “Oh, that looks fun, I’d like to do that.” Or “Hey, I could do that too, right? ” On sort of a meta level analysis of what’s going on as well. It’s also representative of where we are in education today. You can be instructed on how to create a podcast and there would be some value there. But the reality is like all that information is out there, right? YouTube, there’s courses, whatever you can get access, there’s no secrets. What separates you from everybody else’s that you actually did it by jumping in, taking a leap, that’s what leaders do, learning from the mistakes you get better and better and better. And actually so on that topic, I didn’t ask you this in the intro call button, we’ll put you on the spot now. You have the show, you’ve shipped a number of episodes. What have you noticed about yourself and how you’re changing because you’re consistently putting out the content through the podcast.
Changing as far as a leader or changing as a podcaster? I will let you take it however you want. Well for one, Danny, you probably found this on your own end. Like when you talk to all these amazing guests and the content that you’re getting as a person on the other side of the mic, you are gaining insight and knowledge through that. And so I definitely feel like as far as a leader, I’m getting professional development and every time I do this and that wasn’t something I even thought of.
I just assumed like I was going to get this content out to the people for them in their growth. I feel like on my side personally, I’ve, I’ve gotten a lot of value out of that time just as workers become the leader. Some of that is kind of frustrating too because then I’m starting to see it, some ideals shift a little bit and what I want as a leader and some of the things that are confining me to do, but then also on the flip side, as far as our podcasts, I feel way more comfortable to say things. On the podcast, I was very scripted to begin with with questions just because I didn’t know what I was doing, so I was like, well, I’m just gonna lay everything out. Maybe that’s like a first year teacher, right?
Like how you kind of script things out and then training wheels by your third year you’re like, yeah, I know what I’m doing. Pulling out the curriculum now I’m going to kind of venture out. I definitely feel more confident in my voice and I don’t even script anything. I just kind of go on the fly as far as my questions. How they answer is dependent on how I’m going to ask my question further. So it’s more of a conversation now. Definitely I’ve grown both as a leader and as a podcaster through this experience. For sure.
He didn’t say this, but I think I can, uh, safely assume that you’d probably agree, correct me if I’m wrong, but now that you’ve become more in these conversations and really a practicing radical presence and being able to listen at an incredibly high level to reflect back what you hear and ask those questions to go deeper. I’m guessing that’s transferred, right? Those skills to your own leadership. When you’re observing or debriefing or even just catching up in the hallway, you’re able to hold space, connect with people on a different level than you have been years ago.
It actually connects to soccer. Also, I want to say that as an administrator, you don’t get very many opportunities with your staff through a day. Just like in soccer, like if you actually averaged, I used to tell my players this, when you average the amount of time you have with the ball, it’s only 90 seconds to a minute and a half. You’re running around for 90 minutes, but you may only touch the ball for 90 seconds. So the time that you have the ball, you have to make a great pass. It’s the same for an administrator. You know, when you’re out in the hallway, you may only get 30 seconds for the teacher, but how are you actually making a large impact with that small amount of time? And so like you said, active listening is huge. Even though it may only be a small chunk of time, you apt to be listening to make sure that you understand the needs of your staff and be able to pull those out in a very short amount of time so that you can then of course, make the important decisions, hopefully help them feel supported. And of course, hopefully, work toward impacting the students too.
Love it. What I’m hearing you say is just like leveraging those moments they’re few and far between. But even with 30 seconds you could actually have great impact. We don’t have a lot of time to spend on this, but I am curious just to hear a little bit about why restorative practices are important to you. We’ve talked about it on the podcast, I’m sure you have as well, but why is it important and maybe do you have an idea or something generous you can share with the Ruckus Maker listening who may or may not want to implement it?
Early in my leadership journey I was a dean of students over in a title one school and we were suspending kids left and right congruent to that. Me and my wife were going through the foster care process. And so I was learning a lot about trauma informed practices. And so those two worlds kind of collided. I started to question a lot of what I was doing. The main question was, you know, is it the discipline I’m providing to my students really impacting their life? Is it, is it changing who they are and changing the decisions that they’re making? And I could honestly say no, that wasn’t what I was doing. I was sending them away from the campus and into areas that were only making their lives difficult and impacting them in a negative way. And so that’s when I started to look into restorative practices.
What it is, is it’s allowing students to understand their choices a little bit better and reflect on that. And it’s more about teaching. We do so about teaching math and reading and science and whatnot and we don’t really teach behavior. We just assume that they know how to act. And unfortunately a lot of our students don’t know how to act socially, but then also how to reflect and to change that behavior. Their behavior is a language really. And if we’re able to, understand that language, it helps us better as educators. And so my goal is to have our teachers, everyone that we hire, whoever’s in my building to make sure that we are hitting the social emotional needs of our students just as much as we’re doing the academic, because if one is lacking, the other one can’t, can’t thrive. So that’s kind of a very small cliff note version of a bigger, bigger piece.
But the restorative discipline piece was just to change the lives of kids because right now the system that we have is just shipping them out into environments that are toxic. And so the school should be a safe Haven for our kiddos and we should be able to, get them to understand and to work through adversity better than what the current model is. So that’s really my passion. I have guests that come on the aspire podcast to talk about that. That’s not the sole purpose of the podcast. But, I do every once in a while have guests that talk about restorative practices and then myself and my wife on my website we have blogs on trauma informed practices, too. Just trying to get that out there to folks to better serve kids on the emotional level just as much as the academic.
What message would you put on all school marquees across the globe if you could do so for just a day?
Be empathetic. It’s simple and sweet man. I mean there’s, there’s so many times that I see people, adults take things personally when it’s not personal at all and instead of trying to punish a child because they’ve done something wrong, how about we teach them and we’re so into traditional models as far as what punishment looks like and it hurts my heart honestly every day because there’s educators and there’s adults out there that still want to bring the paddle back. That’s creating a structure of fear. Like if, if a kid doesn’t do something because they’re fearful, how is that going to help them in life? That’s not a true reason as to why they should behave the correct way. So for me it’s a struggle and something that hurts my heart each day because I’m trying to find a system that is better for the emotional stability of a child and fear does not create that.
I was Googling really quick while you’re talking because you mentioned the paddle, there’s still 19 States, 19 that have corporal punishment, which is just absolutely insane.
Texas. Texas is one of them. Yeah.
Be empathetic. I love that message. And also that taking it personal piece. I’ll quickly mention there’s a mental model which is really helpful. Like mental models are helpful in terms of dealing situations, solving problems and that kind of thing. And I wrote about one called Hanlon’s razor, which is awesome. This is the, jhist don’t attribute it to malice. That somebody is, has it out for you. Taking it personally, which can better be explained basically by stupidity, you know, or ignorance or like, Hey man, I just made a mistake. It wasn’t actually anything to do with you. Like, I’m not trying to ruin your mind. So that’s a really helpful thing to remember, especially when, when the stakes are high and emotions get high as well. My favorite question, the Ruckus Makers favorite question. They revolted when I took it off the podcast for a few episodes, sorry guys. You’re building a school from the ground up. You’re not limited by any resources. The only limitation is your imagination. So how would you, Joshua build your dream school and what would be your top three priorities.
I could spend like 30 minutes on this question. I’m gonna try and simplify as much as possible, but I think my top priority would just be to allocate enough adult positions to meet the needs of the students. What I mean by that is kind of what we talked about already in this podcast, but for instance, like the mental health of our students and our teachers. What are we doing as a campus and what resources do we have allocated to really hone in on those, because I dunno about you, but in my experience, there’s only been, for like a thousand students, we only have like one or two counselors to meet the needs of the emotional stability of that many kids, you know, or social work, right? There’s so many kids that are homeless or don’t have food. And I only have one parent at home working three jobs. Additional admin because if we’re supposed to be instructional leaders just as much as we’re helping with student discipline and how are we supposed to do both things.
As far as our teachers, they’re feeling burnt out and ready to be done with education in general. What do we do? We have a position to help them through things that are going on in their own home life that are spilling over onto the campus. When you look at a business model, all those things at a private business usually are taken care of. But as far as on the educational side, we just don’t have the allocation. So that would be my top priority is just to make sure that I have positions, a behavior specialist, to do all the restorative practices to make sure that our teachers are educated in trauma informed practices. Furniture like we talked about, you know, all of these different things that require money and resources. That would be my top, my top piece.
Second probably would be to embed that system for social emotional learning and trauma informed and restorative practices. Have that so that we are building something in classes. I’m taking time to actually focus on those things and then kind of what we talked about with the art class. Why is every class put in a box? Why am I going to just math class? Why am I just going to English? Why am I just going to social studies? Like why don’t we have it so that there’s an interdisciplinary instruction that empowers all kids? We have at my campus and through our district, we have this thing where the labs are more exploratory for kids. Well guess what? Those kids sit there and they’re like, well I don’t know what to do. Oh, it’s because they’ve been conditioned at an early age to just wait for the answer.
Because it’s just to remember and understand part of the brain that they’re using. It’s not about the creativity and exploration piece. They’re not trying to find problems to solve them. So when you give them at the secondary level, a lab like that for them to actually explore, they’re a fish out of water. They don’t even know what to do. If you look at a kindergarten and when they go into the elementary school, those kids are everywhere and they’re tearing stuff apart because they’re trying to figure out how it works and what they can do with it and build it in a new way. And then at some point we’d like break that out of them. And then when they get to be young adults, they’re just waiting for this platter to be stuck in front of them for them just, to feed off of it. And so I would want to do that at an early age to just make that enriching experience all the way through for them to actually find problems and find creative solutions.
Well, Josh, thanks so much for being a part of the Better Leaders, Better Schools, podcast, everything we talked about today. What’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember? Break the mold. Like I know it’s hard as a leader, the position, no matter what is hard, you have all these confines on you. But I just would challenge anyone to challenge the status quo. Just because it was done before this, that same way. It doesn’t mean it has to remain that way. And so you know, if you are a ruckus maker, challenge the status quo. Figure out what’s best for your campus, what’s best for your teachers, and what’s best for your students. And even though it may not be a traditional model, push the boundaries and try and find the best solution.
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 @ 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.
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