I am glad to be chatting with you again! Today I am back with a little PD book review. I bought this book over the summer and finally finished it this past December (graduate school took up all my extra time and energy outside of work honestly).
Since I finished it, I wanted to share a bit that I learned from the book and possibly pass on some interest in this book!
Jimmy Casas is such an inspiration as a professional. He's a best selling author, a professor, teacher coach, and former high school principal. His website is filled with resources for teachers and information to help you get in contact with Jimmy or learn from his company.
He has written or co-authored multiple other books, and is so positive and uplifting. He is in touch with the work that needs to be done, and is passionate about helping teachers AND students succeed. I mean because really the only reason that we have jobs is because of those students!
I'm going to briefly breakdown Jimmy's book by giving my main takeaways from it! It was such an awesome read and really helped me figure out my goal for taking on leadership... but I'll get to that.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAYS
A theme that I saw often in Casas' book is finding average in your school and working towards doing better. I mean, on page 3 he states "I ask teachers, support staff, principals... 'where does average exist in your organization?'" He also asks "what do you believe to be the biggest issue facing us today in public education that is resulting in many of our schools being labeled as low performing?" on page 5. These two questions stuck with me as I read the rest of his core principles and challenging my thinking.
Which brings me to his four core principles. These are: be a champion for all students, expect excellence, carry the banner and be a merchant of hope.
When discussing how we can be a champion for all students, Casas explains that we can change the expectations placed on students by building meaningful relationships with them. This can be done using the three Rs: relationships...relationships...relationships. Sounds a bit repetitious but also... I mean, DUH y'all! I focus so much on my student relationships FOR THIS REASON. I don't want school to be some negative place for them. I am positive you feel this way, too.
Cases asks: If you don't bring a positive voice to your school, how can you expect others to? There is so much importance in not only seeing the best in all students, but expecting it!
You don't have to have a title to be a leader in your school. READ THAT AGAIN. Yes, Casas has laid it out. Your leadership is relevant and important even if you aren't a "titled" leader. This one knocked me on my butt, y'all! I mean, it seems so simple and open, like dUh TaYlOr but also it really challenged the way I see myself and others in my school. "No one person was ever meant to lead a classroom, school or district all alone" pg. 63
Leaders don't say gotcha... what does a culture of gotcha do to students and staff? pg. 73
"How you feel is not the best guide for what you should do... press pause and ask yourself what this situation requires of you." (this one is from Urban Meyer's book Above the Line- linked here)
This one is big too.... IS POOR COMMUNICATION THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL? pg. 81
Awfulizers: people who make a "habit of complaining about students, colleagues, parents, lack of resources, the administration, mandates, and any other decision with which they disagree." pg. 98 Are you an awfulizer? I totally had to stop and reflect on my day-to-day. I honestly think that there are days that we are all awfulizers... but how often? How consistently?
pg. 111... BALANCE VS. LIFE FIT. I posted a bit about this on my instagram. You can read more about it here... "Life-fit addresses not what we feel we should do, but what we can actually do and acknowledges that those aren't always the same" pg. 112
How you respond is always a choice. Schools will be what they are because of Y O U.
So what do you think? Have I got you hooked yet? There is so much good advice and many stories in here to really help teachers, teacher leaders, administration, etc. My favorite part of this book is that it challenges you to think about yourself and gives you examples of how you can make a positive change. Any teacher who wants to be a leader (which sorry but if you're a teacher... you definitely want to be a leader in some capacity- remember, you don't need a title to be a leader!) should give this book a read. It's honestly a quick read... just don't try to take an extremely tough graduate school semester & read at the same time.
I don't want to just tell you about the book, so I've attached some links for you! You can buy Jimmy Casas' book from his website or I have linked it here for you from Amazon.
If you get it, send me a message or drop a comment below and tell me what you think!
**ps I get nothing from posting this or from you clicking on any links... I'm just sharing for the sake of sharing and supporting each other! I am not affiliated with Jimmy Casas or Amazon in anyway. Just a teacher who wants to share and grow with you!**