Restart Recharge Podcast

301 - Recalibrate the Culture from a Coaches Perspective

January 10, 2023 Forward Edge Season 3 Episode 1
Restart Recharge Podcast
301 - Recalibrate the Culture from a Coaches Perspective
Show Notes Transcript

Educators are finding it difficult to manage everything that continues to come their way. A lot of educators are questioning the reason they got into education. We want our teachers and leaders to return to their passion and love of teaching! Jimmy Casas new book, Recalibrate the Culture is a great work for inspiration to draw educators back to their passion by recalibrating their mindset for positive culture. In this episode, we’ll speak with Jimmy on the various ideas and strategies to recalibrate and how an instructional coach can assist in promoting a positive school culture and assisting educators to manage the everyday challenges that come their way.

Follow Jimmy Casas on Twitter!

Jimmy Casas Website

Recalibrate the Culture: Our Why, Our Work, Our Values

Top 3 Tips:

1. Slow down and just breathe 

2. Poor process is a magnet for poor results. Reflect and look at the process

3. Reflect on problems and look at the intensity and elevation (mental health)


Podcast Team

Hosts- Katie  Ritter & Justin Thomas

Editing Team- Michael Roush, Justin Thomas 

Social Media/ Promo Team- Annamarie Rinehart, Lisa Kuhn, Maggie Harris

Creative/Content Team- Justin Thomas

Producers- Justin Thomas

Forward Edge Coaches Camp
An event that assists instructional coaches learn new tips and strategies for implementing their rol

EDU Coach Network
We're former teachers turned instructional coaches. Coaches can change student learning for better

Forward Edge Google Educator Bootcamp
This Google for Education Bootcamp is for educators to get certified in Google products

Justin Thomas:

Hey everyone restart recharge will be joining our friends on the edu coach network and Edu at both MPTC in New Orleans and TCA in San Antonio, if you're going to those conferences stop by and say hello

Brooke Conklin:

Pauling all instructional coaches join forward edge coaches camp in summer 2023. Coaches camp is packed with high quality professional development exclusively for you. Attendees will work with like minded coaches on creating strategies for building teacher relationships, executing coaching cycles and building a culture of coaching and tech integration within their district. There are two opportunities to attend coaches camp in the summer of 2023. You can join us virtually June 12 through 14th or come visit us in Cincinnati on July 27 and 28th please visit forward hyphen edge dotnet slash coach camp to reserve your spot today.

Katie Ritter:

Aloha I'm Katie Ritter.

Justin Thomas:

And I'm Justin Thomas. And this is the restart recharge podcast a podcast by coaches for coaches. We bring the tips and tricks helped you in your everyday work as an instructional coach or whatever they call you in your school.

Katie Ritter:

So hopefully you're gonna leave this episode with us today feeling just a little bit less on your own coaching Island.

Justin Thomas:

We have an awesome episode here today to kick off season three here on the restart recharge podcast as educators are finding it difficult to manage everything that continues to come their way. A lot of educators are questioning the reason they got into education. So we want our teachers and leaders to return to their passion and love teaching. So we have Jimmy Costas with us his new book recalibrate the culture is a great word for inspiration to draw educators back to their passion by recalibrating their mindset for positive culture. In this episode, we'll speak with Jimmy on various ideas and strategies to recalibrate and how an instructional coach can assist in promoting a positive school culture and assisting educators to manage the everyday challenges that come their way. So let's go and introduce Jimmy here. So Jamie CASAS has been an educator for over 30 years, serving 22 years as a school leader, including 14 years as principal at byndoor High School, under his leadership and Dorf was named one of the best high schools in the country three times by Newsweek and US News and World Report. Jimmy was named the 2012, Iowa secondary Principal of the Year and was selected as runner up of the NA SSP 2013 National Secondary Principal of the Year, and 2014. Jimmy was invited to the White House to speak on the future ready schools pledge. Jimmy also is the author of nine books, including the best selling books culture arise every student every day, whatever it takes. Live your excellence bring your best self to the school day every day, and Handle With Care managing difficult situations in schools with dignity and respect. Jimmy's newest release recalibrate the culture is already a top selling book on Amazon. Jimmy is also the owner and CEO of GE constants and Associates where he serves as a professional leadership coach for school leaders across the country. And 20 January 2020. Jimmy also launched connect Ed, a publishing company aimed at giving back to the profession by supporting educators to become published authors. So welcome in Jimmy.

Jimmy Casas:

Hey, now that I had to sit and listen to all that nonsense, we're gonna have to shorten that. I apologize for that. Justin, that was a mouthful right there for you, buddy. So you've accomplished so much. I appreciate it. Thank you for having me on here. And as I said, it's so good to see you, Katie. I know it's been a while. So

Katie Ritter:

yeah. Jamie, we're so glad to have you here in you know, grateful that you fit us in your busy schedule with all that going on. So thank you, I'm so excited to bring your perspective to our listeners, I know, they're gonna be really excited about this topic on supporting culture, we talk a lot on the podcast about how coaches can really are in this cool and unique position to help support culture. So I'm excited to dig into it today. So you know, you talk about it in your book, Jimmy, but for those folks who haven't, and I have a copy here with me too. But for those folks who haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, you know, talk to us about kind of where you were at in your motivation for sitting down to write this book, right? Like, why this topic? Why now?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah, well, I'm always fascinated by culture, right? I just, there's something about it that just intrigues me. You know, whether it's a business or a school, but how can you walk into an organization, a building a school? And why? If I walk into one building, does it feel one way? And if I walk into a different building, it feels a different way, right? And so I'm always trying to figure out what's the difference? And what makes a difference in these cultures? And why are some so high performing? Why are some cultures in an environment where everybody wants to be a part of that environment? People want to work there, people seem to be in really good space often. And so what makes the difference and obviously, during the pandemic, you know, I felt like the whole world shut down but for what have a reason for our business to didn't, right. In fact, if anything, it multiplied, right, it went tenfold on us. And as I can, as I continue to work in schools, it just came for whatever reason to me that I would notice I would go to some schools, and they were just in a really, really bad place. And then again, I go to another school. And they seem to be fine, right? I mean, obviously, everybody was impacted by it in different ways, the pandemic, but there were, so there were still many schools that were going almost like business as usual, it was really interesting to me. And so it just, it just intrigued me. And so I began to become really intentional, probably about six months into it. And so as I would do each visit, I would just start interviewing people, I would interview principals, teachers, students, superintendents, and, and I was just trying to get a feel for what was the difference. And the more I observed, and the more I watched, and the more I listened, there were things that just came to the forefront. For me, that was just clear to me that people would talk about the same things, whether they were positive things, or in many cases, complaints, issues that they were dealing with, right. And so that was really my motivation, because I love taking people's issues and people's problems. And, and so I just see these as like problems of practice. And then what I try to do, is I try to take the content of our educators, and I try to reframe it for them, and either come up with a different way of seeing it or thinking about it, or perhaps even responding to it. Because Katie, I've always believed and just that at the end of the day, it's our behavior can influence and impact the way our classrooms go, the way our building goes, the way our lives go. And so I've just always believed that. And so I'm just fascinated by it. And that was really my motivation to try to help educators. Because, you know, I kind of heard you mentioned here in your intro, and I continue to see it. I'll be honest, it does bother me to see how much is on social media and how much is out there publicly. That is really negative about a profession. And as I always say, it's, you know, we love to complain when other people complain about us, but I think we do a pretty good job of beating ourselves up and, and it worries me what that's gonna mean for our profession, if our own people are talking negatively about our profession. Yeah, that's a complaint about kids who are complaining about teachers or complain about the work or whatever it is we're complaining about. I'm not sure why anyone is going to want to be a teacher or principal or superintendent. And that really worries me. And so I'm always trying to influence and impact the narrative, because I still think it's the greatest job in the world. It's a ministry. It's, it's fulfilling. And I believe if people look at it differently, every day, they'll see the abundance of blessings are there, and they are there. And so that's really my motivation. I try to give people hope. And that's why I write what I write and talk about what I talked about.

Katie Ritter:

Well, you're perfectly suited to give people hope. Yeah, I'm already feeling better.

Justin Thomas:

Absolutely. Well, in one of your previous books called tries, you talk about four core principles, champion for students expect excellence, carry the banner, and merchant of hope. And we see the roles of coaches integrate in each of these, but carry the banner most closely hits home for coaches, as we always look to point out the greatness for our students and teachers. So kind of what is your perspective on this as a former school administrator, and how coaches and even teachers can carry the banner for both students and teachers in this role?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah, the first thing is, you know, those four core principles are really a framework. And that's what I really tried to explain to people is because I'm still a believer is that the most effective cultures, the most healthy cultures, they are very in tune, and are very clear to what their values are. So they not only know what they are, they actually go to the extent whether it's an individual, right, or a team or a school, or a business is that they're really intentional and identifying what those values are. They define those values, because it's really important that we actually know what they mean, right? So what does it mean when we say, Hey, we're about relationships, or we're about kindness or about excellence, or we're about inclusion or equity, or whatever it is, let's define what we mean by that. Because that clarity of making sure that we're all on the same page, because at the end of the day, when I talk about values, we're really talking about culture, we're talking about behavior, to me values are behaviors. And so what I tried to do is create frameworks for people because I think those frameworks keep us really steady. And so not only do we identify them, we actually define them. But here's the key. We all know that every one of us whether it's the two of you, or me or anybody who works in organization, we're all gonna violate the values at some point. Because we're human. We're not perfect beings, right? We know if we can predict that and we know we're gonna violate them, then let's just have that conversation right now and say, Hey, So Justin, when when we violate the values when Katie violates the values at work, how are you going to respond to Katie when she violates them? Right? How will you respond when I violate them, right? So let's come to an agreement, what that will look like. And so what we need to do is give people permission, because the reality of it is, if I know I'm going to violate them, oftentimes they either won't see it. Or in the moment, I may say, I don't even care, because I'm so frustrated with something right? I need Justin and Katie to believe that they can call me out on that in a very kindful, respectful, dignified, professional compassion empathetic way, because I know you care about me. And I cannot be great at my job, unless I give you permission to help me be great. And so those values protect us. And that's what I try to help people understand. If you don't, if you aren't clear to what those values are, and we haven't defined those, then we're not going to hold each other to a standard of excellence in those values, then we're never going to achieve the culture that we want. And so those four core values are a framework for me. And it's interesting that you chose carry the banner, because that's actually my favorite of all of them. Because it's all about creating experiences for people. So take it from the lens of an instructional coach, right? I spent a lot of time with instructional coaches, observing classrooms, interviewing them. And I'll be honest, talking them off the ledge, because I think instructional coaches, quite honestly, is one of the most complex and challenging jobs are out there. And we'll talk about that in a little while, while what why I believe that. And again, it's because that's these are the things that they have shared with me privately, about what gets them to want to leave the profession, questioning whether they made a mistake, should I have stayed in the classroom, I'm not sure that I'm cut out for this. I'm not sure this is what I thought it was going to be. Right. And I'm not saying there are people who love what they do. But in my experience, more often than not, our instructional coaches are questioning their role and how they do it, because they're frustrated with what they're seeing, and they don't know how to respond to and we'll talk about why that happens here. But the bottom line is from an instructional coach, or any teacher, here is your mind, here's your mindset, all you have to do is ask yourself, every time I have an interaction with the student from a classroom teacher, if I'm an instructional coach, every time I have an interaction with a teacher that I'm working with, when I walk away, will they carry the banner for me? In other words, will I create an experience for them that they think, Wow, I love working with Justin. Oh my god, I love it. When Katie comes my class, Oh, I love sitting down with Katie and talking about instruction and lesson planning and ideas and innovation that I love to it's because Katie, the way she approached it, she approached it with such excellence with such tenderness with such empathy with such understanding and, and in a non judgmental, the teacher goes, Oh, my God, I want to work with Katy again, right? That's what I'm trying to help people understand that we own that. It's my job to create an experience as a principal, it was my job to create experience with my students, with my staff with my families. Right, if a parent came upset to the school, I wanted them to leave and carry the banner for the school to say, oh my god, I'm so glad the principal is there, because he was so kind and he listened to me. And he didn't judge me, it was very helpful. Because in our profession, it can't just be us carrying our own banner, we need to create experiences for other people to carry it carry our banner for us. And that's what I believe creates a culture where everybody wants to be a part of that culture.

Katie Ritter:

I love the way that you phrased that, Jimmy, because I think as instructional coaches, we have so many opportunities to create that experience for our teachers, right? Whether it's in that one on one setting, when we're having a conversation and they're vulnerable with us about you know, what's going on with their students, or whether it's in like group professional development sessions that we're often asked to plan in lead. So I love the way that you phrased that. And it just makes me feel like even more drawn to you that carry the banner. Because I just think we have such an opportunity to, you know, we've said this before, like, we're always looking for bright spots to share with other teachers with building admin, so they know what's going on. But also to like, be the bright spot ourselves for our teachers. So I like the I like the way that you said that. You know, think about creating the experience so that when they walk away, well, they carry the beginner for you from that interaction.

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah. So Katie, for example, right now, I'm trying to do that. Yeah, like, my point is, is like, like when I get off this podcast with you, I want you to be so jacked up. Like you're like, I want to go work with teachers right now. Right? I want to go I want to go to create an experience for them, right? I'm trying to do the same thing that I'm actually talking about, like that's Core principle number two, right? Except excellence model the behaviors that you want others to replicate, right? I'm not going to ask you to go do that, and may not try to do that with you. And that's why frameworks, right? These core principles are so critical to the work we do every day because they keep us grounded. Right? They, they allow us to be who we want to be. That's who people want to be. Right. But then you look around and not everybody's acting that way. Well, why not? Then we'll talk about that here, I'm sure.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, well, I mix it, I could totally go down a rabbit hole. Just I always love the way that you approach having difficult conversations and encouraging those difficult conversations. Because I do think that that's really the only way, you know, we all need them sometimes. And I think that's the only way we can really like grow, and keep moving. But for the sake of not going down that rabbit hole too long. I want to like, take us now to your current and most recent book, recalibrate the culture. And so in chapter three, you talk about one of the four premises from recalibrate, which is cultivating a community of leaders. And so that really spoke to Justin and I, again, from that perspective, of an instructional coach kind of twofold. We see coaches as a part of that community of leaders for our school and district leaders. But we also see our coaches needing to cultivate their own community of leaders to trickle out and, and help support some of the work that they do. So kind of first first question that I'm going to ask you here is, again, from your perspective of kind of fulfilling a number of admin roles, and now getting to see all of these different schools and how it plays out across the country here. You know, where do you see instructional coaches fitting in? Is that part of community of leaders and kind of maybe some like unique things they can do? Or kind of a unique position that they are in? That's maybe different from some other folks in our school systems?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah. So again, I would say, first of all, I would approach it from a mindset, right. So instructional coach, if you look at most schools, in most districts, there are very few of them, and they to become very isolating in their positions, right.

Katie Ritter:

Back to our intro, feeling on your own?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah. So the idea is, it's just like anything else? How does an instructional coach build their own community of leaders? How do they encourage how do they invite? How do they inspire? Right? And so part of it is to begin to understand is that we have to shift that mindset, right, and to look at it and reframe it and say to ourselves, well, first of all, if I if there is a staff of 70 teachers in a middle school, let's just take that for an example. Right? The perception is that there's a middle school instructional coach who works with the teachers. Well, we need first of all, we need to change that narrative, because there aren't there isn't one instructional coach, there are 70 instructional coaches. So that's the first thing we have to begin to see. Because it's impossible, right? It's, it's not even right or fair to say into an instructional coach, Hey, you're the instructional coach 70 teachers, No, she's not. Their job is to facilitate to provide support, to provide examples to provide tools to buy, you know, to develop skill sets, but they're not their job isn't to be the one and only instructional coach for the whole building. Because if that's the if that's the approach, they're already in trouble, right? So we have to be really intentional how we're going to continue to grow these leaders, right. And so part of it we already know this, is that I believe that instructional coaches first job is to establish relationships with all members of the school community. Because we know that an instructional coach cannot be effective. Unless the person trusts that teacher is not going to be vulnerable, a teacher is not going to a teacher is going to hesitate, they're going to question right. And that is all relationship. And so the first thing we try to teach instructional coaches is we've got to kind of slow down and begin to invest in people. And so really, what we should be doing is focusing on building those relationships, right? Trying to understand where they're coming from. Observation is critical. In my opinion, for an instructional coach, we spent a lot of time observing, watching asking questions, just to try to understand to see it from their perspective, right? Because it's really hard to approach or to offer any type of support or advice, because I see the instructional coach is no different than my own job, right? I'm just a leadership coach. I just coach leaders as opposed to maybe percepts teachers and instruction, but I coached you know, principals, so it's no different for me. And so, I would say is that an instructional coach can be really intentional by building capacity. So what are some ways we can begin to do that? Well, number one is we invest time in people to get to know their story to build relationships with people, but I am also going to have to be a little Strategic right? So I'll go back to the middle school example I would be really intentional is I would build relationships with individual teachers, then I would be formal in it to not just informal, but I would be formal. So I might say something like, they'll say Katie and Justin, were two middle school teachers, I'd say, Hey, I was wondering if you guys might be helped me out, I'd like to sit down individually with each of you and meet with you and just talk to you about just in general instruction, right? Because what I'm trying to do is get information to create almost like a framework. Because when I go into Justin's and I go into into Katie's, I need some sort of framework. So they both are very clear on why I'm coming into the classroom and what you hope to get out of that. And what I hope to be able to provide. I want to create a framework, because the framework to me is the is like a guaranteed and viable curriculum, I can guarantee your I can assure or you are clear that these this is what I'm going to be doing, right these these very clear expectations. But what I love about it is it also gives me the autonomy, because Justin's needs are probably going to be different than Katie's needs, right. But from an equity standpoint, instructional coaches, the way they can build capacity is that they're clear on their expectations. Because then we all begin to understand this, Hey, Katie, in or Jimmy, in this case, is going to help Katie and Justin and everybody else. And this is what we're going to be working on. But what I love is everybody individually gets to build their own capacity, right. And so that's really important only do that. And so it's really important that we're clear that there's a process how we're going to do this, but I do want to meet formally with you. And then eventually, I want to meet with all six strict teachers, and then eventually all seventh grade teachers because I'm trying to build my capacity. Because eventually, what I hope is that it isn't just me coming in to see Katie teach, that is Justin in me coming in to watch Katie teach, right. And that's how we begin to build these communities. We're really everybody sees themselves as an instructional coach, because the only way you're going to grow and develop that exponentially, is you've got to get everybody on the same page, that we're all instructional coaches. And we already know that teachers learn best from teachers. But what we lack is the process and the framework to make sure that's happening on a daily basis, or at least a regular basis. And to me, that is is the way to continue to be really intentional build that capacity.

Katie Ritter:

I love that. And I think those are excellent tips for coaches. And I liked the emphasis that you put to on the observation piece, you know, we talk a lot relationships. First and foremost, you can't get anywhere without those, you know, good relationships in the trust. But I think a piece that is sometimes forgotten with coaches is that observation piece and getting in, you know, with the teacher and letting them really kind of see you as, as a partner and in those non evaluative observations and, you know, how can you help? How can you make suggestions, how can you partner if you don't know, what's actually going on, in in that teacher's room and what their students are and the challenges they're facing? And, you know, so I like the emphasis that you put on that too.

Justin Thomas:

You know, obviously, mindset is everything that goes along with that, too. And you had mentioned in your, in your book in the dialogue from a TED lasso, that something really did stand out to us from that. And that was be curious, not judgmental. So you talked a lot about getting in these classrooms with the observations, understanding the relationship and making in building that trust with teachers, but what advice might you have to coaches that are trying to help assume that positive intent with every teacher interaction, but also with those teachers that are really reluctant to change? And maybe having you come in and do some observations and things like that?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah. So there's a few ways Look at that. And so the first one, when it comes to this idea of people that are reluctant to change, right? Well, first of all, we're not really sure if that's really true. And we have to be careful about that. Because that can be a dangerous assumption, maybe they aren't reluctant to change, maybe they're just reluctant to work with the person right? relationship. So So that's an example. So the first thing I would do is obviously in the book recalibrate, I talked right away in the opening chapter about the power of y. And one of those powers of why is about behavior. In other words, why if the if it's true, that a person is reluctant to change, what we have to find out is why are they reluctant to change? Right, there's a story there. And again, as we open this, this conversation up those four core principles you mentioned, Justin, this is an example right away of Core principle number four, right? We know that when people go into the profession, we believe and we know this to be true is that people want to be effective. They want to be great at what they do. Nobody goes into profession to be ineffective and to be a failure and not make a difference. They didn't go into it for that reason. They went in for the opposite reasons. But now we do see behaviors and schools of people who are not their behavior does not align with what they said when they sat in that interview chair. The person we hired is no longer The same person. So rather than judge them when we talked about Ted last on that story about the curiosity is we have to be curious to try to understand, well, what happened, right? And that's Core principle number one, a culture rise, right? We have to invest time in people to understand that story, that person who has quote, unquote, lost their way. In other words reluctant to change. They weren't always that way. They have a story, they have experiences. And so we have to invest time in that relationship, again, to first of all, gain that trust to understand, will they talk to us? Will they tell us right, what happened? Right? And so that would be the first thing I would say. The second thing I would share on that thought is this is that when you think about individuals in our buildings, right, so let's just take any instructional coach, the number one question I ask instructional coaches is, the first thing I asked him Is, so talk to me a little bit about your visits to your classroom? Are you currently going into everybody's classroom or not? And why not? If you're not, and what they'll tell me is that they don't feel comfortable going into some classrooms. They really love going into some other classrooms. And most of them are pretty honest, that eventually, they shy away from people who they believe don't want them in their classrooms. And so unintentionally, what happens is we great, our biases will come into play. And we'll slowly start avoiding some classrooms. Because we don't feel welcome when we go in there, that we sense that they don't want our help. In fact, some of them have told us they don't want our help, right. And so and we also bring our own biases into what we hear other people about who's the good teachers and who's not the good teachers, right, those biases come into play. And so that's why it's really important is that when instructional coaches are introduced, and I talked about this a lot in the book, and I'm you know, it was one of the stories was I was just brokenhearted because I did have an instructional coach who told me, I'm wondering whether I made the right decision, I'm thinking about going back to the classroom that breaks my heart. And this young lady is five months into the job, and she's already questioning that tells me something was wrong with the process. Right, that should not happen. But that's because we're not clear. The staff doesn't know what their role is. She didn't know what her role was, no one communicated that effectively, to oftentimes administrators. And I'll be honest, I'm very critical of administrators. Because I believe it is their responsibility to set instructional coaches up for success. Now, on the other flip side, I'm very empathetic to them, because I know no one teaches us this, right? So I try to be really honest with people and say, Look, I'm not we're not here to judge or to be critical. But if we're going to get better than that means we all have to look at ourselves and say, What am I contributing to that? And what do I need to change about me in order to get a better result? Because we shouldn't want that to happen, right? And so these things all aligned to me. So the idea is that if we're going to get if we're going to create these environments, right, where these reluctant, you know, quote, unquote, teachers, I personally don't think they're reluctant. I really don't. I think they might portray that I think they might share that. But I believe still in my heart, they're still the same person who wants to be a great teacher. And so to me, it's first we have to ship that. But again, it's a process. So we just have to be really clear from the beginning. What is the role of instructional coaches? What is our expectation? What will her job be? What is the roles and responsibilities? What is your role responsibility as a teacher? Right? And or do people have an option to opt out? That's the number one issue I see is that we still have cultures where people are able to opt out and say, No, I don't want to start from coaching and in my classroom, is what, when did that ever become part of that equation, but it tells me again, as I always say, those really aren't teacher issues. In my opinion, those are leadership issues. If we're allowing people opt out, that is a leadership issue. And so, but again, I don't want to be critical of our administrators. These are things that are very complex, they don't teach us these things. Most principals shy away from that, because they don't want to create issues in their culture. And they know that if they take that on, it's going to create issues for them. So they avoid that, or they just don't even approach it. Because they don't want to upset people who are then going to go out and bash them. And so that's why it's so complex. And that's why I always think everything always goes back to the leadership but because it takes really strong effective leaders, to really set the tone to help instructional coaches to set them up for success. Because let's be honest, if you have a new instructional coach to the building, okay, you can see all the different variables, if it's a new person, if it's a young person, if it's a female versus a male, if it's an internal candidate versus an external candidate. There are so many variables that influence and impact why people want, why they do or don't want people that are in their class. For them, we have to be really clear with that upfront. And so that's usually my experience. If you have a young instructional coach, and all of a sudden there's a veteran teacher, unfortunately, sometimes veteran teachers get a bad rap that they don't want young people, because what are they going to teach him? I've been teaching for 20 years. But not every veteran teachers like that some veteran teachers love to learn from the next generation, right. But there are also some that don't. And so again, that's what we have to be really careful that we don't want to lump these labels, because they're, we're going to become part of the problem. And so, to me, we have to just be really clear from the very beginning, what is the expectation? What is the role, and as a leader, the building? Yeah, my expectation is that we're all instructional coaches, and Katie's gonna be coming in, and we're gonna be focused on relationships just for the first quarter, that's all we're going to be doing. The next quarter, we're going to be coming, just doing observations, my expectation is that everyone will be a participant in this will be a part of it, everybody eventually will be a part of it. And and we're going to put the right people into place, starting with our building leadership team to start laying that plan out what that's going to look like. And I do think we make these things more complex than they are. But at the same time, it's because well, they don't really teach us a whole lot. YEAH.

Katie Ritter:

Jimmy, thanks for getting on my soapbox. I'm standing right there with you. So thank you for that. I couldn't agree more. And thank you for I appreciate the way that you phrased that about, you know, they're not a reluctant teacher, and maybe they're reluctant to work with you as an individual. So I think like, one big takeaway that I just got from this conversation is like to assume positive intent going into a situation we can't, in the back of our minds be thinking that this person is reluctant to work on whatever it is we're working on. So that alone, I think if if we're thinking that then that's a big red flag that we're not approaching that conversation with, you know, most positive of intent. So let that be a little check. Check yourself at the door. I think if you've kind of got

Jimmy Casas:

lucky comes from because well, we've heard about these people, labeled so that we've heard it. So there are biases coming in and our judgments come in. But other times, it is from people's experience, I go in I sense that she doesn't want me to work with her. And that's where we have to be really careful and say, Well, I wonder why he doesn't want me to work with him or why she doesn't know. And now I have to build that relationship, to try to understand what's that story? I mean, how do I know that five years ago, there was an instructional coach who went into the classroom, watched her then went back to the building principal and said, Oh, my gosh, she's a terrible teacher, and that we wonder why she doesn't want people in our classroom. That's what people don't take time to understand if that if someone told me that, would that not changed my whole perception about this person? Now I understand why they don't want some of their classroom. Right? Yeah. That's why it's really important that relationship, and why we have to understand the story of people, everybody has them. Maybe it's because I don't want you to come in because I don't want you to think I'm a terrible teacher. It's my own anxiety that happens. You know, people have different reasons. And so if that's the case, fine, my job is to find out that Katie has anxiety when it come in. Great. Now I'm going to work with that. And I'm going to show her over time, because I want to build her confidence. And we're going to work on that to start with, right, we're not going to deal with the instruction right now we're just gonna deal with a building the confidence, right? And eventually we'll get to the instructional part, it's no different than a kid teachers are no different. The kids, if they don't feel safe, they're not going to learn either.

Katie Ritter:

Absolutely. Well, that actually, you know,

Jimmy Casas:

get all jacked up.

Katie Ritter:

We're all getting jacked up here together. And that actually leads me into the next thing that I wanted to talk about. And that's this whole idea. I liked the way that you phrased it in the book of systemic trauma, and how that affects educators so much. And I think, you know, some of what we're talking about whether it's the way the system has been structured, and we rolled out this, you know, new curriculum or new LMS, and then we didn't use it, and then we made teachers change everything and all their materials two years later, or whether it's their experience with a previous instructional coach, and in how that got rolled out. You know, I think that their systemic trauma is is real. And I just liked the wording that you put to pinpoint kind of what what is this thing that we know is going on to see it maybe we feel it ourselves. But I also I want to pull out a quote that you said in the context of discussing systemic trauma, and you said, when someone comes along and tries to instill a new way of doing business, it can manage to manifest itself with resentment toward those trying to bring about change. And that stood out as like a big moment to me in the context of instructional coaches specifically, because our our whole job a lot of times represents change in in you know how we teach To a new curriculum, goodness are like tech coaches in like a whole new way of you know, from a perception standpoint, you know, that represents a whole new way of doing things. So I'd love to hear your ideas on like, Where can a coach fit in to help mitigate some of that systemic trauma? And you you've kind of touched on it. But in the context of this, this kind of this concept here, how can we help mitigate that systemic trauma that our teachers face as a part of this larger system, when we are tasked with kind of moving some of that change forward?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah. Well, let's first of all, again, my experiences my opinions are, is that we have done a terrible job in our profession, by creating a narrative that teachers hate change, and I just don't believe that. And my experience is, at least the teachers I work with, they love change. You know what they hate them. They hate that we ask them to change, and we don't give them any guidance. We ask them to change. We don't give them any resources. We asked them to change, and we don't give them any time, right? If you give people the time to change, or we ask them to change, and yet, they don't have, we don't have a process in place to even implement change effectively. Then no wonder they hesitate, because their experiences with it have been poor, right. And now they to have a true anxiety about change. But it's coming because of past failures that have come from that and the trauma that they've experienced from that.

Katie Ritter:

Jimmy, that reminds me I I don't mean to interrupt you, I just want to share. You know, that reminds me I share a quote, I did not say this. But Jamie Kassab said when he was he was still with Google at the time speaking to a group and he said people aren't afraid of change, they're afraid of pain. So that just kind of you know, that just I, you know, that's what you're saying. Right? Like the the change is painful. When you're not given the support, you're not given the guidance, you're not given the expectations change is much less painful. When you understand why the change is being put in place. You have the supports in place you have, you know, a good plan to help make the change. So anyway, that was just like ringing in my head as you were saying that.

Jimmy Casas:

Katie Ritter just quoted Jamie Kass up and said, I reminded her Jimmy Castle,

Justin Thomas:

right here on the pot. You heard here first,

Jimmy Casas:

I hear on the pot on the pot. Yeah, Jamie's a good guy. So no, that's that's in that spot on. And I would agree with that. Right. And so this idea of systemic trauma, right. And so here's what I had to be a little careful. Because, you know, I also mentioned in the book earlier, Katie, is that I do worry that we have used COVID in the pandemic is our go to excuse for why all our issues exist now in school. Right? And I do question whether or not Was it really the cause? Or did it just expose us? Yes. And and, and so that's a conversation that I get beat up on a lot to be honest with you. Right? And because people hate it when I say that, right? And, but I try to speak truth, but at least I tried to explain it right. And I'm not saying I'm right, that's just my experience, right? Again, who's to say who's right and who's wrong, but, but I do create, I do try to create opportunities for people to reflect because my issue with it is, is because it gives me one more thing to blame. And therefore I don't want to look at myself, that's where it comes from, for me, right? And, and if that's the case, then I'm just gonna keep blaming, you know, I talked about that perimeter leadership versus inner leadership, right? If we're on the perimeter, that means we're just looking for someone to blame. And if you think about that, you can think about our relationships. I mean, think about our marriages, think about our work with our own children. Look, our teachers, sometimes around the perimeter with kids, you know, they blame the kids, because they can't teach kids who don't try can't teach kids who don't do the works either on the perimeter too. And that's a dangerous place to be, in my opinion, especially women, you know, I love to talk about self excellence and self growth and that we're responsible from around right. And so that's just my perspective. So. So the thing with trauma, though, that I'll say, is this systemic trauma, it's not the trauma that typically people think right, there is the horrific trauma that individuals have experienced. And that's not what I'm talking about here. Because, well, first of all, I would never minimize that, right. And I know that, I mean, I have people I've not experienced that type of horrific trauma. But at the end of the day, most of us have experienced some level of trauma throughout our lives, whether it was in our childhood, or teenage years, our adult lives or whatever, right? And we're all triggered in different ways. And so that's why again, relationships are so important, right? Because if we begin to know those experiences, then we can avoid those triggers, right? And we can approach it from a very compassionate, empathetic viewpoint. So the reason of systemic trauma that I'm talking about is exactly what you're talking about. Katie is first of all, we have to look at this in my opinion as a system. And so first of all, I see the system when it comes to a school district in three levels, right, the classroom, the building and central office, those three to me make up an entire system called the school district. And what I'm trying to help people understand is that at each level, whether it be central office building or classroom, we all play a role in creating that systemic trauma. Right? The number one thing I learned from the pandemic going into schools when when I when I began to try to, because here's what I was seeing is that I kind of believe that everybody's like, just hesitating. I mean, they're just like, right there, like through the level 10. Right. And I talked about that and recalibrate right there, the level 10, they have anxiety. And the more I started trying to understand it was because most of it was coming from when I would ask people, What do you think is causing that? And you know, it's like, Jimmy, I'll just be honest, I don't know what the hell they expected. I don't know what to do. I don't know what people want me to do. And it came to me it was it things became clear to me, it's like, Oh, my God, they are just lacking clarity. It's really hard. And I started reflecting on my own career. And I go back, and I would remember, like, in my moments when I struggled the most is Moses, because I didn't know what people expected me, right. What do you want me to do? What is it you expect me? What do you need for me? And so lack of clarity, lack of expectations, to me is the foundation of what's creating a lot of that systemic trauma, right? And then I started reflecting on Brene Brown, right? And I like, Oh, my God, that's what she means. Right? Clear, is kind unclear is unkind. And what she is saying is that when we are not clear in our expectations, it causes some people that get nervous to have anxiety, it causes trepidation, it causes them to be anxious, they begin to get nervous. They, they they hesitate. Right. They hesitate. And and eventually, what happens, at least in my experience, this I noticed with the building leaders, Katie is that these people are losing confidence. They don't think they can do the job anymore. And that just as a heartbreaker, I mean, imagine going to work every day with that kind of anxiety of I don't think I can do this. Well, hell no wonder we're struggling a bit. So then we begin. Right? Yeah. So we begin to break that down. And that's why I try to chunk it to show Hey, what role is the classroom that watch it replicate? And this is this is what I said, we're all I say that we're all responsible for the culture and climate of organizations. When I say that some people hate it. Right? They come at me hard, right? Oh, what's not my job? You know, now you're blaming teachers, it's not my job. That's your job. It's not my job to, you know, deal with a colleague who isn't doing their job. Yeah, it is. It kind of is. Right? Not in every aspect, right. But you see what happens we quickly create that division creates an undercurrent in our culture. Now we're on the perimeter, say not my job. That's your job, Principal. Oh, you're right, because one principal is going to manage 1600 students and 250 staff members, they're going to do that all by themselves, right? That's the problem, right? And so we have to change that and say, No, teachers, you play a role in the classroom? In other words, are you clear? Are your expectations clear to the kids know what to expect in your classroom? Behaviorally, socially, academically? They know what are they? Have you ever been really clear on that? Oh, building principle, you're being critical of a teacher who's not doing it. Hey, buddy, take a look at your own house before you start putting your fingers somebody else's. Get your own house in order. Right? You see it? That's what I'm trying to show people. This is systemic issue is causing this trauma in my opinion. And the trauma that I'm talking about is the hesitation the lack of competence, the I don't the doubt, I don't know if I can do this anymore. And if we're all walking around like this, well, hell wrong for getting traumatized. And so that's how I see it. So

Katie Ritter:

I like I felt when I was a handful of times that you know, I've heard you spoken some of your works that I've read. I feel like I need to introduce you to if you haven't met her yet. Deb Houser is an old colleague of mine. She's currently the assistant superintendent at Middletown City Schools. And she says, I share this quote with everyone all the time that she says, but she says culture is every interaction with every person every minute of every day. And we can't forget that. And so just things you say remind me of kind of that concept. And the idea that it's not the principal's job to create the culture for the entire building. Like we're all responsible for that and we're all responsible for every interaction that we have with every individual. Not that we're not all allowed a little fall from grace now and then we're human, but you know, we have to remember that and keep got in mind so I always think about that when I'm, you know, having a bad day or I'm frustrated, you know not to let not to take that out on other people because then I'm just gonna bring down that culture from that interaction. So

Jimmy Casas:

yeah, cultures behavior to me. That's just how I see it. Yeah,

Katie Ritter:

we're going to take a quick break from our sponsors and then we'll be we will be right back.

Brooke Conklin:

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Justin Thomas:

the Google educator bootcamp is a 13 week comprehensive series that will prepare educators to complete the Google for Education Level one or two certification. This series provides teachers with professional development on their own time to complete tasks that are built around showcasing their proficiency and understanding of the Google workspace for education tools. For more information on the Google educator bootcamp visit for heightened edge.teachable.com and begin earning your Google certification. Jimmy, this is I mean, this has been really eye opening for me. And this has been a great episode to kick off season three here, but we do like to end our episodes with top three tips. So Jimmy, what are some of your top three tips? And we've had tips all throughout this entire episode, obviously, but what are your top three tips for instructional coaches supporting the educators indeed have that recalibration?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah, I think that changes for me all the time. To be honest, I think it's kind of. And so if you asked me today, right now, I would say the first thing I would encourage isn't just for instructional coaches, it's probably for all of us. The first thing I'd say is just slow down. Slow down and just breathe a little bit, right. I think when we rush, that's when we're vulnerable. That's when we start making mistakes, we get sloppy, right? We say things and do things very quickly. Right? Yeah. And unfortunately, sometimes that causes damage, we hurt people. Right? So slow down. It's one thing I'd say slow down. Yeah, I would say number two is, see if this makes sense. A poor process is a magnet for poor results. So to me, if I'm not getting the results I want, then I have to look at my own behavior to try to understand why I'm not getting the results I want, right? So I have to look at is my process effective? Well, did I communicate effectively? Was my tone appropriate? Was I too aggressive? Was Was I judgmental? Did I shut down? Didn't was my body language saying hey, I'm not checked in right now. I'm kind of checked out. So to me, I remember I'm about self growth. I'm always I think it all starts with us. So that in so that's what I would say the second part is always look at the process. And what I've learned is that if you are not getting the results you want is because something's not right, you're with your process. And almost always the most important part of the process. There's exceptions, but at least pretty consistently, is because we didn't get people a voice in that process, we left them out. And, and when that happens, it becomes complicit. We're about compliance now. And we're no longer about an investment. So that would be the second thing I would say. And the third thing I would say is, let's see right now, just because I know what's going on with, you know, the mental health and wellness of people, I would say, first of all, be really intentional that look at things and really try to reframe it and ask yourself, is that issue right now that's frustrated me and elevating me or making me anxious? Is it really a 10? Or have I turned it into a 10? Because what I worry about is that educators are going to work and they're getting elevated about things that really are not tans. And the way I kind of remind people is, well, when you sat in the interview chair, and I asked you about that you said it was a one. And now today it's a 10. And I don't want to minimize their 10 Because for some I do believe it's a 10. But we have to ask, Well, why and how did it become a 10. And the greatest worry I have is I think we're impacting and influencing our own mental health. Because we're elevating things attend that aren't tense. And unfortunately, what happens? We take those 10s home with us too. And that's not good. That's not good for anybody, not for our children, not for our spouses. And so that to me is the mental health issue. issue that we're facing right now, again, I'm not talking about the serious mental health that people have that we know is very serious. Yes, that's different that might take medication that might be a chemical imbalance that might be, you know, genetically in their, in their systems. I'm not talking about that I'm talking about embracing common blood pressure. Oh, yeah, that's not good. That's not good. And so, anyway, so those are maybe some thoughts that I share right now. If you asked me tomorrow, I'd probably change and so

Justin Thomas:

I have to periodically check throughout the season and see

Katie Ritter:

ya, dad. Well, Jimmy, is there anything else that you want to add? You know, specifically, kind of speaking to instructional coaches listening to this podcast from your book that we didn't necessarily specifically ask you about anything else you want to add here?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah, I would just say if I was an instructional coach right now, and let's say I am struggling a little bit right. One thing I would do is I would just be really intentional. So the first thing I would do is I would probably go back and revisit and have a conversation with my supervisor and say, Hey, what is it exactly that you expect of me? What is it you want me to accomplish? I mean, I think sometimes we kind of go, hey, well, nobody tells me and I don't know what to do I know well, then go ask right. Go ask, you know, take the initiative to go find out that right, that'd be the first thing I'd say. The second thing is, you know, I always say to coaches, again, is that if we're truly coaches, right, whether we're instructional coaches, leadership, coaches, baseball, whatever the coach is, I still see it from the heart of a teacher, right, I don't want them to forget that they're still teachers. And I do think sometimes they blur those lines between closet administration. And I think sometimes leaders put them in that position, they start bringing them into their inner circle, they're in conversations, they really shouldn't be a part of those conversations, they are still teachers by contract. And I would encourage our administrators don't blur the lines don't because we set them up for failure because they too will become a they, right. And that is because teachers will lose trust. And they'll see them as quasi administrators, and they will play the role of the quasi industry. And they're not administrators. And so we have to be really clear to our staff to say, Hey, listen, these teacher, these, this instructional coach, I'm going to be meeting with him or her regularly. But when we do, it's because we're talking about instruction and what we're seeing in the building, but I assure you, we are not talking about you. We're not talking about names, we're not here to evaluate that is not his or her role, that's my job. Their role is to assist you, their role is to support you, their role is to build relationships, their role is to build, you know, capacity, whatever that is, just be clear with that. And then I would say to instructional coaches, when they are put in the position of feeling like they're right there, I think it's okay for them to say, hey, you know what, I appreciate that. But I hope you understand that it's really important to me that I maintain my integrity by not sharing specific names or what I'm seeing or who's working with and who's not. And it's just really important, and I hope you understand that. Having said that, I promise you this, I will continue to encourage the individuals who are hesitating to seek you out to share their concerns with you, but I don't feel that's my place for it to come from me. And to me that kind of goes in line with Don't let anyone take your excellence away from you.

Katie Ritter:

Well, that's great. Yeah. Well, Jimmy, I can't imagine anyone listening to our podcasts maybe doesn't know how to find you. But just if you want to share social media website, you know, where can people buy the book? If they would like to read it and bring it to their leadership teams? Hopefully? Where are all the places people can find you and purchase your book recalibrate?

Jimmy Casas:

Yeah, well, first, probably the easiest place is just go to the website, Jimmy constants.com. And because everything is really there, the way the contact, if you want to purchase a book, I would tell people, if you're gonna buy an individual book, obviously, Amazon or through the website is the quickest way and the cheapest way. But if you're going to do bulk orders, I always tell people doesn't make a difference to me, because we get paid the same amount of money. But you're definitely better off to go through us because we'll give you a bulk order pricing will pay for the shipping, it's much cheaper. So anything we consider 10 bucks is a bulk order. So we're not asking people to buy hundreds of books for a bulk order. So again, we just want people to read it, we think it can help people. At least the feedback that I've gotten on it so far, people tend to like it. And that makes me feel good, because you're always a little vulnerable when you put something out there. But definitely I would love to continue the conversation on typically Twitter and Instagram are my go to tools. So that'd be cost us underscore Jimmy. But if they Google J Carson associates, they'll do Facebook, YouTube, if they want to catch some videos, we do have a weekly show on you know, on the weekends with Joe cephalopod myself, if you can, if you're interested in that you can catch the live So or recorded versions of that as well. So But Jimmy kasa.com, pretty much everything is there, and we'll navigate that by what you need.

Katie Ritter:

Great. Well, thank you so much I can say, kind of as a final, glowing endorsement, Justin, and I really enjoyed getting an opportunity to read it in preparation of this conversation. And we're excited to take it back this conversation, especially taking lots of notes of conversations, our own team can have to take back in our own work and hopefully kind of, you know, carry that banner from this book into our schools that we serve, if you will. So, Jimmy, thank you so much for coming on. This has been a true joy to have you on the show, and I'm super excited.

Jimmy Casas:

I appreciate thank you both so much. And if I can help in any way, hope you won't hesitate to reach out. Okay. God bless you. And thank you for what you do. I'm really proud of you guys. Thank

Katie Ritter:

you so much. All right, so be sure to subscribe to restart, recharge wherever you listen to podcast, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok at our our coach cashed in. Since this is the season opener, we'd love if you would also take just a few seconds in your podcast app. If you scroll down to the bottom or click at the top depending on what app you're in. You can also give us a rating and review if you've found this podcast helpful at all. We would really appreciate that that kind of helps other folks find our podcast and help us connect with other instructional coaches so we can hopefully connect with them and help them too.

Justin Thomas:

Yeah, absolutely. And even to on the social media you can reach out to us and if there's anything on your mind, let us know but also feel free to share out anything that we have out there to move that helps other coaches find us Yeah,

Katie Ritter:

carry our banner. Yeah, yeah. So with that, press the restart button,

Justin Thomas:

recharge your coaching batteries and leave feeling equipped and inspired to coach fearlessly with the restart recharge podcast

Katie Ritter:

a tech coach collective

Justin Thomas:

Well, if you want to go ahead Are we recording we are recording now? Yes,

Katie Ritter:

it wouldn't be an episode by itself.