Restart Recharge Podcast

020 - Telling Your Story- Taking control of the Narrative

November 16, 2021 Forward Edge Season 10 Episode 20
Restart Recharge Podcast
020 - Telling Your Story- Taking control of the Narrative
Show Notes Transcript

Who is telling your story if you don’t? 

Telling the story of what we do and the story of the good stuff happening in the classrooms and buildings can transform our schools for the better. On today’s episode, we’ll be discussing the ins and outs of “telling your story” with Ryan McLane, co-author of Your school rocks, so tell people, and our very own master story-teller, Michael Roush. We all have a story to tell, let’s start telling it today! 

Links mentioned in the show:

Forward Edge Coaches Camp Pre-Registration

Follow Ryan on Twitter

Follow Michael on Twitter

Ryan's book: Your School Rocks, So Tell People

Michael's TEDx Talk

Podcast Team

Hosts- Katie  Ritter & Justin Thomas

Editing Team- Megan Whitacre, Mallory Kessen, Michael Roush, Mark Gumm,

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

Creative/Content Team- Brooke Conklin, Emily Cowan, Tracee Keough

Producers- Tyler Erwin & Katie Ritter

Justin Thomas:

hit the restart button to recharge those batteries

Katie Ritter:

Aloha, I am 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 to help you in your everyday work as an instructional technology coach, or, you know, whatever they call you in your school district.

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:

And we have a really great episode here today, because we want to know who is telling your story if you don't so telling the story of what we do, and the story of all the good stuff that's happening in our classrooms in our in our buildings, and our school districts can transform our schools for the better. So on today's episode, we'll be discussing the ins and outs of telling your story with Ryan McLean, co author of the book your school rocks, so tell people and our very own master storyteller Michael Roush. So we all have a story to tell let's start telling it today. And let me introduce Ryan MC Lane Ryan currently serves as the assistant superintendent and has also served as a principal and Director of Special Education for the West Muskingum local school district located in Zanesville Ohio. He is also the co author of the book your school rocks, so tell people and he is a passionate educator about learning, making learning fun should say and sharing those experiences with the community. Through the use of social media. Ryan began his career as a high school social studies teacher and a business teacher, where he taught for 12 years and also coached football and wrestling before making the transition to administration is also a graduate of Muskingum College and Xavier University. Ryan lives just outside of Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters. So welcome, Ryan McLean. Thank you for joining us here on the restart recharge podcast.

Ryan McLane:

Hey, great to be here. Thanks for having me. I look forward to talking with you this afternoon.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, and thanks for fitting us in with all of your free time that it sounds like you have Ryan not sure how you found time in everything you do to write a book, but we're honored to have you join us for a little bit of time on the podcast. So we're glad to have you. I'll go ahead and introduce Michael Roush. You may have heard Michael on the podcast previously, he's been on a few episodes with us. Michael Roush specializes in educational technology, assistive technology, and the Universal Design for Learning. Michael was a 2018 TED X date and speaker where his talk was titled lessons my daughter with autism has taught me and I can personally speak to the fact that it will bring you to tears. And Michael and his wife, Angie live in rural Southwestern Ohio, they have four adult children to in grade school and one grandson, Michael's passion and education is helping every student learn to be able to define and achieve what the highest level of success means for them. And we're super excited to have Michael with Ryan and us during this episode, because Michael actually led a little workshop for our team over the summer, around TED X in storytelling, which kind of led to this larger discussion and interest on our team and ultimately invited Ryan into the conversation as well with his expertise and background in this as well. So welcome back to the podcast, Michael.

Michael Roush:

Thank you very much, Katie. It's great to be back with you.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. All right, guys. So let's kick it off. Ryan, in your book, your school rock. So tell people, you talk about two challenges that schools face today. Could you share those with our listeners a little bit more and just give a little bit more background on what led you to identifying those two challenges that you discuss?

Ryan McLane:

Yeah, absolutely. So we we wrote the book, Eric Lowe, who's the superintendent at Beaver local, he and I wrote this book about five years ago now. And I think the two challenges are still there. knots, invisibility and misinformation. And it seems like the frustration in education is you know, a lot of great things are happening. And no one knows about them. Or there's a bunch of misinformation going on in the community about something that is whereas not happening in our schools. And I think both of those hold true today. When Michael and I were in school, I feel like the two of us are older than the two of you. But the only chance the public knew about what was going on in our classrooms is if we were fortunate enough to be featured in the local newspaper, perhaps one time a year so maybe once a year. They the newspaper would do a puff piece on your school something That was going on. And that was it. And with all the tools that are available to us today with the iPhone or an iPad, social media, waiting for a news outlet to do a story on you is just, you know, hoping, whereas you can control that narrative. And also, and again, we see this in a lot of things, not just schools today, but misinformation. How many times do you see something on Facebook, that's not even remotely true? Now, at least being on social media, we're aware that it's out there, so we can address it, or we can actually respond and set the record straight?

Katie Ritter:

I love that that is like perfectly captured. Invisibility and misinformation. Yes, I feel like you could like digest everything going on into those two problems.

Justin Thomas:

You really could because I mean, people have these made up conceptions of what is going on in our school. And that's kind of a loose of that misinformation. So you're absolutely right, I mean, kind of in the, you know, not even 10 I mean, 1020 years ago, even there's situations where you just had a kind of hope for that local newspaper to kind of feature a story about what cool things you're doing. But then even that, you know, kind of fades away with time, but with social media and everything like that, it is critical to take advantage of being able to really showcase what your school is doing to provide that, you know, lift the invisibility cloak there and show what is happening, which is awesome. My goal, you've led our team in some work recently about telling your story or controlling your own narrative. Could you provide a little bit more detail on what telling your story means?

Michael Roush:

Yeah, it's it's, uh, some people hear a story and they think it has to has to fit some some special structure or some you know, something like that, or are they think oh, you know, I don't, I don't have a story. There's, there's nothing special, there's nothing unique. But the fact is, whether you're whether we're talking about you, someone, you know, your your company, your organization, your school, your your district, your building your classroom, whatever it is that you're that you're thinking about on this, that your you or your or that organization's existence, up until this moment has been a unique set of circumstances that have led to you or your organization being what it is. Some of that's good, some of that's bad, but whatever it is, it's uniquely you. And it's, you're the only one who has gone through that set of circumstances. So really telling your story just means giving people a little peek behind that curtain. Letting them know what's what's going on what has gone on in that process, what is going on what has gone on to get you there. So that they understand a little more so that they build some empathy for for you for the circumstance, what's going on. Now there's, there's some openness to vulnerability that has to happen there. And I think that's the scary part. I think that's the part that people get a little nervous about. But I gotta tell you, and I think Ryan will will concur on this when talking about your school district that I'm constantly learning in my life that I would much rather people hear the truth about me and have to ignore it, then hear a lie about me and just believe it because there's no thing there's no other message out there to to contradict it.

Katie Ritter:

I love that that is awesome. So in this this context of telling your story, and you have a unique story to share, kind of pairing that that piece with the concepts and the challenges from Ryan's book with invisibility and misinformation. I feel like coaches who is you know, really our our primary audience listening to this podcast, coaches in schools I think have kind of this really unique role to help bridge that storytelling gap if you will. They see what's what may be invisible to many others by being in so many classrooms and teachers we often say don't usually brag on themselves and as coaches we tried to brag on them in our episode 18 broke talked about you know, relentlessly bragging on teachers as a coach so really making those things not invisible anymore. And they they really serve as change agents across the district by helping to clarify some of that misinformation but I think you know, Michael to your piece a little bit about like telling the story, sometimes putting yourself out there sometimes, you know, encouraging someone else to put themselves out there if that's even the role that they're serving. It can be like you said, having that vulnerability piece can just be a little bit nerve wracking some times so if this concept is brand new, what what advice might the two of you give to someone to help them get started with this whole idea of storytelling? laying and telling the school story telling your individual story what how would you recommend people get started.

Ryan McLane:

So I think there's two different ways you have to look at this and I know your, your target audiences as coaches and, and when I speak about this, the majority of the time, it's directed at schools and districts and how they can do it. But I feel like it's, it's important, really more now, so than ever for, for coaches, because you've got to, you've got to establish your value in a district. So, I can't think of a person that it's more important to make sure they're sharing the positive things that are happening in the schools, the positive influence those coaches are having on the teachers than the coach themselves. So here here, there's a reason that the coaches should be listening to this, I think, first of all, you've got to commit to doing it. So you've got to, you've got to jump in and do it or, or you're never, never going to do it. So I think that's the the biggest thing is a commitment to, hey, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna get these stories out there. Because in turn, no, I'll speak as an administrator, again, if if I've got a coach that's doing their primary job of coaching our teachers, and improving their instruction in the experience for our kids, and then they start creating some of this content, man, they're making me look really good. And they're getting a lot of this done for me, I'm gonna, I'm gonna place a whole lot of value in that individual. So, you know, talking about social media. I, I've got three things here. One, does your does your school have a social media platform that they use, when we wrote this book five years ago, maybe one or two hands would would raise in an audience. Now it's the opposite. So I think the majority of schools are embracing social media, even though most of us probably wish it didn't exist. We are we are embracing it, too, if you're going to start using using it, start with photographs. So if you're going to share the experiences and the great things that are happening in the classrooms, sharing a photograph is a good way to start. Because it's quick, it's easy, you can catch it in the moment, it's not going to take a whole lot of your time away from your primary job as a coach. And again, make sure you know your school's policy of who can be photoed and who can't. And then finally, if you can transition to video, creating videos of what is happening, those experiences, it's going to be so significant, because what ends up happening is when we share those photos and those videos, when the kid goes goes home from school, the parents no longer has the obligatory. What did you do at school today, they say, Hey, I saw on Facebook, you had some pilots from Southwest Airlines in your class, tell me about that. And then the kid can't shut up. And now you've got you're sitting around at dinner, you're sitting on the couch, let me just think about that. I've got two kids of my own. And if they're talking about the great things that are happening at school, that's going to make me feel a whole lot better, and have a whole lot more confidence in what's going on in my kids schools in my classrooms. And it's a win for everyone involved.

Katie Ritter:

I love that I feel like our listeners can't see the I feel like a bobble head where all the rest of us are nodding, really hard to what you're saying. I love that I love the idea, especially of of the photos and videos to really kind of invite those people into the school who can't actually be there. during the school day, I feel like it's every teacher's dream to have their kids actually go home and talk about what they learned today not saying nothing, because we do something all day. I mean,

Justin Thomas:

if you think about it to some of those schools that you know are always kind of the you think of those like the leading schools or schools that are always like up there in the leaderboard like leaning change, leaning innovation, a lot of those schools are showing it right by their social media. So I think that's so important about how like you said about five years ago, maybe just a couple of hands here there and more schools have jumped on board, but there still are schools out there. They're kind of struggling to find this. And it's so important because it does have those conversations. The conversation starter should say with those students at home, just simply because, you know, parents just easily follow the school, whether it's on Twitter or Instagram or wherever, and then they're able to see the amazing things that students are doing and say, Hey, what happened today? Let's talk about so this and the students like you said, I mean, once it's something like that, they just go on and on and on about how excited they are about it.

Katie Ritter:

That's awesome. Michael, what tips do you have for getting people started?

Michael Roush:

I think my my biggest thing on this one is don't let don't let the first time somebody asks you to tell the story. Be the first time you tell the story. You have to practice it. You have to rehearse it, you have to refine it, you have to you have to work on it before or somebody sticks the microphone in your face? To ask you the question. Because if that's when you start trying to put the story together, it, it won't be there. It just, it just won't happen. If you and you know, some guided questions can really help you with that. You may not have an answer right now, I mean, if we asked if we ask the coaches listening to this, you know, why did you why did you decide to do this? Some of them may be like, Well, I'm not really sure. I know, but I can't tell,

Katie Ritter:

especially this year, they might say, I'm not really sure.

Michael Roush:

But then, you know, when if you if you break that down a little bit, and you go with some, some little more guided questions to get into it. I think, you know, if if I if I would ask if I would ask the coach who is listening to this podcast, it's like, okay, you show up for school tomorrow, and all of your appointments are canceled? What are you going to do with the day? Now, you're going to start answering the question, Why did I do this? Because the stuff that you get to choose, you know, and so when, when you're responding to what's what's telling your story, it's really getting at that that essence of, you know, okay, I can I can tell, I can talk all day about what I do. I can even talk a little bit about how I do what I do. But until I can answer that question about why I do what I do, that's when we're really digging into the meat of this, of this idea of of telling your story.

Ryan McLane:

So what what caused me to do this was, I mean, this was well before we read the book, obviously, but I was following a principal from Virginia on Twitter. And he was doing this weekly video newsletter. And I sat there and watched it, and his was like, five minutes long. And the first couple minutes was, you know, pictures and videos from the week. And then the last, you know, minute or two was him talking to the camera, about what, what was coming up, like what families needed to know what was coming up for school. And that was like my aha moment, because I had zero connection to the sky. I didn't have like a nephew in the school. I didn't, I didn't really know him outside of Twitter. And I just spent five minutes watching a video about his entire school. And then I didn't read a single newsletter. of my kids from their school that was coming home, their principal, sent home a paper newsletter every single Friday. And I love their principal. She's She's a great lady, great principal, not once did I ever read that newsletter? And I'm thinking to myself, I won't read something about my own kid, because I've got to pick up a piece of paper and read it. But I'll watch a five minute video from a guy in Virginia that I have no connection to, like, why am I not doing this? So I at that moment, I was like, You know what, I'm going to do it. So we created a video newsletter, the next. I think this was like on a Wednesday, I did it the next Friday, and it was horrible. Like, no talk about should have practice, no practice. I was like, You know what, I'm going to do it, it's going to be horrible. I'll never do it again. But at least I can say I tried. And the feedback I got from families was just remarkable. Like, we love seeing photos of the kids. We love seeing the teachers, we loved hearing you tell us what was going on, maybe smile a little bit more. So I would do it every week, I was a principal for from that point on for eight more years. And pretty much every Friday I did I called it the weekly video newsletter. And I kept it under three minutes long. And we would post it on Facebook, and just the amount of engagement we got from our community. So if you're if you're a coach, and you're skeptical about this, or maybe you're thinking I want to try this, here would be my challenge for you over the next week. Just take some photographs of the class, the classes that you're in the cool things that you're seeing. And then I use an app on the iPhone, it's called quick to you ik I think go PROMIX. It's free. And what it allows you to do is just add photos, and it'll it'll transition the photos and sync it up to music for you. So you can select how long you want the video to be. So just in the trial, run, do something for 60 seconds, and then watch it and then think would my community want to see this? And 100 out of 100 times? The answer is going to be yes, they will be all over.

Katie Ritter:

I love

Justin Thomas:

that. It really is. I think the visual components is so important on this and Ryan, I don't know what your football fandom is down here. We're obviously Bengals fans. And if I were to tell you about this amazing touchdown that burrow had to Jamar Chase. You'd be like, Well, that was cool. But if I showed you the actual video of it, you'd be more apt to be like Well, that was cool. That was awesome. That was good. Rate play. So I think that visual component is so important. And even like you said, it takes, it takes a little bit of time. But just having that visual, it shows the community that you are interested in actually creating this video for them. Little bit more. I mean, obviously, with your newsletters, you know, it's kind of you suspect that you might be making it but at the same time, it can be well, so you know, that kind of divvy that off to someone else? Or how exactly but if you're, if you're sitting there in the video, it's more than likely going to be you that taking the time to sit down, show off some amazing pictures and videos of what is happening in the school district and really make that community connection. Yeah,

Ryan McLane:

and I grew up in Pittsburgh, so that visual really hurts.

Justin Thomas:

We'll just leave it at that, then. Yeah, let's leave it at that. All right, well, moving on. So we kind of talked about how you get started with telling your story. Obviously, it's, it's something that needs to be told. But too many people that concept of telling your story can be very daunting. You've kind of maybe you've gotten started, but you know, there's always the moments where you're trying to turn back, you don't really want to go completely through it. And we'll talk a little bit more about how you can kind of break that mental block or that hesitation after a break from our sponsors. Looking for a program that reaches all teachers and learning new tools to integrate in their lessons. And you badges is the answer he was in anytime anywhere badging program that is designed to take bite sized tools for instruction and teach teachers how to use them. He has received the SDC of alignment for Educator Standards, and each badge in our expanding library is aligned to the ISTE standards and the Samer model. Learn more about the program that teachers call addicting and for hyphen edge dotnet backslash and you badges. Welcome back to the restart recharge podcast, Justin Thomas with Katie Ritter, the two coasts of the podcast and we have on our podcast episode today, Ryan Mclean and Michael Roush talking about storytelling and the importance of storytelling in your school district. And before we took a break here, we were kind of talking about how you can kind of overcome that hesitation, a mental block, because really, the concept is telling your story. Let's be honest, for some of us, it might be very simple. We're like, Yeah, let's go, we're excited, ready to tell the story. But for others, they want to tell the story, but they're not exactly sure how to do it, or how to kind of go through it. And they may have gotten started, but can be very daunting, people might not think they have that significant story to tell. So they might not be sure how to fully construct their story as well. And we want to make sure that they don't kind of turn back away from telling their stories. So what kind of tips or ideas do both of you have on recommendations for helping people overcome that hesitation, or just that mental block where they kind of get halfway through and not really sure, kind of how to continue on?

Michael Roush:

The first thing I think about what I when I hear this question, especially when you talk about somebody saying, you know, I, I don't have a story to tell. Man, I just they think you know, I don't have a story to tell. But when you start when you start from the idea that everyone has a story to tell. And it's important for that story to be told, you start seeing elements of that story and other people, as they, as you talk to them, as you learn more about them, then you can start drawing more pieces of that out of them. The more the more you pay attention for those for those things and other people, the more you start seeing it in yourself and and in the systems that you that you really work in. You know, it's no, it's not easy. I mean, come on. It's, we're complex individuals or complex organizations, it shouldn't take 10 seconds to deconstruct all of that into a into a, you know, a into what the core story is. Now, when you get there, he might think oh, yeah, you know what that was? That was actually you know, that, that that's, that's yeah, that's it? Why didn't I see that before? Why didn't I know? Right away that that's what the that's what the core of this was? I think, my my biggest part part of this that I that I have to say is when somebody says I don't I don't have a story. No, you do have a story yet. You just don't know what it is. And but most importantly, you don't know yet why it matters to someone else out there. The reason stories matter to us is because they build empathy. You that we tell the story and the person who is hearing the story sees part of themselves in it. They can put themselves in your story. They know somebody who is part of your story, they are a part of your story. They're doing something similar, they're going through something similar, so that when you're telling your story, you're you are building empathy and That is what's going to and really draw, draw people together to work for that to be about that that common cause. So is it daunting? Is it? Yeah, I mean, obviously, yeah, it seems it seems like a huge task when you're first getting started. But it's those small pieces and getting it that that core piece. And once you see people kind of nodding along, once you see people kind of they get it, they started, then you know, the brakes are off. And this thing, this car is gonna start rolling downhill, it's just going to keep picking up speed. I'm going to I'm going to throw in another quick story, I may have to edit this one out. The the great philosopher, Joe Walsh, guitar player for the Eagles member of the rock'n'roll Hall of Fame, all that kind of stuff. I once saw a special with him in that secondary, he would he would meet people all the time, that would tell him, oh, you know, I've loved your music for a long time. By the way, I have a band, I'm in a band. And he would say his first. First thing he would say back to those people is Oh, that's fantastic. When's your next gig. And that's all, you know, you know, we don't have a gig yet. And he would say, well, then you don't have a band. If if you're not doing what you do in front of people, if you're not telling your story, if you're not out there, putting your story in front of people, you don't have a band, you're just a bunch of guys hanging out in your mom's basement.

Justin Thomas:

or garage or garage, I know.

Michael Roush:

You're going to, I hope we don't get the explicit tag for you're going to suck at first. It's gonna happen but you you've got to get out there. And you've got to you've got to do what you're doing in front of or for people. In order for your message to get across and for your story to be told for you to really build your community and find your tribe.

Ryan McLane:

I agree with, you know, one of the first things Michael said, I wrote down word for word, everyone has a story to tell. You just have to figure out what it is that's worth sharing. Before I came to West, the superintendent here he and I had worked together and in a previous district years ago, and when we talked about, you know, the possibility of me coming to west, you know, I had some questions. They had just built a state of the art elementary school, I think a year prior year or two prior to me this Converse conversation taking place. But enrollment had been had been down. And the new school didn't didn't change that. So as we're having these conversations, I asked him flat out, I said, you know, is there anything good happening at your school? Or is it is it not good? And he goes, No, there's good things happening. Just no one knows about it. And the perception is that nothing good is going on. And we were routinely losing students to a neighboring school district to open enrollment. They had better athletic teams, athletic facilities. The perception was the academics were better. And we were we were losing kids, a ton of kids. So I said, Well, if you've got things going on, we you know, we can we can fix that if if you don't have anything good going on, then you can tweet and Facebook posts all you want. But if it's garbage, it's garbage. Yeah. And he said, No, that's not the case. So in the four years since then, our enrollment has just absolutely exploded. To the point where we're we're almost outgrowing our brand new state of the art Elementary School. We went from a typical class of being about 100 students to now we're, you know, we're pushing 140 In our kindergarten class. So it's, it's an actual example of, you know, we, we were sharing our story when good things happen. We were putting pictures, we were posting about it, we were creating videos, and we were basically jamming it down people's throats that, you know, our school is a great school. In today, today was a perfect example. Just state test. Data came out last week, the dreaded state report card day, but it was actually a great day for us because our third graders had the highest passing rate of any school within a seven county radius. That's how we scored higher than schools that you know, we we have no business scoring higher than so. Yeah, we posted an infographic about today. And it's getting shared like crazy. And again, the perception of us not being a good school is long gone, and people are now open enrolling in our district so it's not going to happen. overnight, but I can say in just a little over three years at West Muskingum, we've seen a tremendous difference.

Katie Ritter:

Congratulations. I mean, that has to feel great to see, you know, a lot like you're kind of saying it's not overnight, sometimes it's a long haul, so has to feel good to kind of see the fruits of that labor of all those efforts that you've been putting in, they're really starting to, you know, to pay off to change that perception. You know, because we say here sometimes that, you know, perception can really feel like reality, when that's what everyone believes, right, the misinformation that you talked about at the beginning, if that's really what everyone believes that, how are we changing that? Right? So that's awesome to see that, that you guys are turning that around?

Justin Thomas:

Yeah, I mean, it's one of those fantastic things, too, with just talking to the coaches specifically out there that are listening in on this. I mean, even if you are out there, tweeting, some different things are happening in the classroom, community is going to be enjoying it. But I mean, I'm sure you're creating those feelings. You're out there on Twitter, and the Twitter verse and things like that. And there might be a coach is struggling to try and wrap their head around a concept for a class and then boom, they see your image of third graders working on, you know, using Book Creator or something like that, and reading aloud with that. And then you're like, Oh, that's it, the aha moment. So you can take that back to your district, whether that's the same county state, throughout the country, maybe somewhere else in the world? I don't know. But the fact is that, I mean, it's out there. And that's something that it's not only just for the community, and for the people that are within the school district connected there, but even further coaches and other educators and administrators that are all across the world.

Katie Ritter:

Like yeah, we like to share with each other. Oh, yeah. Okay, so kind of what what I'm kind of hearing the two of you talk about, I'm almost kind of thinking about storytelling, kind of parceling in like two different buckets where, you know, Ryan, I'm hearing you particularly like where the work of the coach can help share those, like individual pockets of great things that are happening to make sure those are coming out and people in the community and our families and our lead our district leaders see that these things are going on. And Michael, I'm really kind of hearing you speak to maybe the individual story that might help with greater change, or like the collective vision story that we have not not that vision statement that we work through in strategic planning and slap on a slap on a piece of paper somewhere on the website, but really like the really deep, why that we can all kind of strive and we're all working toward that same goal. So kind of kind of thinking about, you know, both both bucket no matter which is like important. Both are important, I think maybe to work together, but kind of from those two perspectives. And thinking about that. How do both of you maybe combine that that feeling of what you're doing and sharing on campus, paired with all of the job responsibilities in a way that is helping to to lead others being the teachers or the students to achieve their goal? How are we using those stories to help others achieve their goal?

Ryan McLane:

So I would say it's helping our teachers, they might not realize it, but if if we can create, you know, again, when Michael and I were in school, whatever the teacher said, was law, and we weren't going to come home and convince our parents that the teacher did something wrong. And the parents, the mom or dad was gonna believe our version and and have a meeting with the teacher with just a different generation, that whatever the teacher said was, well, that's not the case anymore. So when, when I am sharing stories about the great things that are happening, it's almost so that the parents are reassured they're not questioning the teacher trying to build that credibility with the teacher in the family that hey, if if Mrs. So and so is sending a note home about Billy, there's probably an issue there. We don't need to question because in the parents, and I've had this conversation, the parent is like, you know what? I've seen what's going on Ms. Hassan says class, I've seen it on Facebook. I've seen it in the videos. So I have a really hard time believing, you know, Johnny, that what you're telling me is, is happening in class. I guess that was a really long way of saying I'm trying to help the teachers get the benefit of the doubt with families, because they've seen so many good things that are happening throughout the school year on social media.

Katie Ritter:

Sure.

Michael Roush:

Yeah. And I'll I'll go a little a little bigger on this. I had talked a little bit on a previous question about how telling your story was about building empathy. And you know, making making me here feel like they're part of you're making them and helping them understand how they are part of your story and where they fit. But once people see themselves in your story, and they know where they fit in your story. That's where you can bring, that's where you have to bring in the call to action. telling a great story is great at selling, you know, you're telling a great story, you might entertain people, you might. But once the empathy is built, then you can bring in the call to action. And that's where and I don't know if Ryan will affirm this or try to shrink away from it. But you know, West Muskingum now and he was kind of alluding to this earlier. His district now is a place where parents are saying that's where I want my kid to go. Bigger than that his district is a place now where there are people who teach in other districts who are getting ready to become teachers who are saying, that's where I want to teach. I want to work in that district, I want to I want to teach for that guy. You know, I want to work for that guy. There's, I don't think there's a way to overstate how powerful that is. And that's what, that's what empathy does, when you can build that empathy and then, you know, bring in the call to action, Ryan's Ryan's not telling Ryan's not telling their story, to sell more books, he's not telling their story to get more hits on his social media feeds. He's telling their story in order to help West Muskingum be the most successful district that it can be to produce, you know, great people to put out into the into the world. And once people see that, and once people know that that's what's happening. They just they, they want to be part of it, they're invited to join along. And they and they they jump in.

Ryan McLane:

Yeah. And we I feel like we've we've created more of a team atmosphere where it's not us versus them in terms of school family, it's more of a team concept of, hey, we're all on the same page. We're all working together to make sure Billy and Susie can be the best that they can be. So what what do we need to do? How can we work together to make sure we're putting this kid out for success. And I will admit to what Michael said, we, we have in this district, and in my previous district, we've, we've been able to attract teachers, because they they kind of see the things that are going on. And you know, we we give our teachers a lot of freedom we, we have certain things that we expect. But we give our teachers a lot of freedom and creativity to do some unique things. And when people know about that it does become a place where they come to work, I'm sure we have people that would like to be other places, I think you're going to have that anywhere. But I think a lot more people want to be here than don't. And that's from prospective students, prospective teachers, and even prospective administrators, we, we didn't have a difficult time finding my replacement, when I transitioned from the role of principal to assistant superintendent. And again, word was out of the good things in the trajectory that our school in our district are on.

Katie Ritter:

Heck, yeah, I think you have three more people who want to be a part of it right here.

Justin Thomas:

Ryan, you had stated in your book talking about a high connection factor for engagement. So when you're telling your story to others, what are some tools that you can use to create that high connection factor for your engagement?

Ryan McLane:

So I mentioned this earlier, but I think it answers the question, photos and video shortly. And I use that app called quick. And what I actually found out because I know you've got some listeners here that are thinking this to themselves, I'm already busy. How am I going to find time to do this? And, and if you're driving and you're like yes, I was thinking that yeah, don't wreck. But actually, it actually was saving me time, I was able to create these Video Newsletters in less time than it was taking me to type up a newsletter or anything like that, because I had my phone with me. I was taking pictures in the moment. So wasn't one more thing. It was something that was happening while I was doing whatever it was visiting a classroom, observing a teacher, you know, whatever. So it's not going to be as time consuming as you think. And again, that challenge that I gave earlier, just take some pictures this week. If you don't have that app, download it and create a 62nd video. All you do is you pick the pictures that you want and select the length of time you want the video montage to be and you're done like you will you will finish this in less than two minutes. And again, what what impact that would have maybe the first time you're going to do it you'll just share it with you know whoever you report to whether that's a principal or if you've got another coach that's the head coach that everyone reports to just share that and say, you know, I know our focus this month has been, you know, small group instruction in math. Here, here's, here's some of it in action. And again, show your value that, hey, whatever you've been charged to do, you're getting there, it's being implemented. And eventually you'll see the results.

Katie Ritter:

Right. I love that. I feel like you just reshaped tech coach newsletters everywhere. I can see everyone like, Oh, I'm gonna save so much time.

Ryan McLane:

I guess I've got a question for you. Because you work with coaches far more than I do. Yeah, the majority of coaches you work with is their primary role to work with teachers who are struggling or to focus on maybe an instructional method that the school district would like to see. Yeah,

Katie Ritter:

that's a great question. So we have a motto here for our coaching team that we like to share with admin. And that is coaching is not an improvement plan. We of course, work with maybe some teachers who are struggling, but we really push and encourage to make sure that that we work with teachers of all ability levels and comfort levels and new teachers, veteran teachers kind of all over the spectrum, because in our mind, even the pros, even the best in class have a coach. And it's not something that's only given to the worst players, the players cut from the team. But everyone gets a coach. So our our role is really to support anyone and everyone regardless of of where they're at in their journey. So, fellas, I don't know if you have anything that you would add to that. But from my perspective, that's what I would

Justin Thomas:

say. I think that pretty much sums it up. I mean, this Michael, I mean, Michaels always got great words of wisdom. So yeah, Michael,

Katie Ritter:

give me a better quote. All right.

Justin Thomas:

No, you nailed it. That's

Katie Ritter:

awesome. Well, guys, I don't know you may or may not. I feel like you've kind of peppered on this next question that I was going to ask you. So if you don't have anything new to add, feel free to say that. Really, we want to make sure you know, how can storytelling have both short and long term impact? You know, Ryan, you've obviously spoken volumes about really how the storytelling has transformed the district. Michael, I think you highlighted a great point of not only do you have kids saying I want to go there as a result of the storytelling that West Muskingum has done, but you also have teachers who want to teach their, which I think that that was an awesome perspective to add to it, too. And Michael, you talked about building the empathy, but anything else that you guys would add in terms of short or long term impacts that storytelling can have?

Michael Roush:

Yeah, I'm going to jump in on this one just because from the from the coaching perspective when I've personally seen when when teachers start seeing some of the cool things that happen in in other rooms that that we work in that how that can open the doors, they like well, what if suddenly that teacher that you every time you walked by their classroom, the door was closed and locked, no matter how many times the door, you know, every email you've sent them has gone on answering everything. Suddenly, their their compadres across the hall has done some sort of some project or something with you, and it has gone really, really well. And suddenly they're they're going to their admin and they're complaining as a why hasn't that? Why haven't they come to see me? Why aren't they coming to work with me? Wait a minute, I couldn't get in your room for the first big part of that, that that whole storytelling piece it goes to and you know, I've been to I've read enough school leadership books, I've been to enough school leadership conferences, I think it was somewhere within every one of those. There's some version of that maxim that culture eats strategy for breakfast. And telling your story is not about building a strategy. Telling your story is about building a culture. And so that has that has short term effects. As far as like I was talking about drawing people in two wants to transform their practice. It also has long term effects, kind of like we've already talked about. And you know what I mean, being absolutely real about it for the for, you know, especially for the public school, folks. If you ever have to run a levy, what do you want the voters to think about when they go into the when they go into the voter? Yeah. Do you want them thinking about the last, you know, you know, the the what your ratings were on the last report card, or do you want them thinking about all those great pictures that you've been sending of what the what their kids are doing in your district and and honestly, I mean, that's, that is really where it comes down to it for some of our districts.

Katie Ritter:

Here. Here, Michael, I almost hit the applause Sound Effect button multiple times. But definitely, definitely on that last piece. I had to stop myself.

Justin Thomas:

Alright, gentlemen, any final top three tips that you have for telling your story? I mean, I feel like they've been peppered all throughout. Let's kind of ring them back in just as a final closing note here.

Ryan McLane:

Yeah, so number number one is keep it positive. So it's not the Facebook post reminding families of dress code policies, not not the method you want to do. So keep keep it positive, you've got so many positive stories, it shouldn't be too difficult. Get the kids involved as much as you can. Obviously, you're going to be taking photos to start out with, but eventually you might want to do some interviews. And if you can get kids to take that over to feature something that's going on, or just interviewing a kid about, you know, what, what's this, like in math class, small group instruction, like a reading group, just to get their perspective and insight. I think the more you can get kids involved, the better. And then keep doing it on a regular basis. So this is not not something you have to do every single day. But it's also not something you want to do once and then not do it again for another month or six weeks. You want to kind of do it on a regular basis. I will tell you so that video newsletter that I usually do every Friday, but one Friday that I don't do it. I'll get a comment from someone. Hey, what everything okay, and yeah, I just I, I was busy. That's not an excuse, but it's a good thing because they're waiting for it. And when's the last time you had a parents say, Hey, I didn't get your paper newsletter last week. Yeah, because I want to, I want to, I want to make copies of it and mail it to my aunts, and relatives in California. And I'm going to Xerox it. Like, those things don't happen the old way. But, you know, they're going to share it on social media. And it'll, it'll spread like wildfire.

Katie Ritter:

I love that, especially the piece about getting the kids involved. I feel like I just like saw all the coaches ears perk up, because teachers are more likely to succumb to the peer pressure, if you will, not only from their peers, like Michael mentioned, but really when the kids are asking for it, or when they see the impact in in how much the kids like it. So that's awesome. Michael, what about you,

Michael Roush:

it's there's gonna be some definite parallels to what Ryan already said. But my top three, my first one is be honest. Don't exaggerate. But don't downplay. You know, don't make don't make things sound way, way, way better than they are. But also, don't try to don't pull the false humility and say nothing good is happening. So be honest about what's going on. Secondly, I gotta say Be concise about what's going on stick to what's really pertinent. And what really pertains to your story. Ryan talked earlier about making sure having having a goal for himself that that video was going to be three minutes, that's a great way to make sure that you know, when say, you get your message out there, get it in and get it out of so that you're so that you're really sticking to the core of what your story is. And then I think my third one is, especially and you got to draw from your, especially from our team, and working with through some of this, be bold, don't apologize for your story. You're you're helping others see how they fit in your story, and why they will be glad to be part of it. And in order to do that, you have to you have to be along with being honest and being concise about your story. You have to be bold enough to tell it.

Ryan McLane:

Yeah. And if you're in a district that's, you know, open to this, you've got to take advantage of it. Like I am so fortunate. No, I work for a great superintendent, Chad Schoger, we've got a great school board. I mean, they let me do a lot of out of the box things and I am aware of that. And so appreciative of that. So I would be remiss if I didn't publicly thank them. But if you're in a similar situation, take advantage of it because that's not always the case. I've I've worked in some places where I didn't have that kind of freedom to do some of those things. And it's just frankly, not as fun and enjoyable.

Justin Thomas:

I really liked that last one about being bold and telling your story. I mean, there's what they like 7 billion people in the world and even though everyone's unique, Someone's probably going through a scenario or situation that they can really relate to to your story and it could really, really help them out. Whether it's you know, in more of an individual manner or in a school district manner through the coaches. Well That's a wrap on our season one, believe it or not hard to believe

Katie Ritter:

we were the season finale. Finale. Yeah, this season finale. We didn't want to tell you at the beginning, we didn't want any extra pressure on

Ryan McLane:

people driving, they've got to wait months and months for the season opener.

Justin Thomas:

Well, just maybe like the two months,

Katie Ritter:

it's a couple months. Yeah.

Justin Thomas:

We are taking a little bit of a break here from the Restore, recharge, giving our team that work tirelessly on this podcast, a little bit of a break for over the holidays, and we'll hope that you will will catch back up with us. Well make sure you catch up on all your episodes first in case you haven't got all that because you know, it's crazy throughout the school year, but catch up with us after some rest after you caught up with your episodes. Had some good relaxing time over the holiday break and be ready to re join us on the Restore recharge again in January 2022.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, and so first, thank you to Michael. Thank you, especially Ryan, you know outside of our team joining us for this episode today. Really excited hopefully, you know this kind of season finale episode here Are we our hope is that people will leave kind of inspired to go into that holiday break season kind of ready to think about recharge and think about their story and how they can help contribute to not only their individual story, but obviously the story of the larger school system and really kind of help moving everybody along. So we're excited about that. And then also, I think, Justin, I would like to extend a thank you to all of our listeners who have been patient with us over this first season. There have been a lot of figuring things out as we go a lot of trial and error. You know, Ryan, you mentioned at the beginning about how you just decided to just jump in and do that first video. I feel like that was really our experience with this podcast. And we just tried to jump in and figure it out as we go along. So thank you, it really means a tremendous amount. We love hearing from you on social media. We love seeing emails from you, we love seeing that, you know that we are helping coaches out there. So thank you so much for listening along with us for this first

Justin Thomas:

year. Yes, thank you so much to all the listeners out there. Yeah, so

Katie Ritter:

for the last time, unless of course you're gonna get caught up on some previous episodes. The last time in 2021 Be sure to subscribe to restart recharge wherever you listen to podcasts and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at our our coach cast.

Justin Thomas:

Also since we are going to have a couple months off the means we'll have some time and then we'll be diving back into figuring out what our season two is even going to look like so if you have anything that's on your mind or anything that you want us to talk about or cover or anything like that, I mean please reach out to us this is a great time to do so because it really get our minds wrapped around how we're going to come back with Season Two.

Katie Ritter:

So press the restart button

Justin Thomas:

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

Katie Ritter:

a tech coach collective

Justin Thomas:

Michael we're gonna have an editing here

Katie Ritter:

don't worry if I haven't gotten us the explicit tag this podcast is clear for data