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Deliberate Optimism

Deliberate Optimism
Reclaiming the Joy in Education

September 2014 | 184 pages | Corwin

Beat burnout and bring joy back to teaching—and learning.

Recharge the optimism that made you an educator in the first place! School is where students and staff should feel safe, engaged, and productive—and choosing optimism is the first step toward restoring healthy interactions necessary for enacting real change.

In this book, learn to implement the Five Principles of Deliberate Optimism. Research-based strategies, practical examples, and thought-provoking scenarios help you

  • Rediscover motivation
  • Take a positive view of events beyond your control
  • Build an optimistic classroom where students flourish
  • Partner with other stakeholders to create an optimistic learning environment

Take the road to new potential and positive outcomes! With a healthy dose of humor to make it fun, Deliberate Optimism shows you the actual differences a change in attitude can make.

“This book provides a framework for taking responsibility in classrooms, choosing to see the positives, dealing with problems rather than dwelling on them, recognizing choices are always available, and building relationships with all in the school community.”
Charla Buford Bunker, Literacy Specialist
Great Falls High School
Sun River, MT

“The authors have a realistic view of a teacher’s daily life and provide realistic solutions for teachers to embrace optimism and positivity in a myriad of situations.”
Kati Searcy, Teacher
Mountain Park ES
Roswell, GA

“This book is a nice synthesis of current research and classic literature about climate, culture, and the environmental context of the classroom and the teachers’ lounge.”
Chris Hubbuch, Principal
Excelsior Springs Middle School

About the Authors
Chapter 1. Choosing to Become a Teacher Is a Telling Vote for Optimism
Chapter 2. I'm Not an Optimist, but Hopefully, One Day I Will Be
Chapter 3. "But We Have This ONE Teacher Who Keeps Ruining Things for Everyone!"
Chapter 4. Building Healthy Relationships and an Optimistic Shared Community
Chapter 5. Creating the Optimistic Classroom: Building a Relationship Culture
Chapter 6. Reclaiming the Joy in Our Classrooms and Our Curriculum
Chapter 7. Balancing Your Life to Promote Optimism
Chapter 8. Joyful School Communities: The Sum of Their Parts

"Deliberate Optimism reminds us that we have far more control than we realize.  The refreshing and encouraging perspective helps us tackle our daily challenges and offers concrete actions and introspective suggestions that capture our true sense of efficacy as a professional.  By heeding the message, we can become empowered to do whatever we can to make a difference with our students, in our classrooms, and throughout our schools.   It affirms that “Can Do” attitude and culture that I witness in the National Forum’s Schools to Watch middle grades initiative across the country.  The message of Deliberate Optimism reinforces my personal, coping strategy of humming “Keep on the Sunny Side” when I encounter negativity and challenges!"

Deborah Kasak, Executive Director
National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, Schools to Watch Initiative

"The monologue about teachers has been pretty awful over the past few years. Teachers did not get into the profession to be kicked around during political campaigns, they got into education because of a love for children, and a passion for learning. Deliberate Optimism is for all of those teachers who have lost or forgotten that along the way. Read this book…and regain your optimism."

Peter DeWitt, Corwin Author & Consulting Editor for the Corwin Connected Educators Series

“Teaching is tough, but it's not supposed to be masochistic. Sometimes teachers forget that taking care of ourselves is an important part of the job. Deliberate Optimism helps educators learn how refill our mental and emotional gas tanks – or at least increase our fuel efficiency.”

Roxanna Elden, Author of See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers

"I can't think of anyone more effective in helping us teachers bring joy and optimism to our work than Debbie Silver.  And that also goes for providing us with instructional strategies to help our students want to do the same."

Larry Ferlazzo, Teacher, Author and Education Week Educator Advice Columnist

"Students have a right to see someone in the front of the room who is confident, competent, and incurably optimistic. Too often, the status quo in classrooms and buildings is decidedly—and powerfully—negative. Every district leader and building principal should put this book in the hands of teachers and teacher assistants—and then model the kind of deliberate optimism teachers have a right to expect from their leaders."

Ron Nash, Presenter and author of The Active Classroom series

"You'll love this book! The authors offer a prescription for schools that costs nothing but has been proven to be invaluable: joy. By the time you finish this book, you'll find yourself truly optimistic about the future of education. If you are interested in improving education, be deliberate and grab copies of this book for everyone in your school district. It will remind you how smiles - not standards - are the secret to inspiring lifelong learning."

Dr. Danny Brassell, "America's Leading Reading Ambassador" and Author of Bringing Joy Back into the Classroom

"This book is a must-have resource for experienced as well as novice teachers. Easy to read and implement, it offers a wealth of sensible, realistic, and inspiring advice about how to successfully manage the daily business of being a classroom teacher. Its positive message is simply empowering!"

Julia G. Thompson, Author of The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide

"A must read for every educator. This book details why they must work to maintain their optimism and how they can do that—and does this with a twist of humor.

Nothing important can be accomplished without optimism. Since teaching is a task of highest importance, this book should be read by anyone who is, or aspires to be, a teacher.

In an era of relentless criticism and overriding pessimism about our educational system, this book will lift the spirits of all who work in schools."

Michael Connolly, Co-Author, Young Enough to Change the World

"With so much negativity heaped on education today there is a need for sources of inspiration and this book provides it. Not only is the book a singular call to arms for teachers to reclaim their joy but within these pages are real strategies for healing our souls and growing positive, nurturing classrooms. Bravo my friends, we needed this book!"

Kevin Honeycutt, International speaker, author, song writer, and program developer
Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas

"Deliberate Optimism is what every teacher needs before the start of school, in the midst of the longest months of teaching, and at the end of the academic year. The work of Silver, Berckemeyer, and Baenen is insightful, uplifting and engaging! The book is inspiring and reminds all educators that they are in control of their own happiness and can transfer that happiness and optimism to students."

Dr. Russell J. Quaglia, Founder & Author, Student Voice: The Instrument of Change
Quaglia Institute for Student Aspiration
Key features

Through research-based strategies, practical examples, and thought-provoking scenarios, the authors provide food for thought along with enough humor to make the journey fun.  Discussion questions and action steps follow each chapter, and an appendix of further activities is provided at the end of the book.

  • Visual elements: graphs, charts, forms, graphics, etc.
  • Study guide section
  • Comprehensive bibliography
  • Glossary
  • Comprehensive appendix including handout-master templates
  • Video clips of author presentations

For instructors

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