As a kid growing up, the Transformers where one of my favorite TV shows. I enjoyed the excitement in the cartoon, and more importantly the toys! If I were a gamer I would appreciate the Autobots- the good guys as part of the “Chaotic Good” realm. The autobots, from another planet left their world to find and hunt down the evil Decepticons. The ship carrying both robots crash landed on earth during the Age of the Dinos. When an earthquake millions of years later awoke the bots, their computer scanned the surrounding world and had the bots transform from robots into different types of vehicles. The autobots were composed mostly of ground vehicle robots, such as tanks, ambulances, trucks, cars, and 18 wheelers. The autobots were led by their “Prime” or Optimus Prime. His leadership style embodied what Greenleaf called Servant Leadership.
The name itself Optimus Prime, is latinesque- Optimus meaning “best” or “great” and prime meaning first. The leader was the first best, or leader. Originally, Optimus started as Orion Pax, which has Greek roots of “Heaven’s Light” and Peace. So really, Optimus is a peaceful leader who is the best. The character really lives up to the name in the show and the cartoon. The Autobots commander, while authoritative cares very deeply for his followers. He ensures he leads with their best interests in mind. He does not like violence, but will use it in pursuit of a peaceful goal.
Optimus also believes deeply in the opinions of his followers. Before embarking on events, projects, or decisions, he seeks their input. He asks from advice from his experienced team members, his newest team members, and from outsiders, including in the cartoon’s instance humans. Often he asks the opinion of everyone before making a decision. This is critical in a servant leader for they seek input from all members of their team, weighing all of the facts before making a decision.
When a decision is to be made the leader takes full responsibility. Quite often, Optimus would tell his followers that he had to do something, or he was responsible for the decision. This burden weighed on the character’s shoulders heavily. Sometimes we would see the leader of the Autobots in contemplation away and alone from his team, and he wondered about his actions and their impacts. Optimus would lead from the front in the battles against the Decepticons. He was first on the road, first to transform, and with his team in front.
Sacrifice also comes to mind when discussing Prime. In Transformers the Movie (1986) Optimus Prime makes the ultimate sacrifice and is killed. For a kid who was 9, this was a huge, emotional, and overwhelming moment! Prime sacrifices his own well-being in order to ensure the survival of his team, and his followers. Over and over, Optimus in different reboots and series examples after he is brought back makes this choice. Philosophy speaking it is very much like Utilitarism of John Stuart Mills. In this philosophy the greatest good for the greatest number should drive decision-making.
I would be remiss if I did not give props to another writer: http://www.jmlalonde.com/21-leadership-lessons-quotes-transformers-age-extinction/ for his examinations of O.P quotes from the rebooted live action shows.
The Prime or leader of the Autobots gave some important life lessons in leadership to young kids watching that cartoon in the 1980s. I was one of them.
First: know your dragons!
Second: Work as a team to tame them!
Find me, Dr. J. and my Jamming w/ Dr J work!
Robert Greenleaf: Servant Leadership. Paulist Press.
Can you believe those dragons?
Myth and legend could not prepare our every day work, home, and friends for the dragons of conflict! So what do you do? Run? Hide? NO!
You select a dragon tamer- like me!
I diagnose your dragon infestation.
I help you plan to tame those dragons!
You NEED to tame conflict dragons, especially with the amount of castle destruction they wrought!
Save you- save your team- and most importantly, have docile dragons, no more CONFLICT dragons!
STEM. The importance of STEM is not debatable. What is necessary, is the idea that Humanities are not part of STEM. Some folks have added an "A" to make STEM transform into STEAM, but even that isn't enough! So I reframed the discussion! After discussing with my dear friends Nancy and Aaron, I came up with a different priority: HEARTS. HEARTS stands for Humanities, Education, Arts, Reflection, Technology, and Science. After an almost 30 year career in education, I have seen so much of our K-12 education focus on STEM, and we have lost joy in the classroom. Our students read because they must become consumers of technical writing. Our students learn math in order to calculate. Our students do not do science, they fill out worksheets. Tech and engineering are reserved for the few, elite schools, who do not need to show "improvement" on test industry scores. Instead of capturing joy, the focus captures workforce prep, and annihilates the exploration, the interconnectedness, the joie de vie (Joy of Life) for 90% of American Students.
No more, I say, and in my book, I give you the following:
* An introduction to why reframing humanities as the key to interdisciplinary lessons is essential!
* A quick overview of the humanities and STEM fields for folks who may have a hazy recollection of their high school or first years of college.
* Six "turn key" chapters with ideas of how to integrate HEARTS in your classroom. You are busy teachers/ educators. Why not give the gift of a roadmap, which this book does!
I gamify HEARTS using a free computer game
I take a large, long, crucial river, and I make the experimentation around it essential.
I show you how to look into hearts using a book study.
I shake the Pacific rim using HEARTS to bring alive one of the most important regions of the world.
My field trips to cemeteries bring HEARTS to life.
Finally, we spend a night at a museum, looking at how HEARTS lives naturally!
You and your team need HEARTS!
Buy it here: https://edumatch-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/getting-to-the-hearts-of-teaching-by-dr-casey-jakubowski
or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!
Famous move: Every time a bell rings, an Angel gets its wings. Was the reference to our teachers? Yes I believe so. Why? Because the world needs our angels of education. It needs the teachers who are in the classroom- day in and out. The teacher working weekends, right? NO STOP! We need teachers who are amazing, but not burning out!
Matt, Kevin, Dr. Sam and I all wrote this work for one reason: We LIVED the experience. Our author team of practitioners, educators, and scholars combined those elements into a book with 50 tips for new teachers, mentors, and program people. We want this book in the hands of every single teacher, mentor, department chair, principal, and District leader. We want you to understand:
Doing Less is more!
Make a what not to do list!
Build relationships with your class!
Find your PLC!
Our 50 tips, 4 critical conversations, and PRACTICAL, next day usable activities are designed to help new teachers build momentum from college to the classroom!
I cannot tell you how STOKED I am to have been part of this project!
Buy it here: https://www.schoolrubric.org/book/crush-it-from-the-start-50-tips-for-new-teachers/
Thank you Wallace!
Three partners and I have released, with School Rubric, a new book #50teachertips to help the RHIR problem:
Our education system depends on complexities, filled by humans: Teachers! As a nation, we are struggling to recruit, hire, invite and retain teachers into our systems.
Our book gives 50 tips, each action packed, practical, and dedicated to helping you Crush it from the Start!
Our tips are paired with great activities to implement those ideas!
Our book has 4 critical conversations about very important parts of schools.
Finally, we have resources!
Crushing it: 50 Tips for new teachers is a labor of love, a labor of mentoring, and finally, our sacred promise for teaching colleagues to have a better and more fulfilling experience!
Consider joining us!
Have you ever wondered about *that* person, who no matter what, thinks the work is the best and amazing! The person is always quick to tell folks "quit grumbling" or "we must look for the best in everything?"
No matter what, the person is always positive- even when the situation does not call for a positive viewpoint. The person may be asking shady questions- like "Can I hand in lesson plans early" or " Is it ok if I don't use my classroom budget this year" or "I want to get in my classroom a week early to set it up" and you think "Wow, am I a grump?"
NO YOU ARE NOT A GRUMP! The person you are thinking of may be experiencing TOXIC POSITIVITY.
A very horrible process swept through America, especially in education, since 1982, Toxic positive people, no matter what, always looked and exuded false, and damaging positivity.
Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. (Cherry, 2021)
We see that in schools, as superintendents tell us "Be happy you even have a job"
We see that when principals say "We are a family, we are a happy family"
We see that when teachers say " A bright outlook will outshine a gloomy Gus"
When people respond to a negative event, a difficult situation, or tell others to "choose happy" then that person is TOXIC!
And with so many changes happening in education, the world, and our society, we have to feel our feelings. We must recognize our right to negative feelings, reactions, and "Wow, this isn't great" inner monologues.
Think about this:
We ask teachers to start their careers doing volunteer work so schools can limit their budgets.
We ask teachers to volunteer to complete tasks, because the system doesn't have the resources.
Teachers are considered unprofessional if they do not volunteer to sit on committees, lead events, or plan extras for students.
Our schools do not supply teachers with adequate materials, or paid time to set up classrooms.
Administrators, fearful that Boards of Education will dismiss them, will not truly ask for what is necessary to run a school. So let us see what we need:
A teacher needs: a living wage to afford adequate housing with out an insane commute.
A teacher needs: a living wage to pay back student loans, and afford graduate degrees if the state requires it.
A teacher needs: funding to pay for testing to earn certification before they begin teaching.
A teacher needs an adequate living wage to pay for food, fuel, heating, clothing, safe transportation and healthcare.
To teach in their classes:
A teacher needs adequate adult support in the form of co teachers, aides, assistants, custodial staff, librarians, health care workers, and support staff for bussing, cafeteria, and hall aides.
A teacher needs a safe classroom- well lit, well ventilated, and temperature controlled.
A teacher needs adequate technology, reading, writing, math, science, social studies, arts, and seating options for students.
A teacher needs parents as partners.
A teacher needs support from a mentor/ PLC, and administration.
A teacher needs respect from community, politicians, and society.
Teachers should not sacrifice their own comforts to ensure students have what they need.
Teachers should not be forced to work days beyond contract to do institutional activities.
Our military has many behind the front service people supporting our front line heroes. For every 1 front liner, 10 support exist. In the schools, every 10 teachers are supported by 1 behind the scenes person.
If we had adequate support, and we were less "uber polite" we could tell Toxic Positive people, get professional help. Seriously. Toxic Positivity destroys staff culture and morale. It is disingenuous, disrespectful, and discourteous.
Yes, the sun will come out tomorrow as Little Orphan Annie said, but today we are in the midst of a massive thunderstorm. So acknowledge the storm, stay protected, and help people find the rays without being over the top!
CTJ Solutions LLC Principal Casey Thomas Jakubowski, PhD has relocated, August 20th 2022 to the DELMARVA peninsula city of Salisbury MD. He is continuing his practice, and will be focusing on educational clients.
Today's tech rich environment isn't good.
Our youngest generation is losing important skills and self regulation because of the, as Nicholas Carr says, the internet has really changed our brains. Further more our older adults are losing the ability as they have been required to save log ins and passwords for so many significant issues.
Jobs have been lost and not replaced, especially in the areas of customer service. and wait times chew up significant time that is lost to waiting.... for no one.
Tech was supposed to be a life saver, but has become a dredge on our society. We are anxious, companies demand us plugged in even on non contract hours, and when we are sick or on vacation. IT IS TOO MUCH!
Star Trek made the BORG famous for "resistance is futile." Instead, resist, unplug, demand less tech and more real life.
Do your best, at every job you do!
In my life, and my experiences at work, I have held one major point my parents taught me: try your best at what you do, no matter what!
While we face a structural system that has resulted in problems across the world, we often forget that details are really critical in doing a job well done. I have experienced so many instances where the "do more with less" directives from multi million/ billion dollar companies in private industry, and the severe underfunding of public institutions have resulted in far too many people trying to do to much with far too little support.
At every turn of my schooling, training, and experience, as an Eagle Scout, as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, and work, I have always try to do my best. Yet I am finding way to often I am overwhelmed. I find that others are way overwhelmed. We are overwhelmed because our society wants the cheapest, shortest, and fastest path to a product or service.
We can not pay attention to details unless we have clear space in our minds and our health, and the freedom to focus. What is being demanded of us, in our society service industry, governmental services, and in places where the demand is on the worker to meet everyone's needs/wants/ desires without adequate support is un doable.
We need decision makers, policy makers, and many others to realize that our systems are starved for resources, and we need to invest!
Like our economic rivals, following World War II, we must invest in education! We must invest in healthcare. We must uncomplicate systems. That will be the process to improve customer service, and improve people's belief and faith in systems and structures which have decreased since the 1970s.
We also need people to care about each other, with the basis of as a society, we value each member. No more tax breaks for the wealthy companies who refuse to invest local. No more quarterly profits as the be all and end all. We must have long term investment, and infrastructure, not dependent on philanthropy, but systematic investment, care and compassion.
If YOU feel over whelmed, please, invest in yourself, get help, and think if you need a change. Businesses care about a bottom line, not the process behind the numbers. I however care about you, because you are a human, and as the Humanists said, you are worthy because you are a human!
Its 2 am. Insomnia has me up. Why? Change. It's all about change. I have had bad news . I have experienced good news.
I'm worried. I am fretful. I am anticipating a new year. I am over thinking. I am under resting.
Holiday seasons see good, pain, and reflection.
The words of Scout vespers are running through my head :
Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared
In everything to be prepared.?"
Powerful and profound words in this song from 30+ years ago ( summer camp 1988) .
I have been thinking a lot about the law and oath I swore as a youth. I think about the Vigil obligation I took. I have, since 1987, when I joined cub scouts, repeated weekly these oaths, obligations, and undertaken to uphold them.
I have, for all intents and purposes done well on my path: a PhD, awards, recognitions. Two books from EduMatch® and a third on it's way.
So why are there echoes of impostor syndrome? Why are there doubts? Why are there feelings of emptiness? Is it my own high standards? An I feeling guilty for a 20 year career which lead me away from my family and the greatest community ever in the #716? Or is it what people feel as they flip from building a career to reflecting and recalibrate?
The prayer of penance also runs through my head:
I confess to God Almighty, before the whole company of heaven, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed; in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, by my fault, by my fault, by my most grievous fault....
I hope this new year to keep doing well by doing right.
Over 20 years experience in consulting for improvement. Lean and Six Sigma Certified. PhD in Leadership