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Dec 13, 2017

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As a review for a year that has included a lot of changes for me professionally, I wanted to list some of the greatest events from the podcasts that I released this year. You can check out my current Top 10 podcasts here, but this list is going to talk about the top 10 things I implemented this year as a result of interviewing some amazing guests.

  1. Improving the school scheduling nightmare with Adam Pisoni Transformative Principal 185 The most downloaded podcast released this year is my interview with Adam Pisoni, where we talked about improving the school scheduling nightmare. Here’s my big takeaway. Adam said (5:58–8:35) that he started asking instead of asking what was possible in schools, he asked what prevents traditional schools from iterating. This train of thought led me to make a decision to intentionally combat those things that prevent us from iterating, and make sure we can still iterate even with the struggles we will face.
  2. Enjoy the Journey with Jethro Jones Transformative Principal 1035 - This one is a bit of a cheat, since the episode where I shared my 4 year plan for my school was really a culmination of so many things that I have learned from this podcast. But, here goes. (19:50–24:42) What’s cool is that instead of my plan starting next year, it is already starting this year. Advisory and flexible learning block with service learning. Teachers are coming to me asking for these things.
  3. Don’t Try to Change People, Change Behavior with Tom Hierck Transformative Principal 188 - 18:55–19:29 In this episode, it was really about the powerful thing that Tom shared about how to be a transformative principal. He said, “Ensure that relationships are healthy and positive. Being positive doesn’t guarantee a good outcome, but being negative does guarantee a negative outcome.”
  4. Rules turn students into classroom lawyers with Tom Hierck Transformative Principal 187 - In this episode, 5:00–7:26 I found that the most powerful statement from this was when Tom said, “I have yet to meet a kid who is connected who disappoints”. Since this interview, I have worked hard to make sure that kids are connected. I’ve found what he said is true, when kids are connected, they rarely disappoint. Last week, a student threw some trash across the cafeteria and he made a mess. He needed to clean it up. Because we had worked on a relationship, I put my arms out as if to say, “what are you doing?“ and then had to wait about 30 seconds before he decided to stand up and take care of his mess. He didn’t disappoint.
  5. What I Wish I Knew as A First Year Principal with Jethro and Friends Transformative Principal Special - The thing that I have taken away from this one is from my friend Jessica Cabeen.3:40–4:08 She says, Take care of yourself. While I haven’t been exercising as much this year as I have in the past, my sleep has been much better and I am doing a much better job of not working from home and actually being home when I am home. That is really important to me.
  6. End College and Career Readiness with Jethro Jones Transformative Principal 1040 - This podcast seems to have hit a nerve, as it was just released a couple months ago, and is already one of the most downloaded. In this, I basically argue that we need to focus on inspiring passion in our students rather than preparing them for something. One man I recently met is amazing. He said that he is a jack of all trades, master of one: learning. That really hit me. He didn’t learn how to do that from school, he says. He learned how to do that from his experience. He learned that learning is the most important thing he can have. In a recent Hack Learning episode, Mark Barnes said that learning can’t be measured. In our traditional system, you’re right, it can’t. But it can in our own lives, and we are the ones best suited to measure. I can’t measure all that I have learned from doing this podcast over the last four years in an easy-to-digest way. This post is an example of one way that I am trying to summarize my learning. One of my good friends Darren Draper posted on the Facebook post for this comment the question, “If everyone follows their passions, will society have the skilled workers it needs?” We had a little back and forth, that I encourage you to add your two cents to. My real point here is that if we teach kids how to learn on their own they will have more success in their life, regardless of what their passions or careers are. (1:48 –2:18)
  7. Instructional Leadership Team with David Smith Transformative Principal 182 - David Smith’s advice on how to be a transformative was to decide that you’re going to spend time in every classroom. 17:21–20:15 I have made this my priority this year, even to the tune of spending each morning before lunch in classrooms. I’m not perfect at it, but it is helping me do a much better job.
  8. Routines to Make Yourself More Successful with Karine Veldhoen Transformative Principal 160 - I have really gotten into routines this year and established some good ones. I’ve read the book she recommends and even went deep into The 1 Thing, about which I interviewed Geoff Woods. Look for that interview coming up soon. She talked about setting daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly practices. This is not easy. It really isn’t. It is actually kind of boring. In fact, Geoff Woods said that most people are unwilling to endure the monotony of success. Success is doing the right things at the right time. 8:26–9:46 - Self-care plans for her staff and for herself. One aspect of that that I have adopted is a habit to go to bed with my wife each night and not stay up late doing things for the podcast or other work, or playing games, or wasting time on Facebook. That is a small thing, but something that I think will really help me get to bed earlier, get rested, and spend quality time with my wife each night. With being so busy, it is easy to be distracted from the important things.
  9. Kids Can’t Learn When They Don’t Trust with Zaretta Hammond Transformative Principal 157 - 4:00–6:08 Trust Generators to quickly build trust. This has been really powerful as I have started my new school in Fairbanks. I have tried to be vulnerable with teachers to help build that trust so they know who I am. It’s not perfect, but we have been moving quicker than I expected in some areas, as I mentioned before.
  10. Where Jethro is interviewed for the Principal Matters Podcast with Will Parker - Bonus Episode 1033 21:45–22:53-The thing that sticks out from this interview is that 1, it was on Will Parker’s podcast, where he interviewed me. It was fun to release it at the same time. Number 2, Will asked me a big question, what do I want to achieve. My big goal is to impact 100 Million students over the next 10 years through my work on this podcast, my masterminds, speaking engagements, consulting, and everything else that I do. I had been thinking about setting a big goal before he asked me, but I wasn’t sure I could do it. So I took his challenge and set a goal. I’m tracking it here so please help me reach that goal by adding the impact this podcast has had on you to that survey. At the time of this writing, I am .021% of the way there. 21,412 kids have been impacted so far. WOW! That’s actually pretty amazing.

Are you feeling like you are always behind at school? Do you feel like you need about 2 more hours each day to accomplish everything? Here’s how I help principals work manageable hours: Create your ideal week, so that you can leave work at work and enjoy your life!

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Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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