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Book:  Relentless

Author:  Hamish Brewer

Purchase:  PrinteBook

Citation:  Brewer, H. (2019). Relentless : changing lives by disrupting the educational norm. San Diego, California: Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated

Three Big Takeaways:​​
  1. Your attitude is one of the few things that is within your absolute control. As educators, we spend way too much time trying to control the things we have no control over.  Release yourself from the shackles of toxic behaviors and conversations that weigh down your attitude. (pg. 32)

  2. Student behavior is feedback on your relationship, preparation, effort, and instruction. As adults, we don't always want to hear that feedback, but we must not ignore it. (pg. 84)

  3. Too often, schools focus on coming back and spending the first day looking at rules, regulations, and data. This is information that highly engaged professionals should already know, and you end up spending time demoralizing your team. If you are having to revisit this information regularly, I think you have bigger problems! Instead, you should be embracing the very few and far between opportunities to bring your entire staff together to motivate, model, building relationships, focusing on the vision and the mission of the school. (pg. 167)


Other Key Ideas:

In the work we do, unless an idea is negligent or unsafe, there's nothing we can't or shouldn't try to ensure that our students receive an amazing, authentic, and relevant educational experience. As adults, we tend to play it safe or take the easier route, when maybe we should be throwing caution to the wind in the spirit of why not?! (pg. 7)

Regardless of the age of the students, the principal should welcome every new parent and student to the school. The first meeting sends such an important message to all the stakeholders. It lets parents know I care about their children, and lets the students know that I think they are important. (pg. 8)

The great leaders, the great organizations, and the great schools put the team first. They leave their egos at the door and value the success of the team over any one individual's success. (pg. 32)

Living in fear of what others might think is another thing that can affect your attitude - especially when others look at you like you're crazy for coming into the building so happy or sharing how much you love your job. Just because other people hate their job (or life) doesn't mean you can't love yours! (pg. 34)

So many people (especially educators) get caught up living in the past, bringing up old war stories or talking about "how we've always done things." Negative conversations about people or the past will only get you down. Choose to surround yourself with amazing , like-minded people who will work and grow beside you. Remember, you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. (pg. 48)

Teachers need to feel empowered to make decisions in the moment - without having to ask for permission or wait for approval. If you are in leadership, empower your teachers to make decisions without you. (pg. 65)

We shouldn't assume that every kid will travel the same path, nor should we expect that every child will want - or need - to go to college. We have to acknowledge that it is okay for students to pick different paths . Rather than pushing students along the career and education lines of what we think is appropriate for them, let's talk with them about their dreams for the future and their current goals. (pg. 70)

For years, I felt as if our worth as schools and educators was determined by our students' results on end-of-year exams. But that is just not true. Test scores are one data point for us to consider. Improving culture, practices, instruction, brand, and engagement work together to make our schools better. Eventually, success in those areas leads to improved student achievement on tests. (pg. 116)

What I cannot and will not accept in my school or from those around me is negativity, drama, or excuses. (pg. 122)

Consider having meetings strictly for celebration and community. This means that there are no reminders or notes around rules, expectations, or coming events. (pg. 136)

I learned to be an effective leader when I realized that it didn't have to be all about me; I didn't have to do it all. I was only one person, but once I engaged my stakeholders and created an environment for teachers to have a voice and to own their school and the practices and processes we implemented, that's when we excelled. (pg., 138)

There is not a school that should not be teaming up with a local college and doing a visit day for upper elementary kids. All schools should provide this experience to their children. Take it as a challenge - find a college that would like to partner with your school, and make it happen. (pg. 165)

We offered our classrooms unlimited field trips to museums, zoos, national monuments, etc. Our students should be getting authentic learning experiences, and there is no better opportunity for this than putting students on location. (pg. 175)

On the first day back from summer vacation, instead of bringing them into the library to go over data, expectations, and process, I surprised them with a field trip where we would spend the day building relationships as a staff. There were no meetings before school started, just a focus on providing time for teachers to plan and prepare so they could come out of the gates firing on all cylinders. (pg. 189)

We made greeting students at the door or being in the hallways during transition a priority. The visibility of the building administrators in the hallway is important. It's a show of support for teachers and students. (pg. 195)

We made sporting events free. Once the word got out, our stands for every event were packed, and our crowds were electric. What was funny is we didn't lose money. We ended up making even more money because students and parents were spending money at the concessions, and with an increase in participation, we were selling out all of our clothing products. Our sporting events became events that were celebrated by our entire community (Pg. 197)

It’s easy to get lost in our routines and careers and lose our way. We slip into unhealthy lifestyles that become unbalanced and focused on living to work rather than working to live and enjoy life. We have to be intentional to make time to enjoy the simple things, to take care of ourselves. Even as we are proud to serve others, we have to take care of ourselves as well. Let's be intentional about planning time to do the things we've always dreamed of. (pg. 205)

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