Lemonade Learning


Episode Summary

Y’all, this one is a real barn burner! Don't worry, no barns were harmed in the making of this episode. We just mean we are really excited to share the knowledge and wisdom Joshua Stamper has to offer. We talk trauma informed practices, listening to learn, spinning plates, and aspiring to lead – whew – it's a good one!

Episode Notes

Special Guest: Joshua Stamper

Joshua Stamper is a middle school Assistant Principal for a North Texas School District, where he's had the amazing opportunity to serve at four campuses in two school districts. Prior to Joshua's current position, he was a classroom art educator and athletic coach working with students in grades 6-8.

In addition to his administrative position, Joshua is a podcaster, author of the upcoming book, Aspire to Lead, leadership coach, education presenter, and Podcast Network Manager for the Teach Better Team."

Website: www.joshstamper.com
Twitter: @Joshua__Stamper
Instagram: @joshua__stamper

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Episode Transcription

Brianna Hodges  0:00  

Welcome to Lemonade Learning, a refreshing look at learning today. We serve up high impact, practical strategies, alongside honest and energizing stories to help educators.


Lainie Rowell  0:12  

Make the most of your moments. Lead and learn with purpose and craft lifetime lemonade from the sweets and sours of education.  Join us for a glass.


Brianna Hodges  0:25  

Hey everybody, its Bri.


Joshua Stamper  0:26  

And Lainie Welcome, I really excited to have Joshua Stamper on. I know Bri is too. And one of the reasons I'm excited is because he's a podcaster. And he's a very generous host. And I want to hear him talk more. He's so good at being very strategic about asking questions to his podcast guests. But I want to hear more from Josh. So I'm super excited that you're here. And just really quickly, for those who haven't had a chance to meet you yet, administrator, author, podcaster we definitely want to talk about your upcoming book. That's super exciting. And so with that, just welcome, and I'll let Bri welcome you too.


Brianna Hodges  1:07  

Hey, Josh, welcome.


Joshua Stamper  1:09  

Thank you both. Longtime listener so it's amazing to be able to show with your


Brianna Hodges  1:13  

First time caller, here you go.


Joshua Stamper  1:15  

Here I come.


Brianna Hodges  1:17  

All right. Well, you as you know, a longtime listener, you know that as is appropriate. We like to ask you, you're sweet and sour. And so without further ado, let's let's hear it from from the man. Tell us a little bit about this.


Joshua Stamper  1:30  

Well, it's a pretty exciting time, tomorrow was actually my birthday for one. But then second of all this this month here, I get to launch my book. And it's pretty exciting. So I like to start with the good, right. So I just got this copy the other day, so I got to look through it. And it's launching on September 21. So, and I'm releasing the book cover here and some more information on September 7, but I'm giving you like the first glimpse of the book, and I get to talk about a little bit with you all, but super excited to get that out into the world. And hopefully it resonates with some folks and help them in their leadership journey.


Brianna Hodges  2:03  

Happy all the way around. So you'll have like your birthday and your book birthday, all of it. And I almost almost I'm going to spare everybody but I did almost burst into the Happy Birthday song, but I feel like that would probably we'd lose some people. So I'm going to spare everybody of that. But I feel like there should be cake somewhere that we should should pass around somehow.


Joshua Stamper  2:25  

I somehow managed to get a sneak peek at the book. And so spoiler alert, it's amazing. And I actually feel like not only did I get so much wisdom about leadership, but I actually really feel like I got to know you more, Josh, because you are very good about sharing about yourself in the book. So I'm, I'm excited for people to read. And this episode, hopefully, is scheduled to come out September 9, I always... we never commit to a date. That's the first time I've ever committed and I don't edit. So this Oh, gosh, okay, hopefully, September 9, this episode is out. That means the pre-ordering for your book will already have started. So listeners, hit pause if you need to go grab your pre order, just saying so. Alright, so that's definitely sweet. ? Anything sour going on? Such a loaded question. Oh,


Yeah, I mean, we've we talked a little bit before we push record, and you know, I've been in school for three weeks going on four. And just to see everyone was super excited, of course seeing everyone back in the schools. You know, we don't really have a virtual option we do for like our sixth grade students, but it's a very few it's like 50 students that are doing virtual for those who are not able to be vaccinated. But then also what we're seeing is just a lot of anxiety, a lot of social discomfort, and trauma and stress just coming back. And we knew that was going to be the case, but we're seeing it from all realms, right? We're seeing it from our teachers, to our students, to our parents and to our community. And I think it's just, it feels like we're later in the year, I think we really are because everyone is just trying to get back into the routines again, try to feel each other out. But then in addition, like the year that we've been gone, and a lot of our students reversed last year was they've gone through a lot of trauma during that time. And we're starting to see the evidence of that in their behavior and the way that they're socializing and trying to work through it. And of course, we're, I'm in the middle school. So already there's a lot of brain development going on a lot of just growth in general and their body and their mind. So I think that's been pretty stressful on everybody just to try and work through that. And thankfully, our teachers are dedicated to like social emotional learning and trauma informed practices and then trying to do their best but I will say it's probably been more challenging to begin the school year than in years past. And so I'm just hoping that you know, as, as a staff, we can just kind of maintain and be there for everybody as as we move on through the year.


I would love it, if you're comfortable with it, Josh, I'd love it if you shared a little bit about maybe advice that you have, because you do have an expertise in trauma informed practices. I know that social emotional learning is a priority for you. So Meghan Lawson had a blog post about foreboding joy. And I, it kind of really resonated with me. So it's like, I do have joy right now. But there's this feeling of like, wait, what's coming this like, I don't know what the head kind of thing. So it's kind of again, almost like I felt all the whole 18... however many months we're on now this like paradox of emotion, where I'm like, super happy. Or maybe I'm super excited. But then there's just something kind of hanging over me like, yeah, I feel like something might... the other shoe could drop any minute now.


Yeah, so I think for this school year, you know, working with our staff was just about making sure that the students had ownership in everything that we do so like setting up one good relationships, but then also like, healthy expectations, like, what does that look like? So there's a lot of different terms out there, treatment agreements, relationship agreements, whatever that may be but you know, making sure that our students understand what our expectations and the students get to, like, be part of that process of like, what's student-to-student interactions student-to-teacher, teacher-to-student, and really like, building a plan that everyone agrees upon moving forward. And so we did that with all of our teachers, all of our classes, and, and we tried to space it out so that, you know, kid doesn't go through eight periods a day with the exact same relationship agreement, they're just beaten down with that. So teachers did it in different times, and kind of spaced out in different activities. So it wasn't redundant. But the main thing is like our students for a lot of their lives and where they are growing up, they're being told what to do pretty much all day long by adults, and they don't really get a whole lot of ownership and their decisions, and then you add trauma in there for a student and they really feel like they don't have any control in the situation. And so what we're trying to do is to allow the teacher to be a facilitator to allow choice in their learning, but then also how they're building classroom expectations. So that's, that's been a real big focus so far, in addition to like finding ways to do brain breaks, at 60 seconds, it's not going to take long within your lesson, but it still gives those opportunities for students to get to know each other, make connections to the teacher, you learn things, it gives them a chance to model how to communicate, how to listen, how to be respectful in that communication, and be healthy, with everything that they're doing. So that's been kind of our big push right now is yes, content is important, but it's not the end all be all, we need to make sure that our relationships are are deep rooted, and we know our students, and kind of breaking down that misconception of if a student is compliant in my class, I have a great relationship with them.


Brianna Hodges  7:47  

So one of the things that I am really curious about as you were talking through this and talking about what you're working with your faculty, and, you know, as an administrator, as a leader, are you seeing some similarities for the importance of those reminders of the trauma that our teachers have been experiencing as well, because I think that you know, thinking about Lainie, your comment about Meghan's blog about that foreboding joy, you know, one of the, I think one of the challenges that we have been experiencing, and in some ways, I think this fall kind of snuck up on everybody, right? Because there we did lul down and in, in a way, it's a little bit mirrored from last fall, where there was a lot of people who thought like, okay, spring was done and over with, and then we were, you know, we were supposed to be finished with that. And then, but at the same time, there was a lot of conversation kind of ramping up in those, you know, in the, in the final months of summer, this particular fall, I think there was... I really do feel like many people felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath them as far as like, we, you know, like many, many, many states around the country, you know, their mask had been kind of removed from interaction and public and, and things like that. And so people had a lot of hope that, Okay, great, now we're right back into it. And then all of a sudden, you know, that that's not the case. And it's almost like experiencing that, that trauma all over again, you know, I know, Josh, both of us being in Texas, Texas has been really hard hit with, with the Delta variant, and we're seeing a ton of recent, you know, our hospitals are maxed and taxed to the brim and and so with that means that there's a whole new trauma of death and illness that, that wasn't seen before, especially with this particular variant hitting younger and younger, you know, population. And so, I just kind of want to ask without, you know, engaging into the, to the debate of andragogy versus pedagogy or any of that kind of stuff, but how are you helping your educators, remember that you got to put that oxygen mask on first, as you come into this and helping model that example, through through the fall,


Joshua Stamper  10:09  

For sure, I think you bring up great points, because I think the expectation was we're going back to normal and not our new normal, but our old normal, right that we're going back to some of our old practices, we're moving things left and right. As a person working in Texas, as we both have had known, you know, there's not a whole lot of mandates going on right now. And so I think it was a setup for failure in the sense that everyone thought, we didn't have a whole lot to worry about. And quickly, we've had to change and shift and we're still shifting and will continue as the school year goes on. because like you said, hospitals are maxed out, my wife is a nurse, and I get updates all the time of, I mean, she's getting calls every single day to go work and help out as much as possible. And the reason for that is just because how many people are getting sick. So that's, that's stressful, we've we've seen more loss within our campus, like for family members, and extended family members than we've ever seen before. And right now, sometimes it feels like the hurt are working with the hurt. And that's a hard place to be. And so as a leader, we need to make sure that we're providing mental health opportunities. And when I say that, I don't mean like, we're going to do an hour long session on mental health, now we're going to give you time to take care of mental health. And that's a very, very different thing. And so, you know, time is such a vital piece. Our teachers are overworked more than ever, right now. We've got virtual options, we've got in person options, both versions, teachers are working well into the evening, and working long, extended period of time to make sure because now it's not only we're teaching students that are on campus program, are also teaching students who are quarantining, or that have a illness that may last up to a month long. And so that's, that's just a very different model of education, and one that we've never ever had to experience before. So that comes with experimenting, failing. And as we all know, educators don't like to fail. It's not something that we're used to, and many of us haven't experienced that in our past. And so that's really a difficult thing to feel like a failure over and over, when the when the model consistently changes. And so, you know, what, what are you able to do, as a leader to brighten someone's day for five minutes for an hour, like whatever that may be? So, you know, a big thing for us is, what are our strengths? But also, how do we love? How do we love each other? Like, how do we enjoy being in love, right? So like, for instance, the five languages of love, right? Like, we actually did a survey with our staff, how do you enjoy being recognized? Right? Do you love getting gifts? Do you love words of encouragement? Do you love a side hug? It's okay to give someone a side hug, if that's the way that they love encouragement. And I think for leaders, we just have to be, you know, we say that for teachers to students. Well, we had to do that for leaders to teachers, how do we, how do we know our staff? You know, for us to it's how do we check in with every single staff member to make sure that things that are going on at home are okay, so that way that stress isn't being brought on? Is there a way that we can help them in other ways, and outside of just assessments and grades? And, you know, textbooks or whatever it may be, right? There's, there's an extended piece there that a lot of times is brought on to the campus. And we don't know about it, because we don't ask.


Brianna Hodges  13:31  

Wow, I mean, the first thing that popped into my mind was was, you know, this is a experience of we're so cognizant of teaching trauma informed practices, but what happens when the teacher is also experiencing a trauma? And so I mean, then it's like, then you pass it up, right to like now to the principal like, okay, how are you leading through with trauma informed practices? And you know, I love your your comment of not just providing a 60 minute webinar or professional learning experience about it, how are you actually making time for that? So yeah, Lainie what about you?


Joshua Stamper  14:17  

I really appreciate and you reference the to read the example of like, not a 60 Minute Webinar, like if this is someone who's drowning, don't put more on their plate. And I really appreciate how you talk about thinking is like through an empathetic lens, like, what is your love language? What is it that would mean something to you? I think sometimes we tend to, you know, it's like the golden rule. How would you want to be treated? Well, the Platinum rule is treating someone how they want to be treated. They not may not want to be treated the way that I want to be treated. And so I think that that's really, really important. I am going to be taking that with me and thinking more carefully about how do I make sure that I am supporting people in the way that they want and need to be support. Not necessarily just the way that I would want to be supported. I think that's a really good lesson.


Yeah, and I'm glad you brought up empathy too, because I mean, I wrote about it in my book. And I use that as a characteristic that I'm really passionate about and in, because I think empathy is seen as a weakness, a lot of times in leadership, and that shouldn't be the case. That should be a strength and something that you try and home every single day.


Brianna Hodges  15:20  

It's interesting that you say that. So I'm a big fan of empathy. And there's, research out there specifically for leaders that the more empathetic you are, most, especially if you're a man, the more empathetic you are, the more successful you will be as a leader, because empathy is not something that is innately outwardly, expressed as a man, it is for women. And ironically, the more empathic a woman is, it's not always seen at the same level that that is celebrated in a man. But it is so important to be able to, you know, to to pause, and, you know, Lainie, I love that you said that I'd like the Platinum Rule, right? Because so much of what we talked about in education is being learner centered, not centering it on what I, as the teacher want to learn today, it's more of what do my students need? And it's the same thing from that, that leadership, it's not who's not let me bend to the will of all of my team to, to my certain style. Instead, it's how can I, you know, serve and meet the needs of the staff? I am reading a book right now that is The Motivation Code by Todd Henry, and I highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out. It's not... when I first like I came across it... And I'll be really honest, I was like, Oh, yeah, it's another one of those like, our, you know, what, what letters can we say describe you or anything like that. And it's, it's not, it's there, there, it's it really goes into what the two of you were just saying about like, how do we recognize what fires us up, like, individually, not just our own personal insight, but so like, when we're working with a team, like, we can be like, Oh, you know, Suzy is really driven off of making sure that she meets this deadline, because that's how she shows her commitment and shows her worth and all of this stuff. And, you know, she'll do whatever it takes to make that commitment. But this other person might not see that they're, they're trying really hard to, you know, rein in boundaries. And they're, there's conflict, not because they're not a good team, but because their motivating factors are, are a little bit at odds. And so how can you understand the strength of those motivating factors, and I think that that is so so so important, whether we're looking at our classrooms, or our our board rooms, or our team, you know, any of that stuff.


Joshua Stamper  18:00  

I think you touched on something... also about the passion piece. So like, every person needs to have a passion project within their own world, like, you know, you talk about mental health and, and I think the podcast for me, and to a certain extent, the book, although I don't love writing, which is crazy to say, as an author, but but the, the passion project, for me was the podcast, right. And without that, I don't think my mental health as a leader would be where it's at. Because that, that experience and that creativity that I'm able to use in that space, fills my cup for me to go on to the next day and be the best version for myself, you know, and there's other things, obviously, that I need also, but I think, you know, teachers and leaders, as a horror educators just need to be able to have some time for their passions. And as a leader, I need to know the strengths of my staff, and what they're passionate about. So that way, I can say yes to the great ideas and the creativity that they have. Because I want to motivate them, I want to have to drive, I want them to do something that they love and believe in, and I need to get out of the way of that and give them those opportunities. So I'm just hoping that you know, this year specifically, I think everybody needs a little bit of opportunity to work on their passions.


Lainie Rowell  19:26  

I love that. Josh, tell us tell us more about the book because like I said, I was lucky to get the sneak peek. I hope you're okay with me saying this, but I really loved that it was kind of the emotional side of leadership. It's talking about empathy and passion and creativity. And I just feel like you give us so many good tools. And so if you don't mind, you know, no spoilers necessarily, were all going to go get the book. But you know what brought you to write this book? What are you hoping people walk away with? You know, kind of this, this is a passion project for you.


Unknown Speaker  20:04  

Yeah, and it was led because of the podcast, honestly, I had an opportunity to speak with Todd Nesloney in Austin, Texas and I had this crazy idea. And I just... he's kind of my soundboard. I mean, the podcast was something I threw at him. And, of course, he ping pong back and was like, I think you should do it. It's amazing idea. And I did the same thing with the book. And he wrote the foreword to the book, there's no one else I would rather have read the foreword, because he's been such a wonderful influence in my life, as a friend, and then professionally, but really, it came from the idea that, as an art teacher to administrator, I made a lot of ridiculous mistakes. And I wanted to provide a guide for folks. And for people to understand, like, everybody is a leader, for one, if you're an educator, you're a leader, you're leading someone, if you're in a building, even as a custodian, you're leaving someone somewhere. And I found in my old districts, when I was working on a program to build up leaders for aspiring leaders, that a lot of folks just didn't have a guide, they didn't have support on campus, they didn't have a mentor, they thought, hey, someday I want to be a leader, but they just didn't have a framework to work in to even understand what that looked like. They didn't know the positions, didn't know who to talk to. And they were lost, they were just searching. And so I had the wonderful opportunity to like, just put on these different events, with very little advertising for it. And like our get 175 to 200 people show up on a Thursday night without like providing food or anything like very little motivation whatsoever. And granted, I I've always worked in big districts, but still, like the attendance was the draw was because people were just hungry. They just wanted information. And, and so that's what led me to podcast because the district took that program over. And I still was just like longing to help other people. And that's really what I want the book to be. It's it's a, I use ASPIRE as as an acronym. So it's activate, support, persevere, identify, reflect and execute. And just like ways to show all of my mistakes, I want to be like, very vulnerable and transparent. With my stories of like, I was not perfect. I've had successes, obviously, because I got into the role that I wanted. But it came with some very tough lessons. And hopefully people can read the stories and resonate with them to understand like, maybe this is a pitfall that I don't need to walk walk into, to make my journey a little bit easier and to be successful with the specific tools that are laid out for creativity, passion and empathy, which are three characteristics I just think every leader needs to possess.


Lainie Rowell  22:51  

I have to vouch for the vulnerability and I so appreciate that I'm guessing Bri is with me on this, that I would much rather learn from someone who's willing to reveal their mistakes to me, then someone is like, "I nailed it". You know, as an administrator, I think one of the hardest things is when you're a teacher, you're you know, they don't teach you everything in teacher school, your teacher prep program isn't going to cover everything. But you tend to learn your mistakes in front of children who don't rat you out. So it's kind of like you're, you're learning as you're going, but you're not necessarily having an audience for that. Whereas when you move into administration, you tend to have a bigger audience for your mistakes. And so that can be really, it can be really stifling, and really scary for people. And so I'm always really grateful when people give, like I said, the tools that you give, the framework to help us get through that. So just want to do acknowledge that.


Joshua Stamper  23:43  

Thank you.


Brianna Hodges  23:44  

Yeah, and I mean, just for, for what it's worth, that I love that you've chosen ASPIRE, not just for for the acronym, but also I mean, you know, the, the the root of it actually means to breathe out, right. And so you're, you're breathing out this, this information that can be you know, it's this exhale, of what you have process, like what you, you know, experienced and all of that. And I love that I think that that is so very valuable. Because even if you nail it like on the first try, your hope is that the next time you you you nail it even better, right? Like it's that or you're going to experience something and then wonder what the heck, like why didn't I get the same experience that I had the first time. And so I think that it's just that, that reminder that just like we breathe in and breathe out, we never stop that we have we can't ever stop the learning in the leading as as we go through time. So I'm really excited to read the book.  


Joshua Stamper  24:49  

Thank you both. Yeah, it was a fun experience. Obviously, it was a challenging task, but I definitely wanted it. Everyone's going to go through challenging times as a leader as an administrator. That's going to happen I mean, today was a very rough day, I won't go into specifics, but I am spent. But because of that experience that I went through today, I will be a better leader tomorrow. And, you know, we have to realize that we're not gonna be perfect. We're gonna have some times where we feel like a failure that we didn't make a difference. But I promise you that you are making a difference every single day. And a lot of times, we don't see the evidence of it until farther down the pathway, right? Maybe the day a child graduates from school, and goes to college is the time, you know, and it might be six years later, might be eight years later that you see how you impact that life. And that's the really difficult thing about being an educator in general, is we don't get those opportunities to see the difference until much, much later.


Lainie Rowell  25:45  

So Josh, tell us a little bit about the podcast, because we've only kind of really kind of touched on it briefly. But you know, there's such a, such a strong connection between the book and the podcast. And I know that you've done the podcast for years, right?


Joshua Stamper  26:01  

It's been through over three years now. Yeah. That's crazy. I know.


Lainie Rowell  26:06  

And so you know, Bri and I were here on Lemonade Learning and it only done like, like, a year and some change.


Brianna Hodges  26:12  

A year and some change, yeah, we're toddlers, we're toddlers in this in this journey.


Lainie Rowell  26:19  

Yeah, season two the toddler years. So I mean, we've learned a lot. But yeah, just tell us a little bit about your podcast, and kind of maybe what you've learned and what maybe people have shared that you thought was really, really helpful. And I really do hope people will check out your podcast because you have a lot of really awesome people on there.


Joshua Stamper  26:42  

It's been crazy. Yeah, it's been something I've just never imagined. Honestly, when I started I, I mentioned Todd Nesloney, I went down to visit him when he was working as a principal in Navasotaa nd I happened to come in when him and Adam Welcome. We're doing the Kids Deserve It, podcast. And then, and I've kind of snuck in the background and just kind of watched the magic as it was unfolding and once he was done, I just shot like, 1000 questions at him? Because I was like, What is this, you know, because podcasts for me, I was already a podcast listener, but it was just for sports. I mean, as you can see, behind me, I've got like all the sports memorabilia, I'm a nut so that was like my only world of podcast, and I didn't realize that other things existed in that space. And so then, you know, talk about him. And I kind of shared my experience at the time, I was longing to do something with aspiring leadership, I wanted to help other people. And that's, that's always been my mission, I don't get paid in any sort of way for the podcast. This is literally me just loving to talk with people to learn and then share that information in hopes that it helps someone in their leadership journey wherever that wherever you may be. And that's really been my mission this whole time. So I have been so fortunate to talk to so many different leaders, I'm on 162 interviews. I've also, I do a couple different variations within the podcast with the Teach Better Team, I'm the podcast Network Manager for them so I've had the honor of working with Jeff Gargas doing the Aspire Mailbag. So we have questions brought in, and then we answer it, and we bring on guests too and that's a lot of fun. It's a little more relaxed, as we joke around a lot. And then also do something with Sarah Johnson, where we do more of a coaching model, ASPIRE to Rise. And so every month, me and Sarah have an aspiring leader, where they have a problem that they share to us. And we kind of coach them through that. And by no means to we give them answers, but we, you know, give them some coaching questions for them to kind of work through. And then we also give them some resources in hopes that, you know, they'll kind of work through that, but then also get to that next level that they want to aspire to. So as far as guests and wisdom, I, I think of it as exercise, but not exercise of the body, it's exercise in the mind. And I say that because every time it's about this time at night, I get the kids to bed, I'm exhausted, I'm like, man, do I really need to do this again, I sit down and I go through the interview, and I'm just so energized and inspired at the end. And I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to sit down with some amazing leader that has spoken wisdom into my own life and I know his spoken wisdom into people across the world. So it's really hard after like, over 200 some episodes with those three different categories to kind of hone in but I will say to like, have Todd Whitaker and Eric Sheninger and I just had on Thomas Murray I mean to some of these these Jimmy Casas, you know, like...


Lainie Rowell  29:44  

Hey, you're not allowed to Tom Murray on this podcast. His name has been said too many times on this podcast.


Brianna Hodges  29:48  

Apparently you're going have to pay a fine. We're gonna have to start...


Joshua Stamper  29:52  

It's like a swear jar. Is that what it is?


Brianna Hodges  29:54  

We're trying to decide like between a swear jar or like, is he going to get royalties because people just keep namedropping him.


Lainie Rowell  30:01  

Yeah, I voted drinking game for the record.


Joshua Stamper  30:03  

I mean, he was just at my campus. So I mean,


Lainie Rowell  30:06  

Oh, yeah, were you all at Cowboys Stadium or something like that?


Unknown Speaker  30:11  

The practice facility, yeah, he spoke to our entire district. So it was, yeah, it was a big time.


Brianna Hodges  30:16  

I love it. Thank you, Josh. Like it was the "practice facility". I love that. Let's bring him down, like bringing him into you know, kind of just a tiny bit. I mean still really super impressive.


Lainie Rowell  30:30  

Very impressive! I really appreciate what you're saying, Josh, and we've talked about this on this podcast before you don't have to write a book, you don't have to do a podcast, you don't have to do anything in particular. But that process of reflecting is super important. And I think that that's what comes from, however you want to express your thinking, that's, it's reflecting right, and, you know, I get to, you know, all three of us, we have this podcast. You know, you have your own podcast, we have this podcast, and we listen to the episodes. So we're in the moment, we're having this conversation, and then we go back, and we listen to them. And that's our opportunity to reflect. And so I think that's a really special thing. I've grown tremendously because of it.


Brianna Hodges  31:13  

And I think it comes back to like what you were sharing at the beginning of, you know, it, one of the biggest things that we one of the biggest gifts that we can give to our, our students and to our staff right now and to each other is seeing them. That gift of being seen. And that gift of listening, and that gift of validating that they are a human being who is doing the best that they can and is, you know, working towards a better situation. Right? And, and I think that one of the things, whether you're a coach, whether you're in remote learning, whether you are, you know, a fifth grade teacher that is by himself, wow, you know, with his with his, you know, 22 kids, like, it can feel very isolating. And, and in every way, whether it's as a parent, whether it's as a student, whether it's as a teacher, somebody is telling you, you're not doing it right. Right? Like I mean, whether it's your own child... somehow you are falling into a struggle, and then to be able to connect with with people, right, like whether they're, whether it's reading, you know, a post that somebody did, and just reflecting on that, and kind of like marinating on it, and going, oh, wow, that reminds me of this experience that I just had, and I'm going to try that tomorrow and see if that helps me or whether it's verbally having these conversations, you know, through a podcast, like I think it's that, that piece that we really, really need right now is to be able to have that reflective validation with with our network and know that we're all together in some form or fashion.


Joshua Stamper  33:05  

For sure. Yeah, and a lot of times, folks just don't have opportunities to learn. And that was the main thing is I want to provide you value that you may not get somewhere else. I mean, how often do you get to listen to some of these folks pour out in a 30 minute session to maybe speak specifically to you to help you obtain your goals. And I had that personally, I had the support on my campus that I had an amazing assist principal, I had amazing leaders to give me guidance. And I know for a fact that there's a lot of folks that don't have that opportunity. So I was hoping through this process that at least I could give them some support through maybe a drive to work or you know, a little piece of advice or inspiration to get them so that they can work through these steps to hopefully attain whatever goals they may have in their leadership journey.


So I'm going to ask a question that I don't think we've really covered specifically, we've talked about supporting our kids, we've talked about supporting our teachers, how have and it's okay, if you don't have an answer for this, but I'm just kind of I'm also thinking about our leaders. Um, and how do how did they support each other? How do they, you know, find support I do think like your podcast is helpful, because that can be for the, you know, the principal that's kind of on an island and they can kind of feel like, Okay, well, this is where I can connect and, and really hear how someone else is working through the problems that I'm having. But I wondered if there's anything that's happening that you're aware of, to kind of really help the leaders who, you know, they've got COVID renting a room in their head, they've got like, maybe more than one room. I mean, they've just got so much on their shoulders, and I feel like how do we help them because it's, it's a lot.


It's a lot I think Bri talked about earlier about network, right? I think all of us, all three of us have a solid network that we can lean on daily, that is going to support us in any situation. So social media, obviously, is one piece of the pie of getting to know people and building relationships. And I know, like, my family doesn't understand how I have like, really amazing friendships with people that I've never met, ever. And it's kind of mind boggling. And I have extremely deep relationship with them. I know their families and know what's going on in their daily lives. And it's a weird concept. But without that support, and that network, I don't know, if I could get through a year like I just had with COVID and all the changes. And I think that's something that educators just don't understand, like the power of that I know a lot of people speak about it. Like, for instance, George Couros, one of the first people that I saw in a conference asked about social media who is on Twitter, right, a lot of speakers do this, and maybe 20%, or lower is raising hands. And for me personally, at the time, when I heard him speak the first time, I didn't raise my hand, I didn't, I didn't think there was any reason for that. Obviously, now it's something that is a huge piece of my life. But because of that one speech, I was able to then grow a network that isn't about like supporting the podcast, it's not supporting a book, it's about supporting me as a human being and as a leader. And I think that's, that's more important than anything else. The other piece is like, on my campus, I have people where if I'm having a tough day, I can shut the door and speak freely and know that it's not gonna go outside of this room, that I can vent, say, whatever we need to say, get off my chest, and then it's done and its out in the world and I can move on and go on about my day. I have an amazing support system with my family, like I am very intentional about like, when is my day as a school leader. When is my day as a father, when is my day as a husband, and I think for me, being very intentional with my time is a must, if I don't have that, then things start to fall by the wayside. My mental health falls, the wayside or my responsibilities. If I spent too much time... granted, there are certain days that I have to be unbalanced, right? Like the day when my book launches, I can tell you, I'm going to be probably all focused on that and not focus on anything else, right? So there's certain times where we have to be unbalanced. But we have to be consistent, we have to make sure that I think of it kind of like the metaphor of like the person that spinning plates on the sticks, right? You go to a halftime show, and someone's doing the trick of spinning all these different plates. Well, what happens if you don't touch one of those plates? It's gonna fall on the ground right? Now, does that mean that I have to be intentional about spinning it constantly? No, but I might have to touch it at least right. So whatever those plates might be, we need to identify them. And then we also need to make sure that we're planning our time so that we are not letting anything drop. But they're still important. And I think mental health is one of those things. So for instance, for me creating is something I have to do. When I create I'm a better person, I'm more healthy person, I have a better mindset. So how is that one of my place? Where am I dedicating my time to make sure I'm creating. Exercise is so important. And for mental health too, right? So if that's important, how am I designate my time for that, and I can go on to a long list, but I think as leaders as educators, we just need to make sure that we know what's important in our life, and what's gonna make us the best person. And then how are we identifying where we're putting our time toward that? As leaders, we have to make sure we give that time to.


Brianna Hodges  38:41  

So I want to kind of piggyback into that statement, um, as a leader, what are some suggestions you've been, you know, you you're a month-ish, into this year? What were some things as a as, as someone with a very strong focus on trauma informed practices and SEL? What were some things that you were very intentional to do with your staff? Like, can you give us some really strong nuggets of like, what were things? Not just like, yep, told him it was important. But what did you do? You said you share that you did the the, the five languages of love which if our audience doesn't know there's actually one specifically for work that's out there and the it's not like... it's side hugs and high fives. It's not you know, inappropriate anything like that. But what what are what are some things that that you've done that you're feeling are helpful?


Joshua Stamper  39:44  

Yeah, so for us, we wanted to model what we expected for them to do with their students and being on a campus for this will be my fourth year they've they've heard me speak a lot about trauma informed practices. They've heard about social emotional learning how important that is. But you know, every every year it's whoever the speakers are, whoever we bring in, like we had Nathan Maynard last year is kind of like our person that was working through mindfulness, right and giving them strategies to be able to provide that at home and, and breathing exercises, obviously, he knew that everyone's going through stressful situations. So how are we teaching our staff to be mindful and to take care of themselves if they were triggered? You know, how are they able to regulate themselves, you know, really digging in and giving those tools to our teachers to utilize and actually do it themselves. So that way, when students are in it, hey, this has worked for me, please try X, Y, and Z to maybe regulate yourself. But then for us, like we took a retreat, we went out. Thankfully, our principal knew someone that gave us an amazing deal, they had kind of a ranch style situation, we were able to, like bring our staff to a barn, but the whole day wasn't about us just giving more information, right? We're always great as districts just pumping knowledge, right? knowledge, knowledge, knowledge, but we never given them a time to actually use the skills that we provide. And that day was just about building relationships, getting to know each other. And so we did a lot of stations and activities and just having fun, like, get to know each other as people, we're obviously going to go through really tough times, and we're going to need to be able to support each other. If someone gets sick. If someone has a spouse that loses a job, like whatever the maybe someone goes through a divorce, whatever it may be, like who's got your back, and you're not gonna have someone's back, if you don't know them. That's just that's just how it is. And so we've got new folks on our teams, like, Who are they as people? And so we spent an entire day. So literally eight hours of just getting to know each other as a team and doing team building activities. I know sometimes that word doesn't have weight. But we were actually using strategies that we were like, hey, you've just now done a relationship circle, you didn't realize it, or this was a brain break that you can use in classrooms. So everything that we did was something that we were modeling that they could actually use within their instructional day.


Brianna Hodges  42:02  

I love it. I mean, because again, kind of coming back to that, that circle of everyone, I mean, for a large majority of our schools, there's been a year apart, you know, in some form or fashion. And so, you know, there's news outlets all across are talking about that, you know, we used to be able to run into each other the coffee machine or the watercooler or, you know, faculty meeting I like all of those kinds of things. And while some of those routines have have been virtualized, there's also been a lot of elements that have that have gone missing from that. And so giving that time to reconnect or to connect, whether it's new staff or or stuff that's been together before, is super important. And to not, you know, sweep that under the rug, and to be intentional, I think is a great reminder, because again, like that seems to be a recurring theme this year that I'm hearing all across the country is, you know, don't forget, we've got to build those relationships, relationships are more important than ever, we really have to do that. Don't be so quick to jump full on into, into to content only lay those relationships ahead of time. And what a fantastic reminder that you know, you don't have to jump into the to the the handbook discussion straight away. Like you don't have to do that. You can build time. Yes, we, you know, we everybody's got lots of things that are on their mind. But if you build in and are very intentional about it, you're going to get a better response from from your team. Because just like our students know, when we kind of phone it in as a teacher on these practices, we also know that when from a leadership, it's just kind of like, yep, we're gonna do this icebreaker to check the list. It sounds like like, you know, you you guys were really intentional in that way. So I appreciate those those recommendations.


Joshua Stamper  44:01  

Well, just like the PD, right, I mean, we we say, you know, be engaging in, facilitate the learning. And then we go and we give like a three hour PowerPoint that has 62 slides, I mean, and we model the exact opposite that we want the teachers do in the classroom. So we wanted to make sure that we were intentional, like you said, to have not only exactly what we expect in the classroom with our students.


Lainie Rowell  44:21  

Well, and it sounds like you gave them a lot of options. I think one thing that that kind of is just my personal takeaway, when I started to be super intentional with sharing SEL practices with educators and someone even explicitly said this to me, one of my colleagues at Orange County Department of Ed said, you know, not every SEL practice is right for everyone. And so there might be things that as a teacher, I'm not comfortable doing with my students. Well, maybe I'll give it to them as a tool, and they can do it on their own. But maybe I will lead with my group, this activity that I am comfortable doing and leading and so I think that the more that you can give them that those options, that variety and actually experiences themselves, the more comfortable they're going to feel putting it into practice. So I love that. So we have to start to wrap up. I'm like just now noticing the clock. So, um, So Josh will give you a chance for any final thoughts that you want to share. But I want to make sure people are aware if they if in case they like somehow skipped ahead and didn't hear this, but Aspire to Lead is going to go on pre order September 7, if I got that correct.


Joshua Stamper  45:27  



Lainie Rowell  45:28  

When you're listening to this, it should be after that. (Post production hope.) So you can go get the preorder, and then the official launch? I think you said September 21, right?


Joshua Stamper  45:40  

Yes, you are right on. September 21st.


Lainie Rowell  45:45  

Then you should definitely check out the Aspire podcast. Josh, I just want to say that I have been so lucky to get to know you recently. And I don't know how long you and Bri have known each other probably longer. It seems like everyone always knows Brie longer than me. I'm just so jealous. But my experience with you is that you are super authentic. Just a really genuinely good person who's doing the very best for lots of people. And so I just want you to know how much I appreciate your work. I was very grateful to be on your podcast and up next... I'm the opening and and Bri is the closer she's gonna come in next. And yeah, that that's, that's how that's the order. Very excited about that. Bri, any final thoughts? And then we'll toss to Josh for any of his final thoughts and his socials that he wants to share so people can find him.


Brianna Hodges  46:34  

No, I mean, I just I very much enjoyed this episode, I think that it is so incredibly timely, you know, Lainie and I always talked about we don't want... we try to keep our conversations as both in the moment and evergreen as possible, if that's if that's kind of, if it's available out there. You know, we try to not wrap it to specifically, you know, COVID type conversations, but at the same time, like, I think it's also timely to say, you know, we all are, and I know, this phrase has been thrown around a lot of the, we're in the same ocean, we don't have the same boat, but we're all all really dealing with this in in so many different ways. And it's that common constraint of uncertainty and, you know, trauma. And, and I think that, you know, again, I think that's also one of those Princess Bride words, that a lot of times we throw around trauma, and before 2019, 2020, you know, we really associated trauma with like, death and violence, and, you know, things that have a true epic proportion, which I think we're obviously seeing right now as well. But it's, it's gone from trauma being almost kind of an exception to this the circumstance to now really seeing trauma being processed at different levels for everyone. And so I think that, um, I'm just really grateful to you for, for sharing so many authentic and transparent and vulnerable tips around how to manage this. And, you know, I was, I was thinking when you were talking earlier, and you were saying, you know, that you, you don't claim to be perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I think that you claim to be a practitioner. And I think that that's the most important part is that you are a working practitioner, you're not a not a one and done expert. And I think that that's the, that's the that's my takeaway is to just keep practicing it constantly.


Joshua Stamper  48:50  

Definitely. And I agree with both you I, I know the Evergreen piece, trauma existed well before COVID, COVID, just put in our face and didn't let us look around it. And before study showed that almost 70% of every single human being in the world had at least one form of trauma. That means that it's not the minority. Trauma is the majority at this point. So we need to make sure that we have the skills to handle it. I mean, I don't know how else to say it's in front of us every single day and the way that we used to practice how we interacted and communicated with other people, thinking that everybody lived in this wonderful home with two parents and had food on the table every single night. I mean, that's, that's not the majority of experiences. And so as a school, we need to be a safe place. And that goes from the kids to the adults. And I just think this topic is yes, it's relevant now. But it's going to be relevant for all time. I mean, we just need to make sure that everybody is safe and that they have the resources that they need to be successful on and to be able to learn.


Lainie Rowell  49:56  

Well, Josh, you have so much more to share. So tell us about the ways that you people can connect with you afterwards. They obviously should get your book and listen to your podcast and then what are the socials we'll have it for the... See we don't really advertise the video component of this podcast. We have a lot of listeners comparatively so we'll have it on a frame for the for those people who do watch the video you know, both of them, but majority will be listening. Could you tell us your handles and all that fun stuff?


Joshua Stamper  50:27  

Definitely they're gonna miss me dancing and singing the entire time. That's crazy. They know if they need to watch the video.


Brianna Hodges  50:32  

You were spinning plates.


Joshua Stamper  50:33  

I was I had the whole thing down. So social media on Twitter and Instagram it's @Joshua__Stamper. You got to be intentional about those two double underscores or it  goes to someone else and then as far as the website is JoshStamper.com. There's obviously my podcast, there's some blogs on there and there's some other resources and of course the book will be on there too for purchase so I would love it if you picked up a copy or listened to this our podcast. Definitely check out Lainie's episode. She was amazing on there and pretty soon I'm gonna have Bri on she's gonna rock the mic. We're gonna flip the script. It is gonna be awesome.


See, I was I was intentional to not like set myself up to get grilled or anything. So you got your play nice play nice.


Yeah. I will, I promised.


Lainie Rowell  51:18  

Josh is an amazing host. Seriously, just one of the most generous people I've had the pleasure of collaborating with. So thank you both for being here. And thank you to all of our listeners, and we'll catch up soon.


Brianna Hodges  51:30  

Absolutely. Thanks you all.


Lainie Rowell  51:32  

Thanks, everyone.


Joshua Stamper  51:33  

Thank you.


Brianna Hodges  51:35  

If you enjoyed this batch of Lemonade Learning, please check out our website LemonadeLearning.us. For more resources, be sure to subscribe today, so you don't miss out on future lessons, laughter or lemonade.  


Lainie Rowell  51:47  

And if you're feeling really generous, please go to Apple podcasts to submit a review so other educators know the value. One last thing, learning and lemonade are best together so please connect with us on social media using #LemonadeLearning to share your story. Plus, we're always looking to giveaway stickers and swag.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai