What are the stories that you want to share with the world? Telling your story and sharing parts of yourself is how we learn, connect, and build empathy. No matter the context, whether in a personal or professional setting, your story matters. Powerful stories can leave a lasting positive impact on students and teachers because they show us that we are not alone in our struggles. But the trick is — you may not realize the impact that your story can have until you share it.
This is just one of the many things I learned this week from my guest Todd Nesloney, author of Kids Deserve It! and Stories from Webb. Todd shared his love of story and how he has leveraged story to create an incredible culture at his school. Listen now to learn all about it!
Todd is the principal of Webb Elementary in Texas and he is GREAT at his job. Todd doesn’t just tell his teachers and staff that he appreciates them — he shows them every day. Todd is the master (or maybe sensei would be a better term) of paying it forward. Instead of writing a book by himself about the stories from his school, his staff helped him co-author the book, sharing their own insights and tales. Instead of using his social media fame to promote himself, Todd lives by the mantra, “If you’re ever given a platform, make sure you amplify the voices of others louder than you amplify your own.” And instead of evaluating and critiquing his teachers, he gives them a voice to evaluate his own work. If we had more leaders like Todd in our schools, teachers would surely feel as valued as they truly are.
Todd’s own story is fascinating and inspiring. His positivity comes through in every answer, while at the same time, never shying away from his failures and struggles. After all, showing the ups and downs is more inspiring than creating the myth of a perfect teacher or principal with whom no one can relate. In this episode, you’ll get only the raw footage, including a guest appearance by my new (barking) dog Quincy.
Todd’s work is so important and he is always coming out with new material to help us benefit. He gives great book recommendations that touch upon different and diverse characters across all races, religions, cultures, orientations, gender, and more. Todd discusses how powerful these diverse texts can be in not just a child’s life, but also for adults to read. And not to mention, his own books are pretty powerful too! Stories from Webb, Kids Deserve It! and the soon-to-be-released Sparks in the Dark all take vastly different approaches to education but they all emphasize the importance of story, literature, and fighting through struggles.
If you need a little extra inspiration, this is the episode for you! If you want to your passions loose, share your story, and eliminate any excuses holding you back, Todd gives you all the tools to make it work.
One of the most striking things Todd said to me in this episode was “once you know better, you must do better,” and after listening to this episode, I have no doubt that we will all do better in our classrooms! Find out for yourself on this week’s episode of the Punk Rock Preschool Podcast.
- Kids Deserve It!
- Stories from Webb
- Todd’s Website
- Todd’s Ted Talk
- Kids Deserve It Podcast
- @Techninjatodd (twitter)
- Todd’s Facebook Live Channel – Tell Your Story
- Travis Crowder
- Adam Welcome
- Classrooms in China
- Chadwick Boseman and Jimmy Fallon
Books Todd Recommended
- The Hate U Give
- Dear Martin
- The 57 Bus
- I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
- Stanley Will Probably Be Fine
- Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
- The Crossover
- 01:16 – Todd Introduction
- 02:22 – Favorite stories from time as an educator
- 06:02 – Leadership Style and Building a great school culture as an administrator
- 08:48 – Share the stories of success and the stories of struggle
- 10:52 – What does every child deserve?
- 13:40 – How do we start challenging conventional thinking
- 16:22 – The Origins of TechNinjaTodd
- 17:42 – Todd’s next book: Sparks in the Dark
- 19:44 – Pushing himself as a teacher
- 21:58 – Book Recommendations
- 22:45 – The Power of Representation in Story
- 25:11 – Closing Thoughts
Thank you so much for joining us this week! Was there anything I missed in this episode that you’d like to hear more about? Would you mind sharing in the comments so all the great teachers can learn from your thoughts? Thank you!
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