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Deliberate Optimism
Updated Edition of Bestseller

Deliberate Optimism
Still Reclaiming the Joy in Education

Second Edition
  • Debbie Silver - Education Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Author,
  • Jack C. Berckemeyer - Director, Berckemeyer Educational Consulting Group

May 2023 | 224 pages | Corwin

Even more ways for educators to flourish

A lot has changed in schools since Deliberate Optimism was first published, but one thing hasn’t: Attitude can make all the difference. When educators choose optimism—even in the face of the toughest challenges—they foster a school culture where students and staff feel safe, engaged, and productive, able to enjoy the healthy interactions that lead to real change.

Updated to address major changes in education since 2015, the second edition of this much-loved book features new doses of the same cathartic humor, plus

  • Revised, more succinct Principles of Optimism
  • Expanded focus on leadership
  • Updated strategies and thought-provoking scenarios
  • Interactive “Action Step” exercises
  • A new chapter on mental health
  • QR codes leading to additional resources such as self-assessments and videos

Optimism is the salve for overworked leaders and teachers, and this book delivers on outlining its indisputable benefits. Brimming with wit and honesty, the updated Deliberate Optimism demonstrates how changing your mindset can help you rediscover your motivation—and create a school environment bound for success.

Preface to the second edition
Introduction: Choosing to Enter Education Is a Telling Vote for Optimism
Chapter 1: Principle #1: Gather Information
Chapter 2: Principle #2: Control What You Can
Chapter 3: Principle #3: Do Something Positive
Chapter 4: Principle #4: Own Your Part
Chapter 5: Mental Health Is Health
Chapter 6: “But We Have This One Teacher Who keeps Ruining Everything!”
Chapter 7: Building a Positive Shared School Community
Chapter 8: Joyful School Communities – The Sum of Their Parts
Appendix I.1 Life Orientation Test
Appendix I.2 Happiness and Optimism Tests
Appendix I.3 Life on a Roll
Appendix 1.1 Four Principles of Deliberate Optimism
Appendix 1.2 The 4 Principles of Deliberate Optimism Worksheet
Appendix 1.3 Realistic Awareness
Appendix 1.4 Recognizing and Celebrating Staff
Appendix 3.1 Tips for Writing Letters to Students
Appendix 5.1 Twelve Ways to Reduce Stress
Appendix 6.1 Ten Tips for Improving Interpersonal Relationships
Appendix 6.2 Life Is a Theatre
Appendix 7.1 Effective Team-Building Activities
Appendix 7.2 Student Accountability
Appendix 7.3 Loyalty
Appendix 8.1 Student-Led Conferences
Key features

Through research-based strategies, practical examples, and thought-provoking scenarios, the authors provide food for thought along with enough humor to make the journey fun.  Discussion questions and action steps follow each chapter, and an appendix of further activities is provided at the end of the book.

  • Visual elements: graphs, charts, forms, graphics
  • written by authors with extensive experience as classroom teachers and school leaders
  • practical, realistic take on what it's like to be an educator
  • offers practical, useful, implementable advice 
  • filled with cathartic humor
  • authentic vignettes from teachers in the field
  • Researched-based; Comprehensive bibliography
  • Comprehensive appendix including additional activities 
The Second edition includes:
Additional focus on leadership for both teachers and administrators.
Updated information and suggestions addressing the major changes in education since 2015
Revised, more succinct Principles of Optimism.
Chapters revised to include a designated chapter for each Principle of Optimism.
Interactive “Action Step” exercises for the reader in each chapter.
Updated research and examples.
QR codes in every chapter for addition resources.
Added chapter on mental health.
More General Discussion Questions and Action Steps for school leaders at the end of each chapter.

Purchasing options

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ISBN: 9781071889053

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

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