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Deliberate Optimism

Still Reclaiming the Joy in Education
Second Edition
By: Debbie Silver, Jack C. Berckemeyer

The second edition of this humor-filled guide features revised Principles of Optimism, expanded focus on leadership, updated strategies and thought-provoking scenarios, and interactive action steps.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781071889053
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2023
  • Page Count: 224
  • Publication date: May 16, 2023

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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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.

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.


Debbie Silver photo

Debbie Silver

Dr. Debbie Silver is a humorist, consultant, and retired educator with over thirty years of experience as a classroom teacher, staff development facilitator, and university professor. As a classroom teacher, Debbie won numerous awards, including the 1990 Louisiana Teacher of the Year award. She speaks worldwide on issues involving education and is a passionate advocate for students and teachers.

Debbie wrote the best-selling books, Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers and Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8. She co-wrote the best-selling Teaching Kids to Thrive. In 1990, Debbie Pace and Lawrence Silver merged their families of 3 boys (Debbie) and 2 boys (Lawrence) as they married and eventually both earned their doctorate degrees (to form a “pair-a-docs”). They currently reside in Melissa, TX.

One of the nation’s most popular keynote speakers and professional development presenters, Debbie has given presentations around the world (including 49 states [Hey, Delaware, let’s talk!], Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Africa, and Asia), helping audiences to interact with students on a more meaningful level.

While inspiring educators to enjoy the job they once loved, she reminds them of how important they are in the lives of children, their families, and the world. Through her writing and her speaking she makes essential points while sharing poignant stories and lots of laughs.

Jack C. Berckemeyer photo

Jack C. Berckemeyer

Jack Berckemeyer is a nationally recognized presenter, author, and humorist, Jack Berckemeyer began his career as a middle school teacher in Denver, Colorado. After only two years, he was recognized as the outstanding educator at his school and in his district. Then in 2003, Jack received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Falcon School District. Jack has also served as a judge for the Disney American Teacher Awards and has served on the selection committee for the USA TODAY All-Teacher Team. Jack has a master’s degree in Middle Level Education as well as an administrator’s degree.

For 13 years, Jack served as the Assistant Executive Director for the National Middle School Association. He is the owner of Berckemeyer Consulting Group where he has presented in hundreds of school districts and conference settings both nationally and internationally.

Jack is known not only for his keynotes and workshops but is also highly regarded as one of the best long-term professional developers in the country. Jack is best-practice focused and research-based. He is in high demand and enjoys working with districts that truly want to see measurable changes. As the owner and director of NUTS and BOLTS—the Never Boring Conference for Educators Jack brings conferences for educators to a whole new level of engagement by focusing on best practices, and offering realistic and practical hands-on tools to increase success for educators, schools and students.

He is the author of Managing the Madness: A Practical Guide to Middle Grades Classrooms; Taming of the Team: How Great Teams Work Together; How to Do Virtual Teaching Even If You Have a Face for Radio; and numerous educational articles. In addition, he is the lead author of the comprehensive professional development curriculum: Elements of Effective Teaming. Jack has also co-authored Deliberate Optimism: Reclaiming the Joy in Education (with Debbie Silver and Judith Baenen); The What, Why, and How of Student-Led Conferences (with Patti Kinney), and H.E.L.P. for Teachers (with Judith Baenen). His latest book, Successful Middle School Teaming, was released fall of 2022 and is the companion guide to, The Successful Middle School:This We Believe.

Jack lives in Denver, Colorado and has no pets or plants.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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




Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.