10 Questions with Kids Deserve It Author Adam Welcome

TCI is excited to announce that Adam Welcome will be the keynote speaker for the 2022 Bring Learning Alive! Virtual Summit. Adam has been an educator for over 15 years. He began his education career as an elementary teacher. Later, he took on school leadership roles and has worked as an assistant principal, a principal, and a Director of Innovation. Through it all, Adam has been a passionate proponent of shaking up schools and classrooms to serve students and teachers better.

Today, Adam works with teachers across the country and writes books on education. He has written four books (so far), including Kids Deserve It and Teachers Deserve It. Learn more about Adam and what he says students and teachers deserve.

1. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become interested in education?

My dad taught second grade for 35 years. I grew up going to his classroom. After college, I became a substitute teacher and then got my credential. The rest is history!

2. How long have you been in education?

I was an elementary teacher for 7 years, teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. I then became a school leader for 7 years. I also served as the Director of Innovation for 2 years.

3. You are known for your books on education that inspire teachers, including Kids Deserve It and Teachers Deserve It. How did you get into writing?

It happened by complete accident! I had been blogging for years and presenting at local conferences. I started an organization with another principal called Kids Deserve It. We were focused on doing innovative things to change the world of education. A publisher heard about our work and reached out to us to write a book. We did, and it exploded. Now, I speak full-time and coach others. I still feel like I’m a teacher—I just have different students.

4. What do kids deserve?

Kids deserve everything. They deserve to be in charge of their learning and have an excited adult teach them. They deserve access to technology, books with characters that look like them, and a relevant curriculum. They deserve to come to a school that feels safe and have teachers, principals, and staff who know their names.

5. What do teachers deserve?

First and foremost, they deserve a principal who listens to them, encourages them, and is an instructional leader. Teachers deserve higher pay and so many other things since they are working so many hours. They deserve respect in the community. In order to get that respect, I think teachers need to be involved in the community. They deserve their story to be told—there are so many amazing things teachers are doing every day that should be shared with the world.

6. Let’s reflect on the state of education. How do you think education has changed in the past 5 years, and where would you like to see it go in the next 5 years?

I think education has gotten too complicated. I believe we are really good in education at bringing things in, but bad at getting rid of old practices, old habits, and old technology. We should focus on implementing 5 new things with fidelity instead of 20 things with mediocrity.

In the next five years, I hope we can attract quality people who would normally go into something else. I hope people who would normally go to a big tech company for a job would look into education. I want our classrooms to reflect what’s happening in the world in 2022. I want trades to take more of a forefront in schools. Schools also need to be more agile to adapt to change.

7. You have been a proponent of incorporating technology into the classroom. What are some tips you would give teachers looking to add blogging, YouTube, or podcasting to their lesson plans?

Don’t overthink it! People often overcomplicate things. I always say, “Think big, act small, keep it simple. And—as fast as you can—put the kids in charge.”

I’m also a big proponent of starting on second base. Use social media to reach out to teachers who have already started a blog or podcast. It’s a great way to connect, swap lesson plans, and collaborate with each other.

8. Please share a fun fact about yourself.

I’ve run 32 marathons.

9. What is something you’ve read, watched, or listened to recently that you would recommend for teachers?

A really good book to read is Refugee by Alan Gratz. It’s a really great story about a refugee from Syria, a refugee from Cuba, and a Jewish refugee from World War II. They are all kids. It’s a reminder that kids are going through a lot.

10. Thank you for your time. Do you have any parting words for teachers?

Dear teachers! You are appreciated. You are valued. We love your inspiration. Keep crushing it. And be awesome for kids!

You can hear more from Adam Welcome during TCI’s Virtual Summit, where he will share his enthusiasm, expertise, and encouragement with educators across the country. Join thousands of educators for inspiring sessions, hands-on training, teaching best practices, and more. The free event, “TCI’s Bring Learning Alive! Virtual Summit,” is on July 28 from 9 am – 12:30 pm PT. Learn more about the Summit and register today.

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