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Deliberate Optimism

Reclaiming the Joy in Education

Research-based strategies, practical examples, and thought-provoking scenarios help you restore healthy school interactions, build an optimistic classroom where students flourish, and partner with other stakeholders.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781483307831
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2014
  • Page Count: 184
  • Publication date: September 05, 2014

Price: $33.95



Beat burnout and bring joy back to teaching—and learning.

Recharge the optimism that made you an educator in the first place! School is where students and staff should feel safe, engaged, and productive—and choosing optimism is the first step toward restoring healthy interactions necessary for enacting real change.

In this book, learn to implement the Five Principles of Deliberate Optimism. Research-based strategies, practical examples, and thought-provoking scenarios help you

  • Rediscover motivation
  • Take a positive view of events beyond your control
  • Build an optimistic classroom where students flourish
  • Partner with other stakeholders to create an optimistic learning environment

Take the road to new potential and positive outcomes! With a healthy dose of humor to make it fun, Deliberate Optimism shows you the actual differences a change in attitude can make.

“This book provides a framework for taking responsibility in classrooms, choosing to see the positives, dealing with problems rather than dwelling on them, recognizing choices are always available, and building relationships with all in the school community.”
Charla Buford Bunker, Literacy Specialist
Great Falls High School
Sun River, MT

“The authors have a realistic view of a teacher’s daily life and provide realistic solutions for teachers to embrace optimism and positivity in a myriad of situations.”
Kati Searcy, Teacher
Mountain Park ES
Roswell, GA

“This book is a nice synthesis of current research and classic literature about climate, culture, and the environmental context of the classroom and the teachers’ lounge.”
Chris Hubbuch, Principal
Excelsior Springs Middle School

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, etc.
  • Study guide section
  • Comprehensive bibliography
  • Glossary
  • Comprehensive appendix including handout-master templates
  • Video clips of author presentations


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



About the Authors


Chapter 1. Choosing to Become a Teacher Is a Telling Vote for Optimism

Chapter 2. I'm Not an Optimist, but Hopefully, One Day I Will Be

Chapter 3. "But We Have This ONE Teacher Who Keeps Ruining Things for Everyone!"

Chapter 4. Building Healthy Relationships and an Optimistic Shared Community

Chapter 5. Creating the Optimistic Classroom: Building a Relationship Culture

Chapter 6. Reclaiming the Joy in Our Classrooms and Our Curriculum

Chapter 7. Balancing Your Life to Promote Optimism

Chapter 8. Joyful School Communities: The Sum of Their Parts






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