Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky
September 19, 2023
Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

The further away administrators get from their roots as teachers, the more they forget what it’s like to be in the trenches. The result is often either a real or perceived lack of empathy for teachers.

Both teachers and administrators have vital roles in the school, and it’s important for both to have mutual respect for one another. To achieve this, administrators need to take a step back and really listen to teachers. How? By being more visible, asking questions, and seeking out teachers as the answers to the challenges in their buildings.

This week on the podcast, we’re welcoming back author and educator Miriam Plotinsky. She’s sharing about her latest book, Lead Like a Teacher, and talking about what school leaders can do to build more trust and a more collaborative school environment. Of course, there’s an element for teachers in there too, and how they can look at school, teacher, and student needs through a different lens.

About Miriam Plotinsky:

Miriam Plotinsky is an author and instructional specialist who addresses challenges in both teaching and leading across schools with a wide range of differentiated needs. A strong advocate for student-centered learning, she provides coaching and professional development for teachers and administrators. She has written Teach More, Hover Less: How to Stop Micromanaging Your Secondary Classroom and Lead Like a Teacher: How to Elevate Expertise in Your School (W.W. Norton, 2022 & 2023). Miriam is widely published in education publications such as Education Week, Edutopia, ASCD Express, Middleweb, The Teaching Channel, EdSurge, K-12 Talk and Education World and is a frequent guest on education podcasts internationally. She is also a National Board-Certified Teacher with additional certification in administration and supervision. She can be found on her website or on Twitter: @MirPloMCPS.

Miriam’s third book, Writing Their Future Selves, releases in November.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:48] – Miriam’s empathy framework
[3:27] – Miriam’s unique background in education
[6:15] – There’s a complicated relationship between teachers and administrators
[8:19] – There’s a need for empathy on both sides
[9:12] – How Lead Like a Teacher addresses empathy
[13:15] – How to foster mutual understanding and respect between teachers and administrators
[15:45] – There’s a balance between toxic positivity and and miring yourself in the negativity that exists
[17:00] – Unpacking teacher observations and evaluations
[21:51] – Most school leaders feel attached to instruction but there’s so much happening that they can’t always participate
[23:41] – A teacher observation that goes wrong
[25:08] – Everything you see is data
[27:55] – Leadership positions are often lonely
[30:47] – Make what you do really transparent
[32:12] – Steps school leaders can do to start building trust and a collaborative environment
[33:56] – A sneak preview of Miriam’s third book
[36:55] – Turbo Time
[39:30] – What people need to know about closing the teacher-administrator empathy gap
[41:32] – Miriam’s Magic Wand
[42:31] – Maureen’s Takeaways

Links & Resources



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