Meet Our Guest
ADAM WELCOME is a former teacher, principal, and director of innovation. He’s also a recognized education leader, speaker, and the author of Kids Deserve It and Run Like a Pirate. Follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram @MrAdamWelcome.
Disappointed by Mediocrity
Adam recalls the year that his professional enthusiasm was dampened by colleagues who preferred to stay with conventional practices and were reluctant to support new initiatives. Students were disengaged, there was little laughter in classrooms, and he knew learning was being sacrificed in exchange for convenience. It was frustrating to see.
Finally, Adam decided to change grade levels and acquire his administration credentials. That move helped him get to a place where he could put his money where his mouth was and actually do the hard work of building school culture instead of complaining about negativity.
When you’re in a tough situation, try to stay positive and actually do something about the problem, Adam urges. This too shall pass, and you can be that positive solution.
The Birth of #KidsDeserveIt
After connecting with Todd Nesloney on Twitter and then chatting with him further at a principals’ conference, Adam realized the two educators shared a passion for putting the welfare of students at the forefront of their work.
After a tweet to that effect was widely shared, Adam and Todd wrote a blog post on the topic and then developed their ideas more fully in Kids Deserve It. #KidsDeserveIt continues in the form of book studies, Twitter chats, and an educational philosophy of school formation.
13 Marathons in One Year
Run Like a Pirate followed an impressive year of 13 marathons in 12 months. Although he was fairly public about his running goals and activities, Adam didn’t envision a book at the outset of the year. But after more and more people were inspired to set new fitness goals and do more with their lives, Adam started to think seriously about writing the book. Although he couldn’t do much writing during his year of marathons, the ideas and passion flowed quickly in the months that followed, and #RunLAP was born in the spring of 2018.
More than just running, this is a book about realizing our full potential, about challenging our vision of what is possible. In some ways, #RunLAP is #ThePowerofYET (I’m not a runner … yet).
When we put ourselves in a box by saying we’re just NOT something, it’s kind of demeaning. But when we take the opposite stance, when we say we can become anything we want to be, our students see that and build confidence as well.
What Excites Adam About Education Today
Adam appreciates innovations in education like edtech tools and the makerspace movement, but the macro change that really gets him excited is the idea of teachers backing up and taking more of a facilitation role in their classes.
Doing so frees up time and energy for teachers to build relationships with students and conference more often on a 1:1 basis. It also empowers students to take more agency and ownership over their learning journey. Teachers are no longer chiefly sources of information – they’re coaches, facilitators, and enablers.
Personal and Professional Goals
In education, Adam is focused on doing more video content. The world is moving more and more to video, which gets more play, engagement, and excitement. It’s where our younger learners are moving for learning, and it only makes sense to develop our message on video platforms.
As a personal goal, Adam looks forward to a 4-marathons-in-4-days event coming up in the Bay Area that uses 4 bridges to come up with the necessary miles. Being comfortable is easy, but nobody grows in the comfort zone. He’s looking for ways to push himself professionally and physically this year.
Passions and Productivity Hacks
Adam gains fuel from his family, and lately he’s also been inspired by leadership books outside of education. Authors like Jocko Willink, who’s written Extreme Ownership and also produces a podcast, are particularly inspiring.
He’s also a big believer in strong starts to the day, including getting up early and making the bed. Although he’s given up trying to make his bed while his wife is still in it, his kids have learned to practice this habit from a very young age. It’s about starting the morning right and feeling fully prepared for the day.
Voices & Resources That Inspire Adam’s Professional Practice
On Twitter, Adam recommends following the wonderful @RaeHughart, guest on episode 73 of the Teachers on Fire podcast.
One of Adam’s go-to edtech tools is Evernote. Whether you go with Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep, Wakelet, or another curation and note-taking tool, find and use one that syncs across all platforms and devices, he advises.
Adam’s book pick is Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Although these authors come at leadership from a military perspective, the lessons and principles they share are universal and apply equally in education.
Sticking with the same author in the world of podcasts, Adam recommends listening to the Jocko Podcast. He also loves The Rich Roll Podcast, produced by another vegan and legendary runner with a phenomenal personal story.
Over on YouTube, Adam shouts out CJ Reynolds, an inspiring English teacher in Philadelphia who also appeared on Teachers on Fire at episode 39. His YouTube channel is called Real Rap with Reynolds.
We sign off on this conversation, and Adam gives us the best ways to connect with him online. See below!
See more from Adam:
- On Twitter: https://twitter.com/mradamwelcome
- On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mradamwelcome/
- On the Kids Deserve It blog: https://www.kidsdeserveit.com/
- On his personal blog: https://mradamwelcome.com/
- On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AdamWelcome
Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire podcast on your mobile device.
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Follow the Teachers on Fire podcast on social media.
- On Twitter: @TeachersOnFire
- On Instagram: @TeachersOnFire
- On Facebook: Teachers on Fire
- On LinkedIn: Tim Cavey
- On YouTube: Teachers on Fire
Song Track Credits
- Intro: Stand Up (by Mike Cosmo — license purchased at https://taketones.com/)
- Outtro: Bluntedsesh4 (by Tha Silent Partner, courtesy of FreeMusicArchive.org)
3 thoughts on “Episode 77 – Adam Welcome”
Thank you for this interview! Adam is amazing and I was so excited to see his name in the podcast app this morning!
It was nice to hear Adam talking about how many times he wanted to get out of education because of the professional jealousy and the lack of professionalism with his coworkers.
It is exciting to hear about other people’s running extremes as well!
Thanks for a great podcast.
Thanks so much, Tammy! I feel like there was so much gold in this episode … and Adam delivers it so clearly and forcefully. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some bits and bytes throughout the week with others who don’t have time to listen to the whole thing.
Yes, I appreciated Adam’s transparency about the toxicity of a former work environment. He’s definitely taking some risks by going there but it’s something that many educators can relate to.
Really appreciate your listenership and comments here on the blog. They encourage me more than you know!