Literacy Lenses

Focusing on The Literacy Work that Matters

Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking

by Mary Howard

#G2Great enthusiastically opened our door on 6/1/17 to welcome guest hosts Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome, co authors of the magnificent book, Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking (Dave Burgess Consulting Inc). I was personally over the moon elated to have our guests in the #G2Great house and judging from the tweet frenzy that ensued, my excitement was shared by many.

The first time Todd and Adam’s book appeared on my Twitter screen, my eyes fixated on three words that reached out and grabbed me by the heartstrings – Kids Deserve It. I recall wondering if the authors could possibly do these words justice and truly push and challenge the boundaries of conventional thinking. Any doubt in my mind dissipated in minutes as their introduction held me captive word by exquisite word:

“Educators can’t get complacent. We can’t allow ourselves to be stopped by the roadblocks that will pop up in our way. We must persevere. We must keep pushing the envelope and fighting the fight to give our students the best possible education. Because each and every one of our kids deserve it.” (xii)

To my delight, my status as captive audience lingered from cover to cover as I found myself joyfully anticipating the repeated phrase that ended each chapter – because kids deserve it! On that first exuberant reading, I scribbled happy notations lovingly across now dog-eared pages and still frequently revisit those words for renewed inspiration.

Our #G2Great chat with Todd and Adam elevated my Kids Deserve It lovefest and made me appreciate those three magical words even more. And so in honor of our guests, I’ll borrow their inspired phrase to share six powerful ideas that permeated our #G2Great hour with Todd and Adam as we heed their challenge to avoid complacency… Because Kids Deserve It!

Because Kids Deserve Teachers Who are CONNECTED

I am so grateful to live in an age where we have been afforded incredible opportunities to step beyond our own spaces so we can expand our circle of dedicated others. Becoming connected allows us to join forces in ways that were never available to me when I began teaching in 1972. With the gift of social media literally at our fingertips, being connected is not just an opportunity but also a responsibility. During the chat, we each exchanged our personal fears that once thwarted this brave shift as connected educators and the realization that those fears were unfounded in reality. We each acknowledged the impact of social media in our lives and the generous support of other connected educators who have elevated our day-to-day professional efforts through thoughtful collaborations.

Because Kids Deserve Teachers Who are KNOWLEDGEABLE

I often reflect on how much I’ve grown as an educator over the past 4 ½ decades. While I certainly celebrate my growth process, it is actually how much further I have to go that inspires me most. We have a myriad of options to support our growth journey (social media, reading, dialogue, webinars) and choosing from these options demonstrates firm commitment to increasing our own knowledge base. That base includes our knowledge of research and the practices that enrich our teaching but we also recognize that this knowledge will only come to life where it matters most when we know students. This combined knowledge allows us to determine the best possible practices for each student at any given time. Professional knowledge is crucial, but keeping knowledge of students in our sights allows us to apply these understandings in responsive ways.

Because Kids Deserve Teachers Who are PRESENT

Being present in the learning moments that surround us became a familiar theme across the entire chat discussion. Todd and Adam helped us honor the relationships that form the foundation of our work but they each turned our attention to these relationships from multiple perspectives. Todd reminded us to listen more than we talk as we seek to understand the viewpoints of others. Adam highlighted the power of meaningful dialogue driven by our curiosity about children and unbridled determination to move students from where they are to where they could be as we honor the same for ourselves. Listening and thoughtful talk helps us to be present in those moments so that we can do our best work for our students because we know that everything we do is an opportunity to consistently and purposefully make student success our priority.

Because Kids Deserve Teachers Who are APPRECIATIVE

One need only spend a few minutes on Twitter chats like #G2Great to recognize the potential for celebrating inspired learning from our own lens and from that of our colleagues. Whether we are working to build relationships with our students or with our peers, the focus and outcome are the same. We begin by noticing the many amazing opportunities around us and then intentionally celebrate those noticings as we honor them for ourselves and others. Over time, our celebrations become a habit of mind that can only survive in a schoolwide culture grounded in mutual respect. It is this genuine respect for our children and for each other that has the potential to take us to a whole new level and we embrace these opportunities wholeheartedly.

Because Kids Deserve Teachers who are FULFILLED

Everyone who participated in our #G2Great chat recognizes the value of connecting but as the chat continued, disconnecting began to loom large as a counter point. Teaching is fulfilling but it can also leave us riddled with doubt so we refill our life buckets as we turn those celebrations inward by giving equal attention to our personal lives outside of school. This may require us to turn off technology but more importantly it means that we take the time to turn off our minds and embrace quiet moments with family, friends, nature or whatever may personally renew us. We are the sum total of our professional and personal lives so we cannot allow one to blind us to the other.

Because Kids Deserve Teachers who are UNWAVERING

Perhaps one of the most important points in my mind that came from this amazing book by Todd and Adam and also from our chat discussion is that we can never give up – not on children and not on each other. While there will certainly be children, educators and events that challenge us and fill us with self doubt, we choose to move beyond those challenges by finding supportive others who will inspire and support us on our mission to avoid roadblocks as we “persevere, push the envelope and fight the fight.” Each of us may do this in our own unique ways, but we have a common commitment to hold tight to our vision no matter what roadblocks may stand in our way so that it will not impede our efforts to give our students the best possible education.


Since this week #G2great celebrated the message of Kids Deserve It, it seems fitting to end with two messages Todd and Adam released to the world within the last 24 hours of writing this post. Their words tie this post together and re-energize our commitment to do this remarkable work because kids deserve it.

Thank you for keeping those words at the forefront of our minds Todd and Adam!

Todd Nesloney TEDx TAMU Talk: Kids Deserve it

“You can never reach a child’s head until you reach a child’s heart.”

Adam Welcome’s Blog Post: I Am So Tired of No

“No more no – educators need to be in the yes business. Tell kids yes and see what happens. Give them a longer leash. Give them a chance. Believe in their ideas, even though it wasn’t yours. Our kids and teachers deserve it!”

More Inspiring Tweets from Our #G2Great Family


Todd on Twitter

Adam on Twitter


Todd Nesloney Blog:

Adam Welcome Blog

Kids Deserve It with Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome on itunes!/id1082238426?mt=2

Kids Deserve It Facebook Page

Kids Deserve It | Todd Nesloney | TEDxTAMU