I recently taught 6B and lived to tell the tale

Every school has a 6B. Yours might not be called 6B. They could be called 2A or 9J but they invoke the same type of reaction from those who come into frequent contact with them – a slight gasp and a visible shudder.

I’m lucky. Having been around the block a few times, I’ve encountered my fair share of 6Bs and I have tools accessible for just such occasions.

One teaching strategy that I use is monotonously repeating my response to any student who calls out during my instruction. I say “Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to listen to students who shout out, but I can listen to this person due to the way s/he is listening right now.”

I don’t want to think about what to say when a student calls out. Chiefly, this is because calling out pisses me off and I say strange, unproductive and inconsistent things when I’m pissed off.

So, I’ve memorised my lines for just that situation. And it works.

It doesn’t work perfectly of course, but one teacher observing me with 6B last week commented that she couldn’t believe how little interrupting there was due to that tiny commitment. Her comment was “It was so small. Like it couldn’t possibly make a difference. But the benefit was huuuuge.”

School Leaders.

Lean in closely and listen to me for a moment.

This is how we lead School Culture.

Stop having your staff spend hours, weeks and months implementing positive behaviour programs that exhaust them for miniscule returns. It’s driving them bonkers.

Instead, structure for regular discussions about the little things we could change that would have the biggest possible impact. Your staff are investing in your school every day, with their most precious resource …. their time.

They deserve a decent return on that investment.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS.  I’m hoping that you extracted the moral from this story as being that leading School Culture shouldn’t be so ethereal or daunting. For more on this, come along to a 3-hour workshop I’m running in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane called Leading School Culture. Original title, eh?!


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