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It’s Not A Relay Race

We all have those moments when a student will push the limits and even our best strategies just won’t cut it. Despite your efforts, there are times when nothing will work and you need to call on support from your School Leaders. It happens – we may just need that circuit breaker so we can work through the situation at a more suitable time.

Lately, I’ve been working with a team of graduate teachers and they said that when things went wrong, they were reluctant to ask for support and intervention. It wasn’t that their Leadership Team weren’t supportive, but rather, it was their concern that the students would perceive it as a weakness or incompetence. They were worried that it might result in a ‘hit’ on their credibility.

At no stage should there be shame or embarrassment associated with asking our colleagues or leaders for support.

The important thing is that when we do ask for support, we do have a few obligations.

  1. It’s not a relay race– The student is not a baton, so don’t hand the issue over to someone else and get them to finish the race. You won’t have any chance of winning. The more hands around the baton, the better.
  2. Stay connected– It still involves a student from your class or when you were on yard duty, so it’s still your issue. Staying connected to the issue will demonstrate your support to help the student take responsibility to fix the problem. It will be a big step towards building mutual respect and deter future behaviours from being repeated.
  3. If you ask for support, respect the supporter– When you ask a colleague for support, respect that they will do what it takes to work towards the best outcome. The student may end up with a slightly different outcome to what you felt was a good fit, but that’s part of the deal.
  4. Seeking support isn’t a strategy to deter the behaviour– Students won’t improve their behaviour just because you threatened to go to the Principal. They’ll modify their behaviour when you help them understand the necessary behaviour change, support them to fix up the mess and make it meaningful.
  5. It’s the behaviour, not the person –You would not have a problem with the person if they did not display that behaviour. Separate the child from the behaviour and avoid using labels – they stick.

Warm regards,