The Sweet Spot

Across Australia, kids are a bit different at the moment.  They’ve been changed by the pandemic and many teachers are reporting that they lack resilience, stamina and cooperative skill.  It was probably to be expected, if we’re honest.

It’s like they’ve drifted out of the ‘sweet spot’ in schools where things just hum along, not without the odd bad day, but we get the task of learning and moral development done reasonably well.

So, the good news for teachers struggling with this is that it was the students’ fault … not yours!

The problem for many schools is that, when we noticed the students leaving the sweet spot, we left too.  Our old defaults around punishment, control and authority came rushing back in the panic and too many Teachers and School Leaders are being overworked and overwhelmed by this approach.  Controlling disrupted students, you see, is labor intensive.

So, now we’re both out of the sweet spot.  The students went in one direction and we in another.

The nuisance for us is that the students, unlike when they left first, won’t return first.  It must be us who intentionally walk back into the sweet spot.

In a sweet spot hallmarked by collaboration, progress, trust and confidence amongst your educators, there are three things we get right:

  1. Speak respectfully, kindly, gently and more selectively.  Too many of us are talking too much these days.  Speak to what you want and less to what you don’t.
  2. Approach conflict and wrongdoing as a welcome learning opportunity.  Teach the skill of healthy conflict resolution, rather than strain for our own preferred outcomes.

Mindset.  Remember that your school is a learning system, not a judicial system.  Mandated and arbitrary time-related consequences that encourage students to lie better or plot revenge are just not useful to you.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. The rooms are almost full for many of my Restorative Practices and School Culture Workshops coming up in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Seriously, stop stuffing around and book already! Let’s chat about your school in person.  

PPS.  Are you a school with an ICSEA score beneath 1000 who’s given thought to a Real Schools Partnership?  We spotted this grant from the amazing crew at Schools Plus that might help you fund that opportunity. 


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