The thing about advice

As a Principal, I often found myself frustrated that my Teachers wouldn’t take my advice.  After all, in my humble opinion anyway, it was pretty special wisdom that I was handing them.

And then I realised.

Teachers find it challenging to take advice about changing their practice because our practice is so much more than our strategy … it’s a reflection of our very personalities.

When it comes to the way we teach, we take our practice VERY personally.

As a result, my practice advice can easily be taken as a personal criticism and it’s deeply disrespectful for a leader in an office to personally criticise any Teacher in the arena.

There’s a lesson in this for School Leaders about advising more respectfully and less critically.  But there’s also a lesson in there for the collective teaching workforce.

We need to stop treating past practices as defining features of ourselves.  It was simply the best we could do with what we had at the time, and we should attach no shame to letting old practices drift into history.

You are not your practice.

The shame should really only come from learning something new or better and choosing not to deploy it out of stubbornness or tradition.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. Recently, Amy Green and I looked at the emerging need, perhaps even crisis, around Teacher Wellbeing and wrote a little self-help book on it. Yeah … it’s one of those books you can write in and actually use rather than to whack it on a bookshelf and pretend that you read it!  If you’d like to nab forty opportunities to “Tackle Teacher Wellbeing” in your school or life, you can grab the book now at this link.

PPS.  Today is National Primary Principal’s Day.  Being a former one of these myself, it gave me pause to reflect on all the ones I know and the amazing work you all do.  You are seen, loved and honoured today.  Good onya!


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