Scroll Top

When we’re not looking

I had a fabulous story relayed to me by my colleague Daniel Vella this week. I’d rather not name the school as they have a class still trying to shake a negative label… and the work’s not done just yet. But they know who they are!

The story is about a Year 5/6 teacher who ran late back to class due to a parent meeting running longer than expected (as they do). The problem is that his class is the ‘hard class’ – with a notorious reputation.


Despite this teacher’s positive disposition about his class, even he was holding his breath, anticipating some mayhem and destruction as he eventually approached the classroom door.


What did he find?


He found his students sitting in a circle being facilitated by the ‘hard kid’… in the ‘hard class’. He was checking in with each student about how they were feeling about how the day was progressing so far.


As his teacher entered, this student reported in. “Everyone’s good here, Mister. How are you going, anyway?”


The lesson? Systems that encourage self-regulation outperform systems that rely on teacher intervention, control and surveillance when the rulers you use to measure those systems are teacher time, teacher energy and teacher effectiveness.


Such systems work even when we’re not watching. Incredibly, they’re quite often enhanced by our absence.


The ‘hard class’ in your school – and their teacher – deserve such a system and such an opportunity.


Keep fighting that good fight,



P.S. Sydney, you’re next on my Great Aussie Tour! I’ll be heading your way to run a couple of workshops for teachers and school leaders on 27 and 28 June and I’d love to see you there. We’ll be talking all things restorative practice and you’ll get the tools you need to embed RP in your school to accelerate student learning. Register now!

Want to subscribe to Adam’s Home Truths? Simply subscribe here.