I hope this week’s edition finds you well.
“It needs to be said that allowing people to make decisions about what happens to them is inherently preferable to controlling them. It is more respectful and consistent with basic values to which most of us claim to subscribe.
Apart from the skills that will be useful for students to have in the future, they ought to have a chance to choose in the present. Children, after all, are not just adults-in-the-making. They are people whose current needs and rights and experiences must be taken seriously. Put it this way: students should not only be trained to live in a democracy when they grow up; they should have the chance to live in one today.”
‘Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide.’ (1993) Alfie Kohn
FUNNY OF THE WEEK
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Something to make you smile 😊
OBSCURE MOVIE QUOTES
“Sorry, that’s my son and the … nanny.” “NANNY?! I prefer ‘Child Technician’…”
I love a good, obscure quote from a movie. Do you know the movie that I have dragged this out of?
Why this quote? Well, when anyone asks me what I do for a job I don’t really know how to answer.
The most obvious title would be educational consultant, but I simply don’t identify with the practices many consultants consistently implement in schools. Regurgitating the same modelled lesson(s) over and over being the main point of contention.
In my experience modelling is the most enjoyable, but least effective strategy that a ‘consultant’ can employ. Why? It simply doesn’t transfer without support. In the maelstrom of school life, a few weeks quickly fly by since the modelled lesson, and the opportunity is lost.
I learnt from the best – Keay Cobbin. Keay always said to me as a ‘consultant’ your goal should be to do yourself out of a job. In other words, you have built so much capacity in the school that you have made yourself redundant.
So, what is the best way to describe what I predominantly do in schools? The best I can come up with is educational coach. I strive to meet where every school and educator is currently at, and then help them with their next steps.
They key to being a coach is the questions that you ask, and your ability to listen. I suspect this transcends education into all fields of life.
I have three questions that I consistently ask after observing a lesson:
1. What aspects of the lesson were you really happy with?
2. If you were given the opportunity to teach the lesson again, what would you do differently?
3. What did you learn about your students today that will inform future lessons?
The order of these questions is important.
Most educators don’t stop to think about what they are doing well, and/or they can be unconsciously skilled with a particular practice(s). This provides you with an opportunity to share all the things that you see they are doing well. Also, if there was an area that you feel is an area for improvement, but the teacher thinks they are doing a bang-up job with it, then you’ve saved a potential relationship break down by listening before speaking. This area for improvement can still be addressed via a professional learning session with all staff, or at a later date.
Question two often flows into answering question three. Teachers tend to be hard on themselves and can easily identify improvements. Further appropriate questions are often helpful in ascertaining the key focus area. Now it is appropriate to offer support and guidance.
There is nothing simple about education, but we can over complicate it. If teachers can answer question three, and then consistently put it into action, you are going to get good outcomes.
Educational coach doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Invariably, I answer that I’m in education, or a teacher. If you have a thoughtful, clever, humble, witty title that encapsulates what I do then send it my way, as well as your obscure movie quotes 😊
LOOKING FOR A TEACHER?
Have I got your attention?
As you know there has been a lot of media about the current shortage of teachers. I could write a book regarding the reasons why, but that will have to wait for another day.
I posted the information below in the previous two editions of the newsletter. There has been obvious interest, but it’s not too late if you are still looking for a quality addition to your school.
Principals are starting to think about 2023 and their staffing profile. I used to set August 1st as my date to get feedback from staff regarding their intentions for the following year.
Obviously employing quality staff is one of the key actions you can take to realise your school improvement agenda.
One of the quality teachers at Cobram PS (award winning school) is moving to Melbourne at the end of the year due to personal reasons, and will likely be based in inner east Melbourne. If you are in the market for such a teacher, then get in touch.
To make sure the newsletter lands in your inbox, I’d really appreciate it if you could add my email address to your contacts. Another option is to reply to this email with ‘Hi’, or a personal message.
Thanks for reading and see you next week, Danny. P.S Feel free to provide me with any feedback regarding the newsletter, or anything for that matter via email.
If you would like to check out previous editions, you can access them here.
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