When I train School Leaders around Educational Change Management, I’m always keen to address the elephant in the room. Let’s call that elephant Barry.
“This is all well and good.” they tell me “But what about Barry? Barry is stuck in his ways and just wrecks everything we try to change as soon as we get started.”
It’s an interesting question “What about Barry?” What about him? What if there was actually an answer to “What about Barry?” What would that take? What would happen then?
That change happens via genuine support geared towards helping others to be more effective and less stressed.
And this makes the most rewarding part of our Real Schools Partnership approach our In-Class Support Days. These follow every PL Day we run with our Partner Schools, where we model and co-teach within the reality of their own classrooms, including Barry’s, to generate meaningful shifts in practice and approach.
It’s really good fun. Here’s what one teacher wrote in an email to her colleagues after just such a day recently.
“I just wanted to share today’s experience with you…
This morning, during Japanese, my class did their usual thing of talking, interrupting and not focussing on the class. I have a large number of special needs students and although they are not naughty, they struggle to focus and don’t see how their behaviour is affecting others. After Japanese I gave them a dressing down about their behaviour and I felt terrible. I went to observe Adam at work with Lauren’s class at aquaponics and thought that I would implement circles after recess because I don’t know what to do next.
We did a check-in circle before math rotations. I asked the students the think about, pair then share what they wanted to achieve in math rotations today and then how they were going to achieve it. I also told them that we were going to be doing a check-out circle after rotations to see if we achieved our work and behaviour goals.
WOW. What a HUGE difference. The students were engaged, they wanted to share their ideas and they were kind to each other. We are still a long way off but I have hope. I have gone today from dreading coming to work to having hope that this class can be one of my best achievements yet.
Big thanks for organising the PD yesterday and to Adam for his tips and hints.
My journey as begun.”
Every single Teacher, the brave practitioner I’ve quoted above and even the Barrys in your school, can change. When they do, they change schools. They lead.
The Teacher who wrote the above email is no Barry. She’s a change agent and a leader.
I can’t wait to work with her again.