At this time of the year it is not unusual for many leaders in schools to be ‘on the brink’. Absolutely inundated with so much to do and so many competing demands that they are on the edge of burning out.
Many leaders in schools are workaholics. Sadly many of them don’t realize it until they actually burn out. Workaholics see working long hours as a badge of honour. For them being the first in the car park in the morning and the last to leave in the evening, is a measure of their importance. Working long and hard can become both a habit and a part of their identity.
Whilst being a school leader is extremely demanding, being a workaholic is NOT the solution.
As Fried and Hansson highlight in their great book Rework, “Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more. Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve….They even create crises. They don’t look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime. They enjoy feeling like heroes. They create problems (often unwittingly) just so they can get off on working more.
Workaholics make the people who don’t stay late feel inadequate for ‘merely’ working reasonable hours. That leads to guilt and poor morale all around. Plus, it leads to an ass-in-seat mentality – people stay late out of obligation, even if they aren’t being productive.”
October is a great time to reflect on whether you might be addicted to your work. If all you do is work, you’re unlikely to make sound judgements….and as the saying goes, all work and no play – makes Jack a dull boy! (and Jill a dull girl to be PC!)
Make it Personal On World Teachers’ Day
Internationally World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on the first Friday in October. However as this is usually during Australian school holidays, Australia celebrates the day on the last Friday in October of each year – Friday October 26, in 2012.
World Teachers’ Day was created by UNESCO in 1994 to celebrate teachers worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. Celebrated in over 100 countries, World Teachers’ Day acknowledges the efforts of teachers in an increasingly complex, multicultural and technological society.
Whilst many schools hold a special assembly or morning tea to mark the occasion, I believe that a personal touch in showing appreciation is even better. This year I’m encouraging you to send a personal, handwritten note through the post to each of your teachers, at their home. The prevalence of email has led to us rarely receiving anything but bills through the post. Receiving a had written message, at home, shows that you have gone to an effort to appreciate your staff.
DO SOMETHING SPECIAL THIS YEAR!
To assist you, I have printed special postcards (8 different designs) especially for World Teachers’ Day
I am offering Happy School subscribers packs of FREE postcards. Just send me an email advising how many cards you require and include your postal address and I’ll send them to you.
Schools that are NOT currently Happy School subscribers are welcome to purchase postcards at a special price of only $1 each (plus $4.95 postage and handling).
Hand write your message to each teacher, address it to their home, attach a stamp and pop it in the post in time to arrive on October 26. Yes, it takes time but you will be amazed how much impact your thoughtfulness, effort and personal approach have.
The Queensland College of Teachers also have great certificates that you can download and print from their website.
Alternatively you can send teachers an e card to mark World Teachers’ Day (but the cards are intended for October 5).
You can also send a Happy School e-card without a date via this link
Personally I prefer the tactile impact of a traditional card through snail mail.
REMINDER Email me now email to email@example.com to order your postcards (FREE for Happy School Subscribers) especially for World Teachers’ Day. Just tell me how many you need and your postal address.
PS Don’t forget to celebrate the other great staff who work in your school with special days and personal notes to thank them too. It takes a great team to make a great school – cleaners, aides, office, tuckshop, grounds and support staff!
Better School Surveys Inform School Leaders
The response to the Happy School Surveys has been great! A number of schools are using them as part of school reviews or to identify and make plans for 2013. You can read more information here or send me an email for further information firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy School Staff articles this month include…
- Effective Parent Teacher Interviews
- Writing E-Mails That Save Time by Gihan Perera
- Hooks of Escalation by Michael Grinder
- Finish Strong
Professional development sessions for your staff are available on a range of topics ideal for student free day’s or after school sessions. Email to check availability of your preferred date.
Which topic does your team need most?
Increasing WORK-LIFE Satisfaction
Working in schools can be challenging. A happy staff achieves better results. It is vital that staff in schools get satisfaction from the important work we do. Thinking of our happiness in terms of ‘balance’ leads us to think that we have to ‘balance out’ the time or energy that we spend at work with the time and energy we put into the rest of our lives. This adds to our stress! We need to get satisfaction from both our work and the rest of our lives. It is essential that we focus on what is REALLY important in our lives. This IS your REAL life – it isn’t a dress rehearsal.
Building Trust – Essential Skills
Trust is at the heart of all relationships. Trust impacts on us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It impacts on the quality of every relationship, every communication, every workplace and every organisation. Building Trust is vital! Stephen Covey’s 13 behaviours that build trust are simple, straight forward and immediately transferable to schools. They apply at all levels. Having good intentions is not enough. It is behaviour that counts!
The one constant in the world today is change! Ultimately our response to change is dependent on our attitude AND we CHOOSE our attitude.Our people need to be positive, optimistic and energetic. In this session I’ll help staff in schools to develop the right attitude. I identify the three biggest obstacles to successful change and the specific strategies needed to overcome these challenges. A positive attitude is essential to success.
Gr8 People are Part of Gr8 Teams
There are 10 vital attributes that are necessary in all teams within schools. For a team to reach their potential each individual needs to make their contribution and that contribution needs to be aligned with the school’s direction and priorities. The better that people work together and are aligned, the better outcomes the school will achieve.
Which of the attributes do your teams do well and which ones need to be improved? Establishing clear and agreed priorities, in simple language is essential.
Feedback – Helping Teachers Be the Best They Can Be
School audits highlighted the need for many schools to establish processes for providing feedback to teachers as a vital aspect of improved performance in schools. However giving teacher’s feedback is not part of the culture in most schools. In this session we look at why feedback is so important, consider a range of options and develop an action plan for establishing a feedback culture.
7 Secrets of Motivating and Engaging Students
(PS…they work for the teachers too!!)
Motivating and engaging students can be challenging. Many students have short concentration spans, are disinterested and disengaged from learning. Teaching is more demanding than ever before! Traditional carrot and stick approaches have limited effect. Ultimately we can’t MAKE anybody DO something. In this session I’ll share the 7 secrets that teachers must implement to motivate and engage their students. All teachers can implement these practical, well-grounded strategies to improve their students’ attitude.
Conferences and Work With Schools
In coming monthis I’m looking forward to working with…
- School staff at Manly West and Nanango
- Aspiring school leaders at Toowong
- St Vincent de Paul staff
- Early childhood educators at ECTA conference in Gympie
- Milingimbi staff in Northern Territory
- School leadership teams in a number of schools
- Admin staff from Independent Schools Qld at their conference
If you’d like me to present at your conference or work with your staff, email me email@example.com