In his best-seller “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey wrote a story to illustrate his 7th habit – sharpening the saw.
He spoke to two woodcutters. One would rise early and get to work sawing down trees in the forest. He could rack up a large number of trees sawn down, but his dull saw means he was slow and placing himself at a reasonable risk of personal injury.
But when questioned whether he should stop to sharpen his saw he’d respond that he was far too busy for luxuries like that.
The second woodcutter would spend each morning in the company of his family, and then 30 minutes or so sharpening his saw before getting to work. The result (rather obviously) is more trees being sawn down, in less time and with far reduced physical and mental stress.
I think we have a habit of focusing on the trees in our schools (programs) and less on the saw (culture) – to the detriment of our effectiveness and stress levels. Of course, we do it largely because we can count the programs we’ve implemented and the compliance we’ve met. The more challenging measurement is in quantifying our work on culture, ethos and relationships.
We’ve thought a lot about that and we want to help you to sharpen your school’s saw. You can take our FREE Real Schools Cultural Survey in about 10-15 minutes of multiple choice questions and receive a tailored report on the cultural defaults, AITSL Standards for Teachers to focus on and also a suggested professional learning pathway.
There’s zero obligation on your part. We just reckon that – if you’re going to build a strong, relational school culture around your school community – it’s nice to have a starting point.