The Big Bad World

One justification I often hear for punitive or zero tolerance responses to behavioural challenges in schools is that it prepares students for the realities of “the big bad world”. I can understand the sentiment.  There certainly are punishments for adults who break rules and laws.  So, the notion seems sound that, if kids get away…

Teacher Fitness

The hardest workout has gotta be the first one. I’m not a particularly fit guy, but I’m currently in a pretty healthy habit around daily exercise.  I attend a local backyard gym run by young, local footballers.  I’m the oldest and fattest person there – but they’re really helpful and kind. Through their support, understanding…

Choosing Forks

I once read a great proverb that went along the lines of “When you get to a fork in the road, choose the fork”. I reckon it applies to the programs and approaches that support the improvement of student conduct in schools.  You can have both. Specifically, this applies to questions I’m frequently asked about…

The dark shadow we know as NAPLAN

Ever been to a pantomime where the crowd shouts “He’s behind you?!” to the innocent starlet as the bad guy’s dark shadow creeps into the audience’s view? Well, this is roughly how Victorian teachers feel this week as the dark shadow of NAPLAN engulfs their existence. When you’re constantly looking over your shoulder at shadows…

Walk or Nap

Some days feel like Christmas Day. And not in a jolly way. Christmas Day can be a bit much for me to be honest. A gargantuan carb-laden lunch leaves me at a critically exhausted tipping point where there are really only two choices when it comes to energy replenishment: Go for a walk. Take a…

Exceptional

We’re stuck with a fair bit of complexity in schools.  Coping with it requires a sophisticated approach to leadership and to teaching. That means that we’ll have principles that drive the way we make decisions and strategies that reflect those principles.  But a nimble and respectful school, chock full of variables and complexities, also recognises…

Sack your Playground Designer

  Walking through a primary school playground with a fantastic Assistant Principal last week proved to be more instructional than I could have imagined. I’d been asked to observe the way the kids moved and interacted with a view to diagnosing just why so many student behaviour problems happen in the yard. Yep – it’s…

I want that Eskimo Pie

  I grew up in a working class family of four kids without a lot of excess. Sometimes that meant sharing and sometimes that meant fighting for competitive advantage. On the rare occasion of there being a leftover Eskimo Pie dessert, my sister Donna and I would immediately default into argument about who the spoils…

Public humiliation

  Welcome to the first of a new weekly approach I’m taking to provide you with some thought, some provocation and some support when it comes to leading School Culture. I have to admit, when “Home Truths” was suggested to me as a title for these messages, a grin crept across my face. I think I’ve come…