It’s true that Australian Teachers are pressed for time. The impact of workload on those who sustain the system again hit the media last week in examining why so many Teachers are leaving the profession in the first 3-5 years of what should be a rewarding career.
While we bemoan a lack of understanding and action “from above” about the Teacher workload crisis, we should also be looking for what we can do about it ourselves. What ‘hacks’ could we introduce that save time, have impact and build our own motivation to do our important work?
This self-appointed imperative is why I love the above clip so much. In just one minute and nineteen seconds, this teacher is doing something from which I’d contend that there’s significant return on investment. Her individualised handshake, personally communicated each day to her Grade 3 class, is a sign of a Teacher leveraging relationship for performance. This leveraging is something that all Teachers should aspire to do.
The clip makes me wonder about impact. Of course, I don’t know the answers for sure, but my experience, knowledge and intuition tend to have me answer “Yes” to each of:
- Is this ritual a signal for emotional students that they are entering a safe space?
- Would these students be more likely to engage for this Teacher?
- Will these students think twice about being rude, disrespectful or disruptive for this Teacher?
- Is this Teacher likely to be enjoying her work more than others?
- Are this Teacher’s energy levels, motivation and job satisfaction likely to be positively impacted?
- Could more learning happen within the walls of this classroom, just for this daily personal gesture?
If you’re “yessing” like me at these questions, then we should be asking why we aren’t doing this or something like it. It took a minute and nineteen seconds!
Big things like policy, funding, standards and curricula matter in education – but the cumulative nature of the little things will always determine the level to which they matter. There’s should always be time to shake hands in our classrooms. Always.