Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Paying compliments to staff

I was given advice by the "improving behaviour in Bristol schools" team in 2003/4. The main idea they put across is that you praise the behaviour you want to see from the students. Nothing is too small. Other advice included praising 5 time more than you criticise.

All through my career teachers have listened to this advice and tried to apply it in their classrooms and when using school behaviour systems. All the time bemoaning the lack of consistency in the way that teachers are treated by school mangers. Where is the 5:1 ratio in praise to criticism when dealing with staff?

Is it patronising to be told "well done, you have marked your books"? Maybe, but it does make a difference. I was told this in 2008 and it was nice to hear.

Last term my head teacher complimented me on knowing my tutor group well. To me it is part of my job to know my tutees, but it is also nice that someone realises you are doing your job.

A few years ago (2007) my head of department complimented me on my imagination and problem solving in his Christmas card. It was appreciated after another hard and miserable term in that school. The staff were constantly on edge in case we were summoned by the head and it was never for a good thing.

When moving schools I wrote various schemes of work, contributed various ideas and pointed numerous teachers and managers in the right direction. I wasn't made to feel valued: Going from a school where no thanks were given to a one where every element of WWW is only given so it can be followed by EBI has made me unable to take praise gratuitously and I also struggle to give it out. (Which is the worst aspect of it).

I spoke to my out going head teacher at her leaving party about this. Apologising for the ungracious way that I accept her praise. She exclaimed that it was her role to give out praise and maintain morale and the next head better do the same!

We shouldn't have to give out praise to sugar coat bad news. Praise should be natural and an every day part of our teaching. More praise please, I like it!

The written examples of praise from my line mangers are below:

I really like that Joy uses the word "commitment". I can't remember that being used for me before, even though I am nothing if not committed.
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Location:United Kingdom

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