I’m great at behaviour management. I rarely have any issues, and, on those rare occasions when I do, I know how to write the appropriate level of sanction into a student planner and record that I have done so in 8 different computer systems. In fact, I’d say that of all the things required of me, behaviour management is a real strength. I’d say that behaviour management is something I’m gifted at. Talented even.
Because of this, I don’t want to sit through any more staff meetings about how to deal with classes that don’t keep quiet. I don’t want to sit through any more staff meetings about how to deal with confrontation. I don’t want to sit through any more staff meetings about how to record detentions in 8 different computer systems. I don’t need it. I know it all.
That’s not to say I’m gifted and talented at everything. I’m not. In fact, there’s a few things I need to work on: I’m not happy with the way I explain onomatopoeia. I keep talking about the Divine Right of Kings when I teach Macbeth without really knowing what I’m talking about. And, I’m absolutely convinced that there’s more to persuasive writing than AFOREST. So, instead of sitting in the hall and rolling my eyes as somebody explains that moody teenagers hate being shouted at, can I work on one of those things instead? I think it’ll benefit the students I teach. I think it’ll make me a better teacher.
I understand your concerns. What if I am faced with a behaviour incident that I haven’t been trained for? What if colleagues who require behaviour training resent the fact that they’re having to take part in training, which I am exempt from? What if I take advantage of your trust and instead spend my time doing a minimal impact activity like putting up display board or marking books?
What if? What if? What if?
I’m a teacher. Thinking about ‘What ifs’ is not the best use of my time. The best use of my time is thinking about what I can do in the here and now to improve the learning of the students under my tutelage. So trust me.
You see, I teach students who already know a lot of what is being taught. Some kids just know more about particular subjects than others. And you ask me to differentiate for them. You ask me to give them something else to do. You ask me to provide learning opportunities that go beyond what everyone else is doing for their benefit. So, I’d like you to consider the same for me.
Subject knowledge is too often assumed to be something that teachers should work on in their spare time, when the reality is that, after a day’s teaching, many teachers lack the energy or the intuition to do so. Sometimes we just want to watch crap. So, next time a meeting is scheduled, ask yourself this:
What can we provide to individuals that will improve the learning of the majority?
Worth a shot no?