PRINCIPLES OF EFFICIENCY & EFFECTIVENESS
- NEEDS OF THE ORGANIZATION AS A UNIT: In my mind, we are all walking forward as a unit. None of us is more important than another and none of us can get there alone. We are as strong as our weakest link, so all of us have the responsibility to add value where someone else is not there yet by supporting and strengthening, giving of our special skills if we can. THIS IS A SERVICE MINDSET.
- BIGGER VISION: I remind my students when they moan about anything that this school is being constructed by us all, and this includes them. That it is no point complaining about one or the other, be it teachers or students, and that we all have our part of responsibility. I assure them that the teachers consistently work to improve to give them the best education possible so that they also need to be patient with us. It is COMPASSION at work.
- LEADERSHIP: My students know that I know at all times what is up – I know what is happening in their lives. If I don’t, I ask. They love giving me the information.
- With this I keep my finger on the pulse of the energies in class. If they deviate from the core subject, I stop them – redirect them – remind them to focus on the right thing by giving them a quick pet talk. A big truth about life at a key moment puts everything into perspective. It is quick and efficient.
- They know I am the conductor of this orchestra and they actually want it – they ask for it in subtle ways. They don’t challenge me or sabotage me, unless there are external factors that are upsetting them outside the school or they are having a particularly bad day. We have a rhythm and they accept the boundaries quite happily.
- They like to be guided in a consistent manner without wobbles. They like to know that someone has the rudder of the ship steadily at all times because then they can relax into following, which takes much less energy. They can settle into their comfort zone and go back to their work.
- But sometimes, when I see that they can’t give that day, I surrender to their being out of synch – I rather lose that small battle and win the overall war!
- STRATEGIES: I come to a lesson with a plan and unavoidably, the plan will change when the students arrive, depending on their mood. If I can, I stick to it, but if the mood is very hard to redirect, so I go with the flow of what is needed in the moment. I can do this because the courses are already up in Colls and they have the possibility to self-direct through them, and also because my groups are small.
- FOSTERING DIVERSITY: When they compare themselves with each other, or their marks, I remind them that if one is good at Spanish, may not be so good at maths, that each one have a different destiny and that they need to learn to cooperate and / or compete in a healthy way. They get it quite fast and this creates a space for them to respect each other.
- POSITIVE MIND-SET: The load that the students have is heavy and I try to bring a light-hearted attitude to the classroom. When I feel that the energy lowers down, I tell them that I understand how hard it is to be young these days with all the expectations and high-level of competition out there.
- I remind them that they need to stay focused and not to fall into the trap of the many distractions of the cyber-space. It seems to refocus and centre them, and usually they are able to concentrate again. We climb this mountain together.
- But this means that first I must put my own house in order because if I were unhappy or grumpy, they would pick it up straight away and would use it as an excuse not to focus!
- So I prove to them that my happiness doesn’t depend on their performance or behaviour: they seem to quickly pick up on this independent and unconditional love as they don’t feel the heaviness of the expectation / fear based co-dependent mode that sometimes teachers fall into when we NEED OUR STUDENTS TO SUCCEED in order to represent our own success, creating a free space for them to realign with their own feelings and to make their own choices.
- SELF-AWARENESS: The students know that I don’t ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself and they can see the work I do at all times, so I am open and transparent to criticism.
- I must have the HIGHEST STANDARDS at all times in order to gain their trust and their respect. And when I make a mistake, I am the first one to admit to it and don’t make an issue of it.
- MISTAKES ARE ALLOWED in the class when they come from the place of learning. There is no judgment and not belittling. We usually make a joke out of it. This way, we create a safe place for getting it wrong before they can get it right.
By Dr Ana Garcia PhD, DTM.