This is not a political blog. I could write about underfunding in the education system and the significant problems that many schools are facing but this isn’t it. This is about the little extras that many, many schools do to make a difference to children and families every single day that have no cost.
Our last INSET day of Term One was spent learning about how to effectively teach and encourage the behaviours we want to see both in and around our school and in the rest of our community. The children we all work with have the opportunity to make the world a better place. Using ideas from Paul Dix, we discussed the importance of meeting and greeting our children and families every day and making them feel special and valued.
“When you are stumped by the behaviour, when you don’t know what to do, when nothing seems to work, kindness is always the best response.” – Paul Dix
Kindness costs nothing. We all have recognition boards in our classrooms and we relentlessly promote kindness, clarity and consistency. We only have three school rules which everyone knows. The behaviours in our school are good and we want to ensure that they continue to improve. We need to teach our children how to behave in the same way that we successfully teach them to read and write and it is the relationships that we have with them that makes this work effectively. It doesn’t cost money. This culture is the ‘little extra’ that you get from being at our school and many other schools around the country.
This same culture is apparent within our staff team. We care about each other, we are relentlessly kind and ensure that the people we spend time with every day feel loved and valued. Where possible we ensure that staff get to see their own children in nativity plays, sports days etc. because it’s important. Andy Buck talks about ‘discretionary effort’ and I think that because we try really hard to facilitate these things our staff respond with bucket loads of discretionary effort. More than a ‘little extra’.
I am sitting writing this nearing the end of my second week of half term. Last week I took my eldest daughter up to Newcastle to visit daughter number two at Uni. We had a great few days and it was amazing to have that little extra family time together. Although being a born and bred southerner, it was seriously cold!
I then spent 4 days in Spain with some great friends laughing, drinking gin and eating amazing meals. Lovely to spend time with my husband and with people that I truly love being with. Definitely a positive little extra.
I am now back home spending time with my other two children, chatting, playing and generally catching up on life as well as re-finding my love of exercise. An amazing little extra end to the week. This is all possible because I work as part of a multi academy trust that truly values cherishing staff and facilitates a two week October break.
I know that life is expensive and within our schools we would all like more money. However, in our privileged position as educators of the future generation, just remember
“The exquisite things of this earth are not for sale and they cannot be boxed, or bagged, or bottled for the future. The best things in life are free.”