I am working with a department which has changed a lot over the summer months. Four NQT’s have replaced experienced staff, three experienced staff have senior roles within the school and one has taken on the role of Head of Department in an acting capacity. The remaining team are early in their career being one or two year teachers.
The Head of Department asked me to do half an hour with the team on consistency and routines. Tricky when you are not sure of the routines yourself and only spent six hours in the department.
I decided to do a diamond nine exercise to get staff talking with each other. It worked well and reminded us all that certain words or phrases mean different things depending on who you are. One card said “Professional Standards” and the ‘one year teacher’ almost went into melt down at the mention. However my interpretation was – looking like a professional and acting as one. ‘Inclusive’ was another word which the groups discussed to ensure they were all talking the same language.
There were three groups of staff doing this activity and once complete – I asked them to rotate and look at how others interpreted the cards as well. It brought about a lot of areas for discussion, which we will continue, but the easy ones to agree immediately were:
- Everyone must be on time to class.
- Teachers should not leave their room during class.
- (There are no bells in this school) Accompany your group out of the room onto the corridor and ensure they are not loitering and causing a nuisance to other classes still in session.
- Date all work and display Learning Objectives.
- Have high expectations of self and pupils ( this one will need more unpacking).
An interesting discussion occurred in this group about how to create consistency in terms of ‘Attitude to learning’. It was decided that this meant being relentless about the belief we can do it and instilling this belief in our pupils by having high expectations, not accepting passivity from students, modelling what is expected of students by our own actions towards learning something new, modelling what is expected in a piece of assessed work and making everyone aware that if it was not done well enough then we will ask for it to be redone. Homework came last and this was because the teachers involved wanted to tackle the in class actions first and not because they felt it was less important.
E= Enter on time
A= Always try your best
R= Respect each other
N= Not calling out
I have encouraged the teachers to use the LEARN poster actively to train the students into the routines and expectations in their room. There is a danger of whole school activities like this becoming simply wall paper and it seems to be so in these rooms.
I would love to hear if you have talked about consistency recently in your department and what you decided to focus upon.