Following up from the honor of being selected in Huffington Posts Top 12 Global Education Blogs of 2014/2015 I have been chosen again in this amazing group and for 2016/2017 will be contributing to Huffington Post’s Education blog once a month. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “How do we better engender a healthy, happy, and productive school environment where both teachers and students can flourish?” – here is my response:
I got into education because I love making a difference. I love helping other people learn and seeing them grow. It is the best reward possible! This is what drives me to do more, what encourages me to be the best I can be. Beyond my personal drive, I am lucky to be surrounded by happy, healthy and productive people striving for the same vision in order to succeed and flourish.
Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/82120393182635594/
As educators, how do we make this a reality, when so many of our working environments have negative tones and negative influences.
Here are my top 4 ways to develop a flourishing, healthy, happy and productive school:
- A lot of people believe that it must come from the top. That is not true (although leaders should be involved and modeling this). This sort of culture starts with relationships at every level. Relationships first, everything else second. Spend time developing positive relationships between every member of your school community.
- Make school a place where students, teachers, and parents want to be – Use the 3 E’s to ensure this happens by being: Engaging in everything you do, Enthusiastic at every opportunity, and Encouraging in all aspects of school life.
- Think P.I.N.K – Positive, Inclusive, Nurturing and Knowledgable (about the people in your community).
- Don’t forget about the students – Student voice is crucial. Seek feedback and be willing to address it. I want students to WANT to come to my class. Develop a culture of ‘openness’.
I have been lucky enough to teach in three amazing schools in my career so far, each of them with their very unique and powerful characteristics. The one thing that separated these schools was the level of cohesiveness. Happy, Healthy and productive schools are cohesive, where parents and students are engaged, and staff are happy, relaxed and passionate.
Image Source: http://www.fishphilosophy.com/tag/staff-development/
The other privilege I have is going out and working with staff, students and parents in schools all around the world. People always ask me, how do you know when you go into a positive school and my answer is always that I get a ‘gut reaction’. When you walk into a school that is flourishing, you just know!
My last piece of advice is to smile and laugh often – it is contagious, so lead by example.
Make each day better by following these simple steps and turn your school into a flourishing place where everyone WANTS to be every day!
Please send me your ideas, resources, and stories about how things work in your school. It is always powerful to hear from you all. Please reply below or via twitter by tagging me @mrkempnz