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Happy teachers make happy pupils...Errr?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by theblacksmith, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Do you think happy teachers make happy pupils? If so, what stops happy teachers from being happy? Is it possible that the people managing them don't actually understand this simple A, B, C? I am really interested in this from an international teacher's perspective? Because within different cultures, there may be different approaches to this same problem. I am in the middle east and it really makes me wonder if the management have considered this formula? Because, it seems their predominant formula is the boss rules without any consultation [which is why I hate my Principal/Owner so much] and I wonder if other teachers are experiencing the same thing from a disreputable management in other countries? Principals that try and line their own 'coffins' with valuables before they 'die'?
     
  2. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    The kind of person who uses this cant phrase is often the same colleague who, when 'consulted', suddenly realises that a difficult decision on a complex issue is about to be made and s/he is on the brink of sharing responsibility and accountability for it.
    Then it's "Whoah, no! I'm not paid for that - that is something management has to decide!"
    On a more material level, yes, a three-day week would probably make many teachers and pupils happy, as would regular distribution of free chocolate at going-home time. Teachers would be happy if we approved every costly item on their wish list at budget time instead of prioritising and pruning.
    Not that I'm defending autocratic owners or spineless principals.
    Guess the best answer is to go back to that philosopher, who was it? who said better a dissatisfied man than a satisfied pig.
     
  3. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Occasional commenter

    Spot on. As a manager I have always been dedicated to a sensible level of collegiality and I can recall at least one occasion on which I persuaded my Board to drop a major 'initiative' because the more thoughtful staff had convinced me that it was against the interests of the pupils. But without the occasional touch of autocracy (consultative of course) the principal would be truly spineless. Indeed the issue has sometimes been so unimportant that we've even decided it by democratic vote.
     
  4. Principal-Skinner

    Principal-Skinner Occasional commenter

    I don't need democracy in the school to get things done, whenever a tricky problem comes along I simply ask my mother what to do.
     
  5. Jaupua

    Jaupua New commenter

    <font face="Calibri">I find it quite perplexing that a poor head/SMT can actually make you unhappy. I've worked for some pretty shocking Heads, but none of them have made me unhappy. Irritated, vexed and bloody furious, but never unhappy!</font><font face="Calibri">Now, I've only ever worked in England, so I've never had a Head teacher withhold pay, refuse me permission to leave, hit me with a stick or eat my first born. However, this seems to be a thread about overly autocratic Heads, not genuinely insane ones.</font><font face="Calibri">I&rsquo;m with SMTdude on this, the best Heads that I&rsquo;ve worked with (with, not for) have been the ones who listen, but make the hard decisions themselves. The worst ones are those who listen to all, and then swither, swinging in the wind, never making a clear and determined judgement.</font><font face="Calibri">Ultimately, contentment in the classroom comes from my relationships with the students, not the SMT. (I&rsquo;ve got my own bucket!)</font>
     
  6. SMT Dude - It was John Stuart Mill.
     
  7. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Occasional commenter

    Happily free of wage slavery I now take my instructions only from Mrs M. In my final headship I kept two objects on my desk: A crystal ball which I would ostentatiously consult when asked dumb questions and a big roughly conical piece of granite labelled 'The Holy Stone of Clonrichert'. Fellow Father Ted buffs will appreciate the significance.
     
  8. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    in Venezuela, I think?
    Sr Chavez's response to the OP would be worth hearing - he manages to be both populist and authoritarian and a self-regarding incompetent spendthrift mendacious windbag - pretty much the full recipe for a high-achieving head.
    This applies to colleagues as well, and a friend who worked in Venezuela years ago was always, irritatingly, telling me what a 'happy teacher' he was. You can be certain of two things: his head's competence and joviality, or otherwise, had nothing to do with his felicitous state; and his students found his contentment contagious and worked mightily for him.
    Always good to read your posts, old Colombian Comestible.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUKQgYD7-Do

     
  9. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Thank you Sir/Ma'am.
    I will get this phrase, accurately attributed, into my ToK lesson at 1120 today.
    It was quoted to us freshman by the head of department in a no-holds-barred introductory pep-talk in which he informed us, to our surprise and dismay, that University life was not intended only to be three years of unremitting sexual, political and pharmaceutical experiment, and that we were expected to do some reading and writing as well.
    I remember the occasion very clearly in spite of the intervening years (and activities outlined above).
    He said, "I hope that a majority of you will be dissatisfied men and women, and for that reason a pleasure to teach and to work with. It is in the nature of things, that some of you will choose to become satisfied pigs. With these, too, we can co-exist. What we cannot and will not endure, is the dissatisfied pig."
    Whether or not this trope was original, it stuck in my mind. His name was Philip Brockbank, he died a few years ago, and I hope he is dining at some celestial table, seated between Alexander Pope and Henry James.
     
  10. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    Don Dude. Yes, I was a Venezuelan "happy camper" at one time and where I ate my first life changing arepa, the glorious "Reina Pepeada" (stuffed with chicken and avocado, which would make a convert out of you). It was the best school I ever taught at, even better than the UWC in which I spent many years . The key, I think, was the outstanding faculty. I had never been in a school, before or since, with so many great teachers. However, I do not recall us as being particularly happy, although we certainly had fun together. Rather, there was a creative atmosphere generated by people passionate about their subjects and about teaching. I spent the next 15 years trying to replicate it, but to no avail. This could have been my fault, but I console myself that, perhaps, my Venezuelan experience could have been simply the felicitous, accidental conjunction of a group of inspired individuals.
    I do envy your time with Phillip Brockbank. He does not sound like a happy teacher, but rather one determined to continue in the Sisyphean task of trying to open the minds of young people. He was absolutely right, and I stand corrected: the satisfied, contented pig is best left to the novels of Mr. Wodehouse.
     
  11. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    La la la latin america - happy times indeed. Tough to explain to those who never been.
     
  12. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    tal cual m'hijo
     
  13. Principal-Skinner

    Principal-Skinner Occasional commenter

    Sounds a bit like an oil company school in the middle of nowhere that er, a friend of mine, may have worked at, in Venezuela. About the same time when oil crashed to $10 a barrel; how different things are now. It was full of top notch folk, Brits and Yanks, and was of the first PYP schools, in so far as it trialled the IB PYP.
    The school was hit badly by the oil companies withdrawing when Hugo came along.
    Happy days, for my friend MM.
     
  14. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Having drafted a huge reply to this post, I have now decided to simplify for the benefit of all:
    Happy teachers make happy pupils BUT happy parents make happy owners/managers SO happy teachers make no difference to happy owners/managers AS happy parents are not aware of their happy children.
     
  15. I must disagree on this. Parents, imho, do have a very good idea if their children are happy or not.
     
  16. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    That's a pity. Many of us would have enjoyed the long version, which would have cost you nothing to post. The short version makes little sense to me.
     
  17. It makes sense in light of some of happy's other posts. Unless I'm mistaking her(?) for someone else, she's out of a job despite how happy her students are. So I guess she's saying that her kids are happy but her SMT isn't happy.
     
  18. Actually now that I think about it more, I think she's contradicted herself.
    Her short version above states that it really doesn't matter to SMT whether the kids are happy, it matters whether the parents are happy.
    Yet wasn't it this very poster who claimed that all parents loved her? That would then seem to indicate happy parents and happy management. Hmmm.
     
  19. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Well, it's enough to drive anyone mad to be perfectly honest.
    I tend to find parents are very supportive and enthusiastic about me teaching their children when they care to get involved in educational issues, YET must conclude, after a number of years in this game, including experiences in 4 countries overseas, that TOO many have little idea about their child's education: blank faces when questioned, the lack of involvement in homework or reading, weekly newsletters unopened and unread, no shows at parent evenings, and too much nanny/maid substitute parenting.
    As such, I think managers and owners focus on misguided criterion, mainly because parents have paid to divorce themselves from issues that more rounded families would consider pertinent. Perception is more important than substance in an instituition where the latter should be paramount.
    And if I haven't untangled myself from a hole of my own creation, I'll throw one to sidinz: would love to know why you concluded I were a 'her'?
     
  20. Just an overall impression. But it's easy to be wrong on here, hence the (?) the first time I used a female pronoun. Several posters on here have assumed that I'm male, so it's not an exact science. My impression largely came from the story of the very rude parent. It sounded as though you were a teacher of very young children and very few males teach those. Also your reaction to the situation sounded more female than male.
    So I hope I haven't stepped on anyone's manhood with all that, but you did ask!
     

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