The incoming OFSTED chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw, is quoted as saying, referring to his work as a Head, that “if anyone says to you that ‘staff morale is at an all-time low’ you will know you are doing something right.”
What a complete and utter pillock.
I have worked for Heads like that in the past. And I can tell you, that yes I did what I needed to in order to keep them off my back, but that was it – nothing extra . If you have no respect for your staff, and seem to assume they are lazy and stupid, then you’ll get a load of clockwatchers and jobsworths who at best “obey orders” and at worst do as little as they can get away with. You won’t get people who care about the school they work at, or who contribute their own ideas and time.
By contrast – if you respect your staff, trust them to be professional, welcome their ideas and listen to their concerns, then you are much more likely to get a school where people willingly give of their time and energy. Sure, you may well get the odd member of staff who abuses this freedom and respect – but that’s better than losing the contribution of the vast majority of teachers who actually do want to do their best, help the kids and contribute to the school. The vast majority of teachers want kids to do well because they care about them, not just because it might affect their own progression on the pay scale.
Teachers who feel respected and – heaven forbid – actually enjoy their jobs are much more likely to be able to convey enthusiasm to their classes rather than those living in fear. Teachers will be much more inclined to offer to run clubs, offer extra help and spend time pastorally with kids if they feel they are appreciated for doing so, rather than some idiot assuming they won’t do things like that unless they are forced to.
I didn’t think I’d ever see a Chief Inspector who’d make Chris Woodhead look like a model of reason and moderation – but I fear that’s what we’ve got…