How to be bad SMTOctober 19, 2013
Are your school’s results not poor enough? Are your staff too happy? Do your students behave too well? Are there people in school who don’t think you are a complete arsehat? Here’s a short guide for all you office-jockeys and teacher-botherers telling you how to change all that.
How to wreck teaching and learning
1) Judge teaching only by what you think OFSTED want. Don’t feel obliged to tell anyone what that is.
2) Pressure staff to make lessons entertaining and to avoid anything that looks like deliberate prolonged practice.
3) Make observations as divorced from reality as possible, ensuring that nothing that is used in them could ever be used regularly. Requests for differentiated work and to show progress every 20 minutes should achieve this.
4) Turn everything into a checklist of activities, discourage thinking about how learning actually works.
5) Make observations as stressful as possible. Have them early in the year; require a lengthy lesson plan and don’t say what the focus will be.
6) Introduce a marking policy and a homework policy that no full-time teacher could ever hope to follow.
7) Promote people to “teaching and learning” positions whose classes do get poor results but who constantly go on about how great their lessons are.
8) Judge lessons by pupil enjoyment. Unless the kids enjoy hard work and learning.
9) Fail observation lessons at random by declaring “insufficient progress was shown”.
10) Use NC levels as the Bible for deciding whether lessons were at the right pitch, ignoring all common sense.
How to ruin behaviour
1) Stay in your office as much as possible, particularly during lesson changeover. Instead insist teachers monitor the corridors and settle their classes at the same time. If possible, arrange to be off-site during particularly stressful times of year.
2) Set rules that cannot be enforced. Uniform policy is a good area for this, as are rules about where students should be at break and lunchtime or routes students should take around the school.
3) Make excuses for poor behaviour, particularly based on poverty, SEN or blaming teachers.
4) Encourage teachers to ignore bad behaviour by the worst offenders.
5) Criticise teachers for enforcing the rules or enacting punishments. Tell them that if they are using sanctions then they must have a bad relationship with their students. Make them feel bad for telling you about poor behaviour they have encountered.
6) Make sure the rules are as confusing as possible. Particularly over things like mobile phones, taking off jumpers or whether you can drink in lessons. Rules should never be written down and certainly never displayed on signs.
7) Delegate all sanctions and punishments to people without the time or power to actually deliver them. Serious incidents should go to middle managers, removal from lessons to people who are teaching at that time, detentions and phone calls home left to classroom teachers.
8) Make sure all CPD on behaviour management is actually about relationship building, making lessons engaging and how kids will behave as long as you are nice to them.
9) Don’t ever permanently exclude. Try to dodge temporary exclusions or even internal exclusions. If possible ensure teachers cannot even remove students from their classroom.
10) Don’t have a clear set of sanctions. Instead improvise based on relative importance of the staff members involved and your prior relationships with students. make sure nobody knows when it is acceptable to shout, send kids out or refer an incident.
How to lower morale
1) Have favourites who you praise as often as possible. If possible, make sure they are poor teachers who are only interested in promotion or departments which actually under-perform.
2) Introduce new initiatives all the time, particularly those that add to workload and do no good to anybody. Never think through the workload consequences of any decision.
3) Abandon the initiatives without telling anyone.
4) Make sure performance management and threshold applications involve people being repeatedly judged, particularly by those less competent.
5) Show no interest in education, only in having an easy life and passing OFSTED.
6) Discourage the expressing of opinions. Make it clear that there is only one acceptable opinion about everything and only you know it. Generally it should be that every problem the school has is the result of lazy and incompetent classroom teachers, or outside events beyond your control.
7) Expect people to do things that you would never do yourself. This applies particularly to covers, duties, teaching methods, enforcing rules around the school site and putting up with poor behaviour.
8) Act as if your position implies that you are very clever and very good at teaching compared with those in the classroom.
9) Expect teachers to respond to emails while they are teaching.
10) Never praise teachers who get good results.
Please feel free to add further advice in the comments
P.S. I genuinely don’t think I have ever written a blogpost this quickly. It was like there was no end of inspiration.