How to Become or Inspire a Highly Efficient Teacher

How to Become or Inspire a Highly Efficient Teacher

How to become or Inspire a Highly Efficient Teacher in Brief

How to become or inspire a highly efficient teacher recommends ages-long approach to boosting employee work performance.

Every Employee Wants to Do a Good Job

Newsweek magazine once quoted the President of Hyatt Hotels in the following words: “If there is anything, I have learned in my 27 years in the service industry, it is this: 99 percent of all employees want to do a good job”. And this is true. Starting from ourselves, there is hardly any time when you and I deliberately decided to do a shabby job. Or can you remember any time that you said to yourself, “today, I will do this work so bad that my supervisor (employer) will be angry at it”? I believe there isn’t any of such time. Or if there is, it will be far too less often to be significant.

And this is same for the majority of employees. Most employees want to be among the favourite. They want to be commended for jobs well done. They want bonuses, salary increment, and promotion. Every leader can attest to the trueness of this because they have experienced it first-hand.  Therefore, with 99 percent of employees falling within this category; it is rather illogical to think that any employee will deliberately choose to do a bad job.

Yet, Many Employees Perform Badly

Yet, we see them. Workers with very low turnover. Those that fall short of standard in the discharge of their duties. They have not too good attitude to work. Still, they desire commendations, bonuses, salary increment and promotion.

Are you a leader in any organization? Can you think of any member(s) of your staff that falls within this category? How many are there, 1, 2, 3 or more? Note their names, I will tell you what to do.

Also, if you are an employee; do you always feel unappreciated even though you always try your best at work? You never get a commendation, no bonuses, no salary increments and no promotion. Then, this piece is yours too, keep reading.

To the leader, did it ever occur to you that those (annoying) members of your staff desiring commendations and reward while they perform below standard are actually unaware of their score? Let me tell you.

As a school administrator, I have had to interview a lot of applicants in the last 7 years. And there is one particular question that naturally pops up in my mind during interviews. After perusing the CV of someone that has worked in “too” many organizations within a short period of time, my curiosity always asks why such applicant keep leaving the different organizations.

Who’s To Blame?

The answer I got as reply to this question in January of 2022, is the same as I have received on many occasions over the years. The applicants faulted their employer’s lack of appreciation for their service although they always do their best. No doubt, this says a lot about the applicant.

But the frequency of that same answer also tells me something unique about all workers; an insight that is invariably helpful to all leaders. And it is that most of the under-performers in your team, do not know they are not performing up to expectation. As far as they are concern, they believe that they are doing their best. This is no speculation but a well-known fact. And to help you put a figure to your organization’s unique situation; have your staff take the Employee Self-Evaluation test.  The result of such exercise will lead you to your individual staff’s inner perception of their performance. In addition, it will also help you infer more accurately, what they expect of you to keep the organisation growing.

Misrepresentation Performance Index

However, the misrepresentation of an employee work performance goes in two ways. It is not only that the employer may wrongly assume that every of his or her employees can accurately place their individual work performance index corresponding to theirs. But the employees can as well develop inaccurate perception of their delivery – like feeling they are doing their best when in truth, they have not hit the boundaries. For this purpose, every employee that feels he or she is underappreciated at work should head for individual Employee Self-Evaluation test. Do this, and be as sincere during the test to yourself as possible. Then, discuss the result with your trusted colleague(s) and your superior. This should clear the cloud of insatiable expectations cast by unreal perception of one’s performance.

Whether an employer/a leader conducts this test, or an employee individually takes the evaluation test; the result may reflect one or more common factors. One of such common factors you will find out, is that one or more member of your staff is underperforming. This may not be deliberate. But that does not stop it from negatively affecting your organization. As result, it is important that you tackle underperformance headlong.

Tackling underperformance is a matter of urgency. And any organization that wants to attain sustainable growth, must approach it as such. The underperformance of one member of staff left unchecked, can influence the delivery of other staff. In addition, it automatically adds to the daily stress of the employer/leader. You must understand that evil more influential than good, wrong than right. So, the underperformance of one member of staff is enough to neutralize the hard work of the rest of the team.

Solving the Problem

The question is not whether or not to tackle underperformance. Instead, it is about how to tackle it. Knowing that “99 percent of all employee want to do a good job” but majority often fail, how do we help those that fall short of standard smash their goals?

The answer begins with knowing why people do not perform up to expectation. Thankfully, a lot of researchers, life coaches and authors have done great justice to this question. Ferdinand F. Fournies gave the best answer to this question in his bestseller, “Coaching for Improved Work Performance”. According to Fournies, there are four common reasons why people do not perform the way they should. The four major reasons people do not perform the way they should is because they do not know:

  1. what they are supposed to do
  2. how to do it
  3. why they should; and if
  4. there are obstacles beyond their control

Making Your Staff 100% Efficient: Teachers’ Induction Training

Since we have identified the reasons for underperformance among staff, solving the problem becomes easier. However, before we discuss the solutions to the problem of inefficiency among staff, let us consider a few realities that relates to the causes. This will help you to diagnose your organization first-hand.

Fact 1: Majority of Teachers do not read to understand their job description in detail

The first solution to the problem of staff inefficiency is giving a concise job description at engagement. Sadly, some organization with rather casual approach to business do not have any form of contract with their staff say less a job description. We will address this later.

But assuming that your organization does have contract agreement with detailed job description; one will expect that new employees will read to understand such document. Let’s not put a figure to this because we know the reality: majority of employees do not read their job descriptions to understand it. Instead, they browse through and toss it around. Afterall, they have done this before.  

It does not stop there. Among the few that read and understand their job description, some soon forgets.

For these reasons, it is not enough for you to give job descriptions. It is equally important for you to work them through it thoroughly.

Are you an employee, this is where you deliberately create a checklist against each item on your job description. Beyond that, create a system for rating your capability in handling each task in your assignment.

Fact 2: Papers and length of years does not always translate to efficiency

If you have being an administrator long enough, you will agree to this fact. Some people are just too good at crafting killer résumé and performing at interviews. But that is it.

I am talking about people that have the necessary qualifications (papers) and years of experience. Yet, after you employ them; their performance does not reflect their qualifications. This is a sad reality of our country today. The fact that people have the qualification does mean they know how to do the job. As a result, we have to amplify the second reason for staff inefficiency according to F.F Fournies.

As an employer, you have to make it part of your corporate culture to always give employees hands-on training on how to do their job.

As a staff, you should understand the concept of doing your job within context. You do this by enrolling and participating in quality training that uniquely adapts to your workplace.

Fact 3: Majority of Teachers Have Lost Touch of the Reason for Doing Their Jobs

This fact does not need elaboration. But I will explain it from another context. More and more teachers have to understand the business dimension of education. As such, majority demands commensurate financial rewards.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for schools to offer such rewards if the teachers are not efficient. And since the teachers seek the reward to be efficient, it is deadlock! The result is that teachers continue to not have reasons for them to be efficient.

The Solution: How to Become or Inspire a Highly Efficient Teacher

So, schools must always lead the initiative. To attain sustainable growth like I discussed previously, schools must always give their teachers reasons to do their job efficiently. This does not necessarily mean financial rewards. In fact, before any financial reward, schools should first provide proper guidance. And the best way is through training.

Similarly, independent teachers that want to excel regardless of the school they work must continually seek reasons to do their job efficiently. They can do this by enrolling for relevant training.

All-in-One Teachers’ Induction Training

The LeadinGuides Teachers’ Induction Training is an all-in-one efficiency masterclass for teachers. Though, primarily targeted at new teachers, it is also a generic Continuous Professional Development programme for experienced teachers.

This training helps teachers and schools to directly and effectively tackle the problems of inefficiency at workplace.

In addition, it helps schools to align the minds of their teachers to the organization’s aspirations, draw out their untapped potentials and motivate them towards helping the school attain her goals and unlock unexploited growth channels.

Participants will develop “teacherpreneurship” mindset and improve on their practical teaching skills. At the end of the training, they will become top contributors to their organizations. Most importantly, they will learn how to establish themselves, to earn more and live a fulfilling life.

This is one of the highly valuable training programs we are delivering to the international audience at Northford Center for Advanced Studies, Abuja.

Click here to join LeadinGuides TIT today

School Owner-Administrator Too Lenient? What to do

A school owner-administrator too lenient? Yes, some are; and “uncontrollably” so. The problem is that been too lenient has repercussions, negative ones – for the administrator, staff and the organization. So, when a school owner-administrator is too lenient; what is the right thing to do? In this post, I discuss just that. In addition, I briefly discuss the possible reason for a school owner-administrator being too lenient and the negative effects it has in your school.

Why a School Owner-administrator may be too lenient

Answering the question, “what cause a school owner-administrator to be too lenient?”, may require deeper analysis. But one or two of the reasons is not far-fetched.

For more than two years, a team of five organizational behaviour researchers conducted research into leniency at work place. The team included Marie Mitchell from University of Georgia; Kate Zipay from University of Oregon; Michael Baer from Arizona State University; Hudson Sessions from University of Oregon; and Robert Bies from Georgetown University. The team published the report of their research in 2021 in the Academy of Management journal. This report provides insight into the likely reason a school owner-administrator may be too lenient.

According to the research, people who are lenient at the place of work are more likely to experience pride. In order words, you are too lenient because you want your employees to regard you as a kind person. It not necessarily about being kind. Instead, it may be about what they think of you. If you “punish” them for bad conduct, they will think you are wicked. As a result, you let them have their way every single time – this is what being too lenient means.

But what’s in it for your school? No doubt, Ryan Holiday made a compelling case for empathy at work place. But Robert Kiyosaki once spoke on the brutal nature of the work place. Without throwing out the validity of the former, the later is proven in the negative effect of being too lenient as a school owner or administrator.

Effect of being too lenient as a school owner-administrator

Some of the negative effects of being too lenient as school owner or administrator include:

  • It causes conflicting emotions at work
  • Encourages misconducts
  • Lowers standards
  • Kills business

Conflicting emotions at work

Firstly, the earlier research showed that being lenient with misconduct leads to conflicting emotions at work. On the one hand, there is emotion of pride; then on the other, emotion of guilt. This is an unnecessary burden you carry as a school owner-administrator being too lenient. And with this, you cannot appropriately handle issues the right way. It is like when you are angry with someone but cannot talk it out. It fractures relationships and limits collaboration.

Encouraging Misconducts

If you do not discourage misconducts, then you encourage it. By failing to enforce the rule, you say it is ok not to break it. Therefore, it is no surprise that school owners-administrators too lenient experience frequent employee misbehaviours.

Being Too Lenient Lowers Standards

How does being too lenient lowers the standard of a school? It is simple. Standards are in themselves rules of what should be done and attained. So, if school staff have no reason to keep rules, it means they will not do what they ought to do. By extension, if staff do not perform their duties, then standards cannot be attained.

Leniency Kills Business

Lastly, a school owner-administrator too lenient has pronounced death sentence for his/her school. How? Majority of people patronize businesses for the quality they deliver. This is especially true for school business. Quality school attracts quality parents and students. This is one of the undeniable rules of sustainable school growth. Therefore, consistent drop in the standard of the school – due to the school owner or administrator being too lenient – leads inevitable loss of quality population.

Over the last three months, more than about eight school owners and administrators have reached out to me. They have battled with the negative effects of being too lenient for long. Two of them said their staff usually take advantage of their leniency to misbehave at work. So, they sort advice on what to do in managing the situation.

If you are a school owner or administrator who cannot help being too lenient, below are some suggestions for you.

School Owner-Administrator Too Lenient? Things to do

  • Change your perspective on how you believe employees think of you
  • Create unique school policies
  • Delegate supervision and demand report

Change your perspective on how you believe employees think of you

According to the earlier research, the reason why some school owners-administrators are too lenient is because they believe it makes employees to think well of them. Such school owners/administrators believe that they do an erring employee a favour by helping them escape the responsibilities of their misconducts. Thus, they believe that in return of the favour, the employee should respect them.

This may not be the case for every school owner or administrator that is lenient at the work. Some cite their temperament while others, their faith. Again, establishing what cause some school owners and administrators to be too lenient at work requires deeper analysis. But one thing is sure. This is the fact that you cannot attain genuine respect by being too lenient. It is rather ironical that you should expect an employee to obey you by encouraging him/her to break existing rules. Isn’t it? Well, things do not work that way.

Common knowledge reveals that people respect the man of integrity more than they respect their accomplice. This is the first perspective you must change. If you are lenient because you believe your employees will like and respect you, you must understand that the opposite is the case.

In addition, if you must command your employees’ respect by doing them favours; there are many right ways to do so. Compliment and reward their hard work, give them day(s) off or buy them gifts. These are more honourable and they will love you for it. But don’t be too lenient. Don’t be too quick to waive penalty for misconduct. Rather, always let the rules take its course.

However, you should note that this does take away the place of empathy. There are one or two occasions where rare misconduct is excusable. Occasions such as when that punctual staff is late for a day in a blue moon; or when the most regular staff asks to be absent for a day, the natural thing to do is to be empathic. Find out what is wrong and help them through it.

Create unique school policies to keep workplace misconduct at bay

This is the one most important solution to the problems of being too lenient as a school owner or administrator. Good school policies are unique, that is, peculiar to your school. They contain what employees should do, procedures for doing them, what they cannot do and the repercussions of breaking rules.

Talking of school policies, the problem is that many school owners and administrators tend to buy policies instead of drafting one. This is a bad practice. The policies you buy are often the product of another school. And while your school may have some things in common with other schools, it is also different in its own way. Policies are as complex and simple as the organization. Thus, it makes no sense for a simple school to buy the policies of a complex school. This is why some schools have challenges implementing policies.

Draft policies that work for your school. It should carry the members of your staff along. Your policies may be working documents. Call a meeting. Table the misconduct you want to regulate and let the staff suggest the rules and regulations. Your duty will be to channel the discussion to what you want them to do. And you should do this intelligently. You shouldn’t do it in a way that seems like you are dictating for them. Let the staff feel they are part of the policy-making process. This way, when they default; they wouldn’t blame you for the penalty.

The result of this is that it lifts the burden of guilt from you when you implement the rule. However, be sure that after making the policy; you see to its strict implementation. In doing so, bear in the brief talk on empathy.

Maybe it is “your nature”. You just can’t let people bear the repercussions of their misconduct. It is a dilemma. You don’t want your staff misbehaving. But if they do, you also can’t punish them. So, how do you stop staff from misconduct? The next point is for you.

Delegate supervision and demand report

If you cannot enforce policies because you are too kind, you should delegate the responsibility to another worthy employee. It is not out of place to even hire an external supervisor, one of proven skill and character.

The supervisor checks in from time to time to appraise the performance of the staff. However, if you can afford a full-time supervisor; it is all the better. The supervisor enforces the policies and furnishes report for you on periodic basis.

Should any staff meet you with complaints, refer them to the supervisor. This is a pretty way of lifting the burden of guilt from yourself.

Just these three ways, a school owner or administrator too lenient will be able to manage every situation.

References

Melancon, M. (2021, October 21). Showing leniency with misconduct at work leads to conflicting emotions. Retrieved from Terry College of Business, University of Georgia: https://www.terry.uga.edu/news/stories/2021/showing-leniency-misconduct-work-leads-conflicting-emotions

Zipay, K. P., Mitchell, M. S., Baer, M. D., Sessions, H., & Bies, R. J. (2021, April). Lenient Reactions to Misconduct: Examining the Self-Conscious Process of Being Lenient to Others at Work. Academy of Management, 351–377. Retrieved from https://journals.aom.org/doi/full/10.5465/amj.2018.0123

Sustainable-School-Growth-Step-1: School-Re-Organization

Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1: in one sentence

This post with keywords: Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1-school-re-organization outlines the steps that school administrators and school owners may adopt to reorganize their school for sustainable growth. You will learn the meaning of school organization, the components of an organized school system as well as how to build a bulletproof system that protect the business while bringing about sustainable growth.

Introduction to Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1

This post, Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1-school-re-organization, is the first of a 8-step post. The complete series will help school administrators and school owners to build a formidable school that will expand exponentially.  Following our independent education seminar which was held at FCAPT, Kano on October 1, 2019; many teachers, school administrators and school owners have requested for the manuals.

This particular 8-step post is an adaption of the manual on the topic ‘Sustainable School Growth and Multiple Streams of Income for Teachers in the 21st Century Environment’.

Preamble to Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1-school-re-organization

That there is and will always be prospects in the education industry is a fact that needs no argument. There are prospects both for school owners and teachers. However, and just like any other industry, business in education is dynamic and follows certain principles. There are strategies to successful ends in education business. Unfortunately, not many school owners, administrators and teachers understand this dynamism and strategies for succeeding in education business. Hence, majority of education business stakeholders, especially upcoming ones, leave their success in the hands of uncertainty. Many have lost hope and quite a number would only say “I will do my best and leave the rest for God”.

Faith is good and I believe it is necessary for success. But I do not think there need be hopelessness and uncertainty in running education business. This is because there are empirical approaches to success in education businesses as in all else. In this post – Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1-school-re-organization – I hope to discuss how school owners and administrators can position school their schools for sustainable growth.

Pre-requisite Knowledge for Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1-school-re-organization

In this post, Sustainable-School-Growth-step-1-school-re-organization, I use keywords like school growth and sustainable school growth many times. I assume that you already know exactly what I imply by these terms. In an earlier post, I clearly defined school growth and sustainable school growth. In the post, I also explained why school administrators should pursue not just school growth but a sustainable school growth. If you have not read this already, click here and have a quick read.

What is School Reorganization?

In other that I may create a solid foundation for you to understand as much of this content as possible and for it to attain its objective – of helping you to make informed organizational decision that will lead to eventual growth – I will adopt the common classroom approach. I do this by breaking the term School Re-organization into three component units: School, Re and Organization. We shall first of all revise the elementary meaning of each as a reminder. You probably already know these elementary meanings. Hence, I state them here only as a reminder. You are perhaps well aware of the fact that your concept of a word or a thing determines your disposition towards it. And this in turn determines your effectiveness – using it to achieve the goal it is intended to achieve –  and efficiency – achieving the goal with less cost – with it.

Meaning Determines Effectiveness and Efficiency

Watch the clip below for instance. Mr. Bones, who assumes to be seeing bra for the first time initially asked “what is this?”. Thereafter, he answered himself by associating it with a previous meaning he knew of catapult. This made him to use the bra like a catapult!!

Evident from this analogy is the probability that the growth of a school may be stunted by the meanings which the school owner or administrator attaches to school and school organization.

We now come to the part where we discuss from the elementary meaning to the meaning of the words which is capable of inspiring growth. Before we proceed however, bear in mind that you have a role to play. The role of unlearning the previous meanings, if need be; and relearning the growth-imbued meaning. Note too that I am altering the dictionaries here. When I say growth-imbued meaning, I imply the meaning as in the context of the subject matter. So, the basic meaning of the terms that you learn from the dictionaries remains. You only have to remember that when you are talking from the context of school growth, you have to assume the growth-imbued meaning.

“Re”

The simplest of the three terms is “Re”. As I use it here, “Re” is a prefix – a letter or group of letters that we add to the beginning of a word to make a new word. The prefix “Re” means to “do again”. Hence, the word Re-organization means to organize again. This is basically the same as the meaning of the prefix “Re” in the dictionaries. Hence, there is no need to unlearn anything here.

School

Elementary Meaning and the problem

(Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (3rd Edition), 2008) defines school as a place where children go to be educated. This is not different from the meaning of school we know. But educationists and educators traditionally have additions to this meaning of school. While defining school in the official PED 412 course guide for level 4 education students of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Dr Nwangu stated that “… [schools] are not profit oriented but service goal oriented as they work for the realization of common goals of society”. Similarly, Dr Ajayi of the Faculty of Education, University of Ado-Ekiti writing on Topical Issues in Educational Administration for students of Ph.D degree programme in Educational Administration noted the existence of similar mindset among the teaching profession – where teachers were poorly paid because the belief was that they rendered services to God and they had to make sacrifice and looked for the rewards in heaven. This same mindset in unconsciously hides in the mind and heart of every Nigerian educationist and educator who is yet to unlearn this traditional meaning.

The growth-imbued meaning

No! I do not mean to say that such sacrificial mindset is wrong, not at all!! In fact, I totally believe that we (educationist and educators) cannot be payed enough – to commensurate with the good we render. So, I basically still believe that there is a special portion of reward for those that will make heaven – if you believe in it. But let me state clearly that the relegating meaning of school does not support growth.  And if you must attain growth, you will have to unlearn and relearn the meaning of school.

Difference between Sacrificial and Relegating Mindset about/Meaning of school

Now you may be wondering whether there is a difference between sacrificial and relegating mindset about or meaning of school. Well, let me point this out: sacrificial mindset is that in which when you have; you give up what you are supposed to enjoy or what is valuable to you SO AS TO HELP OTHERS. On the contrary, relegating mindset is that in which when you have; you refuse or reject growth thereby cutting off what you and others are supposed to enjoy.

What is the growth-imbued meaning of school?

To prepare your mindset for the school reorganization tips, you should understand that a school is much a business as any other business outfit – such as the banking, transport and communication industries. This means the same growth strategies and principles that make businesses in these industries to grow will also make businesses in education industry to grow – if properly localized to the industry. By being properly localized, I mean that although growth principles are universal, the business environments are different. Hence, the application of such principles must be from the context of the current business environment. The how of the latest is what I discuss in the remaining part of this post.

For now, let it suffice that you understand that a school is a business venture comprising of a group of people working together to render professional services (involved in educating learners) that satisfy given societal needs so as to make profit.

School as a Business Venture

As a business venture, every school is born out of a new (business) idea. And bringing the idea to fruition involves some level of risk and uncertainties. The idea from which a school is birthed is sometimes the vision/mission of the school. Are you a school owner? Think of when you wanted to start your school, what were your dreams? The principal thing that made you to start the school, what problems did the school set out to solve?

Take Home Point

Note that your growth or the growth of your school, and by extension its profit; is directly proportional to the efficiency with which you are (or the school is) able to solve the problem for which you (it) are (is)the solution. You should also know that efficient solution does not just happen. No! Efficient solution originates from the subconscious to the conscious and then implemented. By implication, this means for you to efficiently solve the problem for which the school is a solution; you and the team must internalize the problem into your sub-consciousness. Napoleon Hill in the Law of Success religiously taught that the best way of internalizing a thought into the sub-consciousness is by affirmation or repeated instructions. Hill suggested three simple actions to this end: Writing, Memorizing and Repeating (WMR).

The above injunction is not only for school owners. As a school administrator, your first responsibility is to acquaint yourself with the vision and mission of the school – If the school you now run already has one. On the other hand, it your current school hasn’t any; your first job should be to give direction to the school by drafting the vision and mission of the school.

One popular notion is that a school must be “big” before it has vision and mission statements. Say that to the Nigerian Microfinance Bank that has its vision and mission stated before the bank began operation. Or all well-doing multi-level marketing companies where you have to be inducted into believing their vision and mission before your first assignment as a staff.

In a nutshell, any business outfit that heads for growth always has a vision and mission for a direction – be it a big business or a small one.

Meaning of Organization: School as an organization or an enterprise

The other key words in the growth-imbued meaning of school is that is a group of people working together. This is in other words to say that every school is an organization. School being an organization stretches the definition to mean that the group of people in a school work together in a structured way for a shared purpose. This means the same thing as being an enterprise. However, as an enterprise; a school is not only an assemblage of people but of other economic resources which it requires to effectively function. This basically include time, space and infrastructures.

Consequently, in your growth-imbued meaning of school, you should remember that you cannot achieve sustainable school growth alone. You need a team. Not just a group of people but a group in which each person, though playing from his/her wing of expertise, contributes to a well-arranged whole. What will make your growth sustainable is that it involves people. Not only people to work as a team, but people to consider themselves a part of the team. Individuals that will be proud to call the school their place of work. In this wise, you should also remember that the growth is for all. You are simply the leader.

Definition of School Organization

Now that we have adequately discussed each of the key components of school re-organization, let us now define school organization. Just as school, we may define school organization in many contexts. For instance, Charlotte Danielson of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) defined school organization in context of enhancing student achievements as how schools arrange the resources of time, space, and personnel for maximum effect on student learning.

Consequently, since we are discussing school growth, let us define school organization within the context of school growth as below.

This article will be updated shortly check out other articles and return after a while.

The Effective-School-Staff-Meeting

in one sentence

This post, the effective-school-staff-meeting,  provides a comprehensive guide to school administrators, head teachers, principals, head of departments, committee chairs and school group leaders for convening and managing meaningful school staff meetings.

It will also be handy for the member of a school community, either students or teacher that may one day assume a leadership role in a school. The guide should provide observation or suggestion tips for such members of a school community in subsequent meetings. More so and even though the author uses words that may be peculiar to school environment, it is applicable to leaders of any organized group of people. Invariably it is for every one!

Introduction to the effective-school-staff-meeting

Good and important as school staff meeting could be, it is still one of the most frustrating moments for school staff or team members. It is not an uncommon experience for some staff or team members to wish not to attend a particular meeting neither is it rare to see absent-minded staff in meetings. Some of the staff just wishes the convener could just end the meeting few minutes after commencement. We’ve all been in such meetings at several times in the past.

This is probably so because many of the previously held meetings in the school are unproductive. In such unproductive meetings, there is too much waste of time. People just talk, talk and talk with little follow-up action. It features empty proposals and suggestions and towards the end, even if it is yet to reach the overstayed period, more than half the members may have become tired. Too often, members of staff are left with the question of whether the meeting is necessary at all.

Structure of the effective-school-staff-meeting

In order for this effective-school-staff-meeting guide to be most meaningful, we will start with the importance of school staff meeting, then some reasons school staff meeting is unproductive. Afterwards, we will look at the step by step guide a school staff meeting convener needs to adopt in organizing and managing more meaningful school staff meeting in future. If you are not a direct organizer of one, the information you get from here may either become your contribution in your next meeting or part of suggestion you could make to the meeting organizer in your school.

Reasons or Importance of School Staff Meeting

The importance of school staff meeting or meeting of team members cannot be overemphasized. Any school or organization that wants to grow must call for periodic meeting between her staff for the following reasons among others.

  • Giving out information in an efficient way – not office gossips
  • Making decisions pertaining to school policies, objectives of the school and the activities and programs as well as setting standards.
  • Brainstorming, sharing ideas and strategies, giving suggestions and presenting proposals on effective ways to implement plans, drawing and adopting action plans.
  • Solving problems that have a bearing on the growth of the school and her members
  • Motivating members or promoting team spirit in carrying out programs to realize the objectives of the school.

In a deliberate attempt to keep this post as short as possible, I choose not to elaborate on these points. Notwithstanding, you should go over the points once more and try to consider the scope of each. No doubt, you will agree that meeting is a key component of any progressive school or organization.

But why then is school staff meeting unproductive? What is/are the cause(s)? Let’s take a look at that.

Why most school staff meeting is unproductive

Ideally, it cannot be said that one reason is responsible for the failure of many school staff meetings. However, the multiple reasons school staff meeting fails is attributable to the inefficiency of two people – the organizers (i.e. school heads) and the participants (i.e. teachers).

How School Staff Meeting Conveners Make it Fail

In some schools, meeting conveners are the major cause of the failure of many meetings. They do this in two ways:

1.        Turning Meeting to Briefing

This is more common in big and average schools than in small schools. In fact, the higher up a school is in stratification, the higher is the level in which this happens.

By turning meeting to briefing I mean the act of not allowing EVERY participating member to make contribution freely. In such schools, the actual meeting is only held between the top officials – proprietor/proprietress, director, principals or head teachers, HODs etc.

These officials hold the meeting in two ways. They either meets before joining the rest of the teachers or they discuss while in the midst of the teachers i.e. in what is supposed to be a general meeting. Whatever, they (the officials) agree on, is then announced to the rest of the teachers (the teachers are briefed).

If the ‘executives meeting’ is held the former way, then they keep non-executive teachers waiting – I know of a very highly placed school where teachers wait for 2-3 hours before the arrival of the executives. If however, the later way of ‘executives meeting’ is adopted, then the rest of the teachers are not only made to feel stupid but also irrelevant.

Whichever way, the idea of holding a sub meeting of executives in general school staff meeting makes the general meeting un-meaningful, irrelevant and uninteresting. If everyone doesn’t have to be part of the discussion then everyone doesn’t have to be part of the meeting. I am sure they will be more grateful if you would just hold your executive meeting and then relate the executives’ resolution rater than keeping them waiting (looking stupid and irrelevant) while you meet.

2.        Not planning

This is the second way school staff meeting organizers makes meetings to fail. Even though some may have fixed meeting dates/days, many still fail to plan for the meeting and also to plan the meeting. Even if the essence of the meeting is to brief or announce executives’ resolution (s) to the teachers, there ought to be adequate planning. In the absence of planning, many things go wrong and participant loss interest in the meeting too soon for it to achieve anything worthwhile.

Later in this post, I will provide a step by step guide on how to plan for a meeting as well as the meeting itself. However, let’s first look at how participants makes school staff meetings fail.

How Meeting Participants Make School Staff Meeting Fail

As noted earlier, meeting is not one people’s affair. Instead, it is the business of two or more set of people. It is the dealing between the organizers and the attendees. As a result, the success and failure of such dealing depends on both parties. No matter how well the organizer (s) prepare(s) for meeting, it will still be a failure if the attendees fail to do their homework.

Summarily, there is only one way meeting attendees make meetings fail. This is by not planning for the meeting.

Not planning for the meeting

It is true that attendees usually do not plan a meeting. Also true is the fact that meeting organizers may be responsible for attendees’ act of not preparing for a meeting. Nonetheless, some attendees would just not prepare for a meeting – it is simply not their habit! Even if the organizers do all that is their role to do.

This singular act of not planning for school staff meeting by the attendees (teachers); leads to several odd behaviors that place the success of the meeting at stake. Some of these odd behaviors are:

1.        Arriving late at the meeting

How can they be punctual when they did not plan for the meeting? The kind of meeting attendee that would not prepare for a meeting usually rushes down when has commenced.

2.        Coming along with unfinished works

I have convened several school staff meetings in which some of my teachers come to the meeting with leftover of notes to mark. I bet they cannot effectively double themselves in this case.

3.        Being un-contributive

What meaningful thing can they contribute when they did not prepare for the meeting? Being unprepared also means they did not do underground work on the topic (s) of discussion (if at all they remember). It also implies that they did not read the minutes of the previous meeting or were they punctual enough to hear the secretary take it. All these compound into such an attendee being un-contributive at the meeting.

Similar to an attendee being un-contributive due to unpreparedness, is being unspoken due to timidity. I have also found out that some school staff meeting attendees is rather too timid for the status of a teacher. This timid set of attendees does not contribute to school staff meeting not because they lack what to say but because they are too apprehensive to say it. This form of being un-contributive too is no help to the success of school staff meetings.

4.        Initiating side talks

Yes, the unprepared attendees are often the ones to initiates side talks, gossips and murmurs. They may do this unintentionally – when they ask the punctual, attentive and active attendees to brief, remind or clarify a point. Also, if they are neither contributing nor following the discussion; then it will naturally turn out uninteresting to them. In response, they murmur. Finally, because they did not plan for the meeting, they are likely to fix another (external) appointment at a time too close to the meeting. Hence, they often obtain permission to leave before the close of the meeting – although some may be due to other official matters. If not permitted, they are first to complain of having other things to do or time.

And those are the reasons most school staff meeting as well as other meetings fail: when the organizers and attendees fail to do what they ought to do properly leading them to do what they ought not to do.

Now, how may one make effective-school-staff-meeting more meaningful?

The answer – one may make effective-school-staff-meeting more meaningful by planning both the meeting and for the meeting adequately.

Planning a meeting

Planning the meeting actually means planning the discussion. This implies what to discuss and the shape of the discussion. Consequently, the first three steps towards a successful school staff meeting are as given below.

1st Step:  List out the objectives of the meeting

Here, the organizer has to answer questions such as why do I have to call this meeting?

Is it for the attendants to deliberate on an issue or some issues? What are the issues? List them out.

Is it to give out information? Would this piece or pieces of information invoke participants’ reaction? Can the information be communicated by other means such as internal memo, text messages, emails etc. without harming its purpose? Write down the information. And if it does not require a meeting then you do not have to call a meeting.

Is the meeting to promote team spirit, motivate the staff or share new work strategies? Write this down also together with the topic as clear as possible.

Whatever the reason of the meeting is, it should be stated in such a way that participants will be able to know at a glance.

2nd Step: Prepare questions to pose on

For a discussion meeting, the organizers should draw up some open-ended questions based on each topic. These questions spur participation or contribution of participants. And at the meeting, a particular question may be directed at a particular member to ensure even ground of contribution. Issues upon which decisions have to be taken need to be thought of and written out earlier. This will help all participants understand the issues clearly and little time is wasted.

3rd Step: Set specific and clear agenda

The meeting agenda is the planned order of progression. What is the first thing to be done once all members are on seat and the next? The agenda should be clearly put out in a concise and numbered order. In drawing the agenda, one’s priority list is a key consideration. The most important items should be listed first with the least important at the end. It is also good to have the agenda clearly written on a board in the front part of the meeting hall or room.

Now that is it for planning a meeting. If you do all the things I mentioned in step 1through 3 accordingly, then you would have planned the meeting. However, all is not set for the meeting. You need to do a couple more things for the meeting to be hitch free. These things which are I discussed below should be done before the meeting commences.

Planning for the commencement of the meeting

4th Step:  Send meeting notification and distribute agenda

Participants have to be notified early about the meeting so that they can plan their schedules. Meeting notification should carry the objective (s) of the meeting and the agenda so that the participants come prepared. If there is anything that the participants have to read, attach it to the notification. Finally, the notification should remind participants to read the minutes of previous meeting and possibly bring them along.

5th Step:  Get ready any audio-visuals

Next in the line of action is to source and get all essential materials ready. A whiteboard together with a marker and a duster are essential. Other audio-visual aids such as projector, screen, charts and models should be sourced, be made ready and tested earlier.

6th Step: Prepare the place of meeting

The objectives of a meeting are sometimes defeated by the inappropriateness of the meeting place. Imagine the noisiness of a room with unbalanced seats that scratches on the surface of the floor. Or rather a dirty and poorly ventilated room where participants have to fight for comfort. Such arrangements occasionally detract the participants.

The meeting place should be clean, bright and well-ventilated. The seats should be arranged properly so that all participants can see and hear one another clearly. Should a microphone or P.A system be required, this has to be prepared and tested out before the commencement of the meeting.

Note the meeting place should NOT be prepared only at the last minute!

The Meeting: Steering towards target

With the meeting place in order, you are all set for the meeting to commence. Nevertheless, there is still tendency for things to go wild if no proper control is administered during the meeting.  I discussed some of the steering mechanisms or exercises below.

Start the meeting on time

Punctuality has to be stressed and observed not only by the participants but all parties. As noted under the fault of meeting organizers, sometimes the chairperson or other key member is late themselves.

Except if such executives are content with the present level of their school and seek no further growth; then they must take their staff opinions serious. And if they do, they would not keep the staff waiting in meetings so as to meet them at a good frame of mind, happy and ready to contribute freely.

Welcome address should encourage participation

Although how free the staff will feel to contribute at the meeting greatly depends on how the management relates with them under normal circumstances, the opening message to every member should be that of inspiration. The chairperson should motivate the participants to feel free to air their opinion in all matters that will be discussed.

Sometimes the chairperson has to assure the participant of his/her readiness to accept all contribution honestly. The atmosphere also has to be different from normal formal setup. Research reveals that more is achieved in an informal meeting setting than in formal ones.

Ensure minutes are taken

Minutes of meetings have to be clear, concise and accurate. They ought to be well-structured and arranged in proper order.

All decisions taken on issues need to be recorded without any ambiguity. Good minutes convey to members clear information, proposals, solutions to problems and decisions taken.

Limit time for each item

Sometimes meetings are overstayed because all the agenda items cannot be covered on time. Suitable time limits should be allocated for the various agenda items according to their importance. When time is running out for a particular item, the discussion on the item can be summarized to the details.

Stick to agenda

Even in a meeting of the most civilized and ordered people there are tendency to indulge in too much ramblings and discussion of irrelevant matters – deviation from the agenda. The chairperson has to ensure to keep track of the agenda and to control and bring back the meeting should it stray too far away.

Close meeting well

The chairperson has to ensure that the meeting finishes as scheduled and does not unnecessarily drag on. At the close, proposals and decisions are summarized, reminders on actions to be taken and by whom are assigned. Probably, the date and time of next meeting is also fixed. In conclusion, the chairperson expresses a word of thanks to the participants.

And this brings us to the end of the guide. Hopefully, it should lead you to a successful meeting.

Remember to ensure that the minute of the meeting is sent to every participant some time before the following meeting. This is to remind them of the actions to be taken by specified individuals as decided in the meeting. The absentees should also receive minute and important decisions taken should be explained to them.

Check out other school management issues

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Sustainable-School-Growth-Part-1:

Sustainable-School-Growth-Part-1: Steps to Sustainable school growth

Sustainable-School-Growth-Part-1: in one sentence

This post with keywords: Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1 outlines the steps that school administrators and school owners may adopt to achieve sustainable school growth.

Introduction to Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1

This post, Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1, is the first of a 10-series post. The complete series will help school administrators and school owners to build a formidable school that will expand exponentially.  Following our independent education seminar which was held at FCAPT, Kano on October 1, 2019; many teachers, school administrators and school owners have requested for the manuals.

This particular 10-series post is an adaption of the manual on the topic ‘Sustainable School Growth and Multiple Streams of Income for Teachers in the 21st Century Environment’.  If you wish to have the manual, send me a message through the contact page, email via [email protected] or WhatsApp on +2348067689217.

Preamble to Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1

That there is and will always be prospects in the education industry is a fact that needs no argument. There are prospects both for school owners and teachers. However and just like any other industry, business in education is dynamic and follows certain principles. There are strategies to successful ends in education business. Unfortunately, not many school owners, administrators and teachers understand this dynamism and strategies for succeeding in education business. Hence, majority of education business stakeholders, especially upcoming ones, leave their success in the hands of uncertainty. Many have lost hope and quite a number would only say “I will do my best and leave the rest for God”.

Faith is good and I believe it is necessary for success. But I do not think there need be hopelessness and uncertainty in running education business. This is because there are empirical approaches to success in education businesses as in all else. In this post – Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1 – I hope to outline the steps that school administrators and school owners may adopt to attain sustainable growth.

Pre-requisite Knowledge for Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1

In this post, Sustainable-School-Growth-part-1, I use keywords like school growth and sustainable school growth many times. I assume that you already know exactly what I imply by these terms. In an earlier post, I clearly defined school growth and sustainable school growth. In the post, I also explained why school administrators should pursue not just school growth but a sustainable school growth. If you have not read this already, click here and have a quick read.

Steps in Sustainable School Growth

I believe that you are now convinced of the effectiveness of the people-oriented growth strategy. Hence, let us look at the steps to sustainable school growth in this strategy. However, before that; it is pertinent I make you understand that I do not teach nor promise miracle growth. No! Miracles have no principles else it wouldn’t be miracle. Consequently, you should understand that sustainable school growth requires considerably effort and time. It is guided by laws and practices. I condensed the proven practices and laws – which I call principles – into ten composite components.   These are not simple suggestions but success stories of different administrators and school owners. Although it is not necessary for you to perform all of these principles in the order I list them, I prefer to call them steps to sustainable school growth.

The steps to sustainable school growth are:

  1. School re-organization
  2. Collaboration with parents
  3. Collaboration with Students
  4. Collaboration with Teachers
  5. Collaboration with Community
  6. Build Brands
  7. Increase infrastructure
  8. Expand Cash flow
  9. Financial management

Invariably, you should be familiar with some of the items of this list. Nonetheless, you must understand that each item of the list is composite. In subsequent posts, the remaining nine of the series, I shall discuss each of the list items in details. Check back for continuation of the post.

LeadinGuides on Sustainable School Growth: meaning & importance

This post with keywords: LeadinGuides-Sustainable-School-Growth-Meaning&Importance in one paragraph

This post with keywords: LeadinGuides-Sustainable-School-Growth-Meaning&Importance introduces you to the concept of school growth from an empirical perspective. The post discusses the meaning of school growth; then emphasizes on sustainable school growth, importance of school growth and outlines the steps to attain sustainable school growth.

What is school growth?

To successfully pursue school growth, you have to know what school growth means. This will help you to know when you attain success. Knowing the meaning of school growth will also enable you to measure the size of the growth – instead of speculating.

That being said, what is the meaning of school growth?

No one person can claim to be able to give authoritative definition of school growth. This is because what constitutes growth for one man may not be for another. Hence, to define it, we must first consider what different people may mean when they talk about school growth.

Generally, when an individual talks about school growth, he or she has one, more or all of the following

Elements of school growth in mind:

  1. Greater students’ performance
  2. Higher overall school’s population
  3. More school’s infrastructure such as bigger buildings than an earlier time
  4. Larger staff size
  5. Increase in the school’s popularity/fame and prestige
  6. Expansion in school finance – both income and expenditure

And what is more, we really cannot separate any of these things from another when we talk about wholesome school growth. This is because one leads to the other. However, while one – greater students’ performance – is by proper reasoning, a means; another – school’s prestige – is rather ambiguous for a plain definition of school growth.

Consequently, we can define school growth thus:

School growth is the overall increase in the number (population) of a school’s students and infrastructures which in turn leads to increase in the school’s finance (both income and expenditure) and employees.

From this definition, it is obvious that despite the other elements that comes to mind, only one is synonymous with school growth – that is increase in the number of a school’s students. Other than the government, it is in pursuit or after attaining this that we think or talk of the other elements. Therefore, when we talk about school growth and how to attain it, we mostly literarily mean enhancing the school population. Nonetheless, it is important to note that not all increase in school population equates to school growth – some are actually death sentence in disguise. This is where sustainable school growth comes in.

Sustainable School Growth

Now that we have discussed the meaning of school growth, let us see what sustainable school growth mean.

To begin with the word ‘sustainable’ means able to be maintained. Therefore, sustainable school growth refers to the school growth that you can sustain. There are growths that you cannot really sustain. Take for example, if you increase your school population by admitting candidates to classes they are qualified for, such students will naturally turn out not be able to meet up with the work demands of the class. And sooner or later, the parents of such students and other people will notice their backwardness. The result is that the parents and everyone else that notice this will blame and accuse your school of poor standard. With this dissatisfaction, parents will start pulling their children – with chattered foundation – to other (unfortunate) schools. Hence, the growth you once achieved will become reduction. Then we say it was an unsustainable growth you had.

Generally, unsustainable growth occurs when you do a few things wrong to make your school grow. This post details the steps to attain sustainable school growth. But before that, let us see why you need to pursue sustainable growth.

Importance of Sustainable Growth

Just as with anything else, there are alternatives to school growth – though not all options lead to sustainable growth. The steps I provide here in this post are people-oriented. In sustainable growth, when you grow, others grow. It is based on the same societal philosophy that brought about the boom in Web Technology industry. The people-oriented growth philosophy accounts for the successes of some of the world’s largest technology companies. It is not a new ideology. Companies, in and out of tech, have based their growth on the same philosophy. The education industry is one of people. Not until school owners and administrators are able to turn the people around their business – their staff, students, parents and the immediate community – into marketers and stir in them a sincere love for their business succeed, they will always take the longer route to success – a route whose end they may not get to.

Now why do I advise you to adopt the people-oriented growth approach that I discuss here? Why should you adopt it? Here are some of the reasons:

1.      Business Insurance

There is no better way of insuring your school than by registering it in the minds and hearts of you staff, students, parents and the community. Once you prove to them that you care for them as much as your business and the job and that you value every contribution of theirs; they will work to make your school a success. They will fight any opposition to your business like it was their personal property. The usual sabotage and negligence to duty will end. The majority of the staff will chastise the member that deliberately errs in this willing duty. Hence, the strategy fortifies your business.

2.      Fulfil Social Responsibility Expectation

This is another important reason for you to adopt the people-oriented growth strategy. No matter how small or big your business is, professional ethics expects you to do a few things for the benefit of the society at large – apart from the value your patrons derive from your business products. Adopting the people-oriented growth strategy does not only enable you to make your school grow. But it also conveys the impression that you are living up to your social responsibilities.

3.      Build Legacies

The pages of history are littered with many great men and women who are remembered for their roles in the attainment of a goal. All independent nations of the world, great and small are results of legacies – legacies of men and women that sacrificed immeasurable resources not for business gain but to gain the memories of posterity. Many HR premiers, philosophers and psychologists believe that the desire for the present and future generation to remember us after when we are long gone is inborn of all men. In fact, there are reasons to suggest that some of the renowned notorious criminals indulged in their evil act just only to attain this fit. If men will go as far as this to acquire legacy, why would you not adopt the strategy that will help you to both make your business grow and attain legacy? By adopting the people-oriented growth strategy, you will be helping the people to meet up with daily life needs and also to increase, to grow. And these people will not only be grateful to you for the moment, but for life time – you become path of their life stories.

4.      Change the society

Too often than not, we forget how our little daily efforts contribute to either make or mar the society we live in. Natural of all men, we are better at finding the faults of others – the leader, the governor and the president. By simply adopting the people-oriented growth strategy, you affect the disposition of the people around your business. There are schools that the people around only think of extortion when they come around it – irrespective of whether the school is growing or not. With this feeling, these people mingle with the society and sell their disposition to it. Before long, everyone in that society knows but only one way of growing – by extorting others. How would you like to contribute your quota to make the society believe in the power of social interdependence, collaboration and interactivity? When you adopt people-oriented growth strategy, you help in re-engineering the society in combating moral decadence.

5.      Win the right to the law of compensation

We may safely argue all else but the fact that the world is built on the foundation of universal laws. One of such fundamental laws is the law of compensation. Emerson postulated this law to explain that nature will reward you for every act you perform. It explains that nature is a fair judge and a third-party to every agreement and transaction that occur in the universe. Thence, we can safely say that no man can completely cheat another. This is because the man that cheats his neighbour today will be paid in disaster sooner or later. To win the right to the law of compensation is to be able to lay claim it working in your favour. When you adopt the people-oriented growth strategy and do well to others, nature works in your favour. Even if a few people – who shall benefit in the process – fail to do the right thing, nature has its way of insuring you against loss in the long run, though you may feel the immediate impact of their betrayal. For this law to be regarded as universal, it means it has been proven to be true in all matters. The law also works in reverse explanation. Those who succeed through deceit always have one or more pain to take pills for, exhaustive bills to take care of and general lack of peace of mind.

Conclusion

Are you convinced yet? Have you already decided to adopt the people-oriented school growth strategy? I outline the steps to sustainable school growth in my article.  This post is only a prelude to the Independent Education Seminar. The seminar will hold this Independence Day – 1st October 2019 – at Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology (FCAPT), Kano. At the business, guest speakers both from Dangote School of Business and the School of General and Entrepreneurship Studies of Bayero University Kano will be providing insight into the principle of school growth and give practical guidelines to help participating school owners succeed in the business while creating value at the same time.

While we prepare for the seminar, watch visit later for the strategic steps to sustainable school growth in Nigeria.