Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #36
If you’re looking for an engaging listen or for some professional development, the Entreleadership podcast has been my go to for three years now. There is no question I’m a better teacher because of it.
This episode is spectacular: Andy Andrews – How Small Changes Help You Win.
Andrews works with business moguls, NFL and NCAAF coaches, and everyone in between to help them improve their business and coaching strategies.
I believe that teaching is coaching and vice versa, so when I saw this episode on my podcast app, my ears perked up.
And I hit the mother load.
Andrews’ take is not revolutionary by any means. You can boil it down to this – if you want to get results that are different than everyone else, then you have to do what everyone else isn’t doing.
Sounds simple, right?
But here is the catch: the best way to do this is to start with small – seemingly insignificant changes. Think of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point here.
So what little changes can you enact that – over time and done with enough consistently – that will pay huge dividends down the road.
Here are the little things that I have changed over the past few years that have had the greatest impact on my teaching, the culture of my classroom, and impacted students the most.
Note --- none of these are world changing. If I can’t do them, anyone can.
Small change #5 – Go out of your way to interact with students.
This is one of my favorite small changes I have made that has gone a long way to building culture and showing how much I care.
I was inspired one day as H and I talked in the hall on our way to the staff room. I noted as we walked down the hall that H said “hi” or “hello” to every single student.
I don’t know if H actually knew them all, but there was no denying that he was showing how much he cares.
I put my own spin on that by going out of my way to connect with students as they walk by my room during hall duty. I may chirp a kid for her Crocs. I may compliment a kid on his Windsor knot on game day. I may chirp a student for having a Vikings sweatshirt. I may compliment another student on her Harry Potter sweatshirt. It’s all showing that I notice them. And that I care.
Another thing I’ve changed is to spend some time every single day talking to kids during lunch. Since I’ve laid a good foundation down during the year, I usually have students beckoning me over to talk to them while I walk through the commons, but if not, I find a few students and I ask them how it’s going or ask them what they’re studying or harass them over some Instagram post I just saw.
Again, this small change has been significant because I’ve already had a dozen students tell me that they’re signed up for my classes this fall and that they can’t wait. Yes, they can’t wait.
That’s the power of small changes.