Pt. 11's Examples

With the posts that remain in this series, example will be the best way to demonstrate my point.  I'm closer to Tim Ferriss than I am to Alex Jones, and find all fire and brimstone to be boring.  Pt. 11 was on the importance of vision, and how it must be good.  Here is a good and bad example of what I mean.  

Bad Vision: Parental Involvement.

I was at a school where all teachers were required to make phone calls to parent on a weekly basis.  After we did so, we had to write down who we called and when, and turn this information in.  Then, our names were checked off the list, and we were all good.

The reason we were making these phone calls was due to the principal's mandate to get parents more involved in their child's education.  Phoning homes was the way to do this.  

So we did. 

But in practice, it looked like this: on Fridays, all teachers would rush to the phones at the end of the day, and make one or two calls.  We'd leave a message, write the name on the sheet, and turn it in.  All good.  This was usually the last thing I did during the week, and I'd make one call - often to the same person - and go home.  

Phone calls have never worked for me.  I suck on the phone.  For me, change happens in person, with a real conversation.  But by following my phone-call method, I was fine.  I was following the initiative, and considered a team player.  

Another reason the phone calls didn't work was that it was the teacher that was being proactive, taking a further step from action and involvement.  We were subtly enforcing that parents didn't need to make inquiries.  If there was a problem, the teacher would call.  Not to mention we had about 120 students.  Calling each parent was impractical.  

Other teachers got more into the phone calls than I did.  They'd make dozens of calls a week, adn use doing so as a threat.  But I'll be honest, I didn't notice phone calls working for anyone.  I heard a lot of teachers make threats, but didn't see tangible results.  

Good Vision: Uniforms.  

In many schools, the issue of wearing uniforms and how to enforce this rule is a big deal.  A school I was at had a uniform policy, and found a great way to enforce it.  The biggest thing the school was cracking down on was hoodies (hooded sweatshirts).  To enforce the policy, what they did was get all of the security guards together and went through every class.  Each kid was looked at in one hour.  If they were out of uniform, they received a punishment.  The first time was a warning, the second time was a consequence.  If they were wearing a hoodie, it was taken on the spot and had to be retrieved by a parent.  Within two weeks, kids complied with the uniform.      

The phone calls did not work because nothing was attached.  There were no tangible results, other than a checklist.  The uniforms worked because consequences were attached.  Non-compliance equated to punishment.  

These same principles can apply to all mandates and initiatives.  

This same thing applies to all matters of curriculum, staff, and iniatives.  By focuisn on ones that work for hte school, everyhting can run smoothly.