Tag Archives: Behaviour

Applying for a new job?

How many jobs have you applied for and been unsuccessful? At what stage were you unsuccessful, on application or at interview?

When faced with rejection it is inevitable that you will feel frustration and that can quickly turn into feeling like a failure!  I know, I have felt it!  But that is where we need to turn to the great words of Shakespeare, in particular his Julius Caesar play,

“The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

 The interpretation is that it is not fate that dooms men, but instead their own failings.  Now that sounds harsh that I’m blaming you for your inability to secure that job that you really wanted.  But Shakespeare got it right!


If we really want to correct the fault in our stars then we need to address the underlying causes behind our shortcomings.  Objectively, reviewing your own performance is not easy, especially when the bruises of a failed application are still so raw!  Allowing for the dust to settle is too long to wait.  You want to capture yourself in the moment.  I’m not advocating storming up to the selection committee and giving them what for, but being your own critical friend and asking, “why did this not work out for me?” is the mindset to continuous improvement and success. 

There may be many reasons as to why your application or interview was rejected, perhaps you are not mentally in the zone or physically ready for the challenge; trust me I know, I once went to an interview three days after having a knee operation.  I hobbled into the room, explained away my crutches and then totally bombed on the interview.  A* for effort and commitment to the cause, but totally ungraded for preparation and being mentally ready for the interview.  I mean seriously how much preparation could I have done being drugged to the eyeballs on painkillers?  In hindsight, (which is such a beautiful thing) I should have called, explained my circumstances, expressed my passion for the role and ask to be considered should they be unsuccessful in securing a candidate.  At least that could have kept me in the frame in case the first round of interviews were unsuccessful, or if a future role was on the cards.

The key to all of this is to truly not beat yourself up!  Instead, consider yourself as always the prospective candidate. 

That way you’ll always be taking the steps to reflect upon your goals and what you need to do “daily” to achieve them.  I say “daily” because without continuous tweaks and improvements over time, not only to your CV but to your own professional learning you are not positioning yourself as the number one candidate.  As a Business Studies teacher I regularly teach Kaizen, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement.

Its core principal, change (kai) for the good (zen) can be applied to your own career development and when seeking new job roles. Kaizen suggests that everything can be improved, your research, pre-interview preparation, your CV, application form, cover letter, interview technique, observed lesson etc.

Don’t take my word as gospel; Ross Morrison McGill of Teacher Toolkit the leading blog for teachers in the UK has experienced adversity in the face of redundancy.  Experiencing first-hand the challenges of the senior leadership application process, Ross shares his key takeaways on stepping up into senior leadership.  On episode 36 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Ross offers his experience and advice to support you in your pursuit of Deputy Headship.

Press play and listen to our 3 Tip Challenge designed to provide you with Ross’s three essential tips when applying for roles in senior leadership:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnwpmbMoKWk&w=560&h=315]

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Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

Re-framing challenging behaviour

In ten years of teaching I can specifically recall on one hand the names of pupils who had me down and out on the classroom ring floor in terms of their excessive challenging behaviour. Each teaching moment with these pupils created a daunting sensation in the pit of my stomach and overwhelming emotions of incompetency, where I believed myself to be ill equipped to manage their behaviour.

Those un-teachable moments can shatter your confidence and make you question your ability to teach effectively. Experience has taught me that the repertoire of behaviour strategies is often not creative enough to tackle and address the challenging behaviour of some pupils. Sometimes a re-thinking of the problem is what is required and often it can be as simple as meeting the child where they are, on a cultural, social, morale and peer hierarchical level.

How can we help teenagers and young adults to overcome self-defeating beliefs and habits from holding them back?

On episode 27 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Steve Beckles-Ebusua, a Change and Life Skills Expert, and I discuss simple teaching techniques that can help radically transform a pupil’s behaviour and their ability to re-frame their thought-process.

What behaviour strategies have worked for you in the past?  What would be your ideal solution to address challenging behaviour (regardless of boundaries and resource restrictions)?

Episode take-aways:

  • Overcoming pupils’ self-defeating beliefs
  • How to adapt your teaching to address challenging behaviour
  • Allowing pupils to physically experience the learning

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Rewarding the Hard to Reach

Every school strives to reward their students with meaningful rewards that celebrate effort, achievement, attendance and behaviour;  but for most of us the tricky part is trying to find a suitable and cost effective reward that motivates the hard to reach students. Every school has them and every school is working hard to motivate them, because it’s that group that seem to hurt you in attendance, behaviour and achievement. So if we could just find that silver bullet that motivates them, we’d all be in a better place.

Although I’m not selling this idea as a silver bullet, it’s certainly made a lot of our harder to reach students sit up and take notice this week.

We have just created two reward rooms and installed two Xbox consoles, wall mounted LCD TV’s and bean bags. The reward rooms are designated to one year group per day and there are slots available to book the rooms before school, during lunchtime and after school. There is of course, strict criteria that students must meet in order for them to eligible to use the room.  Each Year Leader uses their own criteria specific to their year group to determine which students can use the room (the criteria for year 7 might be based upon behaviour and effort points, but year 11 might be based upon attendance at after school revision sessions).

As a school we believe that this strategy is going to appeal to our white, pupil premium boys who (like many other schools), quite often need to be significantly motivated to perform in line with their targets. For the cost of 2 consoles, 2 tv’s, 15 games and 8 beanbags (approx £1000), we can reward up to 125 students per week with the use of the rooms, creating a sustainable strategy all year round for no extra cost. Our aim is to use the rooms to not only reward the students who demonstrate fantastic behaviour all of the time, but to also target students who need motivation and a carrot that genuinely means something to them. Having students on a behaviour report is one thing, but working towards playing FIFA with their mates at lunchtime in the reward room when it’s cold and wet outside is another prospect all together! The same strategy can also be employed to potentially remove disruptive students at lunchtime from the yard or the field, giving them a positive focus and something to do rather than causing trouble because they are bored.

As this is a new strategy for us, we are letting the students decide which games they play from our stock of 15 titles. However, in the future we have plans for FIFA tournaments across year groups, time trials on the car racing games, staff v student games and Minecraft build off’s as we look to increase the publicity and hype of these events in order to further motivate these students in the classroom. Staff will be encouraged to also come and join in with the students, helping to create strong positive relationships. Entry to any of our Xbox reward events will be strictly for students who meet the specific criteria.

There is something out there that motivates everyone, it’s just about finding it……and we think we’ve found just the thing to motivate some of our harder to reach students!