Quote of the Week – Inspiration for Monday Mornings

Each Monday over the past year I have put an educational ‘Quote of the Week’ up in the staff room. We refer to it in morning briefing and it stays up for the week. It seems to have been helpful: colleagues mention it, the quotes are sometimes reproduced around the school and I now get suggestions for ones we could use. I was pleased to find that several colleagues had mentioned being inspired by the quotes in our independent staff well-being survey.

A quote for each week
Here then are the quotes we’ve used over the past 38 weeks of the school year. I hope you find them helpful. I think they are all accurate and correctly attributed but please let me know if you spot any errors and I’ll correct them. I’d also love to hear suggestions of other inspiring educational quotes.

1. Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.
Aristotle

2. The most valuable resource that teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.
Robert John Meehan

3. Education is the movement from darkness to light
Alan Bloom

4. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character: that is the goal of true education.
Martin Luther King

5. Faith and Reason are like two wings of the Human spirit by which it soars to the truth.
John Paul II

6. Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.
Bob Talber

7. Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.
Bill Gates

8. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Albert Einstein

9. What nobler employment than to instruct the rising generation?
Cicero

10. Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.
Josef Albers

11. Education is a better guard of liberty than a standing army.
Edward Everett

12. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.
Socrates

13. Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it.
Malcolm X

14. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
Henry Adams

15. Walk with your feet on Earth but your heart in heaven.
St John Bosco

16. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
Aristotle

17. Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.
Goethe

18. It is not that I am so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.
Albert Einstein

19. Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that ‘curiosity killed the cat’ I say only that the cat died nobly.
Arnold Edinborough

20. A key purpose of schools is to teach the futility of hate and the power of love.
Tony Benn

21. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats

22. Quand tu veux construire un bateau, ne commence pas par rassembler du bois, couper des planches et distribuer du travail, mais reveille au sein des hommes le desir de la mer grande et large.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.)

23. I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.
Winston Churchill

24. The calling of the teacher. There is no craft more privileged. To awaken in another human being powers, dreams beyond one’s own; to induce in others a love for that which one loves; to make of one’s inward present their future; that is a threefold adventure like no other.
George Steiner

25. Only the educated are free.
Epictetus

26. Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
Maya Angelou

27. Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story
Josh Shipp

28. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Gandhi

29. If kids come to us from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.
Barbara Colorose

30. If you don’t stand up for something, you fall for anything.
Public Enemy (from Harder than you think I think this may be a quote from Malcolm X)

31. I would rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right!
Albert Einstein

32. No Matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment
Carol Dweck

33. Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

34. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
Henry Ford

35. My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
Maya Angelou

36. You can never be overdressed or overeducated.
Oscar Wilde

37. Teaching is the highest form of understanding.
Aristotle

38. Merry Christmas everybody!
Noddy Holder

Finally, here’s a few lined up for 2015:

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among rocks.
Charlotte Bronte

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

For the best return on your money, pour your purse into your head.
Benjamin Franklin

What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.
George Bernard Shaw

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
B.F.Skinner

Workload – a small step in the right direction

Inspired by #SLTchat
The #SLTchat discussion on workload on 7th December inspired me to think of ways to embed principles on limiting workload into practice. If you haven’t yet taken part, SLTchat is an excellent Twitter school leadership discussion forum each Sunday 8.00pm – 8.30pm (UK time). Do give it a go – you’ll pick up a wealth of ideas!

Among many others that evening, I had commented that teachers’ work should be directed towards things that make the greatest impact. If we adopt a new working practice it should replace something less effective, not merely add to the existing workload. I had also commented that the current problem was that teachers were having to plan new GCSE and A level courses while teaching current ones, and implement a new curriculum and assessment models while coping with the legacy of the old ones. This is because an externally-imposed timetable places speed of introduction over long-term effectiveness.

Nevertheless, while we may have limited ability to influence what is imposed externally, school leaders can still do our best to ensure our colleagues can devote their time and energy towards the things that make the greatest difference for pupils. One practical change I have initiated recently at St Gregory’s is to include a workload impact analysis in each policy change or new initiative.

Workload Impact
An example is shown below. As part of a programme to improve student behaviour and reduce fixed term exclusions, we want to improve communication of learning contracts agreed with students and their parents. This is a modification of an existing procedure, rather than wholesale change, but there are still workload implications:

Workload Implication Analysis

Positive:
– Clarification of roles will assist workload management.
– Clarity of communication will reduce time spent following up incidents.
Push reporting will reduce need to search records
– Reinstatement meetings will be distributed more equitably among senior leaders.

Negative
– Additional details of learning contracts entered into SIMS record by PA to Vice Principal.
– Vice Principal to modify design of SIMS fixed term exclusion report.

In this case, while two members of staff have additional tasks, the overall benefits justify these (and will be experienced by these colleagues as well as others.

We have now adopted Inclusion of a workload impact analysis in all new proposals as a school policy. It’s only a small change, but it’s a practical way of turning an aspiration to manage workload into a concrete reality.