Introduction to the Effective Teaching Podcast
[0:00] Hi, and welcome to the Effective Teaching Podcast.
I'm your host, Dan, and we are going to be talking about being an effective teacher.
The Impact of Mindset on Effectiveness
[0:18] Hey guys, welcome back. I am excited today to bring you a piece that's really about mindset.
This is really about where we're at mentally and how that really impacts our ability to be effective.
And so I've titled this one that we are our own worst enemies, right?
We get in our own way, we decide before we even try that something's impossible.
And so we think that things can't be done. The number of times that I've heard teachers tell me that strategies that are in my book, right?
I got this whole book, you know, work less, teach more how to be an effective teacher and live a life you love.
[0:59] That book gives you lots of strategies to improve your effectiveness, to reduce your workload.
And teachers are just like, before they even try, they're just like, no, it doesn't work for me. I can't, that's not gonna happen.
[1:11] The strategy that's there, before they even try it, they're like, no, I probably wouldn't do that or the people would respond differently to me.
But I've actually seen all the strategies that are in that book.
I have seen work right all the strategies that I talk about on the podcast for helping people to reduce their workload I've seen the more work and what's actually the problem is not the strategy, right?
So yeah, sure. There might be one strategy that doesn't actually work But until you try it in your context, don't tell me that it doesn't work in your context Okay, you don't get to just say oh that's not going to work because I know my context but maybe you don't.
Maybe you need to actually go and try it and see if it works.
Setting Boundaries for Work-Life Balance
[1:56] And so we get in our own way because I'm going to tell you that we can as teachers only work 40 hour day, 40 hour weeks or days.
Don't work a 40 hour day, that's pretty hard.
But we can work for just a 40 hour week. That's definitely something that is very possible for us.
And we can enjoy our holidays. We can actually take a break during our holidays.
I would highly recommend that you take at least one whole week off in each of your kind of week breaks.
So if you're in New South Wales right we get two weeks after term one, two weeks after term two, two weeks after term three and then we get our summer longer ones.
Each of those two-week breaks you should be taking a full week off when you are not doing any schoolwork and you're relaxing and enjoying yourself, going off with your family, whatever it is that you're doing.
[2:43] You should not be working, that's very, very possible. Okay, and you should be able to take more than that during your summer holidays, right?
You should take Christmas and New Year's and all that kind of stuff, you should be having holidays.
[2:52] You don't have to be working all your holidays. That is something that you are telling yourself and you're deciding, it won't work for me not to do that straight away, right?
We can say no to requests on our time because we have control over our time.
We can set up boundaries to prioritize our family, our friends and our life outside of school, we can set up those boundaries.
We can follow through on those boundaries and I don't want to hear people say no I can't.
If I say no to my principal then I'm gonna get fired.
Probably you won't unless you're saying no to I don't teach anymore right or I'm not coming into school anymore.
Sure if that's what you decide then you're not teaching, you're not a teacher but you can set up things and say no I don't I'm not gonna answer stuff on the weekend.
I'm not like you don't pay me to work on the weekend that's not something you get paid for and so don't work on weekend.
You can say no to that. You can say no to so many things and set up really good boundaries.
We don't have to do everything for our students.
[3:52] This is something that is I think particularly impacts us as teachers.
We have these students in front of us and we you know we care a lot for our students and we see what their backgrounds are, their context and we want to rescue them, right.
It's not quite a rescue, we want to set them up but the reality is that student is going to have probably 20, 30, 40 teachers at least, right, in their schooling life and you are one of those teachers and while you will, you know, and can have a great positive impact on them, you don't have to have all the impacts on them, right?
You can decide, no, I don't have to do that for my students this week, right?
I don't have to make this for that student because they're struggling, right?
You can say, actually, I don't have time to do that. Let's see if we can find someone else to do that.
Maybe go and ask this person, okay? Or maybe you can try and equip them to be more autonomous and self-empowered and say, maybe you can come up with ways of actually doing that yourself, depending on their age and all that.
[4:59] Whatever student it is, okay. So it's it's important that we realize that we can do these things and we can say no and.
[5:07] To move beyond this idea that we can't, okay, because we can we really really can say no, we really can only work 40 hours a week.
We really can take weeks off in our holidays and be effective teachers still.
Okay still have that impact but I would say that you will improve your impact on your students by having those barriers in there by putting up boundaries by actually taking breaks by having friends outside of school by having time with your family you will become a better teacher by prioritizing these things right this is about taking responsibility ourselves for where we are and we don't if we don't like that then that's we need to go all right I have the power to change that okay we want to blame others often right we want to sit there and kind of play a victim card and go well if only I had a different principal maybe if my head of faculty was a bit different maybe if I had a different class this would work right but it's actually all about you And I'm not saying that the other things aren't there.
Taking Responsibility for Choices and Prioritizing Well-being
[6:22] I'm not saying that your principle is great and that you're just not seeing it, right? That's not what I'm saying.
[6:27] I'm not saying that your principle is not threatening things against you.
But what I am saying is that within whatever the context is, whatever the circumstance is, you still have a choice, okay?
[6:39] And you need to think about which choice is actually the right choice.
And if you're constantly just giving in and giving up your time and saying yes to everything, right, if you're a bit of a yes person, then you really need to start setting up those boundaries.
Stop getting so worried about what someone might say if I say no or, you know, that person is struggling too.
Yes, they are, right, but you are going to burn yourself out and not be able to help anyone if you don't learn to set up good barriers, okay?
You will be in a better brain space to be able to work more efficiently, to be able to better help students, to be able to better problem solve in your classroom.
Yeah, the number of decisions that you make in your classroom on your feet, you know, research says it's more than a heart surgeon or neurosurgeon type decisions that you're making on a minute-to-minute basis in your classroom.
And that is draining.
[7:30] And you need to give yourself time to refresh so that you can be more effective in that.
Okay, so let's stop playing the victim card. Let's stop saying that it's someone else's fault.
Okay, because no one takes time off you. No one's forcing you to do anything.
[7:48] All right, unless someone physically picks you up and puts you in the car and takes you to work and then locks you in the classroom.
All right, no one is making you do any of that. You could choose to stay in bed all day.
I'm not saying it's a great choice, right? But you do have that choice.
Whenever your principal comes and says, you know, we've got another parent teacher evening coming up that everyone's going to be at, you actually don't have to be at it.
I mean, you might legally buy whatever is in your employment thing, maybe, but you also might not. It might not be written in your actual contract.
And regardless, you probably can find a way around it.
You could probably actually come up to your principal and say, hey I'm not available on the day that you've decided is our parent-teacher, night but I'm happy to you know invest time in calling each of the parents and speaking to them over the phone and then you can schedule that at a time that suits you whether it's not taking you away from your kids okay and your principal might try and like go back at that and go no you need to change your other plans you go well they're not plans I can change I really have to be at I really have to be doing what I've got planned okay and you don't have to tell them what you have planned you can have planned to be with your kids it's very important way more important than some of the other things that might be happening right maybe more important than parent-teacher, nights because you can call parents you can talk to them on zoom and I'll meet and all kinds of stuff there's lots of different ways to communicate with parents.
The Power of Making Choices
[9:17] So, and I'm not just having a go at parent-teacher nights, okay?
This is just about, it's just an example.
It's about the ability to make choices, okay? And we have the power to choose.
Often we don't like the decisions we have to make. Often we're picking between, you know, three or four different options that are all sucky ones, right?
But it's still our choice to give up that time.
And we can choose to take actions to change things, right? If you're looking at things, you're like, well, if I go and try and ask that, my principal's going, no, if you don't show up to those parent-teacher interviews, you will not be having an employment contract here.
Then you say, okay, you know that information then, and then I would suggest that you go and look for another job elsewhere, right?
If you've got bosses who just threaten your job all the time then go and find another school where there's better bosses.
Okay, and there are definitely schools out there that have amazing bosses, and there are some things that you have to do if you're going to be a teacher, right? or if you're gonna work at that school or whatever, but it's still your choice whether you do that or not.
The Importance of Communicating Priorities
[10:19] And I'm not gonna encourage you to ditch parentage interviews or to be ditching, you know, going to class and teaching or ditching creating your units of work or ditching all of your meetings that you might have to go to, but you can probably ditch a bunch of those meetings, right?
And you can probably say no to helping out on every musical and no to going on the next Duke of Ed hike and no to being on camp and no to, like there's lots of things that you can make good choices with.
My point today is that you are the one who is making that choice.
No one is forcing you to, even though it feels like it, there's still choices and options within that.
Okay so there's always been times like we often we often worry about what's going to happen but I want to encourage you to try it.
Okay if you sit there and go I My principal's never gonna let me not attend a parent-teacher meeting, right?
[11:15] You won't know until you go and try. Okay, go and talk to them and say hey, I can't come, I'd really like to still meet with the parents.
Is it okay if I call them and meet with them via Zoom instead?
And not come to the actual parent-teacher night.
And you might be pleasantly surprised. So this is the thing, people surprise us, people realize things and you don't have to tell them what it is that's important to you that you've got to go to just go I've got something on that's super important that I really I can't miss right and then if he pushes back and goes no no you you really have to be there like there's no excuses and I'm not gonna matter what and you like what so like if my kids dying of cancer if, What what what is what are you gonna tell me is something that I can't give up like you could still you're not saying that Your kid is dying of cancer.
You're not saying that you've got to go and bury your grandma or whatever it is, right?
You're just Actually raising the fact that there are things in life more important, right that he would let you take the day off for Right, he would let you not be at those meetings for and would be happy for you to do the zoom meetings instead Okay, and you're not saying that that's the important thing you have on that you have to go and do but you're just raising this idea with them.
Don't make it an argument, I think I tried to voice that in an argumentative tone when I first said it.
But you're just raising, I have something important that I don't want, like that I can't get, I don't want to get out of or I can't get out of, right?
[12:37] That I think is more important than this, but I'm still happy to do this because this thing is important.
But use strategies and try things out.
Okay, actually ask and see what actually happens.
The worst that's gonna happen is you're gonna know You've got to be there no matter what and then you go, okay, I'm gonna be there.
Sorry kids I'm not gonna be here tonight and you make your other arrangements that you would normally have made Okay, but at least you've asked okay, and this is our thing.
We steer away from Try and take the choices that actually suit us because we Just we just accept it.
We just we become too passive We just presume that everyone's in the same boat. We all have to show up.
Otherwise some you know, otherwise we're not fulfilling our roles We're not doing what we're meant to be doing but maybe the point of the role and the description that's in there about parent-teacher meetings is actually that you just, Communicate with parents and so you can just go well look I've actually communicated with all my parents already All right, you can say them.
I actually chatted to them all just the other day Seems a bit pointless for me to ask them to come back in for meetings But when I've just chatted to them and told them all about their kids, okay, and that might work for you as well so there's lots of avenues that you can take to.
[13:51] Decide what you want to do.
Maybe you look and go, you know what it's way more effective and efficient for me to come for the one night and communicate with the parents and then I'm not going to do all the emails and the phone calls and stuff that I may have done instead.
Okay and that's it's about deciding for yourself what is the best use of your time, what matters the most, what's going to work for you and knowing that is your choice, it is you who makes the choice about what you're doing, okay?
Taking Control of Your Time and Choices
[14:15] So your principal is not making you do stuff, right?
Your head teacher isn't, your admin people, they're not making you do stuff.
You are choosing to do stuff because, I'm only gonna just speak because you don't like the options, okay?
And that's okay, but once you know that it is you that's the one that's got the power there in the sense of you're the one who has the, who gets to make the choice about what you do with your body, right?
Where you are, what you're saying, what you're doing, you can do that.
So, you know, I've had thoughts like that where I think it's never going to happen Okay, but once I switched and I started to realize, that I was responsible for my time and I've seen it work in other people as well.
Once they start to make that, oh yeah, that's right, I am making these choices, right, it makes a huge difference because you then suddenly are the one who has the power to say, no, you are the one who can say, I'm sorry, I'm busy.
[15:09] Right, I'm too busy, I can't get, I can't do that, okay, and that can happen quite, yeah, but if someone comes and asks you to do, they might say, oh, can you do the year program because blah blah is sick or whatever you don't have to say yes to that you can say actually I can't I already have all these other things that I've committed to you right or you can say that's fine if you want me to but which one of these things would you like me to stop doing so that I can do that okay and often the person who's trying to give you the task will look at the things you're doing and go actually I don't want you to give up any of those for this I'll find someone else okay and that can be you know what would you like to give up? Would you like me to give up, you know, taking my kid to soccer?
Would you like me to give up being at my daughter's dance recital or at the concert or, you know, do you, is that what they, because they don't know what's in the background, right?
You can say, do you want me to give up meeting with my parents for dinner that I normally do?
And they would go, well, I don't, they probably don't want you to do that, okay? They don't, because normally the people who are involved in education and teaching.
They are all people who care about other people and they don't want you to miss out on things but unless you raise things again this is actually what I have to give up to do that and kind of get them to make that decision or you can go yeah so I'm not going to.
[16:26] You are the one who has the power and you can start to set things up and make the choices that you need to make.
Okay so again I'm not saying to completely neglect your responsibilities as a teacher I'm just saying that you have control of your time to make your own choices and once we realize this and shift that mindset we can then do something about it.
Now of course we also have to remember that our choices all come with consequences right so no one's forcing you attend your lessons but if you don't you're gonna you are gonna get fired right if you don't attend your lessons you're not going to have a job so do think about what you're going to say yes and no to and all that kind of stuff but just feel the empowerment and take that mindset of stop saying things won't work, stop saying that it's someone else's fault that you don't have time to be at home with your children.
Okay, you're the person who has said yes.
[17:25] To the thing that wanted your time or to the person who wanted your time and while you were saying that yes, you are literally saying no to the other thing that you want to do instead.
Embrace the Power to Say No and Make Changes
[17:35] And so start saying no to the things that you don't want to do.
Start saying yes to the things that matter most to you.
It's time for us to get out of our own way, right?
It's time to take responsibility to know that we have the power and we can change it, there are always options. And so this episode, this is just me encouraging you.
I don't want you to feel like I'm beating down on you. I'm not beating down on you. What I'm saying is that you can change your own situation just with this shift in mindset.
Because you'll suddenly say, ah, all these things here, I can actually start to say no to.
And you can start to go, well, I'm gonna put in time for my kids.
And when the principal or when my head teacher or when an admin person comes and says, can you do this?
You can actually go, no, sorry, I can't. I'm too full up with other tasks or I'm too busy doing other things and that busyness could be that you're booked in a bath, right?
That is something that's very important for you to do and it could be that you're booked in to go to the sauna.
Shift Your Mindset and Take Control of Your Life
[18:37] My wife at the moment loves going to the sauna up here in the Blue Mountains.
There's a new sauna that's opened up.
She loves going there. Sauna, ice bath, she's loving it and that is something I want to encourage you to start doing to shift that mindset, take control again and go actually I have the power to change this and I can start making changes straight away.
[18:59] So reflect on that, I want you to reflect on it, I want you to think about it, listen to the episode a few times if you want to.
I do talk about this a fair bit in my book, in fact I think I devote a whole chapter to talking about this kind of stuff in the book so it's Work Less Teach More, right? So I've been talking a bit about stuff that's related to my book lately.
So if you want one, they're on Amazon, right? You can go and Google it.
[19:23] You really want to make this shift in your mindset shifting from it's not everyone else's fault People you can't you can't sit there and say it's not going to work.
Okay, it may not work But until you try you won't know Okay You can't just say it's not going to work and then not try that leaves you in the same situation Whereas if you go and try at the very least you can work out that okay This isn't going to work and then you can start to think about what that then means for you going forward Maybe you want to look at applying for jobs elsewhere Maybe you want to look at a different career path and I'm not I don't want to encourage people out of teaching but if, Teaching doesn't actually work with what you want to achieve in life with the things that are most important to you then For sure find something that matches up with the things are the most important to you, Because there's lots of teachers who teaching is their passion. It's their drive.
It's the thing that matters most to them May not necessarily matter more than their friends and family but like there it's very important and if it's not very important to you then you need to then make sure you get the right shifts happening.
Anyway I keep rambling this is what I do sorry about that might be a teacher's problem.
Reflecting on Past Choices: Saying Yes to the Wrong Things
[20:33] Let's let's shift our mindset let's improve ourselves this week I want you to reflect on the things you've said yes to that you probably shouldn't have I want you to reflect on the things that's coming up that you can say no to still and start to make some changes to improve that balance in your life for you right now.