Sunday trefoil – trust, culture and climate 06.10.19


Sunday trefoil – trust, culture and climate 06.10.19

6 Oct ’19 Teaching 0

Lack of trust makes simple work slow and easy work difficult.

Joel Peterson

The development of trust with organisations is an area of professional interest preoccupation. From the scientific explanation of Oxytocin, to the practical advice of Dr Paul Browning, to leading at the speed of trust and to consequences of mistrust. How we create climate (the shared perceptions of those within a group or organisation) and culture (how people feel about the organisation and feel they can ascribe to the beliefs, values and behaviour of the organisation) is an inexorable conundrum.

As a school leader, one assumes a macro view. Most recently, as teacher again, I have been given the opportunity to reconsider a more micro view. Just like the many teachers starting their careers or experienced teachers, starting at a new school.

I accept that I am easily distracted by the topic of trust. This week I caught up with Leadership Freak and Dan Rockwell’s interview with Joel Peterson, Chairman of Jet Blue and author of, “The 10 Laws of Trust.” Peterson’s top 10 tips are themselves well worth a review, as applicable to teachers are they are to leaders. I am only going to cover three – as they relate to my reflections of the past week.

#1. Start with personal integrity.

Be intentional about “fixing yourself.” Solicit and receive feedback.

I latched onto the school values. I have learnt them and shared my awareness of them with every class, every lesson as a visual slide.

Over the past two weekends, I have been “fixing” in my professional knowledge of the texts, the authors and the context. I written knowledge organises and recall questions for both texts. As ever, I am indebted to Freya Odell’s advice and planning wisdom.

#5. Create a common dream.

Collect and celebrate “hero stories.” Honour team members. Tell stories about how they fulfill mission.

As I said, I latched onto and heavily promoted the schools values. I have been ‘catching the students getting it right.’ I have recognised the accurate use of literary devices, terminology, quotation. I have showcased high quality work and recognised attentive listening. One of the most effective actions I undertook was to watch just ten minutes of the Y9 football match (five of my students were in the team). Lastly, I made a good handful of ABCD (Above and beyond the call of duty) calls home. Calls recognising ‘process’ behaviours only. Behaviours any student, should they so wish to, could demonstrate. I also made two “line-in-the-sand” calls.

#8. Show humility.

Receive correction.

Say, “I don’t really know the answer to that.”

I meet and greet at the door, often enquiring, “good days?” Not until midweek did I get a reciprocated inquiry as to my day?

In a multicultural school, after my first full week, I am still learning the pronunciation of some names. I am actively asking for corrections and thanking students for their feedback. I will get the names right.

How do you know trust is building?

‘Hands down’ has been a tough model to adopt (all of the students are available for cold-calling). However, two of my most reserved Year 9 students offered to answer their first question on Friday.

Confident students are more willing to offer their attention to their peers.

Book work is showing that students are taking more care with their presentation and the quality of students work is just starting to show information taken from the knowledge organiser. Verbal responses are definitely benefitting from daily, low stakes quizzing.

Our classroom climate is shifting. The students self-confidence is building. Students are ascribing to the values of the school.


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