Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Recently I read the book Fish! after having watched the famous film about the Seattle Fish Market workers. I enjoyed learning about four main principles for developing a happy and productive workplace.

  • Choose your attitude
  • Play
  • Make Their Day
  • Be There
As I was reading the book I wondered how the principles can apply to schools. Here are just a few general thoughts.

Choose Your Attitude:
Here are the benefits of Choose Your Attitude:
  • By accepting that you choose your attitude, you demonstrate a level of personal accountability.
  • Our best qualities are brought to work.
  • It means that we can escape for a while from any problems or distractions out of work.
  • "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude" - William James (1842 - 1910)
For children:
It means that postive behaviour management schemes should be used to encourage children to choose the correct attitude to display. It encourages a positive and energised ethos.
For staff:
It means that we can enjoy our work and concentrate on helping the children to learn. You can let problems and issues at work affect your attitude and you are guaranteed to have a bad day. Or we can choose a positive attitude and do our best to enjoy ourselves.
For parents:
Encouraging the same values from our parents is important to foster good healthy relationships.

Here are the benefits of play:
  • Happy people treat others well.
  • Fun leads to creativity.
  • Time passes quickly.
  • Having a good time is healthy.
  • Work becomes a reward and not just a way to rewards.
For children:
I think Play is about what we all try to do already - making school and lessons fun so that the pupils enjoy coming to school to learn and enjoy success. It encourages positive behaviour management strategies.
For staff:
It doesn't mean that we abandon our professionalism just to have a laugh. It means that laughs become part of the job. We try to avoid letting the stresses of school stop us from enjoying life. If we can have fun then the children can have fun.
For parents:
We communicate well with parents and involve them in their child's learning. They are comfortable to visit the classroom and enjoy coming to support the school in events.

Make Their Day:
The benefits of Make Their Day are:
  • It is good for business.
  • Serving our 'customers' well will give us the satisfaction that comes to those who serve others. We focus our attention on to how we can make a positive difference to others.
For children:
We want every day to be special for the children. It's about helping them to enjoy success on whatever level and make them feel special.
For staff:
We want to make staff feel special, too. They should also enjoy success in work. It means that staff make the effort to get to know each other and encouraging kindness and co-operation.
For parents:
It means that we should try to communicate as often as we can with parents, especially to share children's successes.

Be There:
The benefits of Be There:
  • It makes everyone feel valued and special.
  • It makes us feel that the benefits for others will be reciprocated towards ourselves.
For children:
This means we should continue to be there for the children, showing a caring demeanour to them. It means we should help and encourage them in lessons. This is really about all of the professional duties of being a teacher.
For staff:
This means being committed to truly listening and caring towards each other. It means making the time to commit to a team.
For parents:
It means being available to parents. It means good communication and honesty.

I enjoyed reading this motivational piece in the book:
As you enter this place of work please choose to make today a great day. Your colleagues, customers, team members, and you yourself will be thankful. Find ways to play. We can be serious about our work without being serious about ourselves. Stay focused in order to be there when for your customers and team members most need you. And should you feel your energy lapsing, try this surefire remedy: Find someone who needs a helping hand, a word of support, or a good ear - and make their day.

Good advice!

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