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People deliver great results ‘when they feel really, really valued, not when they feel really, really inspected’!

Experienced Head of English and Advanced Skills Teacher, Sarah Ryce, shares her thoughts with us:

In George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle explains:
‘You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she’s treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins because he always treats me as a flower girl and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you because you always treat me as a lady and always will.’

Being able to spot and nurture potential in our staff is vital if we are to build exceptional schools. To get a business perspective on this, read J. Sterling Livingston’s article ‘Pygmalion in Management’. Livingston explores the transformative power of leaders’ expectations on their colleagues, and the crucial importance of developing young staff.

I recommend Stephanie S. Tolan’s article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’. Although it is about gifted and talented young people, it rings true when thinking about staff development. Tolan takes the metaphor of a caged cheetah to argue that a cheetah will always be the fastest land animal – no matter whether it is caged or free. It may not appear to be the fastest land animal when it is caged, but this does not make it any less a cheetah. It simply lacks the right conditions. Read this in the light of staff development, and the challenge is clear: do we really believe in the potential of our colleagues to be phenomenal teachers? If so, do we provide them with the right conditions to flourish?

The Coachmark Team

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