Management and Leadership - What to do with poor performance?!
The main questions are how do we find out about poor performance, why does it accur and how to deal with it?
Managers find out about it in 3 ways:
- students complain ("playground conversation")
- a teacher asks for help
- they just "pick it up" (noticing the teachers´ "mess")
One of the problems is in the wrong approach towards answering students´ complaints. Instead of saying "ok, I will deal with it" and thus sending the wrong impression that they can provide a "quick fix" of the situation, we should ask "Have you spoken to your teacher about it?" which is a more long term solution. Schools mustn´t risk to be too much client led!
Why does poor performance occur? Well, teachers fall into three groups:
- the newer ones - who ask and need help and as a manager always remember what it was like at that stage, so give them good course books and boost their confidence!
- the more experienced - get too comfortable so need to be pushed beyond this (use the timetable and move them, change their groups, move them from their "comfort zone"
- the "victory lap" teachers - the ones that are soon to be retired or leaving the school so they just don´t care!
How to deal¸with it? First of all managers should teach (to remember what it is like), they should set a clear understanding on what they believe is "effective teaching" and what they expect from the teacher. On the other hand, everyone can have a bad day, a bad month, period of life, a particular class or course book etc. and it is OK to freak out! Bad performance won´t be stamped on your forehead, so do not take it too personal if a manager offers help, feedback or observation.
e.g. the "Unobserved observation" is a great method, not intrusive yet very effetive.