#35 The Human Touch


Human Touch

There is no doubt that if you get on (at a human level) with the children and adults you work with, your working life will be much more enjoyable and stress free. There are several things you can do to ensure that informal contact with pupils and colleagues is maximised in terms of quantity and quality.

Taking an interest in issues that interest your pupils is a good starting point. This can mean anything from looking at the news in a new way (what will interest them?) and paying more attention to such items than you normally would. It certainly helps if you actually like the type of music they listen to, and the types of book they read. Discussion of these two topics is a good way in to a solid professional relationship. The music interest should only be utilised if it’s completely natural, there’s nothing worse than an adult trying to ‘get down with the kids’!

Relationships with children will definitely be strengthened if you join in with activities at clubs and sporting events, i.e. when you’re talking to them about issues outside your usual remit, and even having fun with them.

You will probably build up relationships with staff and management during the usual daily contact with them, but there are ways of making contact informally with teaching and support staff.

Visiting the staffroom frequently is a good starting point. Even if it a pokey room at the back of the school, most staff will be visiting here at some point. Here, you will get the chance to discuss more informal topics and get to know the personalities behind the ‘teacher’. It is also a good place to discuss professional issues, as teachers are more liable to be relaxed in this informal environment. You may even get to like some of them.

It is also important to be aware of the role and the personalities involved within the support staff of a school. You will probably have a lot in common with them in professional terms within the school, and will face many of the same educational issues and problems. In reality, janitors and administrators can help you tremendously in carrying out your day to day duties. If you have a positive relationship with them, you will often find them making suggestions and offering practical help without prompting. Invaluable.

Attending school events such as sports days and prize-giving events will get you into contact with the entire school community, when most will be in an informal and jovial mindset. They can also be very enjoyable occasions in themselves, particularly if you are recording the event in some way, which can make it even more fun, during and after the event.

There is no doubt that if you know and like the people you work with, you will get more from your job, and your end users will get more from you. Enjoy.

School Libraries: Making A Difference

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