The creeping end to lockdown

Micromanagement

It’s fascinating to watch my wife’s school (she’s a Reception teacher) wrestle with the creeping end to lockdown. Some manager in a (home) office somewhere in the academy chain has decided that each child should be given a zip-lock bag containing: a pen, pencil, crayon, a couple of building blocks and a small-world toy (or something like that). This is, of course, without reference to any of the reality of Reception-level education or the children in question.

We suffer from this style of micromanagement in FE all the time too. A manager decides how something should be done, and woe betide anyone who deviates from their diktat.

We will not get out of this mess (or resolve any issue at any time, for that matter) by taking away the teacher’s ability to be innovative; their need and want to contribute positively. You don’t make anyone ‘willing’ by forcing their arm up their back.

Smart management is to agree with your team what you’re all trying to achieve. In my wife’s academy’s instance, this is: a safe working environment in which children use and play with resources and toys free from the risk of spreading the virus. That’s it. That’s all her managers need do, other than to then ask the teachers to let them know how they plan to meet the rubric they’ve all agreed to. Result? Empowered staff with agency intact.

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