Late arriving spring weather has exploded across central New Hampshire, and while we have a couple of weeks of classes (mostly indoors,) we're moving outside.
Marketing guru Seth Godin
writes for business organizations of all kinds, and his wisdom often resonates (for me) with independent schools. Today, he looks at the difference between what we say (think rules, policies and structures) and what we mean (understanding why we say something). What a business wants is for its customers and employees to understand why.
Godin finishes, "...when you educate instead of demand, you can gain the benefits of working with people who understand, instead of merely comply."
We didn't have Seth's wisdom when we crafted the policies, rules and structures conveyed in the "Green Book" (our handbook), but we seem to have anticipated and acted on that wisdom by crafting guidelines that exist where they make sense....usually even to students.
So, for example, there's a response (through an absence "points" system) if you're late to class, or sleep through it, but we don't hassle kids about a whole slew of issues that might be regulated at other schools: attendance at meals, lights out times, formal dress code.
We respond to things in a way we hope students understand. Riding a scooter in a hallway is not OK; jumping off the railroad bridge is forbidden, and bike stunts require helmets. But you're free to explore our woodlands, to camp out Saturday night and to say anything you want in front of the community in assembly.
Godin notes, "If you want the people you work with to act with understanding, then you must trust them to use their best judgment..."