skip to Main Content

Three Crucial Priorities in the Current Uncertainty

The uncertainty imposed on the start of the school year by COVID has highlighted three crucial areas that need to be a priority this year.
Student Anxiety
Staff Well-being and
Consistent Leadership

Inspired by the book Tiny Habits – Small Changes that Change Everything it is important to provide guidance on the ‘how’ and not the ‘why’. You already know ‘why’ these are crucial areas needing your attention. Author BJ Fogg advocates that a behaviour happens when the three elements of MAP — Motivation, Ability and Prompt — come together at the same moment.


For behaviours to change we need motivation (a reason to take action), ability (know what to do) and a prompt to get us underway or to persist.

I’d argue that in the current context we have the Motivation to take action in these three crucial areas. Whilst we may have the Ability we are overloaded with competing priorities and therefore need specific actions to take and a prompt to take regular action to make a difference in these three crucial areas.

Whilst I’m not an expert in Student Anxiety, I would argue that now more than ever students need connection and reassurance.

One of my favourite educators is behaviour management guru Bill Rogers. He advocates that great teachers have a disposition that is both warm-demanding. They need the warmth to connect with students but demanding enough to have expectations of student behaviour. Whilst that can be seen as being somewhere in the middle of a continuum, I would advocate that now more than ever, when many students will be anxious and unsettled, teachers need the warmth to connect with their students.
It is vital that staff in schools:-

  • Take time to connect with students
  • Invest time in getting to know their students – their interests and passions
  • Ensure school is a positive and optimistic place
  • Be the most positive person they know
  • Smile often
  • Implement positive routines – eg joke of the day, reading a short section of a fun book each day, play an age appropriate game (resist feeling curriculum coverage stresses – if you don’t build rapport early you will have limited success anyway)
  • End the day modelling gratitude – form groups of three and have students share three things they are grateful for
The well-being of staff is a vital priority in 2022. Whilst leadership is the number 1 factor in staff morale, I don’t believe that it is the Principal’s job to ‘fix’ their staff’s well-being. Staff should take responsibility for their own well-being and the choices they make.

The role of the leadership team is to focus on the school’s culture and ensuring that staff receive the support and environment to be the best teacher they can be.

Project Staff Well-being was specifically designed for taking action on improving staff well-being through school culture. You already have the motivation. I have provided the specific actions and the timely prompts to progressively address this vital issue over the 2022 school year. There is no instant cure or overnight success. What is needed is a well-paced, school specific program that guides an interested team from your school to reflect on the current strategies in your school. That is exactly how Project Staff Well-being has been designed.
You can find out more here or get started here.

In these unsettled times, there is nothing more important than clear and consistent leadership. The elements advocated in the Tiny Habits book, Motivation, Ability and Prompt – are clearly evident in the School Leadership Sprints. Each fortnight a key leadership action is unpacked in a brief 10 minute video designed specifically to get clarity and alignment for the leaders in your school.
You can find out more here or get started here.