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Human Potential and the Arctic Monkeys.

“If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” (Ginott)

When I read aloud the John Cooper Clarke poem ‘I Wanna be Yours’ to my Y9 English class at Stocksbridge Secondary school in the mid nineties I had absolutely no idea that one of my pupils, Alex Turner, would go on to become Britain’s best-loved lyricist as lead singer and song-writer of the Arctic Monkeys.

I remember one Y9 parents evening very clearly.  It was nearing the end of the night and Alex’s mother was sitting in front of me looking rather forlorn. Many of my colleagues regarded Alex as a terminally laid-back under-achiever and had her this in no uncertain terms.

“Don’t worry Mrs Turner,” I said, unwittingly making the understatement of the millennium, “I’m sure Alex is going to turn out ok”.

I won’t pretend that I knew i had a future rock God in my drama class, but I certainly could see an original mind developing in front of me. Yes he might have a lackadaisical air, but I could see potential.

Sometimes we call the pupils who enthusiastically wear the straight jacket of conformity ‘the good kids’. There has to be more than one way to be ‘good’.  I don’t remember Alex ever being ‘badly behaved’ – he was certainly clever enough to hide any major indiscretions – but his laid back approach was enough for some to dismiss him. Me? I treated him as he might be. I’ve since been rewarded by seeing his career go global and having the ‘Coolest Man on the Planet’ as voted by the New Musical Express call me “sir” in an email!


 Alex said in a magazine interview once that my reading aloud of ‘I Wanna be Yours’ had sparked something in him.  When I found out last night that he’d set it to music and that it’ll feature on the Arctic’s new album ‘AM’ I had to smile to myself – you just never know the impact your teaching will have.

This focus on what pupils might be and not what they currently are is sometimes called a ‘growth mindset’.  Pupils are learning to behave just as they are learning French or mathematics. It is a humbling thought for educators that those who fail school do not always fail in life. There are enough self-made multi millionaires who can quote their derisive school reports to make that point irrefutable. We should bear in mind the pleasant and successful adult that is struggling to get out of even the most irritating child. And that growth mindset applies to us too. To the self lacerating statement “My classes don’t behave well” we can add the magic growth-focused ‘yet’.

“My classes don’t behave well yet” is a very different statement. With determination and the right support, we can get there. We are capable of developing just as much as they are.

Why should you hire me?

Here are some of the issues that I can help you sort: If the answers to any of the issues to the right is yes then get in touch – you have found the man you are looking for!

But you don't need to take it from me, have a look at my testimonials page.

If you have:

  • Some of your staff keep getting into unnecessary confrontations with pupils?
  • Some staff struggle to deal with social chatter?
  • Subject leaders who don’t take the lead on behaviour for learning
  • Head of house/year who are buried in the reactive and want to be proactive?

If you want to:

  • Improve attendance?
  • Improve behaviour?
  • Deliver SEAL whole school
  • Get help with the behaviour and safety SEF?
  • Have better behaviour and attendance data?
  • Get PLTS embedded?
  • Get pupil voice working?

And also:

Do you want the best whole staff behaviour CPD at an affordable cost?

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