(Not the actual seagulls that Tim photographed. These gulls were willing to fill in as substitutes at the last second. A big thank you to them.

(Not the actual seagulls that Tim photographed. These gulls were willing to fill in as substitutes at the last second. A big thank you to them.)

Lead-management is based on persuasion, invitation, and reasonable guidelines with natural consequences; on the other hand boss-management is based on directing, demanding, and often arbitrary boundaries with reward and punishment applied when boundaries are broken. Capturing the tone of a lead-manager is an important step toward becoming a choice theory teacher or parent.┬áToday’s blog comes to us courtesy of Tim Mitchell, Bible teacher at Mountain View Academy in Mountain View, California. Tim has been a successful pastor for many years, but last year he decided to teach Bible, rather than preach it, and made the switch to the classroom from the pulpit. After attending summer classes, including Soul Shapers 1 at PUC, Tim sent the following Facebook message to his students, a message that captures the tone and content of a lead-manager.

Just took this shot from my backyard where I am working on my summer homework. These birds were about 500 feet in the air and pass overhead regularly. Whenever they fly over I think of you, my students — I want you guys to soar!

My summer school classes are about giving students room to feel freedom and plot out the course of their education as a team. Most schooling is too confining. It’s worse than the average workplace. “Sit in your chair.” Don’t talk.” “Do the (irrelevant) work I tell you to do.” I hated school from 7th grade until about age 22 when I was getting my Masters Degree. And I can see the same in many of your eyes. Once I got interested in school again my grades shot back up.

Pray for me/us so that Bible class can be more relevant, free, team-oriented, humane, and FUN! (Fun is one of the basic human needs!) Let’s begin working in August to set up our procedures so they don’t get in the way of your natural human interest in learning and experiencing new things.

Soar!

I really appreciate Tim’s message. Teaching Bible, teaching any subject for that matter, can be challenging and it’s not unusual for teachers to turn classroom interactions into struggles and battles when students act like, well students. As teachers, we may not want fights, but we tend to go into fight mode when students “ask for it.” Tim’s message “takes the fight out of the classroom” and is setting the tone for a fun, productive, enjoyable school year.

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Do you have artifacts — letters, messages to parents, lesson plans, management strategies — that have helped to implement a choice theory approach? I would love to see them, and share them, when you send them on to me. Please take a moment and send me something that has worked for you, or even that you are working on.

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