Phew! It’s hot in here. Do you mind if I sprinkle a little water on these coals?
Time was, teaching was a little flat around here: in fact, it was downright flaccid.
We’re a reasonably large primary school working within a catchment area that’s not without its challenges. It takes a lot of hard work to get our kids to where they need to be, before we ship them off to secondary. But we’re a tight little team and have turned a few corners for the better over the past couple of years.
Not less than three years ago we were in Requires Improvement: results were taking a nosedive and, put simply, we didn’t know why. We desperately needed to buckle-up and knuckle down to some serious scrutiny.
We’d tried observations, grading lessons and Learning Walks, but they weren’t telling us what we so urgently needed to know – now.
The eureka moment came as, during an SLT meeting, we were watching Stefan Dennis’s “Gonna Make You Feel Good” on Youtube. Something about his tight denim derriere and shoulder-padded blouson leather jacket struck me like a kinky muse.
The answer to our issues lay not simply with scrutiny, but with bootiny.
Yes: it was Sexy Walking.
Sexy Walking has enabled us to work smarter, maximize accountability and really show ourselves to our best advantage. By walking around the school in a sexy way, our revitalised SLT is now able to slink freely from class to class without invoking suspicion or distorting practice in situ. They can almost daily be seen turning sharply in Cuban heels in the canteen, or flicking their hair in Early Years like they are in a Timotei advert.
How one’s Sexy Walk evolves is largely left to each SLT member. Some decide to cultivate a walk centred around a figure-eight hip gyration; the more bold amongst us (and here I’m speaking of Gavin, our pastoral deputy) might decide to lead with the lunch box – bold, and sometimes a bit dangerous when the caretaker is moving gardening equipment around the premises.
We dabbled with the Learning Gambol a few years previously, but the taller members of SLT complained that, as they gaily leaped from reading corner to carpet, they were constantly banging their heads on ceiling pipework. They were also knocking over desks, smacking into children and smashing through classroom windows, which was more collateral damage than we were willing to bear – even though we were learning a lot about the learning environment in the process. Specifically, I learned that we needed to fit shatterproof glass in our ICT suite and that Epson projectors have sharper edges than HP.
We then switched to the Learning Frolic which, whilst fun, sometimes resulted in SLT unwittingly skipping off the premises into a nearby canal. Our literacy co-ordinator did in fact skip into a skip: it would have been a bit funny had it not been full of medical waste.
So, finally, we settled on the Sexy Walk. And we haven’t looked back (although I do get the odd ‘look’, and not strictly speaking at my ‘back’).
Yes, I did have to let go of a couple of SLT members who had limited hip mobility, but the more snake-hipped amongst the team have taken to this scrutiny process like John Travolta to a rhinestone suit.
Admittedly our last inspection was not perfect: we have some managerial issues to resolve. Most especially our use of data could be better leveraged. However, one of the inspectors commented favourably upon my “sweet tush” and our Deputy’s “salsa wiggle”.
These are the kinds of praise that a well-oiled leader lives for.
Granted, some more prudent members of staff find a little SLT sass around their class a bit distracting.
Other teachers have even suggested that our accountability measures are in fact sexist, but I usually wilfully mishear that as ‘sexy’ and then wink at them coyly, turning and giving them a flourish of my managerial cakes.
A shimmy of those pinstriped leadership buns usually does the trick.
If you want your teaching staff to stand up to scrutiny, then SLT needs to work its scrutinous booty-thang like a gyroscopic love facilitation: sage on the stage; guide on the side; and a lithe, smooth-moving catcher in the observational rye.
So, why not take a Sexy Walk around your school and you’ll soon learn a lot about the teachers around you: the good, the satisfactory… and the hotdamn sexy!
Lick your fingertips; touch my domes of disruption… and hear me hiss like the snake in my hips.