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Monday, 1 November 2010

Personal Integrity

All of my adult life I have respected everyone's right to make their own decisions.  If they want to be a god-botherer or a satanist, that's up to them.  I may well argue/discuss their choice with them, putting over my own point of view, but the decision belongs to them.

I've carried this philosophy over into my professional life.  If a member of my staff want to teach an aspect of a topic using a method I'm not particularly fond of, that's up to them.  I respect their professionalism.  As a HOF I'm concerned that all of the topics are taught and assessed, and that all of the key areas are covered, but I don't try and dictate how they should teach it.
In the wider school context, I try and apply my philosophy in a similar way.  When we're writing and preparing reports, I assume that all staff are following the procedure we've worked out.  Occasionally someone lets us down, and skips a step in the routine, or misses a deadline, but mostly people do their best and a good result is achieved.

In my classes, I try to treat my students in a similar way.  I attempt to offer them a variety of pathways through the courses on offer.  Sometimes it's a whole class taught lesson, especially over a technique common to many applications, but mostly it's a series of micro-lessons to individual students.  The students (mostly) appreciate the choice, and the result is a good productive atmosphere in the class.  The buzz of work is really gratifying. 

Even the decision to work or not to work is the students.  Everyone's work rate is variable, dependant on many factors.  Some days we work harder or in a more concentrated fashion, others we slack off.  I don't expect 100% all day every day.  There are some days when for personal reasons, a student just doesn't work at all.  It can be PMT, mild illness/hangover, onset of flu, breakup with boy/girl friend.  I try and persuade them to focus and attempt their tasks, but I have to accept that sometimes it won't work.  I don't punish this behaviour if it's a one-off.  I remember the incident and check on them the next day.  Almost always they get back to work.  In the rare example of a student who won't work ever, different rules apply.  If they won't work at all, they're obviously in a course unsuited to them, and I try and get them into a different class, one more suited to them.  (Like ditch-digging.  The world has an insatiable demand for ditch-diggers)

I've written all this as a preamble to my main point.
My beloved showed me yesterday that she did not respect my ability to make rational choices.  We were not discussing anything serious like religion (we both agree to differ on this topic), it was all about a book.

We'd just come home from looking at that house in Paraparaumu (too big) and I'd remembered that the book I'd reserved from the library was in stock.  I'd reserved this book 7 weeks ago, and I was really looking forward to starting it.  I mentioned to my beloved that I was going to go down to the library to pick it up.  The conversation went something like this:

Me "I'm going down to the library dear"
She "Why"? "We were there yesterday"
Me "Yes I know dear, but the book I ordered is ready to be picked up"
She "Why didn't you get it yesterday?"
Me "It wasn't in stock yesterday dear"
She "Why can't you read the books you got yesterday?"
Me "I am reading them, but I want to get this one"
She "Why?"
Me "It's by one of my favourite authors and I've been waiting for about two months to get it"
She "If you've waited two months, another day won't matter." "Can't you get it on your way home tomorrow?"
Me "I could, but I want to get it now"
She "Why?"
Me  Stare blankly at this irrational creature  (who I love dearly, but who on occasion can make it very hard)
Me "I'm going down NOW dear"
She "Hmph, it seems you've made up your mind then" (turns back to couch and resumes reading inane woman's magazine about knitting, recipes and women's plumbing problems)
Me  "Bye"( Leave silently, seething internally)

Everything's back to normal now, there's no continuation of the discussion we had, but I'm still annoyed.

If my beloved had said "I'm going to visit a friend" or "I'm going to the shops" or "I'm going out for a walk"
 my response would have been "Okay, do you want me along?"  I respect her decisions, but in this case she didn't respect mine.

Seeth, mumble, grind of teeth


  1. Lol! I vaguely recall such confrontations TSB and I recall how maddening they can be :-)

    We appear to share a similar philosophy when it comes to our students.

  2. Hi again Mike,
    It's nice to know that others share my viewpoint on student management. I find that using this approach, it "hooks" the adult personality traits in the students, and you can have a much better relationship with them.
    I would imagine that your university students are a bit older than mine, but they probaly act in similar ways.

    Just in case my beloved reads this:


  3. My Dad always tells me to go with the flow. Don't stir the waters. My lady nearly always gets what she wants because she goes on at me in a nice passive agressive way to ensure she gets what she wants. I say you did the right thing. A man wants what he wants. And it is not like the book was in Mexico. If you'd made her sit in the car while you went inside I might be able to understand her point of view. Woman. I don't have any answers. Love 'em.

  4. Knock their balls into the shrubbery!

  5. I keep seeing really thin ice. Now it's cracking.
    Run to the side of the pond TSB (not the arena, the Scotsman)! Never challenge the decisions of women! I want to shake you! Wake up man!

  6. Richard [of RBB], don't worry, I'm a good swimmer.

    Basketmaker, true. My Dad told me that a husbands duties consisted of two things:
    1. Keep the spending of the wife under control.
    2. If you win an argument, apologise immediately.

    TC, I'm sorry, don't forget we live in Silverstream. There's not enough flat ground around here to keep a guinea pig in winter feed, let alone a croquet pitch.


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