Recently I listened to an interesting talk Are you a giver or a taker? and it was amazing.
I then looked at my school. The vast majority of my school are givers. You can spot a giver just by asking one question at their interview.
You ask, “Tell me one time you have helped someone?”. If they talk about helping only people higher up the ladder, they are takers.
If they talk about helping others to climb up to their own level, then they are a giver. Givers are the most productive and least productive in your school. This is because they get and share ideas from everywhere but they can be overstretched and stressed by trying to help everyone.
How do new Givers and Takers on a staff operate?
A new taker is popular for a short while then left alone and so does not add much to a school’s community. Givers help takers until they see that their help is not willingly reciprocated.
I’ve seen this time and again in schools. If a giver needs to cover a class, the other teachers rally around to help. If a taker needs to cover a class, there will be little extra help.
Schools need to find ways of helping givers while removing takers. I love the Eden Garden management scheme – negative, unhelpful staff are removed, allowing them to be replaced by new staff. This works in the tourist industry, but not in schools as then who covers the class? Givers need to be given more support and non contact times to develop their creative ways and more time to work with other givers to make a wonderfully dynamic school.
The takers need to be given a chance to shine, more professional development but if their taking ways are so innate to them, quietly let go at the end of the year.
How can Givers be helped in a school?
Helping givers can happen in a huge number of ways. They could be remained to use their computers more effectively. This let’s them build up and extend their digital community and boost the name of the school further afield.
Also the ‘Giver style’ students need to get extra support and help to develop this wonderful character trait further. This can be through PSHE lessons and extra curricular clubs. These are the pupils you want to get into leadership and management positions in the future.
Likewise if you feel you are the only giver in a school of takers, I am sorry to say the news is bad for you. You can’t change a whole school ethos by your own example and will be used and abused by the takers looking for someone to do their work for them. It is far better, and mentally healthier to move on. Find a school which matches your own ethos and character.
And interesting point I have noticed is a school reflects the character of the senior management team. This is only because everyone likes to hire people who are similar to them. If your school is run by givers, then most of the staff will be givers, apart from the occasional one which slips under the net. Likewise, if your school is run by takers, a far more stressful place to work, then givers will be the minority and run ragged by the takers. These schools of well as they get their goals achieved. The question is at what cost?