Are You Sane Or Just Plain Quackers?

Quack, quack, quack.

If you are SANE then you are a Self-disciplined and Nurturing Enthusiast.

If you spend most of your time quacking then you are a DUCK – Dependent Upon Criticising Success.

Schools have both the SANE and the DUCKS.

If you have DUCKS in your school then get them to stop quacking because they are messing with the health and wellbeing of the place. If there are enough DUCKS then they could turn it in a little shop of horrors.

‘SANE’ and ‘DUCKS’ come from the book If You Don’t Feed The Teachers They Eat The Students by Neila A. Connors.

I love this book because it says it how it is and it is written with plenty of wit and intelligence too.

So are you in the SANE crew or do you belong to the toxic flock of DUCKS?

Neila describes the SANE as follows:

They are that cadre of excited, energised and student-oriented educators who go above and beyond what is asked of them on a daily basis.

Note: who go above and beyond what is asked of them on a daily basis.

Most teachers do go the extra mile throughout the week but it does come at a cost if your self-care admin is not up to scratch.

But if you can find a balance that works for you then keeping SANE is a win-win.

Connors says that the SANE are outstanding educators who ‘do’ certain things:

  1. They realise they are responsible for their own stress.
  2. They know when their plate is too full.
  3. They organise their time and priorities.
  4. They don’t focus on past problems, mistakes and/or grudges but they live in the present.
  5. They focus on solutions rather than wallow in problems.
  6. They look closely in the mirror first before judging others.
  7. They look for the greatness and islands of competence in others.
  8. They take risks freely and frequently travel outside of their comfort zones.
  9. They take care of themselves.
  10. They live by a list of ‘nevers’.
  11. They recognise the importance of creating a positive success-focused environment.
  12. They truly love their life and profession.
  13. They are HAPPY (Having a Pleasing Personality Year-round).
  14. They recognise stress and have a solid personal belief-system.

That’s quite a list but I bet you there are people in school that do all of this. If that isn’t you then these can be used as something to aim for.

Each one of the 14 qualities above warrants more explanation and detail to unpack them and some of my future blogs will look at these.

Connors tells us that SANE people “make the world a wonderful place” and these are sharp administrators who

……realise that some days you are the bug, and some days you are the windshield! It is how you deal with any situation that will mould your existence.

So what about those DUCKS? Happiness is not on their agenda so they need to be watched like hawks. Better still, get a hawk – a member of staff who can stop the quacking.

Connors is right when she says that DUCKS are everywhere and not just in school. They are easy to spot too, well, hear that is because their quacking is “often loud and relentless”.

You know the sort. They’ll be a new idea that someone suggests but the DUCKS will hate it, they will have a quack attack and say it won’t work. Their pond is a murky and poisonous one.

Connors offers a few suggestions as to how we deal with DUCKS:

1. Ignore them

2. Confront them

3. Try to understand why they quack

4. Give them a major task/responsibility

5. Talk privately with them to develop a positive action plan.

6. Open up duck hunting season.

7. Begin an “adopt-a-duck” programme.

8. Don’t let them ruin your day.

These are all pretty self-explanatory except for perhaps number 6 and 7. What does she mean here?

Well, what Connors is saying is when someone quacks in a meeting then collectively we have to all go ‘quack, quack, quack’ as a reminder that there is to be no negativity and move away from the impulse to moan.

Adopting a duck is something whereby a known quacker is matched up with a SANE happy person who helps them find their mojo again.

Actively promoting a positive culture is paramount in a school environment because without a no negativity policy being written and entrenched, the quacks get louder and the DUCKS make school their own pond.

But the school pond is not for DUCKS. This is a DUCKS-free zone where only the SANE are allowed to splash about.

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