Monday, October 10, 2016

Why I love Nanny McFee

Had a rough day at work?

You must!
Nanny McFee!

I wish she was every teacher's fairy godmother.

I thought about a few things after watching these movies.
Sometimes we over complicate things. Kids have been acting out for centuries.
They smell blood in the water when the think the grown ups don't have control.
And the kids in the movie were traumatized from loss.
Sound familiar?

They had gotten rid of 17 nannies before Nanny McFee ... on purpose!

Several years ago, I walked into my East Oakland classroom midyear and the 8th grade girls informed me that they would make me cry and get me fired within two weeks like they did "that other teacher".

It didn't happen, but I can empathize with those poor nannies! And those poor kids. They had experienced a lot of loss. I held my ground and stayed calm and let them know I wasn't going anywhere, and we became very close.

I like how she had a horrible face when she started and then she became beautiful at the end.
Clearly the happier the kids were, they more they were able to "see" her beauty.
Notice also how she maintains an even, calm tone of voice.
No! Matter! What!

I also like her simple management strategy and clear focus.

She asked the dad to chose just three things he wanted the kids to do better.

1. Do they get up when they are told?
2. Do they go to bed when they are told?
3. Do they say please?

She focused on simple but important things, established her authority, and kept the children safe for their own sake.

I loved how she left, because don't we want to be able to walk away and know our students will be independent, polite, improving, and strong after we leave them?
Isn't that the goal?
Sometimes a really out of control classroom problem has a very simple solution.

Yet from the outside it looks like a whole lot of magic.

So again, watch Nanny McFee and Nanny McFee and the Big Bang.
Then go to bed with a smile on your face.

But remember ...  no matter how much you wish, Nanny McFee is not going to your classroom with you tomorrow.
: )