Monday, October 10, 2016

Why I love Nanny McFee

Had a rough day at work?

You must! Watch! Nanny McFee!

I think of her as every teacher's fairy godmother.
As a teacher, I thought about a few things after watching this movie.

We as teachers think our management problems are new.

But kids have been acting out for centuries. They smell blood in the water when they think the grown ups don't have control. And the kids in the movie were traumatized from loss. Sound familiar?

By acting out, the kids in the movie got rid of 17 nannies before Nanny McFee. On purpose!
I could relate. 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. They tried all kinds of shenanigans. But I held my ground and stayed calm and let them know I wasn't going anywhere, and we became very close.

In the movie, she had a horrible face when she started and then she became beautiful at the end.

Clearly the happier the kids were, with clear boundaries and a sense of safety, they more they were able to "see" her beauty.

Notice also how she maintains an even, calm tone of voice.

No! Matter! What!

I liked 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?

Sometimes a really out of control classroom problem has a very simple solution.

As a classroom teacher if you don't see that solution, it just looks like a whole lot of magic.

What could this look like in a classroom?

READ About my simple classroom management | Reflections, Good manners and using your community. (coming soon)

Nanny McFee focused on a few simple but important things, established her authority, was consistent 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 stronger after we leave them?

Isn't that the goal?

So again, watch
Nanny McFee and
Nanny McFee and the Big Bang.

But remember ... no matter how much you wish, Nanny McFee and her magic can not come with you to your classroom tomorrow.

: )