Help! - Dealing with lazy staff members

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Bear Knuckles, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    Hello,

    I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum for this thread. I looked and decided this was the best place to put this.

    First and foremost, I should clarify that perhaps my team is not necessarily lazy but just too inexperience to see the benefits of something I want them to do.

    Allow me to explain:

    I am the after-school program coordinator for an elementary school. My team consists of myself and tutors. These tutors are college students who work part time in the program. They are responsible for implementing lessons as well as tutoring students with their homework.

    The problem I have is that I believe it is time for us to take our activities to a higher level. I want them to start lesson planning and I have provided a brief lesson plan template that I would like them to fill out and email to me every week so that I can review the lessons and reward them for great lessons.

    They received the idea very poorly. It is clear to me that they had a negative reaction from the start even before they tried to do the lesson plans. I have arranged for them to be compensated a half hour daily more on top of their regular scheduled hours for this work.

    I asked them to fill out a quick questionaire to see what their issues were and this is a list of what they said:
    * Its inefficient
    * it does not help them write better lesson plans
    * they only want it to include step by step instructions
    * Having to plan a week before instead of a day before
    * too time consuming
    * too complicated
    * learning goals/outcomes to look for are unnecessary
    * just more busy work that does not add to substancial implementation of the lesson


    That is the gist of their complaints. I really want them to see how powerful this can be. And, I don't want to just force them to do it because my leadership style is all about positive relationships. I think communicating, "I am the boss, so you just do as I say" will have an ultimate negative impact on the program.


    Anyone care to help me explain why lesson planning is important to these guys? They have been used to just googling lesson plans and carrying them out without really thinking about the goals of the lesson or the outcomes they should be looking for.

    Sorry for the long post.

    Thanks in advance for any and all input.
     
  2.  
  3. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    I wish I could come work for you! For future teachers, this sounds like a great job. I don't have the experience necessary to give you much advice, but I have had some very brief experience with ASES. From what I have seen (in my area, I can't speak for others), it typically pays minimum wage and sadly does not tend to attract employees that truly care about education and want to work for results. I looked into applying with the program, but I just couldn't afford it. To be quite honest, this does sound like a lot of extra work for a student who is making $8/hr and barely scraping by. I think if there was a push to hire students who plan on getting into education in the future and want the job as a way to build experience in the field, there might be some kind of increase in motivation.

    For the employees you have, have they had any kind of training or instruction on how to research and create lesson plans? Do you have resources at the job that they can use for ideas and guidelines? I know you provided a template, but they might just not know how to do all this effectively. Have you tried using the template and creating a plan yourself to see how the process goes? I know the lesson planning templates given to me by some professors (not all) can take hours just to create one short lesson, and it really is a lot of work. It gets faster with experience, but that's something your employees don't have. I'm just throwing out some ideas, I hope you can figure out what will work best for you. Good luck!


    P.S. Can I ask you a question now? Do you have any employees that don't work 5 days a week? After reading your post, this sounds like a great learning experience and I might look for openings in my area. Where do you post them? I could trade in volunteering for a second job. :lol:
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 22, 2012

    The level of education of your staff may have something to do with their lack of enthusiasm for lesson plans.

    I have supervised many types of staff. At some jobs, I simple required them to give me a list of activities for the day. That may be as much as they are capable of doing.

    I also found that staff training was critical.
     
  5. Securis

    Securis Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    Investment. So, you handed them the entire plan and they didn't like it. You should take it back to the concept level and have them address the flaws they've pointed out to improve the concept to their liking. The concept will be implemented, it's an expectation and you are their supervisor, it's part of your vision. How it looks and works can be up to them which may buy them to your vision. Be ready to compromise a little but also communicate your sticking points that must be included. The importance should be learned during this process as a problem solving experience. At least, the bulb may start to get juice for some of them and through the entire term of your After-school program maybe most of them will catch on.

    During the remainder of the year, determine who your positive leaders are and engage them one on one with this topic to poll them and as a way to persuade them to your point of view. This might also increase transference to the rest of the group.

    :2cents:
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Feb 22, 2012

    Right. I would put the ball back in their court.

    It's clear that lessons need to be planned in advance if they're to be effective. And it's fair that, as their supervisor, you get the lead time to look over their plans.

    But if they don't like the format you've chosen, give them some time to search online for a format that suits them better. If they don't like "learning goals/outcomes" the can call it their "Aim" or whatever suits them.

    I think a great question that has already come up is whether or not these tutors are education students. If so, then I can see the value in your wanting them to do it your way, since it looks to be more in line with what will be expected of them down the road. If, on the other hand, they're college kids tutoring as they persue other avenues, then the here and now is all that matters, and the actual format of the lesson plan is probably less important.
     
  7. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    I wish you could work for me too! Lol

    Our tutors earn a wage of $13 an hour. Which may not be a lot, but it is by far one of the better jobs they can get while they are in school. I see your point about it being a lot of work. Thank you for the honesty. I don't think I thought about how much work it would be for a student that doesn't make much. Perhaps I should start recruiting my employees with more intent in finding future teachers. You may be right about that.

    I did actually sit down to write out a lesson plan before I handed it to them. It took me a little under an hour to do it well. I did asses, however, that it would become a faster process as you kept doing it.

    The only employees that do not work 5 days a week are the work-study tutors. They are not paid out of my budget, and only work as support staff. The grade leaders have to work 5 days a week. In the past we had been much more flexible, but it became apparent that consistency is key in assuring a quality program.

    Most of these jobs are filled by word of mouth. If you want a job, I would go to the district office and ask to speak with the ASES director there and give them your resume as well as have a conversation about the position. I would then, introduce myself to the coordinators at the different schools and give them a resume too. Positions open up often as students graduate and move on to "real" jobs.
     
  8. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    Some are future teachers. Some are not. All of them are passionate about their job though. I have them use the same template because we need uniformity. Otherwise, I believe they will use a "template" that is nothing more than the bare minimum requirements.

    The thing is that it has come to my attention that more often than it should be, they are flying by the seat of their pants not really planning anything. They are sometimes showing up to work without plans and trying to give instruction without prior purposeful planning. In addition, with the template I am giving them it forces them to look at the procedural side of planning a lesson and answer questions they might not have thought of while developing their lessons.

    I am looking to create consistency. And, I am looking to help them improve their teaching abilities by planning ahead and planning with a lot of intent in mind.

    I finished business school, and I know of the damage that micro-managing can do. I definitely try to stay away from that at all costs. But, because the argument can be made, that they don't necessarily always do their plans to the best of their abilities consistently, I would say that I don't feel I am micro-managing them.
     
  9. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    I have scheduled a day for staff training on the subject. As of now, all I can give them is my own guidance.
     
  10. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    Thank you so much for this. This is the route I have been trying to take, and it feels good to have some reassurance. Although, it is definitely easier said than done.

    But, what can I say to make them realize the importance of planning the lessons and articulating the objectives, outcomes to look for, etc?
     
  11. Securis

    Securis Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    Ever done an initiative?

    In this case our outcome is to get your employees to see the necessity and importance of planning and preparation.

    So, we introduce a game, with a point, called Pathway.

    You set up a grid with 16 place markers, 4X4.

    You then determine a path that your group will need to take to get through it. Forward, right, left, backwards, and diagonal. You can use all of the place markers or just most of them.

    Explain to the group that there is only one true path they can pass along to get to the other side and only one person at a time may explore the path. They must check with you at each new place marker to see if they are on the right path before moving to the next marker. If they are, that person can continue while everyone else waits. If they choose wrong, then they go to the end of the line. You can illustrate a missed turn off however you would like. I have seen thumbs up and thumbs down. I have also seen the explosion method.

    Everyone must pass along the path and you should give them a 20, 30, or 40 minute time limit to complete the pathway. You can complicate the challenge by not allowing speech during the performance but you should suggest that they perform as a team with whatever other help they can.

    This is critical. Explain the challenge first. Then tell them to give you a few minutes to set up the course. The purpose here is to allow them time to plan but do not tell them that they should or that they can. If someone asks the question about whether they can plan, you ask in return what the others think about that. Once you've finished the layout, you ask if they are ready to begin. If they plan, great.* If they do not, great.**

    Now they perform the challenge, taking turns, going one at a time, without speaking. but offering whatever other help they can. They also should not pass down the sides of the course. Instead they should remain even with the side they start at.

    The time for the challenge elapses. Successful or not, doesn't matter. Now is time for a 10-15 minute reflection where you ask pointed questions that they answer as a group. You should keep your voice silent except to redirect the questions to others in the group. Do not confirm or deny any answers, instead say, "What do you think?", "How did that look?", "Could you elaborate?", and questions of that nature.

    * In the event they planned: "What just happened?" They answer with literal observations. "What worked?" they should answer with things like teamwork, support, and maybe planning. Ask for specifics and elaboration if planning is mentioned. "In what way can we connect this experience to our work?", they should answer with confirmation that planning is a helpful and positive behavior. If planning doesn't get pulled into the conversation, then ask, "How did you organize yourself?" and it should be pulled in from there.

    ** If they do not plan: "What just happened?" They answer with literal observations. "What worked and what didn't work?" they should answer with things like teamwork (or a lack of), support (or a lack of), and maybe planning (or a lack of). Ask for specifics and elaboration if planning is mentioned. "What might have happened if we planned?"

    Success or no success, it doesn't matter. You may have to weave your way around a scenario that I'm not accounting for so be prepared to redirect them into a discussion about the importance of planning without saying, "We're going to discuss the importance of planning." You want them to have a moment of realization that planning is very important and even critical to the most simple of daily events. Some of which we all do without thought in most cases. The problem in an educational setting, you need deliberate learning experiences to take place in order to create meaningful learning and transference of concepts to events beyond the classroom.
     
  12. Letsgo

    Letsgo Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    7

    Feb 22, 2012

    I worked in management before going into education. When it comes down to it, people don't always really like doing things that are hard, especially when their current work is "acceptable" (though not excellent- they may not even know what excellent can look like).

    It's extra work. It's something they didn't have to do when they accepted the job. They don't see the value. Especially for the ones who may not be going into education, the format may be foreign, and they are not used to having to THINK that way about lessons.

    They may not see the benefit until they have done it for a while. Even then, some will still be resistant.

    But give it a few months, and they will get used to having to write out their lessons, and it won't be a big deal anymore.
     
  13. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    Here's the way I see it.

    What you are asking for is more than what a $13.00 an hour college student should have to do. It's what you do when you are in your last years of teacher training ormore in line with what a teacher does, and these people aren't teachers. I don't ask my parapro to write plans and come up with learning goals, etc. although she works with kids.

    I think your time would be better spent telling them what you want the kids to learn and have them hunt for lessons for that. Better yet, ask the teachers of the young students you have. For example, we sent our afterschool program director what we're working on for the week--just a brief topic such as vocabulary words for a Science unit or study multiplication facts or long division. The workers she hires come up with their own plans, and it isn't in any uniform format. The only requirement is that it is in game format or hands-on format. No worksheets allowed.

    It works well. The kids love it, the people who work the program like it, and the teachers like it. They have someone who even cooks with them once a week. Art projects for geometry. Games in PE. They do have a 30 minute block for homework help.

    I'm sorry, but it does seem like a lot of work when they are not a teacher, and not getting paid a professional salary, albeit it is a good wage.
     
  14. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 22, 2012

    You might want to look at tweaking the lesson plan so that it can be written in 30 minutes, if that is the amount of time you added for them to do in.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Feb 22, 2012

    I agree.
     
  16. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,592
    Likes Received:
    4

    Feb 22, 2012

    I agree about it seeming a lot to ask. I have worked in after school programs and the lessons were planned for the tutors. The after school directors had a set routine and the tutors followed the routine to study different things. Only when the after school tutors were teachers did they develop their own lessons. I remember writing up lesson plans while getting my credential it took hours and was not high quality due to my lack of experience.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,860
    Likes Received:
    734

    Feb 22, 2012

    I also agree it is too much to ask of a non-teacher/part time tutor making a small hourly wage. I don't know what the template looks like, but I also think really lengthy/wordy lesson plans aren't beneficial to "real" teachers either. I had to do them in college and they were a huge waste of time. I would never think of using that lengthy template now that I'm a "real" teacher and not doing so for university credit. What is the real reason behind using the template? Do you feel that the lessons are unorganized? I think given that these employees are hourly tutors, if you're unhappy with the lessons you need to set up something for them to follow rather than asking non-teachers to do it. If they haven't had teacher training, I wouldn't expect them to know how to set up their own lesson. The role of a tutor is very different than the role of a teacher.
     
  18. Securis

    Securis Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2012

    I think your opinions are valid but I disagree philosophically. Holding others to high expectations is the core of what a manager or teacher does. In this case, children are involved so the question isn't what these untrained future professionals have to do or not do for $13.00 an hour. Instead it's about what's going to help the children in the program. Is it wrong to expect these future professionals to offer 100% when entering a professional environment? You could argue the relative inequity of being expected to do more than your peer group but since when have work environments been wholly equitable? They'll have to learn this lesson sooner or later, why not now?
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,246
    Likes Received:
    453

    Feb 23, 2012

    I don't think that they have the background skills to do this. Even at tutoring companies, such as Sylvan, teachers are not expected to prepare lesson plans, and the pay is similar. Could you consider using a more simple format? It seems like the following format would be sufficient, and wouldn't take much time:

    What will they learn?
    What will we do?
    What things do I need?

    I hold people to high expectations, but you can't expect people to do things that they haven't been trained for. Also, they are hourly employees, not salaried. I am expected to spend time at home planning and researching lessons, but I am a salaried employee. I don't think it's your job to teach your employees a lesson. When I taught at an aftercare program, our schedule was:

    3:00-3:45 homework
    3:45-4:30 outside time/rainy day games
    4:30-5:15 organized activity/craft/story
    5:15-6:00 combine with pre-K, buddy read, play with blocks and other toys

    Kids need both structured and unstructured time. They have been sitting in classrooms all day. They need to learn from each other by playing. Some of my favorite success stories from this program came from the unstructured, spontaneous times that students spent with the workers and with each other.
     
  20. Securis

    Securis Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    695
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2012

    I'm really not trying to begin an argument but I said I disagreed. I believe you can expect people to perform if you train them.

    If I were your supervisor and you a math teacher and I told you I needed you to create a lesson plan that involved art as the main component of your lesson and you told me that you weren't trained to teach art, I'd say, figure it out and expect you to. In this case, if I were the supervisor and expected lesson planning in whatever rudimentary form the compromise came in, I'd train them on how I want it, setting the expectation. Then, I'd expect the best performance possible. You say it shouldn't be done and I say I would. It's a fundamental disagreement and ne'er the twain shall meet. So, I'm not going to press forward with nay saying opinions to the contrary of the OP's request.
     
  21. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2012

    This idea is brilliant. I think I will have to jump on it for sure. I have a meeting with them tomorrow; I think I will incorporate this for sure.

    I guess my only question is, what if they answer in rebuttal that they already have plans for the days? How do I get them to see the power in articulating these plans in a written structured format?
     
  22. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2012

    I see your point and respect your opinion. But, I believe it is my moral as well as ethical duty to do my best to make this seem attractive to them. I need to motivate and sell. I will not accept myself to become a boss. I want to be a leader.
     
  23. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2012

    While I respect and wholly appreciate the feedback and opinions of everyone who took time to interact with me in this thread, I have to agree with Securis.

    I couldn't have said it better myself. However, in the sake of keeping this thread productive and on topic let's save this debate for a later time.

    Again thank you all for participating; whether we see eye to eye or not, it helps me understand the opposing view.
     
  24. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 24, 2012

    The first step in convincing them might be to drop a supervisory stance in which anyone who disagrees with you is immediately adjudged a "lazy staff member."
     
  25. Bear Knuckles

    Bear Knuckles Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 24, 2012

    In the first couple of lines in my opening post I said it is probably more due to inexperience than lazyness. But, hey, thanks for the insight. :thumb:
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Mmm,
  2. Kelster95
Total: 149 (members: 3, guests: 129, robots: 17)
test