Turn up the heat without burning people out

My house reeks of burnt brownie. My eleven year old (mistakenly) thought that if 20 seconds made a brownie, ooey, gooey and delicious, that 2 minutes in the microwave would make it ooey-er gooey-er and delicious-er. He was wrong. It was inedible.

There are times we do this with each other. If my students do well with a little stress, maybe if I up the stress for a bit longer, they will perform better.

  • If we do one practice test, maybe four or five will bring up the intensity level so they work even harder?
  • IF my staff gets that much done in an extended work day, maybe we should extend our work day more often and get more done?
  • If one sharp remark gets that kind of response, maybe I'm being too nice and I should be more firm all the time? After all, don't I want them to jump when I speak?

And on and on.

While sports teams can handle buzzer beaters, they couldn't physically play at that level the entire game. They aren't made to handle it.

Brownies are awful and burnt if overcooked and humans become frazzled, upset, and unproductive if they are overworked.

There is a fine line between the perfection that comes from a little heat and extra effort at the right time and burning the people and things you care about to a blackened, stinky, mess.

Think about the balance required in cooking and realize that you need that same balance with managing and motivating. People don't mind you turning up the heat a little if they know there is a sweet reward at the end.

Photo Credit: Big Stock, you do not have permission to reuse without licensing from the website.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere