By: Ron Trainum, 2016 National Middle School Physical Education SHAPE America® Teacher of the Year
Three words – people, process, and product (I call them the Triple P’s) – are the keys to a successful business, according to multi-millionaire and CEO of Camping World, Good Sam Enterprises, and Gander Mountain, Marcus Lemonis. These are the words Marcus uses in guiding each company he invests in while also serving as the star of ‘The Profit,’ a reality television show on CNBC I found three years ago while channel surfing on a Sunday fall afternoon (it was the bye week for my beloved Washington Redskins). Mr. Lemonis, in his role as ‘The Profit,’ is a business investor/fixer who assesses struggling businesses for possible investment and ways he can guide them to become profitable. In each case, Marcus, as part of his investment, takes 100% control of decision-making as he attempts to fix the struggling business.
I love Marcus’s no-nonsense approach and his focus on three things that need to be in place for a business to be successful. Every successful business has effective and motivated workers in place, which provides a quality process that, lastly, creates a valued product or service. If any of these three things are not in place, the business will struggle for profitability and longevity.
Three words – people, process, product. Those words have been on my mind over the last year or so. As educators, we often are pointed to the product. Our end game, so to speak. What grade did a student make or how did our students score on a particular test or any other measurable value that can be placed in this data-driven educational world of today. In many cases, much time is spent on evaluating and improving our process (i.e. curriculum development, mapping, and lesson planning) as a way of improving on our product. Unfortunately, I found myself so focused on our process and product that I have paid less attention to the most important thing that we as teachers have—people.
The teachers that have impacted our own educational experiences, if we are honest with ourselves, have not always been the smartest, the best planned, or even possessed the highest test scores. Our most memorable teachers were the ones that showed they valued us as people. They demonstrated care, compassion, interest, and yes, even accountability. They developed unforgettable relationships that inspired us to dream and achieve.
So, as I plan for the big kick off of our school year, with the those ‘Triple P’s’ spinning in my brain, I have come up with three C’s to be a more successful teacher for my students:
as in establish a standard set of expectations, routines, and protocols of all students in our Physical Education program that focuses on positivity, efficiency and fairness. Think managing equipment, class transitions, time management, etc.…
as in personal contact with each student in class meeting (Thanks Doug Hallberg for this one!). Make sure every day to make some kind of contact either by greeting, positive comment, asking questions, or simply giving a ‘fist bump’ or ‘hi five’ with all students we teach.
as in start the year by developing a set of lessons intent on allowing students to learn how to cooperate and work with each other. In other words, be intentional about guiding student in developing positive relationships with each other.
There you have it! Starting the year with the intent of creating a positive classroom environment begins with making connections with your students and them with each other. Let us remember that the path to success and longevity does not begin with our product or our process. It begins with our most valued possession, our students! Without them, we are pretty useless!
Join Ron Trainum along with other 2016 National SHAPE America® Teachers of the Year for a free webinar “Back to School: Setting the Tone for Success.”
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