Avoiding Lying Parrots!
Character education lesson plans must be structured as top-notch, effective sales campaigns to make moral gemstones irresistible to young people. Such character education lesson plans must, at the same time, diligently avoid the “lying parrots” that would destroy the total behavioral transformation you seek.
Effectiveness through Preparation
We noted in parts one and two that successful sales campaigns – and successful character education lesson plans – begin with preparation. Successful sales people do not just grab sample boxes and race down the street to sell. Successful educators do not just grab character education lesson plans and race down the hall to teach. Both prepare.
If you haven’t yet studied what we said about preparation, I hope you will do so. Effective character education lesson plans begin with preparation.
Effectiveness through Materials
If we were discussing sales presentation materials instead of character education lesson plans, what type of materials do you think a company’s sales manager would choose for his crew? Which of the following do you think he would say in preparing his sales team to sell incredibly valuable gems?
- “Use any presentation material you can find, as long as it’s free. Hey, one’s as good as another. Don’t waste time. Just find something, dust it off, and run with it.”
- “Write your own sales presentation material. Give your personal, subjective view of the gems. You probably know enough about diamonds and emeralds and stuff.”
- “We’re going to provide each of you with an objective sales presentation that was written by a professional gem sales team. We invested in this because it works!”
Effectiveness comes through wise choices in regard to presentation materials.
Character education lesson plans, like sales presentation materials, come in great variety. Free character education lesson plans are available – we discuss them elsewhere on this site. Some educators create their own character education lesson plans, relying on a subjective view of character traits. Still others purchase professionally-written, objective character education lesson plans from those with years of effective character building.
Educators who choose quality character education lesson plans are much more effective at selling their valuable moral gemstones than are teachers who settle for something less. Quality character education lesson plans make the “sale” for them, and result in amazing behavioral changes.
Effectiveness through Personnel
Effective sales campaigns come down to the sales crew. They can make or break a sales campaign.
Effective character education comes down to the teacher chosen to present the program. The preparation and the character education lesson plans are made or broken by the person assigned to do the presentation.
Believe it or not, this is far, far too often the least capable person in the school. Failing to recognize the priority, enormous importance, and value of character education, careless administrators tend to assign the person who has the most unscheduled time.
Character education lesson plans suffer at the hands of such educators.
Administrators must take a page from the sales manager’s playbook, and assign the best possible crew. Administrators must inspire and motivate those who will present character education lesson plans. They must make them eager.
Once administrators have assigned, inspired, and motivated, they must provide teachers with the best possible character education lesson plans. Only then can the school expect the character education to bring about behavioral changes.
It is important for administrators to consider two negative personnel matters:
- Ineffective teachers
- Lying parrots
Look at them together with me.
I cannot stress enough the dangers of ineffective teachers in handling character education lesson plans. In my role as principal, I was required only once to fire an ineffective teacher. Had she been tenured, I could not have done so. Tenure protects teachers from dismissal except for reasons of gross misconduct, incompetence, or financial necessity.
But firing ineffective personnel can have great value!
On May 8, 1961, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a 32-year-old man managed to scrape together enough money, with loans, to buy a GM car dealership. He loved the car business. In fact, his passion had earlier driven him to exchange a $50,000 salary for one of only $12,000 in order to manage someone else’s car dealership. That young man’s name was Jim Pattison, and he started a new practice in his car dealership. He fired the salesman who sold the fewest cars each month. He did it as a warning to others. It also worked as a strong incentive to effective selling.
What would happen if your school district fired the character education teacher who was least effective each month? Would you change? Would your character education lesson plans change?
On the occasion when I fired a teacher, I did not do so to warn others. I do not agree with that principle. I do agree, however, that ineffective teachers should be fired.
Administrators must be careful to avoid lying parrots when they assign the presentation of character education lesson plans.
What are lying parrots?
Lying parrots are people, so you will find them in all areas of life. The teaching profession seems to attract many, and so can companies who provide character education lesson plans.
I refer to them as “parrots” because they parrot politically or socially accepted phrases. That is, they repeat what some have called “life’s lies” by rote without taking time to think about them.
The adjective “lying” must be used because many of the phrases they repeat are not true. Were you to discuss their words with them, they would have to admit that the phrases are dishonest. They would have to confess that, had they thought carefully about the words, they would not have parroted them – especially in character education lesson plans!
Consider three examples:
- You can be anything you want to be. When President Obama won the 2008 election, teachers told students that this proved you could be anything you wanted to be. The words appear often in character education lesson plans, too. The truth? No. Lying parrots speak those words. If they were true, there would be very few maids and janitors. There would be thousands more kings, queens, and astronauts. My husband, genetically engineered with cardiac weakness, has often observed that it does not matter how much he might want to be a star NBA player, he cannot do it. The truth is that we all have limits, and should be realistic about them.
- That which does not kill you makes you stronger. Nietzsche’s meaning aside, many teachers work his words into character education lesson plans. The truth? No. Lying parrots speak those words.If they were true, there would be very few weak people. We would all become increasingly stronger, but we do not. Many people experience a laundry list of things that do not kill them, yet they remain weak. The truth is that some people never get into the “stronger” group at all, and we should be realistic about that.
- You should sort out your own values. This is a favorite with teachers who are presenting character education lesson plans. The truth? No. Lying parrots speak those words, too.If they were true, there would no longer be any right and wrong in our world. You and I could not live by the rule of law. One individual might “sort out” values that permitted cheating, fraud, and stealing while another “sorted out” values that shunned such actions. Who would say which values were right and which were wrong? The truth is that we cannot sort out our own values to please ourselves. Absolute values are essential to all of society’s relationships.
Administrators who want effective character education lesson plans will have them only by avoiding lying parrots.
Character education lesson plans must be structured as top-notch, effective sales campaigns to make moral gemstones irresistible to young people. If you want to stop wishing your character education lesson plans were powerfully effective, and actually make them powerfully effective, apply the principles in this three-part series and you will do just that.