Start your term minus minkeys.

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Do you have a licence for that minkey? A question that we all ought to be asking more often.

A typical minkey scene. It is break time and you have fifteen minutes to do the following: deal with the two pupils who didn't hand in the homework for that lesson, tidy your stuff away and check that everything is ready for the next lesson. To your surprise that all happens within four minutes and you decide that the treat of a quick cup of tea in the staff room is in order. All goes well until you are waiting for the tea to brew, when up comes Geoff. You don't see him coming, he just appears at your shoulder and the first thing that you are aware of is his opening gambit 'I'm glad I caught you.' The dread of the snared prey envelops you. The tea can't be abandoned but you would very much like to leave it and run ... now! Too late. Geoff has barely paused for breath. He is telling you about his monkey - it's a pupil who did something a few days ago and now it involves a dissatisfied parent and an unanswered telephone message. It all passes in a bit of a blur. At first you were just nodding, then you were saying yes. At that point Geoff smiles broadly, starts to head for the door and leaves you with his parting words 'So I'll leave that with you then.' His monkey has just become yours. Cue the stewed tea (now bitter as the cud) and, all too soon, the bell.

The One Minute Manager series of books covers everything from the classic, One Minute Manager to the application of a clear strategy to improving your game of golf. Perhaps the best of the series for teachers, especially those with middle or senior leadership roles is The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.

The monkeys are the problems, issues or tasks that you, in your sweet, good natured, smooth leadership style, take from one person after another through the day. They are the reason that your shoulders droop as the term goes on and they are the cause of your never ending To Do list. Taking on unlicensed monkeys makes you less effective as a leader and, crucially, in the long run, it doesn't help the previous owner. Dealing with Geoff's irrate parent doesn't help him to face up to the way that he dealt with her son in the first place and it doesn't help him to understand the value of working in partnership with home, instead of thinking of the concerned parent as a critical opponent. Ken Blanchard's book will explain to you why it is wrong of you to feel that you should take those monkeys; how to recognise them coming; and how to make sure that they stay with the rightful owner, using techniques that empower and develop both of you.

The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey will cost you less than £2.00 to buy second hand, and it will take you an hour to read. Is that a good investment for a term free of unlicensed minkeys?

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