Are you a Pit-Pony or a Show-Pony?
As I drove home from another meeting that ended at 6pm – I reflected during my long drive, on something that was said on the 1st day of term.
A colleague of mine, whom I respect greatly and who is a high quality teacher (avoiding the the grade there!), had been to visit a school which was graded ‘Outstanding’ by OfSted as part of her CPD.
She said how she was greeted by the HT, who quickly after told the visiting teachers – that her staff were not ‘Show Ponies’, but were ‘Pit Ponies’.
They were hard working staff who delivered everyday for their children.
My colleague felt that this was a great mindset and a proven methodology for success. I can see why, it sounds great but let’s consider this analogy in an Education context:
My school is RI and has it’s problems, we are a tough, hard working staff, who are committed to making the improvements that we need.
The Pit Pony:
- Works hard in unpleasant conditions
- Beaten and mistreated
- Need to be able to churn out performance/quality is less important
- Failure results in punishment and possible abuse
- Made to do more work than is healthy
- Given just enough nourishment to survive
- Little support/training
- Works until facing a cruel death in the workplace
- Little rest or chance to regain fitness
The Show Pony:
- Given the best of everything
- Under pressure to perform/expected to be the best
- Held up as an example of the best of its kind
- Failure results in care, attention and training
- Trained to the highest most exacting standards
- Coached, groomed and developed professionally
- Given time to rest and recover/best of care
So, based on this analogy, it is best to be a Pit Pony?
The pit pony is the model of success and excellence?
Pit ponies worked hard and did their best in the very worst of situations, day in, day out and this is something to be respected. But it isn’t sustainable.
A show pony can have a long, successful and healthy career – when that comes to an end they are invariably used to create more excellent show ponies.
The news that 90% of teachers have considered leaving the profession in the last 2 years do to excessive workload surely damns this idea.
I like working hard, I want to work hard but every week I am spending less and less time, NOT working. My family are seeing less and less of me and I am seeing less and less benefit. (1% pay rise? £1 a day extra?) Thank goodness I’m not in it for the money.
I find myself working longer hours, having more meetings, giving me increasingly less time to actually do the job!
Is all the work I am doing getting the best out of me?
Work hard and work smart, they say.
OK, but that’s Show Pony mentality.
A Pit Pony would work hard and then work harder.
I have my PPA and Leadership time (2 x 1/2 days a week) and I am both very grateful and lucky to have it, but it is full and there is always more to do!
Perhaps this is just a blog at the end of a long day. But I think I would really thrive given the chance to be a Show Pony for a change.
Which you you rather be?
Posted on 01/10/2014, in General and tagged advice, blog, blogging, classroom, education, impact, leadership, learning, management, observation, ofsted, primary, school, standards, support, Teachers, teaching. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.