MY STORY… by Adrian Walker
How I Found The Magic!
During my 22nd year of teaching high school English and Spanish, I was asked to attend an ENVoY 7 Gems Classroom Management training with its founder, Michael Grinder. Now, I’d always had great student relationships and, other than some challenging students, I didn’t really have “discipline” or “management” issues.
My school district, however, had introduced ENVoY at the elementary level and since it was working so well, administrators wanted to see if it would do the same at the secondary level. I alone was asked to pilot ENVoY in my classroom and report the results.
At first I flatly refused. I was a popular, credible and respected teacher in a large urban high school and saw this as “just another thing to have to do”. Changing my management style was a scary thought…things were “working” for me! But, certainly, I was tired and burned out. Teaching didn’t have the “pleasure” it once had and there were challenging students that often sucked the energy from me on a daily basis. Since it was a “favor” to the district, and I figured I had nothing to lose, I finally and reluctantly agreed. I took the 7 Gems training in October 2000, returned to my classroom, tried one newly learned skill, and the rest is history!
I learned that “Management is not discipline. Management has no consequence, discipline does.” I came to realize that every time I gave a direction; sit down, take out your book, turn to page 8, stop talking & listen, turn in your paper here, get a partner, let me have your attention, bring your materials to class, remain silent, get to work, look up here, don’t argue with me, and a thousand other directives…I was managing, not disciplining and not teaching. Did some of those management directions turn into “discipline” or lost time for teaching? You bet. Guess what? I was “getting hooked”!
In college, I was trained to be a teacher not a manager. But ENVoY clarified WHY some students always had to have the last word and why some never had a clue about what I had said or seemed to be defiant! It was instantly clear…I was managing auditory and kinesthetic learners VERBALLY rather than NON-VERBALLY. Voila’—learning exactly when and how to use or not use my voice, eyes, body, and breathing was the secret!
After observing hundreds of teachers for over 6,000 hours, Grinder recognized 7 key patterns he called the 7 GEMS. Every time a teacher did “this,” the student(s) did “this.” Where and how the teacher was standing, the volume and speed and tone of what the teacher said, whether the teacher’s palms were turned up or down, when and where and how the teacher presented directions visually or verbally, when and where the teacher looked, how the teacher controlled their own breathing, and when the teacher paused verbally could be patterned. Using systematic counter-intuitive management rather than intuitive management was the key.
Learning the 7 GEMS gave me the immediate skills to predict…by doing “this,” the student(s) will or will not do “this.” Suddenly I could manage even my most difficult students with influence rather than power! Because the 7 GEMS are invisible to students…so subtle they didn’t even notice what I was or was not doing…ENVoY seemed like magic. But ENVoY isn’t Magic…ENVoY is Mechanical and anyone can do it! I was even using it at home with my teenage daughter and secretly loving the results!
My energy was back. Enthusiasm was renewed. Teaching was pleasurable. Students were highly productive. Grades went up. Relationships with students improved even better than they had been. Colleagues were asking, “What are you doing? Giving them all an “A”? They’re all so perfect!” The answer was simple…I had not changed one single assignment or lesson…rather; I had become an ENVoY practitioner!
That spring the staff at my school voted with 92% to receive the ENVoY training. They asked me to teach them…I was honored and thrilled. Hearing their success stories made me realize the power of this unique management model. There is no other one like it on the educational market today. I spent the next 4 years training school staffs and first year teachers throughout my school district and guest teaching education students in local university classes. At year 27 of my career, I wanted to teachevery educator, who would take the time to learn, the power of ENVoY’s influence.
Today, 11 years after that first ENVoY training, it’s an honor and pleasure to work with educators throughout the United States. My company, A & J Educational and Professional Consulting, is committed to supporting, helping, and celebrating teachers as they learn and implement ENVoY’s 7 GEMS. Please join me at a training, have some laughs and fun, and make your teaching days, whether it’s one more year or 30 more, the best they can be for you and your students! Don’t teacher another day without THE MAGIC OF ENVOY!
Best wishes and thank you for reading my story,
Adrian Bunn Walker