top of page
  • Writer's pictureAction Hero Teacher

A Teacherly Story with Karl C. Pupé - An Excerpt

A man looking directly at the camera
That's me - Karl C. Pupé

Hello Beautiful People!

It's Karl speaking! Christmas is around the corner & we are so close to the Finish Line - Hang in there!

In this week's blog, I'm going to post an excerpt from an interview I did with Teacherly - a software company dedicated to giving teachers the resources, tools and skills to help teachers thrive in their careers.

Details for the full interview is shown at the bottom of this page! Enjoy!


My route into teaching

“I’ve been in education for about ten years now, and I started off on a bit of a peculiar path. In the UK, the most common route into teaching is doing a PGCE. Instead, I got what’s called a DTLLS: a Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. I come from a sales background, and I lost my job during the 2008 crisis, which made me reconsider what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to work with young people, so I volunteered at a music studio in a youth center and while I was there, someone told me I had a talent and I should pursue it as a career. I decided to get my teaching certificate and became something called a NEETs coordinator. Lots of students from disadvantaged backgrounds drop out of school before their GCSEs, and my job was to work with them to get them into education or training: otherwise they can end up in gangs or involved with drugs. The funding for that programme ran out, so I went into mainstream schooling, where I currently am, and I wrote my book.

Action Hero Teacher book cover
The Action Hero Teacher book cover

The Action Hero Teacher

When I was working in alternative provision, I was dealing with very vulnerable people who had specific needs and I got a lot of specialist training. I worked with social workers, local authorities, the police and youth-defending teams, and I gathered a whole hodge-podge of knowledge to be able to work with children who were emotionally dysregulated or emotionally hijacked. When I went into mainstream education I was surprised to discover that my colleagues didn’t receive the same training. One colleague told me he’d only done a three-week module on behaviour management where he was taught things like: saying “please and thank you” or clapping. When you go into a classroom with thirty sets of eyes on you, it’s very different. So I wanted to put a book together that would be simple and easy to digest, for teachers to learn these skills in the easiest way possible.

What teachers should know about behaviour management

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” That quote is my north star. To break it down, you need to have a relationship with someone before you can educate them. Until you have a relationship, you can be Albert Einstein, Leonardo Davinci or Tony Stark. It doesn’t matter. If the kids don’t think you like them, and care about them and their wellbeing, then you will only ever get compliance from them. They will give you the bare minimum. To get true engagement you have to build relationships. Once you know them: who their siblings are, where they come from, and what their culture is, then you’ll know what influences them and only then can they learn.

There are several techniques for building relationships with your students. What you need to understand is that behaviour management comes from you. Take the student out of the equation for a moment: it’s about you and your leadership style. Any great leader has a combination of two traits: strong authority, and compassion. Some people see authority as a dirty word, like a superman villain-- kneel before me, this type of thing, but authority means you know your stuff. Doctors are the authorities when you go to them to solve health problems. You are the authority in the classroom. Then there is emotional intelligence, which I call warmth in my book. You need to step into your students’ shoes and see the world through their eyes. Once you have that magical combination, that’s what makes a great leader.

I come into my classroom with a worldview and an understanding that this is our classroom, and that we care about each other and we get on, but there also needs to be boundaries. Children and young people like boundaries, they need them in order to develop. It’s not about shooting love out of your chest like a care-bear, it’s about creating an environment where it’s feasible for you to grow a relationship. In my book I call that the social contract. You need to understand where they’re coming from and what their needs are. There’s a technique in my book called trust mountain: you assess your students and figure out what they need. A great leader knows when a student needs some soft encouragement, and when one needs a (proverbial) kick in the butt.


That's the end of this excerpt! If you want to read the rest of the interview, click the link below!

Do you want to see more of that handsome, dashing fellow? Want to get the latest news, blogs, articles and educational goodies from AHT universe? Then it's simple: sign up to the actionheroteacher blog below. It will take you less than 30 seconds & you will get everything AHT delivered to your mailbox.

Join the movement.



bottom of page