I initially started this blog as a weekly reflection of my journey as an Assistant Head Teacher! I also, planned to be writing these summaries alongside several other individuals. However, things have not quite gone to plan…
I ensured I posted weekly much to the detriment of sleep and conversation with others in the real world! However, this term I chose to reduce the posts to once/twice a term. Simply because my journey has quickly moved from a long distance marathon to a steeple chase, with lots of deep jumps and sprints to fight through. ‘Things’ the tag of being ‘NEW” once shielded me from!
It is not just me who has not managed to find the time; @Deadshelley is swamped- despite having written a few posts, could not keep up, or I think it is right to say, prioritised not to keep up. (A lot of respect for that decision!) Others swamped under as new AHTs include @AFLPie and @Pekabelo who have been promising posts since the launch of this blog! (I understand FULLY, as I am sure the readers of this post will, why they have not managed to write a post, yet.)
Before I started writing about this terms reflection, I read through my 8 weeks worth of posts.
It is amazing how much I learnt, and how quickly I had to learn. I can collate the areas into these sections.
- Time management
- Leadership V Management
- Promotion of others
- Perceptions to others
- Emotional Intelligence
I tried to offer some opinion and advice in these matters, demonstrating how I may have dealt with them. I find it invigorating, reading back through thinking NOW, just weeks after I MAY have done things differently.
What can I say I have learnt this term:
EXACTLY THE SAME?
Does that mean I have not done anything new? That, I have not achieved anything more? To ME, it means I am refining, I am shaping, I am personalising, I am creating, curating and adapting. I have had to overcome many more challenges, incidents, meetings and decisions but I think/feel I am handling these in a more calm and confident way.
“Adopt the right way of thinking; be consistent in your practice; and continue to seek and learn”
I want to think of myself as a traditional Chinese noodle maker! Although noodles are an abundant, accessible, staple food, they do require, precision, practice, speed, accuracy, determination and dedication to create. I have learnt that noodles can be ‘made’ having had hours of daily practice in a variety of ways or can be made through cheap, simple machiney in minutes! They can also be bought for as little as 4 pence a packet!!
This is weird I know, but stick with me! I want to be a noodle maker, that doesn’t rush to learn, that wants to hone in his skills… that wants to produce ‘unique’ noodles each and every time!
(Maybe a Snowflake analogy would have been better?!)
- Been surrounded by children/teachers/lessons each and every day
I try my best to ‘pop’ into at least 5 lessons a day, every day. Not to carry out a learning walk, but just to say hello to the staff and students. I am still popping in EVERY morning to see all my team and smile, welcome them and check they are OK.
- Attended a two day conference with my Head at Whole Education about innovation
This was amazing, I learnt so much and being able to sit down and talk to my Head about my ideas and plans is so helpful. I can not fault the support my Head Teacher has offered me. She has continually offered, guidance, advice and support. We have devised a 7 point action plan together.
- Interviewed for more positions in school
Interviewing, although personally I hate it as I feel to SHOUT stop to the candidates and say, ‘ DON’T YOU THINK YOU SHOULD MENTION… OR SAY… OR CAN YOU EXPAND ON THAT POINT NOW!!’ Nevertheless, it does give me the opportunity to create my own team, a team that can share the same vision as me, right from the start of their journeys rather than having to adapt/change. (Refer to my previous post about adults being more reluctant to change at times.)
- Delivered 30 minute assemblies to Year 10/11 boys about MY LIFE
This was so interesting for me. Asides from an ‘unannounced’ lesson observation from the Head! It was fascinating to sit in front of Year 10 and Year 11 boys (on separate occasions.) I simply spoke to them about me, my life, my choices, where I came from, where I hope to go- Click HERE to see my Slides.
Each member of the SLT watched these talks, as did many other staff and the amount of feedback I received from staff/students was simply mind blowing. I recommend, all staff to share their journeys, their steps to success, their future plans. So students see that we are not here by divine right, but we studied, we worked hard and we will continue to do so…?
- Talked about budgets and reallocation of staff/pay
Talking about the vast quantities of money I am responsible for, for me was extremely important. Having just had the auditors come in and verify our school is working at an expert level of managing its finances, I did not want to mess this up! It is clear that schools are very adept at budgeting for certain areas, however, at times I am finding it difficult to understand many restrictions; I want to just say, ‘If I take money from there, to help there, it will still be cool, right!?’
Reallocating pay scales for my support staff has also been crucial in showing that I value and appreciate the unpaid ‘extra’ work they are doing. I am continuing to do this as I feel that all work should be highlighted/noted/appreciated. Teachers AND support staff.
- Learnt about Raise DATA and complex data tracking/identification
Meeting the AHT responsible for data and the School data manager has been really helpful in providing me with a sound understanding of data! I always wondered why senior staff gaffed around with so many 2 way spreadsheets, and conditionally formatted documents! However, I totally understand the need now. Knowing, who, why and when is integral to my role. Being in charge of Inclusion and receiving questions about individual students require an individual response. I must know EVERY single child, where they are, where they are going and how they are going to get there.
- Raised profile of Dept. further
I actively encourage and support my team, teachers, instructors, youth workers, support workers, TAs, in fact everyone! I recently put on a lunch for them on Nov. 29th- Celebrate a TA day and thanked them for their hard work. I also supported them in ensuring they can be involved in whole school practices… The Head attended this, having baking them all a cake too! I have also stepped back from meetings and management of some areas. I have empowered the line managers to take full ownership of their ‘sub-teams.’ I have created subject ambassadors for each dept. I have asked each ambassador to run a training session. I have also created a new tracking system for subject ambassadors and Heads of Departments.
More to follow on this…
- Teach Meet- #TMOxford
This was amazing! #TMOxford was attended by over 100 people from many, many schools! I was blown away by the amount of sponsorship and support that was offered. Prizes of the highest calibre given by large companies for FREE with no catch! Helping to organise this teach meet was of particular interest to me, as from this very #TMOxford last year, I was spotted by my Head and Sir Tim Brighouse! And now, I work here!
I launched the idea of Twitter Coaching (<—-Click to read more!) This has been really successful!
I have continually been asking for feedback, from other members of SLT, staff, students and people that have any link to me…I ask, was that OK? What could I have done better? and so on… Remember to seek feedback, like the students need it, I feel we do too!
I feel maybe sometimes my ideas are a little too ‘divergent’. I think ‘way’ outside the box at times and others may not be able to see the path like me…
However, I have learnt to become more STRATEGIC (buzz word!) and I am learning how to map out a vision for all short, medium and long term plans. I am thinking more about other teachers work loads, I feel I am being more understanding of how others are perceiving their own stress.
However, I do take opposition to the statement;
‘It’s nearly (add here whatever holiday is approaching) and we are all tired.’
I understand work is tiring, but we do get a number of breaks a year. (I know many of us work through these- but not entirely!) Therefore, I feel to say to staff- lets work until the holidays and then RELAX. OBVIOUSLY, the pace be slowed down but work must remain constant. The Noodles need still be made?
I am hoping to review and reflect my practices at least 3 times a 1/2 term. Keep checking back!
I HAVE NOT PROOF READ THIS YET! 🙂