One year on:
Tomorrow, 12.30pm will mark the end of my first year as an Assistant
Was it what I expected? Am I glad I moved into the role so ‘early’ in my
teaching career? Do I miss my ‘old’ school?
I am still learning the answers to all of these questions!
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
I think the biggest ‘thing’ I am finishing the school year with, aside
from sheer exhaustion like thousands of teachers countrywide, is knowing
that leadership is a skill that needs to be honed. I am
not the best teacher I can be yet. Therefore, I do not really know why I
thought I would just become an amazing leader instantly (I did just
think I would be awesome right away!)
The reflections I have written on this blog have most definitely helped
me in aligning my journey – ensuring I tell myself to jog, not sprint!
My nature, personality and make up forces me (!) to command the very
best in all I do. So, whenever I cause a blip, a slip up or a failure on
my part, I literally become mortified. I am gutted I was not better. I
feel as if I should have known.
I am not sure why I am so hard on myself as a leader. As a teacher, I am
happy to think ‘OK, I can do better. I will do better’.
BUT I hate letting people down, I hate having the feeling of people
being disappointed in me.
The real challenge for me is finding the balance between being friendly
and being too friendly. I like to have a laugh, a joke, a bit of
‘banter.’ The problem isn’t whether I should be doing this or not – it is more about what do others expect of me as a leader in terms of ‘showing’ my own personality?
I can’t control whether others misconstrue something that is out of
context. I can’t control whether others feel I should joke with them
more, less or not at all. So, I think the best thing for
me to do is not be too friendly to anybody. I started the year having
lunch with my large team daily, going to the pub with them, playing
Friday footy… I have cut all these things down now. I have not gone to
the opposite side of spectrum but I am more balanced now. I have established more professional boundaries / an appropriate distance.
When leading a team of around 40 individuals it is difficult to maintain
a parental like approach (unconditional love to one and all!) This is
something I will be better at next year! I will work on removing the
feeling of wanting to be liked. I would rather be liked based on my
decisions and leadership, rather than my jokes and personality – the ideal would be a mixture of both!
I have been busy on Twitter setting up #TwitterCoaching
ensuring that people are paired up with people they can communicate
with. This has been a great success thanks to my good friend
@Danwilliams1984 <http://twitter.com/danwilliams1984> . However, I have
found that without having my Twitter Coaches (thank you Mary Myatt
<https://twitter.com/MaryMyatt> , Kathleen Sorrell
<https://twitter.com/SLT_Kat> and Jill Berry
<https://twitter.com/jillberry102> to name a few), at times I would
have been really lost at sea.
My school went through some really turbulent times with the Head becoming seriously unwell, members of SLT leaving and others being promoted /
moved to our MAT- primary school and so on. Therefore, there are times I have been left to my own devices. This has been fine. However, I can also see the benefits in having somebody ask me if I am ‘OK’/ needed some advice / coaching me to deal with certain situations… Nevertheless, Twitter, filled that void.
My ‘ego’ has sometimes stopped me from asking for help. I thrive
reassurance, I yearn approval of my seniors. I value acknowledgement. As
a result of this, I aim to ensure I provide enough of this to my staff.
Oh, I can’t forget I did have access to Sir Tim Brighouse who mentored
me more than a few times throughout the year and for this I sincerely thank him!
Lots to learn:
I taught GCSE English to a small group of
high level SEN students in Year 11. This caused uproar on twitter, with
people arguing that one could never be a good teacher of English as if
they do not have an English degree. The results will be out soon and I
am looking forward to them! I have also taught GCSE RE to two
large Year 10 classes. I have always wanted to teach RE so was
pleased to be given a chance! I have restructured my whole
department and taken on the lead for Pupil Premium
(meaning I am now responsible for a massive budget!)
I am proud of my achievements. I am really happy with the developments of my area. However, they are not where I want them to be. I want them to be as close to perfect as is natural.
The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis
Importantly, I am aware of where I need to improve / what I need to do
better. After receiving feedback from my team, I was
advised to use this to tell my team how it will move US
forward and not just me! This is exactly what I intend to do, not focus on
myself but how being a better leader will benefit the team and
I will move myself, my team and my school forward. This will be to benefit each
and every single student we serve.
(I must also read my posts written here too, I must not forget the
reflections I have made.)
- Complete my National Award for SEN and Masters- ONE ASSIGNMENT LEFT AND MY FOLDER TO HAND IN, ALL ON TRACK!
- Read more- I really need to read the stacks of educational books I have purchased- 6 WEEKS HOLIDAYS TO CARRY THIS OUT!
- Have a child!!- 6 WEEKS HOLIDAYS TO SORT THIS OUT! 😉
- Push through the idea @Danwilliams1984 and I have- WE LAUNCHED @SESSIONBUILDER- ANOTHER VERSION DUE OUT SOON!
- Get in shape! Workouts/diet plans the lot!- I THINK I HAVE LOST WEIGHT…!
- Go to more ‘big name’ events- like Northern Rocks/Bett etc an be more sociable!- BEEN TO BETT, MISSED NORTHERN ROCKS, ALL PEDAGOO EVENTS, BUT HOPING TO GET TO TLT14!
- Develop my teaching of GCSE English- learn like an NQT- Develop my personal writing skills- STILL NEED TO PRACTICE AND LEARN.
- Get involved in more external CPD- I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS ALOT! LOVING IT.
- Travel more and visit more schools- HAVE BEEN VERY FORTUNATE TO BE DOING THIS.
- Manage my time better- I FEEL I ACTUALLY HAVE A BETTER WORK LIFE BALANCE NOW- WEIRD!?
- Be a better son/uncle/brother- see my mom/dad more- Be a better friend… Be a better Fiance…- STILL TRYING!
- Make my house my home- NEARLY THERE!!
- Learn a language on the drive to and from work- STILL ON THIS, BUT HAVE STARTED!
- Nail Special Educational Needs- Quality First Teaching- make an impact in my new school- 1ST YEAR COMPLETE, NEXT YEAR TO EMBED AND THIRD YEAR TO PERFECT!
Not doing too bad?
STOP PRESS- My toolkit- www.cheneyagilitytoolkit.blogspot.com will soon be turned into an APP!
Look out for Student Meet and KS5 Teach Meet in October and #TMOxford in December 2014!!
Also, for a SEN Teach Meet in association with Simon Knight!
Thanks all for your help!!
Education is the mother of leadership. —Wendell Willkie