A new job, a new context, a new subject (!), a new team, and the learning curve is as steep as ever! Most significantly, I ‘knew’ most of these things already, but reinforcement is a powerful thing!
Twelve thinking points for the holiday.
We’re all in this [insert adjective] boat together
This was the conclusion of a challenging conversation with an (understandably) frustrated colleague. This is so bleedin’ obvious and so easy to forget in the day-to-day roller-coaster. How do we ensure this principle is enacted daily?
Great NQTs are worth their weight in gold
These people, who’ve made the huge step to enter our profession, are SO valuable. Nurture them, challenge them, learn from them, keep them!
The Autumn term is tough
I forget this EVERY YEAR! Despite being in a job I genuinely love – and feel a sense of genuine optimism about every morning – November literally floored me. I’m coming to realise that that’s just the nature of November. Steel yourselves, and remember that what doesn’t kill you…
Great line-management makes all the difference
Challenge, support, time to be heard. I’d also forgotten how lonely middle management can be. A great line manager makes SO much difference to EVERY element of how we perform and how we feel.
The value of someone who knows what coffee you need
The people I miss most from previous schools: the caretaker and the librarian. The people who are around daily, always have time for a chat, and on whom you come to rely for a daily sanity check. Mary learned my name on the first day, together with my coffee preference and daily asks how I am – and cares about the answer. People like Mary make more of a difference than they could ever imagine.
The value of humility… and asking for help
Another obvious thing we often forget. We all mess up. We can all sometimes rush, panic, assume or forget. We can all be impatient and frustrated at times. But, this:
Mistakes are good
Growth Mindset has become almost a cliché. We tell our students this all the time. Why is it that we sometimes forget this with adults? The longer I’m in this career, the more strongly I believe that the setbacks, the mistakes, the crises make us better people, better teachers and better leaders.
Nothing beats a conversation
Time is the ultimate resource. There is ALWAYS too much to do. The wonder and the frustration of this job is that it’s NEVER finished. But the value of conversation – over email – can never be underestimated. Make time for it.
People are interesting
Something that really makes the difference to a day: a small detail about someone’s evening, their dog or their holiday. I feel genuinely privileged to work with interesting, educated and cultured people, and the moments they’ve chosen to share a personal detail about their lives, or a hope or a vulnerability have really made my term.
English teachers are a special breed!
I have been challenged, stimulated, surprised and touched by my team on a regular basis. From an MFL background, and having line-managed Sport and Science, I knew different subjects attract different characters. English teachers are experts at inference and deduction. When you ask them what they think, they sock it to you! Thy are clever, full of opinions and infinitely interesting. They have made me question ever element of everything about my management I’ve taken for granted!
Teamwork is dreamwork…
… and other such nonsense. The chance to giggle, though not as frequent as it could have been, has lifted me no-end. From catchy motivational phrases to endless innuendo. Making one another laugh is so powerful.
The C word
Not consistency. Not that one. Communication. The source of every victory and every setback. Not a ball to risk dropping, ever.
To love my job
Did I mention that I’ve got my mojo back? For all the teeth-clenching frustrations, missed deadlines and Alice-In-Wonderland moments, I love my job again.