I spent three hours in training today. An hour and a half in a one on one meeting with an excellent head who has achieved outstanding inspection results four times in a row and then an hour and a half in a session with this head aimed at Middle Level Leaders. Both sessions were great: my one on one was so timely considering my mood of late whilst the MLL was so good in terms of refocusing the priorities and motivation.
As we were discussing the faculty and I was talking about my leadership and reflecting on the past two weeks, I was told ‘You can visit Pity city, but you can’t afford to stay there.’ How true! Usually I am a bright, energetic and positive person but post-Ofsted I have felt a bit flat and a bit sorry for myself and the situation I found myself in. However, I made a conscious decision to go out on Friday night and have a little alcohol which turned into a lot of alcohol and this was brilliant for clearing the negativity away and bringing the positive back. If you, too, are finding work a little overwhelming I can whole-heartedly recommend this! Anyway, I am now back on form and ready and am happy to share that my stay in Pity City was no real fun and the real world is so much better.
As MLL we were told that ‘the first task of leadership is to keep hope alive.’ How true! It is my responsibility to ensure that we remain hopeful about the situations we find ourselves in as the journey becomes better when taken with positivity and hope. If we did not have hope then we wouldn’t be working as hard to nail the Controlled Assessment I’m sure.
It is important that within our areas we are the ones responsible for transforming and energising learning. We need to ask ourselves do we develop our students’ enthusiasm for learning within our subject area? Are we motivating and engaging our learners? Are we using a range of imaginative teaching strategies? Are we planning exciting lesson starters? Typing these questions out has already reinvigorated my attitude towards teaching and learning within my faculty – I cannot wait to plan the new KS3 curriculum, I cannot wait to write a new scheme of work – it is very exciting and this is exactly how I want the kids to feel when they come into my English faculty.
I nearly cried when she told us that leaders are reflective! I am probably the most reflective person I know and the importance of always believing there is room for improvement was emphasised but so was the desire to always strive to improve. I loved the fact that she talked about trial and error – as a new faculty everything we do is trial and error. It is interesting to note people’s reactions when things don’t work out with some people feeling quite frustrated or critical whilst, in fact, my take on this when it usually happens is it didn’t work, let’s try something new. I felt confident about my approach when we were told that this is a great process in finding out what is right and works for you, the students and the school context. To quote ‘When things go right, head in the direction of the boardroom and not the pub. Figure out what went right. To repeat your success you need to understand how you did it.’
Then we were told about the five characteristics of outstanding faculties:
1) Trust within the team
2) Healthy, respectful debate and conflict
3) Common performance goal or clear aim is crucial
4) Joint accountability is essential
5) 100% commitment to the team
Reflecting I think my faculty scores a 3/5 so some work to do but we are most definitely heading in the right direction.
Finally, we were given a few last pointers
1) Our job is to keep the ship steady.
2) Translate change into something meaningful
3) Never stop trying to make it count.
For me, the time is now 🙂