May we live in interesting times

My brothers and sisters

I miss the conversations between us

There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer

So where are you now? Where are you now?

Twin Atlantic Brothers and Sisters

“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events — the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there — that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous.” 

The purpose of this post is to force me to reflect and commit. If any other readers take a peek and benefit then that is a delightful bonus. In writing it I live up to the aim of this blog, which turns 10 in December, which was to allow me to reflect and think. 

Interesting times have been experienced recently. I’ve failed again to get  deputy headship, someone in the family died, I ran a mountain marathon but have been slacking on the milage front, failing to complete the 100 mile ultra marathon that I’d set myself as a goal due to injury, so I’ve been feeling a bit of an underachiever.  Getting through the NPQH gateway and heading to the induction was more than a let down, and I left uninspired. Of course, it isn’t the first time that I have questioned what on earth I’m doing and, perhaps, being a little honest here may be naive and foolish. I say none of these things to tug on your heart strings, I am blessed and have a life of relative ease. Since taking on safeguarding how lucky I am has been hammered home.

But. I have been doing a lot of working out recently. Leadership is about values and personality and relationships. Three other events have made me sit up. The brilliant human utopia came along to launch the new school year. Dr Karen Edge came along to close the NPQH induction and yet another education secretary has taken office. The result is perhaps this, and nothing is an original thought of mine. 

It’s time to shout ‘plot twist’ and move on. Because, and here’s the thing, I love this job.

“It was impossible for him to get bored. He just didn’t have the imagination.” 

Leadership is about values and poor relationships cause schools to fail. Indeed, teachers shouldn’t underestimate the influence that we have on young people. We impart more than knowledge. We encourage qualities and qualifications. I become dismayed at the bickering on Twitter and I’ve found myself ignoring more than engaging these days. But I realise that that is just silly. Who is going to be on the side of justice and who is going to sing the praises of the profession apart from ourselves?  As leaders we not only need to make our job look possible, but we need to promote the profession to others. Otherwise, why would anyone want to join it let alone stay in it?

When asked ‘how are you?’ do we answers tired, busy or are we more positive?

How are we developing future leaders and who are we shoulder tapping and encouraging to lead? Are they like us in their views and backgrounds or are we seeking truly great leaders? I realised that I perhaps went too quickly to start and that brilliant leadership takes time to develop: have you ever seen a truly great leader run around the corridors?

Leadership is about values and relationships with students and staff so I’m going to take some of what Dr Karen said and act upon it. The infuriating thing is that it’s nothing new. So, I will attempt to:

Be a human leader and put relationships first. 

Be a talent spotter and diversify. I need to encourage others in to leadership and set challenging targets.
Network with people that can challenge you and make things happen. I need to just get on.
Get some balance and share  that I have found it. 

Anyway, it’s time that I remembered that I’m doing the job that I love and care passionately about.  It’s a great profession full of challenges, opportunities and laughs. Every now and again it’s tough. But then it should be. We don’t make money for other people and we are more than exam factories. Young people will remember us for years to come. Will it be for the right reason? Even worse, what if they remember little of you at all?

Leadership is about values and relationships. Leaders in schools should have two questions in mind:
  • How does this make learning better?
  • How do I support staff to make learning better?
It’s time to stop waiting for permission. It’s time to stop seeking endorsement.

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