Reflections on subject leadership

This half term, I have been tested like never before. My motivation, ambition and direction have come under fire. Sometimes I’ve felt isolated, intimidated and a little insecure. However, this is a positive story, and I hope that there are some useful tips here for subject leaders. This post follows on from a previous one on subject leadership.

Some of the questions that I have grappled with are:

  • Who do I support most, the senior leadership team or my team?
  • How far do I challenge the status quo?
  • How can I get what I need to improve learning in my area?
  • Do I really want to be teaching?
  • Is this just a dead end?

For inspiration, I turned to the mountain exploits. The picture at the top of this page shows a mountain side in North Wales. At first, the climb ahead may seem like an impossible task. especially as during this day there were a few novices to winter conditions in the group.

But, with the right equipment, in this case ice axes and crampons, combined with a good guide, the mission ahead becomes achievable.

So what lessons have I learnt?

1. It’s always better to get face-to-face than use email

Even if it’s for a fleeting moment, it’s always better to talk to somebody. Emails are easily misunderstood!

2. It’s best not to assume that everyone is against you

There’s no doubt that some people are, but this month I’ve learned to speak first and approach from a positive viewpoint.

3. Gather supporters before jumping in

I am naturally an impulsive person. This is not always compatible with subject leadership. Progress is made by talking to others, within and outside of an organisation. Sometimes, it’s not worth being a lone voice.

4. Support my team by thinking like them

I have decided that sometimes, it’s best to support my team. I know that I can often get around, over or through obstacles, but can others? If they can’t then learning will suffer.

5. Keep the focus on learning

Learning is my core purpose. Young people are my main client. By keeping the focus on learning and young people it has been easier to convince others. I hit some political barriers on my recent journey (which has only just begun) and I have yet to develop a way of dealing with them.

6. Choose the battles

It’s important to challenge the status quo. By getting people talking, awareness of an issue is raised.

Anyway, if this post had a soundtrack, it would be by Queen 🙂

I will continue to teach. It’s just too much fun!

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