I’ve always seen teaching as fun, inspirational and aspirational. Don’t get me wrong, there have been doubts and difficulties at times in my career, but even on the tough days I can honestly say that I’ve never had a dull moment. The level of creativity needed in teaching and leading a school community is driven by an insatiable passion for the people you serve. You want the best for them, and this absolute belief has stayed with me throughout my career.
Being a school leader can be stressful - this is probably stating the obvious, especially given the time of year. In the Innovate My School Guide 2017/18, four authors from different backgrounds discuss various aspects of school leadership. Here are their thoughts on wellbeing.
Over the years, several studies have revealed the benefit - even necessity - of spending time outdoors and when the great outdoors is combined with education, it can have vast benefits. Learning outside can help provide a holistic approach towards learning with immense academic, social and emotional benefits for students. Although most children go on school trips several times a year, they don’t often get the opportunity to enjoy nature as part of their school day, which means they could be missing out on opportunities to excel both academically and socially.
Can PE and Maths be mixed to achieve first rate teaching and learning? Surrey headteacher Steve Tindall has implemented the Maths of the Day programme throughout his whole school, to the benefit of teachers, support staff and pupils alike.
I have been interested in action research for a number of years. Having working in social services for the first part of my career, we were trained to within an inch of our lives. Much of the training was practical, and focused on the concept of practice development. This evidence-informed practice enabled us to look at the skills and strategies we needed to meet the needs of our service users. Entering teaching in the nineties and noughties I found that this wasn’t really the case. Training was very prescriptive and centralised from government (National Strategies/APP) or ad hoc, and wasn’t concerned with meeting the needs of everyone in every classroom.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” Richard II, Act 5, Scene 5
The optimal school leader is proactive, personable and pragmatic. The common theme throughout these qualities is time. A proactive leader ensures that deadlines are adhered to and best laid-plans are not forgotten. They are willing to make time for others, listen attentively and take onboard contrasting viewpoints. Pragmatism means they can prioritise the most important tasks to hand and make sensible decisions.