Image courtesy Swinton Fitzwilliam School
I'm now in my 9th year of teaching (10th if you count my PGCE) and each year I try to take on a new challenge:
1st Year - Finishing off the year with 7 weeks teaching street children in Ethiopia.
2nd Year - Starting my part time MA in Catholic School Leadership.
3rd Year - Starting as Staff Governor.
4th Year - Becoming Head of House and becoming Link Training Governor.
5th Year - Joining Governor Policy Review Committee (nearly everything needed reviewing!).
6th Year - New school, new job... Assistant Subject Leader on RE.
7th Year - Edmodo/digital learning/leading staff CPD/joining TeachMeet world.
8th Year - NPQML (Regret!), arranging two major local TeachMeets, Independent Learning Project coordinator.
9th Year - New job... Head of Year 10 (or PDC - Pastoral Development Coordinator).
Some staff are very content to turn up, deliver generally good lessons, fulfil all their contractual obligations and be a success in doing this. They're not looking for promotion, and are quite content maintaining the status quo.
I like to challenge myself and push myself. I know I sometimes get complacent and to keep adding further 'plates to spin' keeps me fresh, enthused and focused.
However, I am also getting better at saying no and have this year had the confidence to turn down certain things. This gets massively important as sometimes when you appear knowledgeable, insightful and willing, you get put upon. I still lead as much CPD as some members of SLT.
It's also worth noting that some staff are desperate to 'climb the ladder' as soon as possible. I have always always been sure that I wanted to 'walk before I could run', so to speak. In a Catholic school promotion can be slower... Indeed at least one of my PGCE cohort walked straight into a Head of Department job! I was told "Heads of RE jobs in a Catholic school are dead man's shoes" and that can certainly be the case.
9 years in, I should probably be a Head of RE. However I recognise that for the last 3 years I have worked alongside an incredibly inspirational Head of RE who has given me massive free reign. I have been working hard on being a really outstanding teacher and ensuring our department leads on teaching and learning within the school... I really believe we do. There is nothing more that I love than a colleague coming to ask about something that a student has said we do well. So much of this works because I've not been desperate to seek elsewhere to be a Head of RE.
In all honesty, had I not go the job as Head of Year this year I would have had to consider leaving in the very near future in order to progress. Thankfully that has not been the case!
Is the job not enough of a challenge in itself?
Of course it is. Government changes keep us on our toes enough, but I think the important question is how do we "keep the light burning, keep on dreaming"? [Dream Baby Dream - Springsteen]. Especially in a personal way.
Head of Y10... No doubt more blogs to come!