Tag Archives: HOD

Reflections on ‘moving on’ – settling in as HOD.

This is a follow-up to: moving on…. in which I looked forward to taking up my then new role as HOD English. The original is in italics.

As I approach the end of my job,I want to reflect on 10 years in a relationship and my feelings as I move on to pastures New.

What an odd sensation.  But then the whole adventure has been a little strange in some ways.  Anyone who read my “who I am, what I do” blog knows the back story: opera singer becomes English teacher to have a job which both utilises my brain ( the multiplier effect) and which does not mean 8 months a year away from my wife and children.

Thus it was that in 2004 I arrived at the front door of a well-known Grammar School in Slough.

Below you will find my top moments and thoughts-a quick a single pedagogical Desert Island Disks.
Teachers are incredibly thin-skinned.
There was little rhyme and reason to the recruitment process.
I will never forget.
Leadership blues.
Changes. ( with apologies to Mr Bowie for the plagiarism).
Just leave me alone.
I can do this.

We teachers are a funny bunch. Every day we spend hours facing groups of potentially critics and revolutionaries.  We show evidence of calm and serenity in this arena all day long.  However, stand up to talk at a staff inset and all changes.  We are nervous in a way that does not usually show and find perceived criticism very hard to bear.  Thus when I arrived with a mindset honed in the opera house that said “make a mistake? Make it a big and confident one and then laugh about it”, it took a while to realise that this approach did not work in schools.  A passing comment about a dire colour scheme in a PowerPoint or a suggestion that a certain resource might not be quite as effective as was believed, was greeted with a remarkable amount of hostility. Clearly things were going to be a bit different in my new world. Ten years on, I know one reason: Ofsted and the associated assessment regime in school.  No wonder there are few smiles in some schools.  In my old job, performance was transitory (unless recorded) and although reviews appeared in national and international press, our careers depended on our ability to perform and win over an audience.  We knew that such opinion is subjective and understood that a single poor review is no reason to end a career.  How different the pressure on a teacher.  Despite lip service, Ofsted still seem to favour certain teaching styles and many lethargic managements still require adherence to this idea.  Teachers know that poor performances when observed are career threatening and in many schools are still insignificant pressure to respond to the ill-informed or dogmatic demands of their management.

Moving to the Private Sector has shielded me from OFSTED, though not from inspection per se – we have our own ISI – the independent Schools’ Inspectorate and were inspected this year. The difference for me was the lack of ridiculous pressure on us. We were observed teaching and wrote plans ‘just in case’ but the atmosphere was different and there were no evident judgments made in any way. There seems to be a holistic overview of the establishment rather than a minute focus on individuals and a wide-ranging inspection of the ethos and extra-curricular life of the school. My previous establishment saw me off with a noxious ‘mocksted’ – the single most damaging activity dreamed up by SMT with which to beat an over-pressured staff – here we were supported through the process. As a HOD I had responsibility to ensure that my paperwork was up to date – handbook, resources, data tracking… but I was trusted to complete the relevant documents which, though time-consuming, was something I appreciate greatly.

I also appraise my team – I arrange book views to ensure that we are working on the same tracks whilst recognising that each of my department have their own style. What I want to see this year is better unanimity of use of some of the department policies regarding tracking literacy, especially in years 7&8, but I am left alone to plan and share my ideas within the department, who can then come back with their own… We have no fixed teaching style and have just been given fancy laptops and BYOD looms in the distance, yet we are free to work out how best to use this equipment as an opportunity to develop teaching and learning rather than as a proscribed path to be followed and to be strayed from at your own risk.

I am happy in this role in this school.

My first head teacher was quite a case. She ruled in the manner of Elizabeth 1st and gathered a coterie of close confidants around her.  As a trainee I appealed to her because of my background – Classics and opera- and so it was that one morning about three weeks into my teaching life, she glided past me in the staffroom and muttered something about a job.  Too surprised to respond, I grunted and moved on.  A few days later I passed her in a corridor and raised the subject: “I do not joke” was the response.  Later as a close friend struggled under quite appalling pressures and a grievance procedure I saw that this was certainly true.  She was in control: interviews by phone were common as were bizarre questions -“are you an alcoholic?” Is one example.  I do wonder though whether the recent fetishistic in-box tasks, role plays and student panels really do produce better results.

I have now taken part in 3 interview processes and see no random chance in the process. We have been lucky and I have a brilliant department – a good mix of age, experience and interest who work well together can trust each other. This is vital for a happy department. We have an office in which we can let off steam with each other and it would be daft to pretend there is never any friction, but the element of being part of the hiring process is one I value – I am looking for compatibility as well as classroom skills when I am interviewing. I find the whole process frustratingly artificial, however… few lessons should be disasters in this process and one has no idea how the candidates may be hiding their humour in an effort to appear ‘intellectual’. I try to find the humour and the personality.

I am, however, surprised by the nature of some of the CVs which do not make the short list. Does no one coach our colleagues about how they might sell themselves? Maybe this is an element of CPD with which schools should engage with their staff – after all, we spend months helping the Upper 6th write Personal Statements!

Without children there would be no teachers.  We all have our favourites but also recall those who have impacted our lives and made us better people. Looking back there is a girl who.I helped through GCSE resits in yr 12. She seemed committed but had a dreadful attendance record. She had energy, but no stability.  She cared for a baby sibling almost full-time and received irate phone calls during afternoon lessons from an irate mother demanding to know where she was and why she wasn’t at home to help out.  She passed and was in touch recently- a lovely and successful young lady.  Most of all though was the boy who lived.  When I first met him in yr8 I was told he would not live beyond 16. He was wheelchair bound and suffering from a degenerative condition which would inexorably take over his body.  But never his mind.  I never saw him downcast and loved the way that his peers engaged with him and encouraged him.  He was not left out in any way and staff were often asked to spend lunch in the gym overseeing the most spectacular games of basketball ever conceived.  I was his form tutor in year 12 and helped him with the UCAS process. I am thrilled that he is about to begin his Masters degree.  We bump into each other on social media and I think he is the single most impressive human being I have encountered since I began this life, if not ever.  Aren’t teachers lucky?

I still believe the sentiment of the last sentence and both young adults mentioned above are going strong and still occasionally in touch. As for my new charges, I see such talent on display at times  – the playwrite, the boy who opted for a stint in the Finnish National Service because it might be good for him, the strugglers, the charmers and those who get on with it and don’t really raise their heads above the parapet. All of them make my life richer. Thank you.

Leadership has been something that I have given much thought.  I am about to take on my first HOD role and am obviously concerned to get it right.  However I know that I will make mistakes and hope that my honesty and integrity still lead my response.  Leadership seems to need to balance what has to be done with what should be done.  For me, the latter seems the more important.  A moral compass and a sense of integrity should not be sacrificed for political expediency.  Too often it is.  I know one wonderful SLT member who has gone out on a limb rather than flinch from what is right- it has not won her the same friends as those who nod meekly and accept each element of policy as though their lives depended on it.  At what point did we abdicate our responsibility for creating an excellent education system?  The system is currently damaged.  Ofsted seem to be vanishing up their own fundament in the search for a method of stigmatising the poor, based on dogma and entrenched philosophies whilst leaders seem to be lagging behind the staff when trying to drive change and embrace the potential freedoms of a world without levels and in which the changes at KS5 could be embraced as a challenge.  There are exceptions, naturally, and I follow many staggeringly impressive figures on Twitter, but being realistic, these voices which drive open and exciting discussion in the Twitter-verse are a tiny minority of school leaders in the country, many of whom are still cowed by the league table culture and a fear of what Ofsted might say.  Based on my limited 10 year experience, I urge leaders to remember: 

This seems a little darker, especially when looking at OFSTED… I still value Twitter colleagues and the brilliant @team_english1 in particular, which has turned into a great support network for English teachers. All should follow it and join in the conversation. I try to get to at least one major T&L conference each year as time allows and am trying to make time to meet some of my tweacher colleagues in the flesh: so far – so rewarding.

1 You were a classroom teacher once- rediscover that excitement

I still love engaging in new teaching ideas and texts – this year I will be teaching American Lit for the first time at A level and have got myself back into Year 7. The new timetable is going to be interesting and not without considerable challenge, but challenge is interesting and without it we fester and corrode.
2 Don’t build walls between yourself and the other staff

I try to be as open and available as possible. I was amazed that our librarian was not invited to meetings by my predecessor  – she is now and ‘library matters’ is usually the most populated area of the minutes sent to SMT weekly.  I know I can be a grumpy sod at times, but I hope that I am there when it matters. We are all silly-busy, to come over all precious and HOD-ish is just childish… the ‘I’m the captain and I say so’ school of management. We eat and drink together – and I try to buy the first round.
3 Share your vision and enthuse

It’s quite hard to enthuse without pushing. What I hope is that my vision is clear and that I never ask others to do something which I will not. We need a collective understanding to get on with whatever we need to do – the hurried celebration of the 140 years of the school which led to the re-writing of the Hunting of the Snark is a good example – I cajoled and requested… I tried to show my enthusiasm for a fortnight which interrupted other work long in the planning and the outcome worked.

I have encouraged others to develop and write SOWs for our use – Bethan’s passport is one such outcome – as exciting a transition scheme as I have worked on. Our work to deliver lectures to look deeper at the texts studied has developed the Lecture Day to something really impressive thanks to the work of Gavin and Maria. And I have not lost my enthusiasm for blogging.
4 Credit what is happening, don’t just criticise what is not

Hard – but rumination is the root of all stress – the less we ruminate on the unchangeable or the out of our control, the better. I try. Honestly, I try.
5 Be a Multiplier and empower your staff to use their intellect to benefit the school

Again, I am trying. I want my team to be motivated whether by further CPD training towards leadership roles or ensuring that their wishes and personal targets are supported. I will try to find suitable courses if this is needed and will also try to have some ideas of my own in the background, but I will not be a leader who offers chances only to take them away at the first sign of difficulty. ‘What are you going to do next?’ is a process which enables development. ‘Here, let me’ just stifle sit and builds a sense of why bother. I hope the couple of instances of this which have arisen this year have been of value, even if the colleagues didn’t realise what I was trying to do. We all work to tight time constraints and there are times when a leader has to take on work to ensure it is completed, but for me, the aim is to develop an environment in which all my colleagues can thrive.
6 Look for evidence before accepting the latest pseudo-scientific breakthrough

Yes. No change here.  Read the books and make up your own mind.
7 Remember to be human both for staff and students alike

Again – we are all stressed, and they are CHILDREN, even if they are 18. We all make mistakes, we all get tired and we are all prey to emotion. Children are not different and we must always remember this whilst being scrupulous about being consistent in the application of sanctions as required.
8 Think of yourself as the stem of the glass supporting the bowl. The support is the fragile bit – be careful and gentle and honest.

I still like this analogy and think about it often. I wonder if it is widely held in the senior ranks?

Embrace change! With no change life is deadly.  I try to find new books to use in class and always look for pedagogical developments: some works, some does not, but even with the latter, I find that the seeds sown often develop into something interesting at a later stage.  My change of job is exciting.  I know that I don’t really want to have to go back to stage one of the “getting to know you” game, but it will be worth it and the change excites me greatly.  Look forward, not backwards.

This is so close to number 1, above…. We must not be afraid of making mistakes and learning from them and we need to show our students that this is the path to success.

   This one comes  back to assessment. Many are the cries to be left alone to teach and, to a degree I support this.  Confrontational observation with a checklist of required behaviours has been systematically rubbished this year in a series of writings by bloggers such as David Didau and Tom Bennett, often collated by another figure “Old Andrew” ( who blogged anonymously for years to avoid hostility stemming from his trenchant views).  Only today the Civitas report by Robert Peal has surely sounded the death knell.  No. In September there will be hundreds of us required to jump through hoops to achieve a weird sort of acceptance of our competence.  Leave me alone, and give me the power and space to develop my own pedagogy.  Institute triads to support and develop colleagues and ensure that all access the incredible wealth of real CPD opportunities found in the cloud and regularly given publicity on Twitter.  At the same time, telling companies purporting to sell courses guaranteed to show the “outstanding” lesson to crawl back under their stones.  Use the money saved to send 10 Staff members to #TLAB15, one of the best days money can buy.

Yes. Assessment is not confrontational in my department – at least, that is my intention. I use ISI grading sheets which are holistic and look for evidence of what is present rather than what is not. I keep meaning to drop in on teaching in the department, though time issues make this hard. The other problem is that I get excited by what I see and want to join in. Both Bethan and Jade have suffered from this when I watched WW1 poetry and Chaucer being taught this term. We have a regular book check rota, though I will not run each session and the department take it in turns to review a year group and to present to the group with good-practice-seen being the key trend. Serious areas of concern will be dealt with by me, but none have turned up as yet.

My current wish for staff would be to attend #ResearchEd in any of its guises. Bethan and I will be in London on September 9th.

7.  I can and I bloody well will!

Yes.

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HoDs need to talk. The value of support groups.

When was the last time you sat with a group of 15 HODs and had a day devoted to you? Today?

At this point  I will come clean. As a HOD in a private school I am a member of a group designed to support each other and to offer advice and a listening ear.

To some this will smack of a Masonic Self-Help group to sustain the monopoly of the elite, but it is not. Truly.

We meet once a year and otherwise, share the occasional email asking for comment about assessment of the new A levels or ideas about approaching teaching Linear A levels in a school dominated by non-reformed subjects.

We could all benefit from this and I wonder how many HODs have the chance?

As English Teachers we are lucky. The staggeringly brilliant @team_English and a variety of # groups give support and solace. But there is something about being in the one room and relaxed…. I’m all for it and will willingly work with any HODs in my area to set something up. 4 or 5 of us had an OCR A level group which ran for a while, but it is tricky. Surely senior managers can realise how beneficial this can be – a day off for each HOD in the summer? It won’t break the school and there will be undoubted benefits.

This year we met at Aldenham School, and many thanks for the impeccable hosting!

We had 2 CPD sessions in the morning:

Andrew Green (Senior Lecturer Education Brunel University)

Paul Clayton (Director of NATE)

Andrew drew focus on the fundamental reasons for study of literature at A level. This was not board focused and was a general discussion which prompted me to consider how I am serving A level students in terms of skills needed for University study.

The A level is a Linear study and has been devised as such by all boards. We should remember that and allow time to develop – the linear model was praised by all HoD’s present who have the chance to run it. The AS was an afterthought and in our later discussions we all commented on feedback from the boards who seemed disappointed that schools are teaching it.

Andrew posed 2 questions:

Why study literature?

What is literature actually about?

… and focused on the new Assessment objectives:

AO2

The very open wording, moving away from Language Structure and Form gives a much a broader scope than old objective. Students are, instead, asked how writers’ shape texts’.  Thus personal contexts will shape texts, meaning that AO2&3 are linked inextricably. AOs 1&4 link and suggest an awareness of how writers themselves write about linked texts.

Now there are worries: this is great in theory and from an academic in Further Education but we have a different master – our results. It is hard to see how an examiner of the A level this summer can award AO2 and 3 simultaneously or how a piece of writing can afford not to carry the ghost of the old AOs in it. But it started the thought process, and that is what meetings are for.

Note that set texts in this world become examples of a genre rather than as individuals. That is to say that all the boards require students to extend their awareness of other texts in similar genres – for me on OCR, my students are reading 1984 and Handmaid, but considering as much Dystopian literature and film (is film Literature? is another question) as a requirement in the new Unseen questions. Likewise the need to be aware of contexts of all sorts – socio historical and literary is vital for the Doll’s House/Chaucer pair of texts.  Suddenly my students really need to understand the eras in which works are produced.  IN my selection 1399-1845 is quite a span.

Is it time to reevaluate delivery in light of 2years of a new syllabus?

Yes.

Remember that A level is intended to have a much closer link to the requirements of further education than hitherto. We must move beyond the syllabus in order to achieve well, especially into a range of contexts to present the knowledge required for success This can be built into 2 year delivery.

5 steps to Heaven:

1 We need to understand the history and development of language and establish links between the texts being read across this course.

2 How do we develop awareness of the mechanics of creating a text?

3 How to balance the personal contexts of the reader with the texts being read? Do we really explore and ‘play’ with the texts?

4 How to harness the new worlds of social media in order to engage with studies?

5 How do we enable students to read and respond to critique and to evaluate worth and quality?

Teaching Literature at A level.pptx (002)

In this activity get the students to build up their own contexts which affect their perception of a text, then discuss.

Andrew then posed questions to stimulate and raise awareness of breadth of course.  Required consideration for excellence and high UCAS?

I can imagine a lunchtime cours eof classes for U6 university hopefuls each looking at this list:

Define literature?

Is film literature ?

Is soap opera literature ?

What is the point of studying literature ?

Is it more important to study old rather than new?

How do we  evaluate quality?

Can we still call a Text ‘good’ if we dislike it?

Should a good text equate with difficulty?

Who decides what literature is good?

Canon work:

Create and defend choices of canon?

Can we ignore the writing which ‘came before’?

Placing texts in rank order?

This seems to me to be material at the heart of the study of Literature and vital for discussion. To avoid it seems to restrict the awareness of our students too far. I am enthused.

He explored Criticism and Theory:

Students should address this but it turns into contexts in reality since critical reading is a context for reception. How early should we begin to embed critical theory? (I wrote a module a while ago to reinforce feminism in y8 poetry through study of homer and various more recent interpretations of the Odyssey in poetic form).

Are students ‘natural theorists’ (Eagleston)? Possibly. We need to tap into the body of theory which can be used and to develop awareness of how best to use it.  Something else to get my teeth into.

theory out

 theory in

These are not ideas beyond the scope of students in KS3 let alone KS4 – let’s use them.

Finally, via Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies we approached seeking critical lenses and replying whenever required to stimulate thought. Copies of ‘critical lens statements were provided.  What others may be needed?  Critical lenses

Andrew has shared his materials with us for use in our schools. This is his work and please give him all credit should you use it.

Using art to encourage personal engagement and contextualisation:

Getting students to develop titles. How do titles alter our perception of a work of literature? Do we look for a manifestation of the title? He went on to show how he used art work – usually highly abstract to engage discussion. This leads naturally to a discussion around Barthes:  Do writers ‘own’ meaning? – which helps to develop awareness of taste, to discuss nature of ambiguity; to look at the role of reader in interpretation; to consider the motivation and craft of the writer; to inquire what authority a teacher might have and to explore the significance of titles.

WOW. It was only 11.15.

It feel wrong to have so little to say now about Paul’s session – excellent and focused on GCSE unseen texts. The main reason is that  much of this was interactive – we explored a wide range of activities designed to help younger students tease out the finer points of unseen analysis in a world in which all GCSE/IGCSE exams now have an unseen quotient.

Paul’s powerpoint is here: 10th May 2017 please credit him if you use this.

It is a mine of useful information and activities. I particularly enjoyed the sentence combining exercise on Utterson!

In the afternoon we have the Business of the Day and discuss the last exam series.  I will not break ranks and share too much, apart from saying how good it is to hear colleagues being so frank and open about their respective results, cohorts and interaction with the exam boards. One point of general interest was that most schools are now teaching A level straight through, having started by offering AS and finding this unsatisfactory. There was a split regarding the schools’ practice for unreformed subjects. One or two schools had moved all subjects ot straight through delivery , even if unreformed and others were stiull offering study leave and similar gaps for all students which, it was felt, seriously undermined the attempts to deliver the straight-through courses.

Eventually it will all come out with the wash. Or so they say.  Probably just in time for the next curriculum change!

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#Nurture14/15: looking ahead as an HOD.

A link to my post for #Nurture 14/15. This is a personal reflection on 2014/15 with a glance ahead at what is to come.

https://www.evernote.com/l/ANN1o6u7UhhAXr-QN_KQAiDINVDHLrjJCYA

I hope you enjoy this if you read it and that it sparks a few comments from my colleagues in teaching.

January 2nd 2015 finds me procrastinating.  After a 20 mile bike ride I am now in the dacha, some pleasant music (Rachmaninov) ringing out into my sunny garden through the open doors; I am snug and warm and enjoying the break from the shivering cold of the last few days.  I am working.
Except that I am not.
I will be, soon, but I wanted to get something down in writing.
Chatting to my wife the other day, I was brought up short by a comment she made about Learning as a concept.  She was wondering whether it would ever be possible to return to University, even as a mature student, and still revel in the sense of the veil being lifted as we explore and discover our areas of passion for the first time.  We both read Classics at KCL and have different memories of the course – her veils were lifted by Dr Michael Silk in a course called Theory of Literature (which as far as I know he wrote and designed the exams for…) and mine by Professor John Barron exploring Homer and the Dark Ages of Classical development.  We both sat in awe of @wmarybeard teaching us about Virgil – she seemed so incredibly knowledgable and yet so utterly cool as she dragged undergraduates through material she must have known backwards.
This is my point.  One lecturer at KCL, sadly he died very young, never convinced that the was excited by exploring Aristophanes.  Notes were read from a book full of neat handwriting and we sat around a table listening, commenting and re-noting.  The real nadir came in a discussion of Ekklesiazousae – “It is time for Aristophanes to produce a penis… (a long pause full of weight before the deadpan delivery continued after turning the page)… joke.”  Hardly stimulating delivery which encouraged engagement on a hot afternoon in a small room high up in the Strand Building behind Aldwych tube station.
As I teach, I must return again and again to a small group of texts.  Some I love and some I am deeply weary of teaching.  However. for our students, each page, each sentence, each word is new and carries a multitude of possibility.  
I have taught Much Ado in KS3,4 & 5, for IBDP, A level, GCSE, IGCSE KS3 SATS and for fun – I know it backwards – or so I think.  This year I was working for the first time, in my new job, with a group of boys.  The dynamic shifted.  No longer was Beatrice one with whom they would identify in secret and the whole reading took on a much more “masculine” tone.  I was taken to a new perspective and I hope the boys never received the opinion that I felt that I “knew” the play too well to discuss their ideas.  Whilst I might expect it to be obvious from the start that Beatrice is someone who is exciting to be around, for my little chauvinists she was irritating and too cheeky.  A whole area of new-to-me discussion developed.  They were also the first group I have taught who were interested in Claudio.
The same is true of the hoary favourites like Of Mice and Men – a text I adore teaching.  OK so it has gone from the GCSE set lists.  No matter: us it in KS3/4 in Year 9.  Again the perspectives change with regards to character.  A slightly worrying group of boys found Curly to be a fine chap and were deeply saddened by his maiming.  Again, this challenge to my assumptions developed over the years is stimulating and makes me go back to the text for myself to ensure that i am recognising where Steinbeck is actively seeking to influence his readers’ opinions.  It was also a relief not to be teaching it for an exam – we spent more time being creative and digressing than my GCSE course would have allowed.
Old materials being constantly rethought.  And by extension this is why I am excited about 2015.  I am also dreading it.  Let’s be honest:  the dog’s breakfast that is A level reform is not going to be fun.  On the other hand I need to revisit old texts and crash headlong into others for the first time.  As an academic, this should be exciting. 
  1. PROMISE: to try to view the challenge of curriculum change as stimulating for my own creative faculty and not to obsess about the workload or imposition from Whitehall.
In September I will be engaging in Shakespeare.  What a choice:  Hamlet – not taught it, love it.  Read at A level in 1980 (Thank you Anthony Reynell); Measure for Measure – not over keen and taught it for IBDP for a couple of years around 2008; 12th Night – adore it and taught it to year 8 at SGS in 2008… the only comedy; Coriolanus – not read, but seen; exciting and boy friendly? Tempest- not taught but read often and loved; Richard III – not taught but seen several productions and much loved.  I should be thrilled to be allowed to be exploring so much great literature – and that’s just the Shakespeare!  Yes.  It will be very time consuming and I will resent it – even more if the changes don’t come in after all…  But what a chance to engage in exploring great literature for myself and helping to lift the veil both for me and my students.  Teachers of English Literature are the luckiest teachers on the planet!
So much for curriculum stuff…
I took up a new position in 2014 as Head of English and I am loving it.  At times the learning curve has been extreme and I am getting used to the need to fill a good spreadsheet…  however i want to focus on my department management for the rest of my #nurture post.
2. PROMISE to try to deliver a Multiplier approach to all I do.  This can be hard, especially when trying to introduce new practice or ideas.  How not to come on too strong and unintentionally confuse and overload is something I have been aware of this term.  As we go back, I know that I will be supporting a colleague who wishes to move on to develop his career.  He is an excellent teacher and whilst I would love him to stay, I know that it is my job to develop and support his professional practice as much as my own.  He has a few responsibilities and needs to bring these in to help me and to load his CV with recent success – “Problem?  What do you suggest?” must be my watchword – try not to be too controlling even with the best of intentions.
3. PROMISE to pull my weight in the department.  This sounds obvious but can be ignored.  I get paid extra to be a HOD.  This means that the extra work required by the Senior Management tier is mine and mine alone.  My colleagues will be required to present me with data on occasion, but it is my role to do the boring input bit…  I will not shirk this.  The other half of this promise is that to will continue to work every bit as hard as they as a teacher.  I am not an administrator, that is only part of my role.  I am a School Master (to use an old phrase) and to me this embodies what happens in the classroom and what happens in the extra-curricular sphere.  I will continue to develop debating at the school and hopefully continue to work in the Music department…
4. PROMISE to maintain my sense of humour both with colleagues and the boys in my care.  It is so important to be able to laugh at ourselves.  I hope that I will continue to use humour to deflect pain and to prick pomposity as well as to help me to maintain my sanity.
5 MINOR PROMISES
  • to give chocolate to the Physics department on a regular basis for use of their sink and taps for my coffee machine
  • to provide chocolate and restorative beer/wine as required to my department to thank them for the work they do and the support they give me.
  • to remember that Year 7 matter!  How often do we concentrate on exam years at the expense (temporary) of KS3?  I will continue to develop a new KS3 teaching plan to begin in September.
  • to continue to ride my bike as often as I can.
  • to be home before my wife as often as possible and to arrange my life to try to enjoy downtime in the evening whenever possible
  • (linked to above) to get out whenever possible – at least once a month and “do something”.  Arranged thus far in January and February:  Andrea Chenier at ROH; A City of London Burns supper; A teachmeet at Bentley Wood.  Looking ahead: Spurs Vs Man City for my birthday and still to be arranged:  Wasps at their new home, my son’s 18th in April and some time at my place in Somerset to forget the internet and walk…
  • Wish me luck.
Jonathan Peel
02/01/2015

 

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