Tag Archives: leadership

My Reflections on a Wonderful #PedagooHampshire16

What happens when Teachers and School Leaders learn to put themselves first?

On Saturday 17th September, I was delighted to attend Pedagoo Hampshire 16 in Alton. This event, which featured a day of interactive seminars hosted by individuals across the educational landscape, aimed to discuss and tackle key issues in education and create a forum for speakers to share their rich experience and expertise.

My belief is that teaching is a vocation. In the words of Parker J Palmer, it is a calling that invites our “deepest gladness to meet the world’s deepest need”. Yet for so many in the profession their ‘deepest gladness’ has been lost.

I decided therefore to base my seminar around “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role” and on how teachers and school leaders must learn to nurture the ‘being’ in Human-being’ through affording themselves the kindness and attention to meet their deepest needs. I sought to encourage those who attended to reflect on what was the most precious thing they brought to their role and challenged them to reflect on these crucial questions:

dfsd

Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role”

In my talk, I also emphasised the dangers of living in the Sacrifice Syndrome. A place where teachers and school leaders “sacrifice too much for too long – and reap too little.”  Personal Sacrifice and the diminishment of one’s own needs becomes the norm. Leaving individuals feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, and deriving less satisfaction from their lives.


asdafdv

Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role”

I put it to those who attended that the only way to break the cycle of the Sacrifice Syndrome, is through regular relationships that invite a deep engagement with one’s own soul.  Relationships that invite engagement in affirming & life-giving conversations, that regularly allow time and the opportunity for genuine renewal. When this becomes a deliberate practice we are able to sustain ourselves for the long-haul and remain connected with what really matters as an educator. Above all, I stressed the need for teachers and school leaders to feel:

–          Celebrated

–          Affirmed

–          Encouraged

–          Supported

What struck me was that at this event, everyone appeared to feel this way. This event really was about all that is good and noble in the profession. It provided the opportunity for these affirming conversations and time for reflection so necessary for genuine renewal. On top of this, it was a great chance to make connections, build new relationships, offer hope to one another and most importantly for all present, to realise that there is nothing to be lost, but everything to be gained in putting oneself first.

7therenewalcycle-2

Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role”

As individuals shared stories, examples of best practice, personal and professional techniques for improvement both on a personal and a professional level, I saw colleagues around me realise that by putting their needs first, they could let go of feeling

–          Guilty

–          Overwhelmed

–          Isolated

–          Confused

–          Disillusioned

And instead discover that by asking themselves “What do I need from myself and others to be by best?” and by taking proactive steps they could instead feel:

–          Re-energised

–          Inspired

–          Hopeful

–          Connected [to themselves and others – so important!]

–          Valued

In short, they had rediscovered their ‘deepest gladness’ and hence were better prepared to meet the ‘deepest needs’ of their students/colleagues at the start of the new school week.

Finally, #PedagooHampshire16 for me was made even more exciting and wonderful because it marked the beginning of a journey for me and Integrity Coaching. Namely, my session marked the start of a month of exploration into the “Bigger Picture” of what it means to be an educator, seeking to understand what our deepest needs are as human beings and ultimately, how  we can bring who we truly are into our roles as educators and leaders.

The journey will consist of several blogs around the experiences of educators, the issues facing school leaders and teachers, and eventually this adventure of thought will culminate on Tuesday 4th October from 8:00-8:30 PM when we will be hosting our first ever webinar on “Meeting the Deeper Needs of Teachers and School Leaders”.

In this webinar, we will look to discuss the ways in which schools can support human growth and development, whilst also support educators in maintaining their ‘vocational vitality’ amidst feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and stress.

We hope you can join us for this.

If you would like to find out more about the webinar, please click here

bigger-picture-series

The Complete Guide to DATEs – Subject Specific CPD

The Complete Guide to DATEs

Developing approaches to Teaching English
Developing approaches to Teaching &Education

Embedding CPD which allows for the development of subject specific knowledge and subject specific pedagogy. Skip straight to The Concept to avoid my preamble!

About me
I’ve been an English teacCPD modelher for 15 years and Curriculum Leader for 6 years. In January 2015 I was given the opportunity to join the Senior Leadership Team and among other things I have responsibility for NQT, ITT, Strands 2 and 3 CPD (targeted and opt-in), the Teacher Guide and Literacy


CPD menu
Background
Over the last 12 months our school’s CPD has radically changed and developed, building our structure from Shaun Allison’s Perfect Teacher-Led CPD book and including approaches through blogs that have influenced our thinking and ideas from our Academy partner school. CPD is no longer exclusively a top down model but a model where staff are empowered to share, explore and collaborate through a wide range of avenues.

Part of my SLT remit is to increase CPD opportunities for staff in ways appropriate to roles, career stages and interests. There is a pleasing appetite for personal development and engagement in the opt-in programmes (such as 15 Minute Forums, EduBook Club, the Teaching & Learning library) is continually increasing. Directed CPD such as the Inspiring Leader Meeting (where TLR holders – all those who are not Curriculum Leaders – and aspiring TLR holders are trained on things you are expected to know when you have a TLR but no one ever shows you) is going from strength to strength.

As much as the whole school CPD offerings have been going well, at the start of this term I found myself increasingly considering the need for subject specific CPD. This was partly through reading a variety of materials online/in books and partly as a result of staff changes in my own department:

• Reading blogs which highlighted the need for subject specific CPD and the benefits it brings, for example, this from Mark Anderson @ICTEvangelist http://tinyurl.com/nbraaow, many things from @ShaunAllison https://classteaching.wordpress.com/, interesting articles from Joe Kirby, Kev Bartle, Chris Chivers and David Didau on CPD.
• Revisiting The Sutton trust’s Report on ‘What Makes Great Teaching?’ made me consider the importance of a teacher’s subject knowledge to improved outcomes for students, particularly the depth of knowledge needed.
• Evaluating our approach to CPD over the last year and reflecting on how we can take the things we think have worked and translate these in a more bespoke way to different subject areas.
• We’ve had a major change to the make-up of our department. I have a superb team but much of the knowledge and skills that develops from teaching over a number of years has left us – we have NQTs, NQT+1s and overseas trained teachers (experienced but unfamiliar with our texts at KS3 and KS4) making up a significant proportion.
• My super KS3 co-ordinator, Rachel Kilburn, undertook a SWOT-style audit which flagged up implications for KS3/4 teaching as we progress through the year. She found some aspects could be addressed though 1-2-1 help and others from the innovative ‘thinking moments’ cards she developed to aid self-reflection but common threads cropped up which would require an alternative department approach to boost the impact in lessons.
• We have significant changes to English with the new GCSEs. I’ve co-ordinated and organised this from a long and medium term position but was concerned how confident (or apprehensive!) were we with the new poems and texts.
• Other than continuing to create pre-made lessons (which are great but I have always had reservations about how much someone can really take a pre-planned lesson and understand the thinking that has gone on behind it), I pondered how we could use our individual expertise to help others with the various parts of English teaching many admitted fearing.

The Concept
Introduce DATEs to our weekly English Department meetings – developing approaches to teaching English.

Our Approach
• We made the DATEs high status – they are always the first agenda item regardless of anything else that may be deemed urgent or important in that meeting. DATEs can be scheduled to last different periods of time depending on what is needed.
• After Rachel Kilburn established which aspects of English teaching held the most ‘fear factor’ she calendared DATEs for the year ahead, looking at where things would be best placed for maximum effect. She then approached English staff who she knew had specific skills/knowledge in each area to deliver. New staff have also been encouraged to look at where they would like to contribute. Topics such as how to analyse quotations, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g able students in English lessons, scoring highly on Q4 H Tier, tackling pre-19th Century poems with reluctant learners are all on the schedule.
• I used the AQA enhanced results analysis facility from this summer to determine which question areas we must work on and built in DATEs for these, whether that’s rethinking how we teach it or ensuring staff whose students achieved better than others have the forum to explain how they teach it.
• Where we had spaces to add extra DATEs, we looked at previous highly rated 15 Minute Forums which new staff haven’t been able to see to rework them in an a English specific way.
• We will take other opportunities to have DATEs as/when they will benefit teachers and enhance their knowledge/skills/understanding in a manner that will improve not add to workload.

Types of DATE
• First DATE – the launch session
• Hot DATE – one that covers up-to-date ideas, popular methods receiving twitter/blog time
• Speed DATE – maximum three minutes when something only requires a short, snappy burst
• Cheap DATE – where cost effective extra resources might help the teaching of a complex skill (Poundland Pedagogy/@WallaceIsabella style)
• Dream DATE – talking about a poem or section of a novel: what every English teacher loves to do!
• Double DATE – two in one meeting
• Bad DATE – things to avoid (for example I ran a VAK one last week)
• UnDATEable – the particularly difficult areas to teach that we might try to avoid (grammar for me…) but by looking at them from a different point of view we can see they are worth a go
• Blind DATE – surprise session
• DATE night – a series of sessions in one go

Next Steps

These sessions are proving really popular in the department. Staff are enjoying the opportunity to have the time to really think and talk about the subject in a way that builds confidence, enthusiasm and excitement in lesson planning and delivery. I appreciate there is potential for some limitation – where depth of subject knowledge is needed for great teaching this won’t be resolved in one CPD session. However, it is a start to promoting and developing areas that we’ve perhaps neglected up to this point or just assumed everyone knew on account of the fact they’d been employed to teach English. Also, whilst I have always worked on the mantra of start meetings on time, regardless of who is missing, there has been a noticeable improvement in the promptness of attendance – teachers don’t want to miss any of the DATE!

Over the next half term I’ll be rolling out the concept whole school under the name developing approaches to teaching & education. I’ve already met with the maths department who expressed a strong interest and have already started to map out their sessions. I’ll meet other CLs in pairs to explore how DATEs can be enhance their curriculum area CPD. For me it’s crucial that CLs don’t have anything added on to an already challenging workload without something being taken away so I’ll work alongside them to see how this can work.

Later in the year we’ll have a calendared school DATE night in one of our Monday whole school CPD slots, almost like a mini-TeachMeet but with the focus on departments. We’ll start with a whole staff 15 Minute Forum (we still have some teachers who’ve never attended one so this will give a flavour of what they’re like and hopefully encourage some to come to future ones), progress to department based DATEs and will have a few blind DATEs thrown in for staff who like a bit of spontaneity so they can drop in elsewhere and see what they can pick up!

The “Yes, And” rule can help you fulfill your leadership potential!

When setbacks send you plummeting back to Earth from the stratosphere of your dreams, leaving you staggering through the debris of your once hopeful rise to leadership, you may be thinking that your opportunities are over. 

But if a glimmer of hope still burns inside of you, how do you re-gain control and get yourself back on track?

Leadership plan

The “Yes, And” rule 

Applying the, “Yes, And” approach to your leadership aspirations helps to re-frame your situation allowing you to regain control.

“Yes, And” is a creative tool taken from comedy improvisation where in order to draw in an audience to a drama the actors must take a “Yes, And” approach to their scene.   The “Yes, And” rule  suggests a participant should accept what the other person has created (“Yes”) and then add something to it (“And”) (1)

The aim of the “Yes, And” principal is to keep the comedy improvisation in creative flow by not putting any blocks in place that would halt the improvisation, for example, a closed question that would result in a NO outcome drawing the scene to an end.

So let’s put you in your leadership improvisation scene, how would the “Yes, And” rule work for you?

First you need to begin by saying, “Yes, I want to be a leader!”, but more importantly, “Yes I can!”

Inspiration 4 Teachers

Admitting this to yourself opens the doors to the “And” conversations, voicing your desire to be a leader is the first step in having an open conversation with others about how you can achieve that goal,  because this is where others can offer the “And” ideas about how you might get there.

Chase the positive facilitators

In our fragile state where we often doubt our leadership aspirations it’s all too easy to have our “Yes, And” conversation halted because we sought feedback from the wrong person(s) or believed that someone’s opinion was in fact our truth about what we can and cannot achieve.

yes-238380_1280

Don’t have your “Yes, And” conversation with the person(s) least likely to champion your talent.  It’s all too easy to have our dream crushed off the back of a flippant comment.  Find the people that are willing to make you better and guide you on your leadership pathway.  You may be lucky to have those people already surrounding you in your school, or you have a good friend that will have this conversation with you.  If not, the WomenED steering group will help to provide you with the platform you need to begin your leadership journey.

For immediate ideas and solutions on kick starting your leadership pathway, listen to episode 38 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Jules Daulby and host Kelly Long discuss how to get back into the leadership game!

#3Tips3Mins

Finally, show no FEAR!

“Face everything and rise” – Zig Ziglar

Because the alternative is to, “forget everything and run”, bidding au revoir to your leadership aspirations as you mooch off into the distance.

If you enjoyed this article please tweet the knowledge forward and share it with your community!

INSPIRATION 4 TEACHERS

BRINGING YOU INTERVIEWS WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF EDUCATION!

Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

 

References

(1) (Rules of comedy improv and acting”. Pan Theater. Retrieved 2015-09-20)

The darker side of perfectionism

If you are a woman and a perfectionist you may get referred to as being, “highly-strung”, “difficult to work with”, “inflexible” and that is without adding in all of the expletives. 

But you know as well as I, because I’m waving the flag that I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to teaching, being mummy and a podcast host, that being a perfectionist means that your high personal standards can be relied upon to get things done!  This type of pro-active perfectionism is known as “Perfectionistic Strivings”, the good side of being a perfectionist because it can lead you to feeling a great sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.

The darker side of perfectionism 

There is however, a darker side to being a perfectionist.  Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of her reflected back at you in the mirror.  She’s the stressy, worrier that feels she’s a fraud because she is unable to meet her own high expectations at work or in the home.

A research study conducted by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology revealed that the toxic and destructive side of being a perfectionist can lead to health problems, eating disorders, higher stress levels, fatigue, and even early mortality.  These “Perfectionistic Concerns” come about when we feel as though we are letting people down and not living up to our own exceptionally high standards.  “Perfectionistic Concerns” are the dark-side of being a perfectionist; they are the toxic, all consuming feelings of fear and doubt over our performance that can lead to burnout.

Keeping focused and healthy

Challenging these feelings can be accomplished by setting goals, recording past achievements and by letting go and knowing that every time we make a mistake, it is an opportunity to fall-up and grow.

Helena Marsh, Deputy Headteacher, agrees that sacking the perfectionist is one way of balancing work vs. life.  On episode 39 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show.  Helena and host Kelly Long discuss strategies for juggling work vs. life and how sacking the perfectionist can help you to focusing on what is really important.

#3Tips3Mins 

If you enjoyed this article please tweet the knowledge forward and share it with your community!

INSPIRATION 4 TEACHERS

BRINGING YOU INTERVIEWS WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF EDUCATION!

Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

4 Steps to fast-track into leadership

You probably already know if you want to fast-track your career and aspire to school leadership!

But how do you do it quickly and smartly?

Get connected!

I’m probably preaching to the converted about Twitter and following hashtags such as SLTChat (20:00 every Sunday), but getting yourself into or setting up a mastermind group of like-minded fast-track candidates who work together to generate ideas and challenge each other is a real kick-starter!

Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast ShowGet smart!

Twitter and masterminds would add to your leadership knowledge, but you need the fundamentals to underpin your pursuit of leadership.  MOOCs provide a fantastic open opportunity to develop your leadership skills.  Stefan Caspar on episode 28 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show shared his top resources on the best MOOCs.  Alternatively, for the most innovative ideas in leadership look on Lynda.com or Udemy.  They have a vast array of courses that you can take for free or for as little at £8.  Set aside 10 minutes a day and work yourself into a leadership mindset.

Become a social butterfly!

You may have heard or participated in a TEACHMeet, but organise yourself a LEADMeet!  Invite leaders to an event (informal meet / unconference) where great  leadership practice and personal insights are shared.  Learn from your peers, modify their knowledge and take action.

Define your leadership goals!

Tell the world, put it on your Twitter page and inform your manager.  If you can’t be held accountable to your hopes then you’ll struggle to bring them to fruition.  Share your leadership goals and allow others to guide you.

For immediate ideas and solutions, listen to episode 37 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show where Nikki Gilbey shares her ideas and resources to help you to fast-track your leadership pathway.

Here’s our 3 tips, in less than 3 minutes to help you fast-track into leadership:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5zl4fCLF44&w=560&h=315]

If you enjoyed this article please tweet the knowledge forward and share it with your community! 

INSPIRATION 4 TEACHERS

BRINGING YOU INTERVIEWS WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF EDUCATION!

Until next time ~ Keep inspiring!

Applying for a new job?

How many jobs have you applied for and been unsuccessful? At what stage were you unsuccessful, on application or at interview?

When faced with rejection it is inevitable that you will feel frustration and that can quickly turn into feeling like a failure!  I know, I have felt it!  But that is where we need to turn to the great words of Shakespeare, in particular his Julius Caesar play,

“The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

 The interpretation is that it is not fate that dooms men, but instead their own failings.  Now that sounds harsh that I’m blaming you for your inability to secure that job that you really wanted.  But Shakespeare got it right!

challenge-753479_1280

If we really want to correct the fault in our stars then we need to address the underlying causes behind our shortcomings.  Objectively, reviewing your own performance is not easy, especially when the bruises of a failed application are still so raw!  Allowing for the dust to settle is too long to wait.  You want to capture yourself in the moment.  I’m not advocating storming up to the selection committee and giving them what for, but being your own critical friend and asking, “why did this not work out for me?” is the mindset to continuous improvement and success. 

There may be many reasons as to why your application or interview was rejected, perhaps you are not mentally in the zone or physically ready for the challenge; trust me I know, I once went to an interview three days after having a knee operation.  I hobbled into the room, explained away my crutches and then totally bombed on the interview.  A* for effort and commitment to the cause, but totally ungraded for preparation and being mentally ready for the interview.  I mean seriously how much preparation could I have done being drugged to the eyeballs on painkillers?  In hindsight, (which is such a beautiful thing) I should have called, explained my circumstances, expressed my passion for the role and ask to be considered should they be unsuccessful in securing a candidate.  At least that could have kept me in the frame in case the first round of interviews were unsuccessful, or if a future role was on the cards.

The key to all of this is to truly not beat yourself up!  Instead, consider yourself as always the prospective candidate. 

That way you’ll always be taking the steps to reflect upon your goals and what you need to do “daily” to achieve them.  I say “daily” because without continuous tweaks and improvements over time, not only to your CV but to your own professional learning you are not positioning yourself as the number one candidate.  As a Business Studies teacher I regularly teach Kaizen, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement.

Its core principal, change (kai) for the good (zen) can be applied to your own career development and when seeking new job roles. Kaizen suggests that everything can be improved, your research, pre-interview preparation, your CV, application form, cover letter, interview technique, observed lesson etc.

Don’t take my word as gospel; Ross Morrison McGill of Teacher Toolkit the leading blog for teachers in the UK has experienced adversity in the face of redundancy.  Experiencing first-hand the challenges of the senior leadership application process, Ross shares his key takeaways on stepping up into senior leadership.  On episode 36 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Ross offers his experience and advice to support you in your pursuit of Deputy Headship.

Press play and listen to our 3 Tip Challenge designed to provide you with Ross’s three essential tips when applying for roles in senior leadership:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnwpmbMoKWk&w=560&h=315]

If you enjoyed this article please tweet the knowledge forward and share it with your community! 

INSPIRATION 4 TEACHERS

BRINGING YOU INTERVIEWS WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF EDUCATION!

Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

Shocking CPD

Two and a half hours of death by PowerPoint and where the only engagement with a hall of teachers were mini exercises, that if you had pre-read the course material you would have found all of the answers. I’ve been subjected to some pretty poor CPD events, and it makes me angry! Our profession works incredibly hard to raise the aspirations of learners and to ensure that we all have a better future, yet we are often subjected to poor CPD! I want to learn and improve my professional development; any teacher worth their salt wants the same.

Ideas Thoughts Knowledge Intelligence Learning Thoughts MeetingBut how do we construct CPD environments where teachers receive rich professional learning? WE have to construct it for ourselves! On episode 26 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Bill Lucas Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester, shares his experience of teacher research groups to divulge his discoveries on developing rich professional learning communities for schools.

Together Bill and I discuss thought-provoking ideas on constructing safe CPD opportunities for teachers to allow them to develop strategies for experimental learning.

Episode take-aways:

  • Developing rich professional learning communities for schools
  • Constructing safe CPD opportunities for teachers to develop strategies for experimental learning
  • Being brave and honest about the true importance of education

What has been your worst and best CPD experience? What would be our commandments for exceptional CPD?  

If you enjoyed this article please tweet the knowledge forward and share with your community!

INSPIRATION 4 TEACHERS

BRINGING YOU INTERVIEWS WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF EDUCATION!