If I think of the people I know who are teachers, most are women. Some are in
leadership roles, but most are not. And in fact, most of those who I speak to don’t want to be in leadership. I do. It took me a fair while to realise this, but know I know it. I want to be a Deputy Head. I have no doubt that I will get there one day, but at the moment, I’m not sure how.
I started teaching 15 years ago and for a very long time, I was happy to be “just” a teacher. Please forgive the “just”, it is in no way meant as a derogatory term, but you know what I mean. I’ve been in the same school for all of my 15 years, having had a series of roles there, with increasing responsibility. I love my school , and it will be a real wrench to leave one day, but I know that one day reasonably soon, I must. The trouble is, I don’t know when the right time would be for me.
Jill Berry wrote recently about the Lost Leaders: the women in education who could be fantastic leaders, but choose not to be. I don’t want to be one of those women. But I easily could be. The problem is (and again, I use the word “problem” in the very loosest sense of the word) that I have a young family. I have not yet found the right time to make the move. Before T, my 6 year old son, was born, I didn’t feel I was ready for senior leadership. After he came along, I did make one very half-hearted attempt at an application for Deputy Headship, but I knew again that the time wasn’t right as my family was not yet complete. Since returning to work last year after the birth of my daughter, I have been more and more convinced that senior leadership was for me, especially since being given more responsibility at my current school. I’ve got the power shoes, I’ve got the posh leather satchel, now I just need the job to go with them!
I know that moving into Deputy Headship would clearly mean more work, but I am sure that I would be able to balance this with my family: I have always had very clear rules about working which I have managed to stick to, but my problem now is working part time. When T was born, I returned to work full time, which I found to be a real wrench. Now, I work 4 days, which is fantastic. I get to have a day at home each week with G and do the school runs for T. I’m not prepared to give that up yet, which means the chances of me getting a new job are nigh on impossible. Deputy Headships seem to be very few and far between, and part time roles are completely non-existent. Of course, accepting a full time role and then dropping a day after a few years is a possibility, but then I would have to deal with the guilt of not spending time with my children. I don’t want to miss out on having “Mummy Days” with them – I love those days of playing in the garden and having mid-morning pain au chocolat together. I have to say, no-one has ever put the guilt on me: my family have always been very supportive of my desire (and need) to work. The guilt is all my own. But now, on top of the guilt, I have frustration to deal with.
Only the other day, MNQTH (that’s the first time I’ve properly called him that!) talked about moving into Middle Leadership – on the day that he became an NQT! I scoffed at the time, telling him to give himself time in the role before even thinking about the next step, but I know he has the drive and ambition to climb the ladder quickly if he chooses. It’s frustrating to think that he may even overtake me, but then that’s the choice I have made. I am determined that I will not be a Lost Leader, working out my days regretting and bemoaning the fact that I never moved on. For now, I shall continue scouring the vacancies board and wondering. But I will, sometime soon, make that move.