Today, I’m spending my day reading about “Improving the Quality of Teaching” across a school a part of my NPQSL course. It doesn’t sound like the most fun way to spend a day, but, an hour and 20 minutes in, and I’m actually hooked. As part of my reflections, I was asked to consider these questions:
I’m not going to share my responses here, but rather my sudden awareness of how visible we are in school. I’m a Middle Leader, not part of the Senior Leadership Team, so I’m certainly less visible than others, but my role means that I now have a more visible presence than I have done previously. Question 4 was really interesting: “In terms of others’ perceptions of you as a leader, what kinds of things form the main focus for your attention?” In my head, I know what I focus on, but is this what others see? My head is always a jumble of new ideas and developments that I want to try out in my classroom. Inevitably, if these ideas are a success, I want to share them, but does this meant that I flit from one thing to another, trying this and that and talking about another “next big thing” in a staff meeting? Is it infectious enthusiasm, or just downright annoying? Much of what I have read today talks of leaders having to “walk the walk”, of practising what they preach, under the scrutiny of others who are watching to make sure that words and actions are in agreement. By jumping from one thing to another, can I do this? Can I make sure that I am staying on top of everything before introducing something new? Perhaps I need to slow down on the pet projects and focus on one thing at a time.
In so many ways, the internet, social media platforms and courses such as NPQSL are an absolute asset to education. In times where professional development and courses are barely available, we have to find our own ways of progressing our careers and developing our skills. But a non-stop source of support , advice and ideas can be such a bad thing too – there is a world of creativity and inventiveness available to us at all times: my Facebook and Twitter feeds are constantly me showing me another “next big thing” to take into my classroom. As an aspiring Senior Leader, I will have to rein in my enthusiasm a little – focus on one thing at time, embed one idea before moving on to the next one. Perhaps then, if asked what others’ perceptions of my focus are, I might have some idea what the answer would be.