I am determined to crack it! The art of being a Woman In School Headship. Although not there yet, being on NPQH qualifies me for ‘being close’ and with my aspirational ethers working their utmost, today was a day of utter disaster-turning-to-success as I began what every teacher loves most…….marking, the bane of every teacher’s life across the country. Whilst I was happily getting through year 9’s books, diligently completing the stickers we have introduced, Wow – something positive, Now… what to consider to progress, How..? Exactly what next step/s to take to make progress and for students to act on, . Up and down the country there must be a plethora of different sheets, grids, tick lists, phrases, colours and codes to try to address this. I decided to leave my pot of curried mutton cooking on the stove only to my horror discovering that I had neglected it too long and burnt almost everything in it! So engrossed does one become when they really want to give high quality feedback and I imagine there are many more like me who now consider this art so intense that they need to dedicate meaningful time to this task. I wonder what member of our those who lead the country would think if they were given a pile of books and asked to mark them. As a senior leader, this task seems even more mundane or pehaps less mundane but more frustrating as you understand, push for and possibly, in my case, lead this across a school, expecting everyone to do the same. However, you have less time in which to do it, and do it effectively whilst juggling real whole-school responsibilities and tasks, but ‘lead by example’ we must if we realise that leadership is all about influence. You’ll be hard served to feel any influential powers if you are unable to exercise the very things you wish to drive to success yourself.
“Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” (It’s best to be both a manager and a leader – they’re just different processes)
Nevertheless, I give myself a star, in fact a gold star for rescuing my recipe as in minutes, it was all back on the fire, continuing it’s bubbling journey to succulent-tasty dinner. Star number 1. Next came the pile of rice falling all over my laundry! Disaster-ridden Sunday… there just wasn’t time for these sorts of mishaps today as there was a lot to be done, juggling strategic planning which requires ‘thinking space’, washing, cooking, emailing. However, let it be known, that this did not ruin my plans and the additional time spent extracting every rice grain from the pants, vests, tees, etc was accomplished in record time for the Sunday-teachers’ schedule to resume. Gold star number 2! Back to marking, third distraction, my kids? NO!!! my twitter feed but this is brilliant because it is through this I find resources, thought-provoking ideas and research as a form of a short cut. Sheer brilliance found from @teachertoolkit who shared links to https://chrishildrew.wordpress.com/?s=closing+the+marking+gap where I came across this brilliant resource which I will now share with my staff: a resource he accredits to a Mark Miller. I particularly like the ‘write feedback sideways’ and found this quite funny too as I visualised my class with sideways-turned heads. Another useful article I came to as I bounced from twitter link to twitter link was this from an English teacher http://www.huntingenglish.com/2013/10/12/dirty-work/. We too have introduced DIRT into our school and share the following to get the message across: though I like the sound of ‘getting DIRTy too. Of course I would also like to share this with staff, help them to understand that I feel their pain, I totally get the whole workload issues and it is high on my agenda as something to address also. A useful technique for the next professional development opportunity without sharing my two ‘star’ moments of course. It is no wonder that more than 1, 700 women headteachers are ‘missing’ from Englands’ schools according to the research from WISH. file:///C:/Users/Miriam/Downloads/08_fri_pm_-_women_into_leadership_-_eve_warren_and_meg_maunder_presentation.pdf Needless to say, those who make it through will crack through the apparent glass ceiling, making it more accessible for the rest of us. So there’s my WISH… I want to crack through that ceiling and help others to do the same with a true understanding of what it takes. NPQH assessments completed… bring on the presentation!