My ‘Hero’s Journey’; Blogging my @TeachingLeaders experience – Part 2: Starting with the Why – @mrmooneysport

So, I’m already two deadlines in (yes already) and its only the 17th September. My prioritising and time management skills have been pushed to the limit and have only had one day where work has not been the centre focus! Hopefully, this has not been evident in my Teaching and Learning Sweeps, as this is why we are all in teaching in the first place. It is this why which is driving me through the development of my Impact Initiative; providing all students with the best possible education you can. Yes, even those pupils who infuriate me everyday, by employing work avoidance tactics that would out smart many a man or woman.

Already, I have had to analyse last years data, find target groups, work with SLT to develop my idea (This where I had first hand experience of keeping the keeping the ‘Why‘ or big picture in mind, trying to match my idea to the needs of the Academy – thanks for being so helpful @Katie_Friedmank), and then place all of this on the Teaching Leaders platform. All of this to be done within 11 days of finishing the York residential. Its created an urgency in me and this is reflected in the powers that be, by empowering me to look at how we can move the Academy forward. I’m not going to commit treachery and openly discuss my initiative and who it affects in such a public arena, but I’m confident that it will allow the school to make real progress towards increasing KS3 and KS4 attainment and closing the gap between PP and non PP students. That may well be a bunch of numbers, but hopefully it will evidence that Teaching and Learning has having an impact upon our most prominent subgroups.

Further to this, I have also had to conduct some in-depth self examination, and then open this up to my colleagues. With the help of my very supportive and insightful coach, Ian Anderson (@IanAnd64), I have been able to truly reflect upon my personal leadership qualities. Its fair to say that no one likes seeing their weaknesses. However, this process really has allowed me to find the areas of leadership that I can really focus upon in order to be the best educational leader possible, regardless of my role. Its also nice to see the strengths too, especially when these are agreed upon by your peers.

heros journey

Within the 11 days there was also another trip to another city, it really is a leadership journey (I cant bring myself to call it a Hero’s Journey just yet, and for the record is the @teachingleaders term, not mine). Those of us from the south west and Midlands who attended York met in Birmingham, on  a Saturday, to discuss our initiative possibilities. Yes, it meant another day of missed sporting opportunities for me, however I came away with 4 points to think about and reflect upon:

  1. Remember the big picture, then remember it again and don’t let your emotions make you loose sight of it – this links directly to my previous post about ‘Starting with the Why’.
  2. Always use solution focussed coping – if you have a problem, try to find a solution and ask for help. whinging will solve nothing.
  3. If your going to stick your head above the parapet, ensure its not on your own – there’s nothing wrong with challenging decisions, but do so in the right manner. Remember everyone is education for the same reason (see point 1).
  4. Always have a critical friend – someone who can be impartial, challenging and supportive. They are great sounding walls and also keep you in check. I’m lucky, I have a line manager (@Katie_Friedmank) who fulfils this role and 4 other Teaching Leaders Fellows in the 2015 cohort who also do this very well. If you don’t already, give them a follow @pearcy23, @seroberts_84, @sbonniciwills and @marcindawski

Alongside this, we picked apart Kotter’s change model. This model is based around 8 steps to creating effective change through the implementation of interventions or new policies. Step one complete, I now have created the urgency. On to Step two and three, I need to inspire a team to help create a vision of change!

P.S. I have learnt my lesson from last week, there was no heckling staff today (@abbeelistontl). Probably, because it was @IanAnd64 leading the sessions and I could do with keeping my coach on side.

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