So, before anyone gets the wrong end of the stick – I don’t mean my job. Despite the challenges of the last few months I love my role as a head- perhaps even more so now – lockdown has shown me that I can help support my community in many more ways than just through education.
No, when say I quit, I mean I am not going back to the way it was.
Lockdown has taught me many things and I owe it to myself and my staff to hold onto that learning and change the way we work.
So what am I quitting?
- Unnecessary reports
One thing I have realised through lockdown is that a lot of my time was wasted writing reports for one reason or another. My SLT and teachers have looked at reports in the past and whittled them down but now is the time for a real culling! Many are written to either justify decisions we have made or for other people who in reality probably don’t need them. Why have I in the past wasted hours writing a report justifying my use of Sport’s Premium, reports justifying interventions for governors etc.? I haven’t done them during lockdown- in many cases a simple conversation was enough. Now is the time to think about what is really needed and what is useful rather than just writing them out of habit.
- Imposter syndrome thoughts
Lockdown has taught me that I am a good leader who can lead through a crisis really well. I am proud that the things I value such as wellbeing and positivity have come to the forefront and helped to support my team through their worst days. I am proud that I was flexible, creative and empathetic. I am proud that some of my children are back at school safely and that we have been open throughout.
That was hard to write!
I think this is true of many heads. We often feel we are not good enough for the role or that we could do better. We very rarely accept we have done a good job. Moving forward I am going to try and remember that I have led my school effectively through a dreadful national crisis, one that was previously unheard of, and I have helped my team come out the other side more connected and probably more effective than ever.
- Being a control freak
Yes- hard to believe I know! I am very organised – I’m one of those people that lives by action lists and I even write things on my list that weren’t on my list just so I can tick them off! To be honest I like being in control and planning has always been a strength. Don’t get me wrong- my leadership style is a collaborative one and we have a culture of coaching but there is still a control and normality in that. Lockdown has shown me that I can cope with uncertainty on a daily basis and being in control is not as important as leading the way. My staff don’t need me to know the answers or have the minute detail of a plan they just need me to know the direction of travel. I like the ambiguity and the creativity it has brought out in both me and my staff. I might even get rid of some plans!
- Doing things for other people
Now on first read this sounds like I’m going to turn into a really selfish individual but what I actually mean is I am stopping doing things which add no value to my children, staff or community. There are so many tasks we seem to do in schools which have no impact on our children- one prime example was the DfE attendance register. It took many of us hours to navigate until we realised it wasn’t compulsory and it is time to rethink how we spend our time. I am definitely going to spend more of my time in the classroom but to do this I need to prioritise and get rid of the unnecessary. I am determined to do some ruthless ridding of pointless tasks- watch this space!