Starting in the final term before I officially started in September was tough. I wasn’t anticipating having such a full teaching timetable and my own classes were incredibly unsettled. I found it difficult to establish myself as an average science teacher let alone attempt to lead a department. I was seriously considering if I had made the right move! I remember one student in what I thought was a difficult Year 9 class saying “sir why don’t you go and get the head of science” to which I replied “I am the head of Science!”.
This played on my mind for days after and I finished that particular teaching day feeling quite insecure in my own teaching ability. It might be worth sharing at this point that I now thoroughly enjoy teaching this same group and after several months of going back to the classroom basics of behaviour management and many parental meetings they’re behaviour and progress is improving. (Finally!).
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I perhaps underestimated that it would take some time to establish myself in a new school and once this was accepted, the department began to net together.
There were a few changes that needed to take place, not for the sake of change but to make real improvements. A major success was the removal of class rotations, this enabled me to see the real strengths and weaknesses in my staff and coach and enable them to develop their own pedagogy. I also made the rookie mistake of taking on too much too soon, trying to teach every class and I now understand that I need to put greater trust in my staff and that it is all about them and not me! Just spending a few minutes a day speaking and greeting the staff makes a huge difference rather than hiding behind emails.
Things gradually came together and I had the confidence to try new things, to share good practice at meetings and get all the science teachers to contribute in a positive way. Some staff were a little resistant to change but eventually joined in through the successful modelling of desired behaviours.
Overall a tough year but I look forward to a slightly above average set of results.