Striving for Balance

Get the new term off to a good start with a pep talk to yourself!

I’m now in my 5th year in my current role as Principal, but in my first year, I wanted to change the world. I was determined to do it all, blaze a trail for the school. Transform learning and teaching, build links with the community and show everyone I was the right person to take their school forward.

Strangely enough, the year didn’t turn out quite the way I expected. I achieved a lot, but most of the learning was more valuable to me as a Leader. For any of you newly appointed to leadership posts, here are a few tips as you start your role!

  1. Don’t take on the world – You and your school will be invited to lots of events and to take part in initiatives. This will all be very tempting, but take a step back and consider how useful? Time spent in school is the best investment you can make in the early days. Plus your staff will thank you for not increasing their workload.
  2. Small changes count – A year seems like a long time, but it’s not! Any change you make should have a positive impact. My advice would be one small change for parents, pupils and staff in the first year. If you achieve this, well done.
  3. The power of two – If you’re anything like me the working day will soon merge into your personal life. This is natural. however, work can be addictive, especially when you are passionate about what you do. It is essential that you check in with yourself now and then. Enlist the support of your family – agree sensible times to go home. If you need to take work home, no more than two tasks. If it’s big, only one. If you are tired. none.
  4. Build your network – Start networking, both online and in your area. Get involved in cluster groups. The role can be a lonely one and have someone to lean on is invaluable.Find a leadership coach.Your Board of Governors should support a request for this.
  5. Stars of the show – Spending time with pupils is the most rewarding part of the job. Get to know them. Build relationships with your teachers, find out their strengths and what challenges them.
  6. Anyone for Tea? So much can be achieved over a cuppa! Afternoon tea is easy to organise and an informal way to get to know people. If faced with a challenging situation the suggestion of a cuppa can diffuse things, or, give you time to gather your thoughts!
  7. Be kind – Simple. Remember that everyone comes to school with their own story. They all deserve kindness and empathy.
  8. Look forward – It’s part of your job to look positively to the future, but you need to look to your own future. Plan things to look forward to, whether it’s coffee with friends or a trip away. You deserve it.
  9. Culture club – Spend time creating a culture of great Learning & teaching.

…and yes, I still want to change the world, but now it’s one step at a time!

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Heather Watson and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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