One of the great joys of being a consultant and ex-Head is meeting leaders in their schools and colleges and hearing them share their thoughts. It’s always an amazing privilege. Without exception there is a sense of them being on a mission, a palpable purposefulness that drives them and enormous pride in their students and communities. They always love talking about teaching too. Leaders love teachers. I love all of that. It’s often moving, awe inspiring, to see so much commitment and desire for doing good emanate from one person.
One reason it’s so inspiring to me is because I also recognise just how challenging it is. Sometimes leaders are grateful just to be able to off-load a little to someone neutral who gets what they’re dealing with: the relentless pressure for outcomes to improve and technical challenges around curriculum, assessment and the quality of teaching; the constant stream of rock vs hard place choices needed to balance the budget (if that’s even within reach), the dominance of HR issues – recruitment challenges and the daily realities of managing a complex staff body: health, performance, motivation, personal problems and minor conflicts. Managing people is massively complex; it’s full on. And then there’s parental behaviours and expectations, managing governors (who can be brilliant or absolutely awful) and sometimes challenges around behaviour, exclusions and unwelcome media attention.
Wow! It’s an unbelievable job.
The amazing thing is that, despite all these pressures, it’s always always the passion, pride and purpose that shine through.
I’m in awe. We all should be.