The best blogs make me think – and they make a difference to how I behave as a result. This post forced me to question my assumptions and challenged my understanding and appreciation of the perspective of black and minority ethnic teachers and leaders. With her customary warmth, wit and wisdom, Bansi Kara encourages us to empathise with educators who “field a range of assumptions on a daily basis. It is wearying to constantly explain your identity.” She concludes: “I’d like to challenge you to consider your assumptions when you meet someone who could be defined as a BME teacher.”
In this post, written for the National College for Teaching and Leadership blog, Lisa Pettifer explores the importance of collaboration, using her personal experience to show what she has learned from engaging with other educators. “I’ve long believed that connectedness between schools makes a difference,” she says, relating this to her role as a teacher, a specialist leader of education and an advocate of the College of Teaching.
She explains how “the conversations I was having on Twitter made me realise just how much I wanted to hear about what was happening outside of my school and county” and she models a refreshing receptivity when she goes on to say: “It’s important for me to experience and consider how different systems work so that I can become more aware of approaches that might be successful in my own context.”
Tom Sherrington shares the keynote address he gave at a Education Foundation Policy Futures event earlier this year. His presentation gives a balanced analysis of the challenges schools have faced in recent years, alongside the most positive features of the current educational landscape, and his hopes for the future.
Despite a clear recognition of the difficulties schools continue to face, he feels optimistic, because “there’s a growing confidence that this is OUR domain, not the government’s”. He reflects, for example, on the “massive groundswell of profession-led activity”, including social networking, TeachMeets, blogs and conferences, and how “in the past three years my professional world has exploded. It used to be tiny and constrained; now it is wide open. This is the direction of travel.”
He concludes: “If we carry on cutting away the ballast of FEAR and accountability pressure, we’ll create a professional environment that will draw in the best recruits and crucially, retain them.” I found this inspiring and uplifting.
In the new landscape Tom Sherrington describes in the blog above, schools need to promote and develop the best teaching, and teachers need to be supported and challenged by the most effective leaders at all levels. Throughout our careers we learn from both positive and negative role models. In this post, Rosanna Raimato describes one of the best examples, a head who is committed to “living and breathing graceful, compassionate, moral, dutiful, robust leadership – with a cracking sense of humour, creative flair and quiet humility”.
She reflects on the exhortation to women leaders to “lean in/be fierce/speak up/roar” but explains how this leader was much gentler in her approach, and how those who worked with her learnt “lessons in how to be a great leader; a great female leader; a great person who happens to be a female leader”.
And, finally, on the subject of women in educational leadership, Hannah Wilson writes here via @staffrm about the #womened movement and the “unconference” in London on Saturday, October 3. Whatever gender you are, an aspiring leader or not, if you’re committed to inspiring, encouraging and supporting serving and future women leaders in education, do come and join us.