Guest reviewer Jill Berry shares her top edu-blogs this week.
A teacher in life and after death
By Penny Rabiger (@Penny_Ten)
My first choice this week dates from May last year, but I only discovered it recently (the joy of Twitter – the good stuff comes round again). It is a timeless and powerful piece by Penny Rabiger, a tribute to her mother who died in 2015, donating her body to medical science. She begins by describing a service of thanksgiving at Southwark Cathedral, held in honour of those who choose to do this, that leads her to reflect on her mother’s troubled life and the fact that her commitment to her art and to teaching – including as a parent – reflected what was most vibrant and dynamic
about her. This is moving, sensitive and compelling writing.
Why I (largely) left teaching behind
By Kev Bartle (@kevbartle)
Headteacher Kev Bartle reflects on why, despite being a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, he moved into leadership where, inevitably, he teaches far less and his sphere of influence and responsibility is much broader. Why he chose this route is, he thinks, “probably the most important question of all”. Why would anyone who loves being in the classroom choose to rebalance their professional responsibilities in this way?
Bartle discusses how he manages the balancing act within his school, before going on to consider his motivation for moving to headship, where an effective school leader can support every teacher to do the best job they can. In this lie the rewards of leadership. This is valuable reading for leaders at all levels.
Seven things to learn from a bad boss
By Susan Ritchie (@susanjritchie)
Kev Bartle is, I suggest, an exceptional headteacher; inevitably, throughout our careers, we learn a good deal from the strongest leaders we meet. However, we can also learn a considerable amount from the negative leadership role models we encounter. Here, Susan Ritchie suggests seven ways in which poor leaders can teach us lessons that may serve us well in the future. As she says: “It wasn’t until I worked for a bad boss that the value of great leadership was bought home to me.”
By Kenny Pieper (@kennypieper)
Kenny Pieper describes educators from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales coming together to debate educational issues within and across these four countries. This is a positive, affirming piece that recognises the commitment and energy that can help us to rise above the challenges we face. As Pieper acknowledges: “what was striking was that after the initial moans and groans about our respective education systems, the pride and joy we felt about the job we do every day in our communities shone through in every conversation”. The experience was clearly empowering; the participants left the event with even “greater resolve and determination to go back to our schools with a rebooted energy to continue to fight to enhance the life of the children we serve”.
By Hannah Gregory (@SMPedagogy)
A #digimeet on the platform @staffrm was held to mark International Women’s Day. Here a number of writers debated various issues and shared their experiences, focusing on the #IWD17 theme #BeBoldForChange. If you visit @staffrm you can access all the stories by searching for the #IWD17 hashtag. This is one example. Hannah Gregory’s beautifully written piece emphasises how our choices determine our life’s path, but they also reflect who we are and what we believe in.
“Choose to say no. Or yes. Choose the freedom to decide for yourself, choose confidence. #beboldforchange. Choose life.”