Reviewer Jill Berry takes us through her top education blogs.
First up this week is one of the Talking Heads series, an initiative started by new head Hannah Wilson that features serving heads whose advice and example may well inspire the next generation of school leaders. The heads reflect on questions such as: “What are the values that shape you as a leader?”; “What myths would you like to debunk?” I find all the contributions interesting, but this, by Chris Hildrew, had a particularly strong impact, especially his insistence that “You don’t have to choose headship or a life – you can have both.” He explains how he did it.
Why would a headteacher blog?
In the same vein, Jude Enright reflects on her journey to headship and her early months in post, challenging the fact that strong role expectations can put off aspiring heads who feel they do not fit the mould. It reminded me of the experienced head I know who said: “There is only one way to be a head, and that is your way.”
Jonny Walker talks of the recently launched #BAMEed initiative that works along the lines of #WomenEd to encourage potential and serving BAME teachers and leaders. Through building a network of those who can champion, advise, motivate and model, offering practical guidance and emotional support, #BAMEed can help to ensure that those who teach and lead in our schools are better representative of the communities we serve. In Walker’s words: “Until pupils are able to pass through professional and educational life without needing to contemplate being disadvantaged by their skin colour, their culture or their religion, there is a pressing need for #BAMEed.”
New Year’s Q: Would I like to be taught by me?
Stephanie Keenan uses her experience of learning Pilates to think about which aspects of her teacher’s practice she finds particularly effective. She relates this to her own teaching style and explores how she can use these insights in her own teaching, especially given that she opts to attend her Pilates class – her students have no such choice.
“I have found that being a student again is a great way to reassess my own teaching style and methods.”
My final two choices this week are from @staffrm, a blogging platform that is well worth exploring if you are considering writing a blog but are not yet ready to commit to launching one of your own.
So what? Now what?
Tim Brogan references the 2015 TED talk by Linda Cliatt-Wayman, a high school teacher in Philadelphia, in which she explains the principles that underpin her leadership and her commitment to ensuring that her school offers the best provision to students who face deprivation and serious challenges. Brogan focuses on the “slogan” “So what? Now what?” and discusses how it is possible to face up to the reality of the situation, but then to explore the agency we have, and how best to use it. As he asserts: “By asking these questions, the focus is placed on solutions … actively sought to improve the outcomes for pupils.”
We did it
Signing up as a member of the Chartered College of Teaching was a “watershed moment” for Lisa Pettifer. She reflects on the past two years, her involvement in the Claim Your College campaign, the people she has met and the debates she has been part of. And now?
“We have a CEO, an expanded board of trustees and a number of employees in crucial supporting roles. We have consultations, launch events, benefits and a sense of a growing movement, a debate that we can shape, a voice that can be heard.
“Most importantly, we now have membership.”
Jill Berry is author of Making the leap – moving from deputy to head (Crown House, 2016)