Over the course of the last ten days, the way in which I perceive my role on the SMT has made like an Olympic gymnast and performed the display to end all displays. Forgive the muddled metaphors but I’ve gone Spinal Tap on Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10’s and have hit an 11.
How? Why? You may well ask. No fear; I wouldn’t leave you on such an unsatisfactory cliffhanger.
So, where to begin?
Back in September, my fellow newby phase leaders and I were packed off on a leadership course with a man purporting to be an expert in the subject.
We cogitated, pondered and mulled our way in and around the finer points of leading while considering a project with which to do just that over the coming months. We thought about what it would look like with a Grand Designsesque concept board cobbled together from the chopped up remnants of a thousand Cosmos and presented our ideas to our eager colleagues from other schools. We thought through the 9 steps to success (why 9?) and returned to our work places, brimming over with aspirations, swelling with pride at the thought of the transformational interventions and their effects on our schools.
Peer observation was my goal. Peer observation born not of criticism but of collaboration. Not of evaluation but of collegiality.
I sought the head and other SMT members approval and began to gather my thoughts and ideas for the next stage in my plan and then …
It dawned on me, as I read in preparation for the draft proposal for my masters dissertation, as I grazed on the cranial crumbs of the twitterati, that here I was, readying myself to do exactly what I find so annoying about being a teacher: top down foisting of new initiatives that do little more than contribute to your already cumbersome burden.
Now, I’m a big believer in the power of collaboration. I enjoy watching other people doing what they do. I enjoy seeing them teach and I enjoy being watched. It keeps me on my toes, it reassures me that I’m doing something right and I also get to benefit from what they pick up on in class. I enjoy sharing ideas and resources, discussing things that I’ve read about and collaborating across year groups in the name of deeper learning. This twitter thing is, from a collaborative perspective, a god send, irrespective of said deity’s gender, limb count, benevolence, capitalisation or otherwise.
I know that not everyone is quite so enamoured by observations but surely they must be open to collaboration.
And hence the somersaulting. Having set off down a path of “I am right(eousness)” I now realise that I’m very definitely not.
Having decided that I was going to find out what it was that people wanted from peer observations, I’m now intent on establishing what people’s attitudes and perceptions are towards being observed. I’m now trying to establish what we as a school could do to foster collegiality and collaboration between year groups and phases.
Teachmeets are the next logical step and if there’s anyone in or around Merton who is interested then please do get in touch. Equally, what is your attitude to being observed? What could your SMT do to encourage collegiality and collaboration? Do you do it already, if so, any tips?