It is the penultimate day of term today and I find myself reflecting back over my final year with more critical an eye than usual. That was my last year as a ‘teacher’, because, as of September, I will be Head of Department.
I am looking forward to the challenge immensely, and I believe that the only reason why I am ready it is due to some excellent people who I have had the privilege of working with in recent years. Each of these individuals in mind has given me some elements to aspire to as I begin the next stage in my career. This blog serves two purposes, a suggested list of what might make a brilliant HOD, indeed things I aspire to, as well as a list of things I am really grateful for.
- Be Organised – It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to do as a teacher, and, as I have begun to gain a bit of an insight into the HOD role this term as I am inducted into the post, I can see that the ability to be utterly on top of things is going to be essential. I marvel every day at the ability of my colleagues to juggle about ten things at once, and yet remain flexible enough to help that pupil who knocks on their door looking for advice.
- Be involved in your subject – There are some brilliant people out there who work tirelessly for their subject not just in their own school, but nationally too. I think that any HOD should be genuinely motivated to look outward to other departments in other schools and use their expertise to further the future success of their subject through dialogue with others.
- Find time for yourself – Those HODs who do so much and still find time to be sociable and have a life outside of work really do get that balance right. They are well-balanced and motivated, making sure the job remains delight and does not become a drag. Finding time for my friends and family will, I am sure, keep me sane.
- Be approachable – HODs who have staff and pupils alike coming to them for support, guidance and sometimes just a chat, are really something special. Colleagues who are more than willing to offer up their counsel are invaluable to the community, they make it a happier place.
- Share – HODs who take time to prepare revision packs for pupils and schemes of work for teachers are amazing. The sharing of good practice has been so beneficial to me in my career: sometimes you have to be shown a better way of doing something to even realise it is an option. The resources that I make myself would not be anywhere near as good if I hadn’t worked with unbelievably generous-hearted colleagues. I will freely share all I make in the future, none of this ‘selling’ on TES!
- Be Kind and Listen – So many people I work with or have worked with, HODs and other alike, have listened and been kind. This opportunity to offload my troubles has been pivotal in growing in confidence in my own teaching ability, so I hope to do the same.
- Banter – so important to have a laugh too! Good humour is always welcome relief: I think I laugh every day at work, and it does keep me going. I had better keep that up!
So, to all my colleagues, past and present, thank you for being inspiring. I am where I am because of you!