A Rant: Management.

Negative it might be, but I wanted to list things that, as a normal classroom teacher, I have found not to work.

Don’t just speak to your team when you have to, for work reasons.  Speak to them socially as well.  Otherwise it develops a Pavlovian response of: boss is starting talking to me = I’ve done something wrong / s/he needs me to do something (neither of which are particularly good feelings).  It also shows you care for them as people.  The only thing with this is, I also think the boss should also stand slightly apart – they should not be one of the guys/girls.  A tough line to walk.

Work at least as hard as your staff, if not harder.  They’ll appreciate you for it.  After all, you’re being paid more than they are.  I worked for someone who happily left an hour before me every day and arrived about half an hour later.  It’s entirely possible that this is due to efficiency in some cases.  But it’s also understandable if this builds resentment in some of your team.

Check on everyone, regularly.  As far as possible, do this in one of two ways: to praise (there’s loads of people coming to your extra-curricular club, aren’t there?); to see if they’re okay.  Be aware that asking a question might create a sense of pressure (have you done that yet? = you should have done that by now).  I like it if my boss reminds me of things and checks on me.  It creates a feeling of having someone watch your back, and that you’re not working alone.  Your boss is sharing your weight of responsibility.

If you can, REMOVE jobs that your team have to do.  This should allow them to do the important things more effectively.  The two main jobs of a teacher are delivering lessons and marking, and maybe planning lessons too.  Also, they’ll REALLY appreciate it if you just cover one of their lessons or do some of their marking for them just out of the kindness of your heart.  I worked with two ex-HoDs at one school: one of them marked a set of thirty year eight assessments for me; the other covered one of my lessons just because.  They had both generally been thought of outstanding HoDs.

Don’t think a smiley face emoji at the end of an annoying email makes it less annoying.

Know all of the exams all of your team are teaching like the back of your hand.  One of the primary jobs of a teacher is to get their students good marks in their exams.  To help your team do their jobs well, it follows that a HoD should also know the exams really well – better than the team.

Form time should be a decent length of time.  If form time is ten minutes long, that’s not enough time to do anything decent.  You can take the register, maybe share some notices, then there’s enough time to maybe do one word of hangman before anyone has to leave.  I’d say form time should be twenty to thirty minutes long.

Avoid meetings.  Can it be an email instead?  If so, it should be.  Teachers don’t have much time; meetings take up a lot of time.  Schools probably do not, for example, need a five to ten minute whole staff meeting every morning just before form time when you’re getting everything you need together for the day.




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