Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Quant Je Puis - To the best of my ability

It’s funny how quickly 5 years passes in the blink of an eye. On Friday, I’ll leave Hawes Side Primary School, in Blackpool, the school that I started my teaching career at. It’ll be strange, starting at a new school – with different coloured uniform for a start off! There’ll be new expectations, roles and colleagues too. Like anyone would, I worry that I won’t be what they are expecting; some strange unknown quantity who’ll park in the wrong car parking space and usetheir cup to make a brew at break time. I worry about my way of thinking in regard to education. Has it been rigidly shaped by the organisation I work for, or is it flexible; able to settle over the unfamiliar new routines with aplomb?
I am fortunate, too, to have created some fantastic links with people in different schools and authorities with whom I can talk to. I believe that communication is a pivotal to staff development as anything & affording ourselves opportunities for professional dialogue is a priority that I am wholeheartedly taking with me to the new management team.
Mostly though, I’m grateful to my current head teacher. He is a visionary who has an unerring knack of backing the right horses, in terms of initiatives (although he’d be the first to admit there have been a few non-starters at times). He has introduced me to a range of learning pedagogy & practitioners that I would otherwise have been ignorant of. It was he that talked me into using Twitter (a fact that I often use in defence against my wife’s arguments) and we still have conversations about different technology that we use in and out of school.
I think you know when you’re ready for a change, but deciding to make the change was harder than I thought. I was eager to move on, but reluctant to leave as I really feel my whole teaching identity is intrinsically linked to my experiences at Hawes Side & the ideology of the school.
I also worry about taking on a management role. I sometimes wonder whether Homer Simpson has better multitasking abilities that me. I’m sure he and I are on a par when it comes to paperwork, though! I am worried that people will view me as a threat, a joke and a b^llsh!tter all at the same time.  How will I cope with being the link to the Head & Deputy? Will I still be able to bitch in the staffroom with the teaching assistants or will they all stop talking when I walk in, worried that their conversations will be reported directly to the boss? It’s new territory & the fact that I’m going to mess up at some point regardless of how hard I try and get it right is inevitable.
That simple fact reminded me of two quotes, both of which are displayed in my classroom and both of which I have talked to previous classes whenever failure or the unknown was a possible outcome for them.
“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practise being brave.” Mary Tyler Moore
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” Confucius
With these in mind I stop typing and start thinking positively about my next steps, safe in the knowledge that whatever the task, I will do it to the best of my ability, Quant Je Puis”.

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