#LockdownLeadership Blog 11: Leadership Confessions

The #LockdownLeadership series is a collection of anonymous blogs about leadership during these uncertain times. Share your leadership journeys: confessions… conversations… celebrations… challenges… Reflect on your moments of: courage… compassion… clarity… craziness… Email 500 words to hello@hannah-wilson.co.uk to be shared in this safe space.

Question: Is anyone else secretly enjoying lockdown life? 

For the first time in 7 years of teaching, 4 as a Head of Year, I have time to complete online CPD, listen to podcasts to boost my curriculum knowledge, embed new techniques to further students learning and hold teacher meetings online to share and discuss ideas. I’ve had time to reflect on what I teach and where I can improve, remove and edit schemes of work or lessons.

So, this has led me to think – why? At school I am always rushing around like a headless chicken. So how do I seem to have time to do all these wonderful things?

Here is a typical scenario I face as a HOY  – ‘John’ calls me an ‘f***ing idiot’ in class. Therefore, I have to get John and witnesses to write statements. 20minutes of my time is gone. I then ring John’s parents who say that I am lying, he wouldn’t do that and demand a meeting. Another 15minutes gone. I then have a meeting with the parents who don’t support me until I show them the statement where ‘John’ has admitted to it (he is sat in the room; silent). Parents are adminat that I must have done something to provoke him to swear. Another 30minutes gone. Then I have to log everything online and set a sanction. 10more minutes vanished. In total I have spent 75minutes dealing with one incident. Does this situation sound familiar?

In many situations parents automatically assume the teacher, not the child, is at fault. (I am definitely not saying that all parents are like this; most are absolutely amazing and I have often received bottles of wine thanking me for ‘putting up with their child’). But, some parents are quick to say that the school is at fault and that teachers are lazy – a rhetoric we have seen far too often in lockdown.

I’ve spent hours of my day giving counsel to girls who don’t know how to use sanitary pads, made up pencil cases for those kids that come to school with nothing. I’ve patched up students who have self-harmed in the toilet and paid for students lunches when their parents haven’t’ topped up their account and probably never will.  

I guess my point is; when did I become both teacher and parent? Now more than ever I am confused as to what the Head of Year role is; educator or care giver? As HOY you are expected to provide a whole plethora of support and aid to both colleagues, students and parents.

I can’t help but think maybe it’s time that schools went back to being places of education, where parents supported the school and the government supported parents with the other stuff. Unfortunately, the pessimist in me thinks that day will never come. 

After 4 years of being a HOY, all the emotional turmoil and countless hours spent, I know I made the right decision in January to step down from the role.

Published by Ethical Leader

Leadership Development Consultant, Facilitator, Coach, Speaker and Writer. Experience of teaching schools, initial teacher education, mentoring & coaching, diversity and equality. Passionate about integrity, ethics and values.

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