I was ‘lucky’ enough to become a Head of Department in my NQT year. This moved quickly to being in charge of ITT for a large school with a high proportion of instructors, GTPs and NQTs. And then to being an assistant principal. This all happened in the first 5 years of teaching.
It would have been so easy to carry on ‘up the ladder’. In fact I did go for a Deputy interview but withdrew on the second day. Whilst speaking to the Head to tell her I was withdrawing she said ‘can I ask why?’ My answer was simple ‘ On September the 1st, if you’re not there, I will be in charge of the school’.
That was such a scary prospect. There was no way I could have done that. (As an aside, I heard that indeed in the first term that year she was seconded elsewhere and my fear would have come true!)
So why don’t I want to climb the ladder?
1. I love teaching.
I’m not saying Headteachers don’t.I’m saying I want it to be the ‘majority’ of my work.
2. I don’t have the skills to deal with some of the ridiculous situations that Heads have to deal with.
In my career I’ve seen some real humdingers. All respect to those Headteachers who have dealt with them in the way they felt was appropriate.
3. I say what I think
This wouldn’t go down well with staff.
4. I like to be in control
My management skills are not developed enough to delegate everything. I’d probably have no partner, friends or family left.
5. I like people coming to me to ask for advice
You may argue a Headteacher has an ‘open door’ policy. Not quite the same thing as having people coming to you with small things or just a quick sharing of ideas. A quick bit of support goes a long way.
So this all led to me becoming an AST. What a shame the role is coming to an end. It is perfect for me. I would urge any Headteacher who can see this in some of their current ASTs to keep them doing what they do best; Teaching, leading their own whole school projects and just ‘being there’ for staff on a daily basis.