I’ve never understood why, when people that are good teachers are promoted, they spend less time in the classroom.
Why is it when you have a good teacher, people seem to assume that they want to be promoted to a ‘higher’ position? What if you just want to teach? Get better at teaching? Have direct classroom impact with students? What sort of career is that?
Don’t assume that all teachers want to move ‘up’ and ‘out’ of the classroom.
I’m mourning the loss of the AST role. It was perfect for people like me. Good in the classroom. Wanting to stay in the classroom. Wanting to share, coach and support those with their teaching. Trying out new ideas. Working strategically with SLT. Working with students for most of the day. For me, the students are the best part of the day. They’re funny, resilient, interesting. They challenge me but in a non-challenging way. They want me to care. They want to learn. I want to teach them, not sit in meetings.
So why is it, in education the further you climb the ladder the more your time can be spent moving away from this?
Yes I know that senior leadership is about significant impact on the students and many leaders spend a lot of time with students but why are senior leaders given more duties that focus less and less on our core business of teaching and learning? (Organising buses, sorting cover, being ‘on-call’, manning isolation etc) I understand that being more visible develops relationships with students but you’re paying people a lot of money to phone a bus company or a supply agency when their skills are not in making phone calls.
So,if you’re not really fully using the skills of an excellent classroom practioner in leadership the following questions could be asked…
….Do you need to be a good teacher in education to be a good leader in education?
….Do good teachers make good leaders?
…Why do we promote good teachers to leadership when the skills from teaching are important but not enough to make a good leader? Are we confusing what is necessary with what is sufficient?
My next issue with leadership in schools is about training and support. Qualified teachers go through a year of training to teach. How long do you train to be a middle leader? A senior leader? Yes there are courses but you tend to ‘do’ these then get the job. Where’s the on the job CPD? How many schools have bespoke middle and senior leadership CPD? Mentoring? Coaching?
In teacher training you’re observed numerous times with feedback on how to improve. You then have an NQT year to embed the skills. Does this happen to middle and senior leaders?
And my final issue with the leadership system in education; Why is it that when you move into senior managemnt you’re often given random subjects to teach when you’re being paid to focus on whole school strategic goals not planning lessons and learning content for something you’ve never taught before? Yes I know the whole ‘you should be able to teach anything’ mantra but why? Why would you do that to someone that you’ve actually employed because they were a good teacher of X and has the skills to do job Y and then make them teach Z. It just doesn’t make for the best kind of leadership, nor the best learning experience for the students.
So ASTs won’t be coming back but should there be a role for teachers in schools to be paid and have the time to do the classroom based stuff that can also make a difference, but for those that also don’t want to be organising cover at the same time? Or am I just wishful thinking?