Dealing with the challenge of the perception of our profession

Last week I visited the Inspiring Leadership Conference in Birmingham and was really taken with a talk by Alastair Campbell.  He has written a new book call Winners which is  a summary of what made successful people great winnersA member of the audience asked him a question about how the profession could take responsibility and ownership of the development of education policy from the government.  His reply was quite profound in that he set out two steps:

1.  Work with the government and not attack every policy look for the positives and stop over emphasizing the negatives

2.  Be innovative, invite people in and give credible robust alternatives.

This stuck me as a very interesting policy and maybe this was something I could attribute to the declining number of people applying for teacher training.  We may all deep down in our heart agreed that we are a negative profession and may come across as arguably the most moaning public service.  Now I am not saying that we don’t have some fair points and the that the last few years have been an exceptional time of change. But if we don’t start celebrating our profession and point out what is good and exciting about this job more than what our barriers and concerns are, how are we ever going to convince the next generation?

Maybe we need to start at home and remind staff why this is a fabulous job!  I genuinely believe it is, it’s a really honor to work with children and privilege that we must never take for granted.  It should also be about reminding ourselves what excites us in the role and look for opportunities to do this.  I believe its senior leaders responsibility to ensure that our staff have opportunities to pursue their interests and activities that “turn them on in the job.”  It reminded me of the Fish Philosophy

If teachers can celebrate what is good about their job to anyone who will listen maybe we can turn the tide and maybe if Headteachers can shout from the roof tops what’s great about their school we can turn the tide of DFE opinion.

Teacher recruitment is actually my biggest concern now as a leader in a multi academy trust.  We are desperately short of staff both for places within our SCITT and when we advertise for staff.  I have a fear that Headteachers may be recruiting staff for whats right now instead of what teachers are right for our children, because the choices are have a teacher or not.  I believe we are storing a time bomb of inadequate staff who will ultimately affect the standards of education and the level of resource required to achieve an acceptable outcome.

There is much to be done by senior leaders to retain staff, shielding the staff from the storm and propaganda must become central to our roles as leaders.  We need to ensure efficiency of tasks and prudent in the delivery these to teachers

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