Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Becoming a HoD, Part 2

I've been in the job now for eight working days, and in terms of energy and the heavy weight of my eyelids, it feels more like eight weeks.  The good news is that in terms of motivation and eagerness, I'm still pretty bright and bouncy, like a mad puppy.  It's odd that the ability to make decisions and simply make things happen does this to a person, but explains where dictators get their boundless joie de vivre from, I suppose.  I am working constantly in school from 7.30am until around 4.30, and thanks to the endless multitude of different tasks, I am always able to re-energise myself with a new or more interesting job.  I must stress here, however, that for me looking at levels of progress on a spreadsheet is a genuinely interesting job.  And fun too, once you break out the conditional formatting.  It's like being allowed to use crayola when in a restaurant as a child, carefully colouring in the line drawing of a circus that the place kindly proferred on entry.  I can't get enough of it.  Someone pass me the Burnt Sienna.

So I'm maintaining a spookily high level of motivation, which is good.  But I'm also focusing even more on my lessons.  I had heard from many corners that one of the first things to suffer when you shuffle into middle management is the teaching itself.  Happily, so, far, this is yet to happen; I'm treating every lesson like a particularly vital observation.  This is bound to be down to my high levels of motivation and the strange new confidence that promotion brings.  I aim to keep it this way, but we all know an ill-timed cold or bout of insomnia can play havoc with our best teaching intentions, so I will have to see how it goes.  There is also the matter of 'setting a good example' which is now a major factor.  The reality of being a classroom teacher is that you never feel responsible for the practice of your colleagues.  As Head of Department, you suddenly are.  It is imperative to practice what you preach, and so you become even more aware of what you are doing than ever before.  I think it'd be fair to say that this week has seen some of my best ever teaching.  How exciting.

In terms of the 'other stuff' - things to keep the department running - my primary realisation is how much there is to do, and how disparate it can all feel.  One thing I'm having to do, against my character really, is be more outgoing and positive with my colleagues.  My natural habitat, or indeed my cage were I ever to find myself incarcerated in some human zoo, would be a dank cave packed with electronic gizmos and Lego.  It certainly wouldn't contain other people.  So I find myself hoisted bodily from my comfort zone, going around the department chatting away and being as 'motivational' and 'nice' as I can muster.  Joking aside, it has been very pleasant, and I have a good role model to look up to - our Head of Maths has got this aspect of his role nailed, and is incredibly good at making his department exude positivity and optimism.  Their results are supernaturally good, and I think a good portion of this success stems from this - thus, as desperately odd it must seem to anyone who knows me, I must follow in his footsteps.

More about the admin side of things next time.  Right now, I've got to get some forms filled in.

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