Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A quandary and a solution?

I am entering the third year of my 'other' job as Principal Teacher of Development. I say my other job because I have always thought of myself as first and foremost a classroom teacher. I think this has probably led to me being less than vocal in telling others about the work I do in my Development post, preferring to get on with things quietly, which has led to suggestions that I should raise my profile. I have always had issues with this. On the one hand, if I broadcast what I am doing all the time, do people think that I am trying to score points or climb the ladder? On the other hand, if I don't, I am pretty invisible, and if it's a development post, how do I raise peoples awareness of areas which I am involved in which could have positive impacts for students, staff and the school? I think I have the solution, but perhaps I should tell you about my job first...

My PT Development post comes with quite an extensive remit. In it, I am responsible for the development of learning and teaching approaches across the school. I'll detail how I think I've done so far in a later post, as with the rest of the role. I am also expected to promote enterprise in education, primarily from s4 to s6 (15 to 18 year olds), have some input into vocational education (which I think overlaps with the previous area) and, as a kind of hangover from the previous job detail before it was changed, involve myself with citizenship education and embedding ICT in the curriculum. Myself and another colleague basically operate as a department, with our own development plan, standards and quality report and timeline. We both also have, over the last three years, had a substantial input to the school internal CPD programme. My own input has focused on ICT in teaching and learning and, more recently, literacy across the curriculum.

On writing that, I am acutely aware that not everyone in my school will be aware of those responsibilities (we have a school roll of 1750 and over 120 staff) and very few, if any, of my colleagues in my personal learning network across various online platforms will know anything at all about them. I feel that I work hard and I do my job as its detailed on the contract, but can't help feeling that I've been missing the point a little. I work at avrious points in the year with different groups of staff and students, but am beginning to think that people see this as an isolated input rather than part of a bigger picture. I think my worries about being a self-promoter should be allayed if I treat this and our developments page on the school website as a record of work. I am hopeless with paper, but my subject blog has been my account of my classroom activities for almost four years now. It's been invaluable in allowing me to recall resources I've used, be reflective in the lessons I've taught and help remind students of what we've been doing in class at certain times in the year (as well as allowing me to measure my time management against previous years). If I use this and the school website as my point of recall, I can first of all evidence my progress in my role, while also having an easy reference point for my line managers. I will be able to be refelective and, hopefully as a result, better in future development initiatives as a result of what I have learned. I also have the benefit of another audience, some of which will be critical (not a bad thing), others supportive, and most probably a combination of both. The school website in particular, will certainly help with sharing our work with the school community of staff, pupils and parents. Finally, it will help me no end with this old memory which is full of holes come the end of the year and PRD time. I am also hoping it allows me to be more expansive in future interviews for PT subject posts. I feel that this is the next step for me. Last year, I was interviewed twice for such posts. I think I have a strong application form, and although I was given extremely good feedback for my last interview, I sometimes think I fail to sell myself enough. Maybe this will help as a refresher with the detail in preparation.