Coaching & Leadership Development
When did School Leadership lose its heart?

When did School Leadership lose its heart?

  It was once common for education to be described as one of the ‘caring professions’. Lately, however, we have become used to hearing teaching described as wearisome, hectic, draining and bureaucratic. Rarely will you hear educators state that they are in a profession that is caring, that nurtures the soul and enables everyone to be the boldest, brightest and best versions of themselves. So this begs the question, “When did this caring profession, and more over, when did school leadership, become such that it hampered the growth of the human spirit and in so doing lose its heart?” What do you think?   Many will, and indeed have argued that it is the heavy accountability culture and heightened levels of public scrutiny that is the cause for this malaise. That with an over-emphasis on results and league tables, individuals and school leaders in particular, have over invested in behaviours that have caused them to play safe and become risk averse. The return on investment has been stunted personal growth and leaders who live day to day, as diminished versions of themselves. To quote the American author and social activist, Parker J Palmer, “In our rush to reform education we have forgotten a simple truth; reform will never be achieved be renewing appropriations, restructuring schools, rewriting curriculums and revising texts, if we continue to demean and dishearten the human resource called the teacher on whom so much depends.” It’s not hard to understand why this precious ‘human resource’ our teachers and school leaders have become so disheartened and de-humanised. If you regularly have to give account for yourself, and of course,...
My Reflections on a Wonderful #PedagooHampshire16

My Reflections on a Wonderful #PedagooHampshire16

What happens when Teachers and School Leaders learn to put themselves first? On Saturday 17th September, I was delighted to attend Pedagoo Hampshire 16 in Alton. This event, which featured a day of interactive seminars hosted by individuals across the educational landscape, aimed to discuss and tackle key issues in education and create a forum for speakers to share their rich experience and expertise. My belief is that teaching is a vocation. In the words of Parker J Palmer, it is a calling that invites our “deepest gladness to meet the world’s deepest need”. Yet for so many in the profession their ‘deepest gladness’ has been lost. I decided therefore to base my seminar around “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role” and on how teachers and school leaders must learn to nurture the ‘being’ in Human-being’ through affording themselves the kindness and attention to meet their deepest needs. I sought to encourage those who attended to reflect on what was the most precious thing they brought to their role and challenged them to reflect on these crucial questions: Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role” In my talk, I also emphasised the dangers of living in the Sacrifice Syndrome. A place where teachers and school leaders “sacrifice too much for too long – and reap too little.”  Personal Sacrifice and the diminishment of one’s own needs becomes the norm. Leaving individuals feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, and deriving less satisfaction from their lives. Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the...
Taking Care of the ‘Soul in the Role’

Taking Care of the ‘Soul in the Role’

I was delighted to be offered a chance to speak this coming Saturday 17th September at Pedagoo Hampshire 16 in Alton. This event, which features a day of interactive seminars hosted by individuals across the educational landscape, aims to discuss and tackle key issues in education and create a forum for speakers to share their rich experience and expertise. If you have been lucky enough to get a ticket and you are thinking of coming along to my session on Saturday, there’s one key question on which I’d like you to ponder, as this one question will form the core of my session. And that question is… “What do you believe is the most precious thing that you bring to your role as an educator?” We’ll be exploring this question, because for the last eight years, working as an Executive Coach, I have spent easily over 100 hours listening to the inner most thoughts and questions of Head teachers and senior school leaders, and when individuals find their own answer to this question, things begin to change. I also have another question for you, … What do you know of the journey you are on? From ‘walking alongside’ individuals on their leadership journeys, I have come to the conclusion that school leadership is a journey of deep growth and personal transformation. However, because of the systems over-emphasis on results and league tables many individuals are devoid of a language or a space to describe the inner dissonance that often accompanies this walk into the unknown. It is not until they have been afforded this space, that they begin to see the role of...