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Head of subject tips(8 Posts)
So I started at a new school as a head of subject (but got the job from an ‘internal advert’ after I got a teaching job in May), I’m really struggling to stamp myself on the department. They hate me as I got the job over them. Any tips for going in as a newbie. I’ve been told ‘just don’t care who you annoy’ several times is this the best option?!
Not a teacher but if you are confident in your decisions and have good reason for your standards I would keep emphasising them and explaining when necessary your reasons and if they are based on sound logic have confidence you are right
If the above is the case anyone who won't change / understand you should consider why they are there and what value they add.
(I am a governor)
You need to be firm in your position and not too accommodating otherwise people will take them advantage. Once made your decision, stick to it.
If you’re making changes be clear on the rationale but don’t blame the existing Dept members
Good luck Op
I think you probably have lots of leadership skills to learn and use. Have you had any support or training, reading? I would start with agreeing a shared vision with your colleagues, something to drive performance but also hold them to account with. Relationships, communication, job descriptions, roles, evidence of quality and outcomes, action plans, monitoring...loads to consider.
Being a leader is tougher in familiar territory.
Go slowly. Use this year to build relationships and observe. Discuss what you want to do with the dept and listen to their opinions. Compromise. Don't try to change everything at once. Start with the big things - those that are really important to you or that will have the biggest rewards for the lowest input.
Look after your dept - do things that will make everybody's life easier. Share your resources and encourage others to do the same, but don't enforce it. Build a culture of collaboration and support that comes from shared values rather than policy.
Get to know teachers as individuals and make it clear that you respect and value their experience and efforts. Negotiate with them individually. Discuss as a department and agree non-negotiables and things you are working towards.
Avoid piling on extra work or making existing tasks more onerous. Be prepared to do much more work than everyone else. You'll have more success and a more pleasant time if you can build a team and lead rather than impose and manage people who don't like you. Choose your battles - after a year, you'll know how to work with the department to go the way you want to go.
Bring biscuits to meetings.
And you can’t have got the job over all of them! Most of them will just be hoping you don’t change things too much (or that you do change things that are stupid like a bad marking policy).
I was in a similar position and went with listening and getting to know them individually before trying to change anything. When changes needed to be introduced I had a clear rational that was explained to them and in line with whole school policy. A lot of the time they're just as anxious about someone coming in and telling them what to do without knowing their role/issues/experiences etc.
Thanks for the ideas!
It’s a department of 4 and they all put in for it (science subject) so they see me as an outsider who took their chance of promotion. The deputy head actually told me this after I got it, so it’s been a bit awkward.
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