As a headteacher, there are times when you are faced with challenges. Sometimes it is about a lesson that hasn’t worked out, a set of examination results that weren’t as expected or a troubled young person who doesn’t quite see a situation as you do! There are other more profound challenges too – budget cuts, redundancies, changes to the Ofsted framework and curriculum — all present us with difficult decisions.
This last week has been one of the toughest that many headteachers and their colleagues will have faced. The rate of change is rapid; the demands on us, as educators, decision makers, leaders and human beings, are high.
I have been well supported by the team here and more widely by JTMAT and have never felt that I am making these difficult decisions on my own. The JTFS team have pulled together to provide work for students to complete at home. They have reassured the students, each other and parents as all of us face the uncertainty of an extended period of closure. I am proud to work alongside such dedicated and hard working professionals. The staff here are doing everything we can to support the wider community who are also in difficult circumstances.
We are all trying to do what we joined the profession to do which is put the education of young people first. I strongly believe that teaching young people is not just about the content of your lesson; it is about the way in which we behave in each and every situation that teaches the next generation how to be.
As we face these challenges, it is easy to complain about a lack of information, not enough resources, support or guidance and those things may (or may not) be important right now. In my view, amongst everything else, the most important thing is that how we behave and respond now will influence the education of all the young people we work with.
If we are quick to judge, they will judge too; if we panic and dramatise, they will feel even more anxious and uncertain. If we consider others before ourselves and think of the wider community then our students will see and learn from this. Nothing about this situation is easy but one thing is for sure – we can only take one step at a time and in doing so remember that this, in itself, teaches our children something. When times are hard, we walk side by side and just take the next step.