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Navigating a career in teaching: the story thus far



Read a post by Jade last night and thought I'd try to write something useful in response. Firstly, four pieces of advice for getting into school senior leadership:
// Be flexible and understand that to move up, you really need to move on.  This will mean leaving students. 
// You are replaceable.  No matter how good you think you are, by leaving, the school isn't going to collapse in on itself. 
// Figure out why you want to be a senior leader. Every adult in a school is a leader at some scale.  There's a lot of PR involved.
// Understand that it's about having impact on a whole school level and that you're probably going to need to show that before you become fully fledged.  This doesn't mean that children and teachers aren't at the heart of every decision. 
I first started teaching because it gave me lots of time to camp I wild places like the one above. I qualified in 2003 and here is a story - take it as advice at your peril!
I gave my notice is in October of my NQT year. I chose a tough school to start in and didn't really enjoy it. It was tough and a battle. My realisation from this is not to accept the first job that comes along. However, it did give me perspective and every place of work has been better.
I continued in robot mode in my second school.  It was during this time when I realised that I was good at teaching. It took others to see it and encourage me. I became a fast track teacher and went on lots of courses, including the SSAT future leaders. I engaged in the online world. Somehow,I landed a textbook deal in 2007 or something and wrote something for the TES. 
I wanted to be head of geography in a place that was difficult. I've found its time to move on when I feel I can do my job in my sleep. Took on a failing department (Ofsted agreed with me) and turned this around. I ensured that our team impacted on the whole school. I developed a BYOD policy in around a month with students and led CPD. I collected data on the impact of what I did and it's this that got me through the door. I line managed other departments and a year team. 
I've never had a time plan, I like being challenged and have moved on when the challenge has run out. In addition, I would say that moving schools is a must. It's bloody hard to do at any level though. I truly believe that if you want that job in that school, you're likely to get it.
I applied for around 10 or so SLT posts before getting one. Two interviews, short listed from between 50-100 candidates. Competition is fierce but continually being knocked back was a learning experience. Stand up, dust off. 
Why SLT? Because I want to be a Headteacher. Because I've never been comfortable with criticising and moaning about leadership.  Do I wish that I had stayed a little longer at middle leadership? No, not really. Sometimes I do, but then remember how little impact on the whole school I had. 

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