I wrote recently about the workload problems faced by teachers and school leaders in small schools. I also said that I had some soul-searching to do and some decisions to make.
As part of that process I spoke to ASCL (my union), I spoke to teachers (teaching and those who had left the classroom), I spoke to education consultants, and I spoke to my family and friends. The outcome of my discussions was the realisation that something had to give, the realisation that no matter how much as I love my job that my health and wellbeing come first. I also concluded that I was ready for a change, to take my career in a new (and yet undecided) direction.
Following the half-term break, I met my head and when it became clear that neither of us had a solution to the workload problem I handed in my notice to leave at the end of December. I’ve been at my current school a long time, through ups and downs, through every grade on the current Ofsted framework and I leave knowing that I’ve done my very best for the learners I’ve worked with, but now is the time to look for new opportunities.
My current plan is to stop at Christmas and take stock, to reflect on what I want to do next and to start networking for the next opportunity. I’ve always thought of myself as a science teacher at heart and ultimately that is where my heart lies, but my experience as a school leader in a special school means I have wealth of knowledge and skills to share in the right setting or with the right audience.
I will continue to be a voice for the over-worked, for the teacher at the chalk-face (or should that be whiteboard face now?), an advocate for a better work-life balance as I find my niche in the current education system.
In the meantime I’ll be presenting at a number of ASE conferences, sharing some of my knowledge and strategies for working with SEN students so why not book a place and join me.