How Did I Get Here?

Honestly, I am not very sure!

You see, like most teachers, I trained to teach. My passion is teaching and learning. I think what adds to my confusion to the position I am in today as Principal of one of the first primary academies in England is that I never set out to lead a school.

I grew up and trained in the USA. Then, I went on to teach in the USA for 10 years. When I moved to the UK, I was able to think long and hard about my career. Would my teaching practices be accepted? You see, I have some deep philosophical ideas about teaching and feel very strongly about my own style and abilities. I have been known to do things a bit differently, to put it mildly, and try things that few have tried before. This could have been disastrous!

Fortunately, I had the great fortune of landing in an inner city, multi-culture school that allowed me to be the teacher I am and accepted my, sometimes unorthodox, practices. It was in this school that the road to leadership began. The belief in my abilities by the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher supported my growing ethos and philosophy and desire to make a difference beyond my own classroom.

In the blink of an eye, which was two schools later, I found myself interviewing to become a Headteacher. I had visited the school and immediately fell in love. Realistically, I didn’t think I had a chance. But, I felt honoured to be able to be a part of the process.

Unbeknownst to me, the governors were looking for someone like me for the school. They weren’t scared that I was a bit different or put off by my ethos. They embraced them and, in this environment, I continued to grow and develop as both an educator and a leader.

I clearly remember my first day as I walked up to the doors of the school. My heart started beating fast and felt a bit panicked. I was in charge of this whole school! The buck stopped with me! Oh my!

I don’t have a secret formula for leading a school. What I do know is that I must always keep looking ahead and not be satisfied to sit back and wait. I try to instil that in the ethos of the academy and give it the room to grow. When I decide to take a leap, the staff embrace the challenge and leap with me. At the end of the day, the top priority is what is best for the children right now!

So, how did I get here? I was in the right place at the right time and, scary as it is, I keep leaping off the cliff into the unknown because it is what I believe is the best thing for the children.

What do you believe in? Will you take a leap into the unknown for that belief?

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4 thoughts on “How Did I Get Here?

  1. Congratulations on your post (as Headteacher, but also on your blog post haha)! I realise that the following statement is somewhat tautological, but I have recently taken a leap into the unknown for my belief that comfort zones kill growth, by moving from Perth, Australia, to London.

    I think the importance of avoiding falling into comfort zones holds not just for individuals, but for organisations and even industries. Education needs schools that are willing to leap into the unknown in order for our collective understanding of best practice to continue to develop. However, I also believe that it is crucial to acknowledge and build upon that which has been proven to be effective. I have observed that Educational policy and practice often goes around in circles because people get so excited about new ideas, prior to obtaining genuine longitudinal proof of their efficacy, that they throw away the old way of doing things completely. Then, twenty years later they realise what they’ve done, they revert back to the old ways of doing things. The abandonment and retrieval of direct instruction in the teaching of phonics and literacy is one example.

    In short: jump into the unknown, but remember where you came from!

    • Thank you! Congratulations on your own leap of faith. You are very right. I have been in education to see the circles a couple of times and even in different countries. I believe in reflecting on practice, identifying the needs of the children, keeping what still works for them and tweaking to improve. I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bath water. But, I do believe that the bath has to get bigger when the baby grows!

      Thanks for commenting. Good luck!

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