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Hardest thing in first year of being HoD?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by cupofteacher, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    Am interested to know in the biggest challenges people found in their first year of being a HoD?

    Thanks
     
  2. Managing inept staff.
     
  3. Trying to organise the timetable to keep everyone happy, and then having people moan about it anyway...
     
  4. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    Thanks! Any tips for how you overcame these?
     
  5. rosa11

    rosa11 New commenter

    Keep things very simple - good agendas, good minutes with action points so that all know who is doing what, delegate and smile at the same time, don't apologise when you are asking someone to do a task, clear vision, make sure you get the support you need from your line manager. Personal toouches, chocolate
     
  6. Definitely the staff for me!
     
  7. Again, the staff! What is it about teaching that staff can moan about being asked to do the basics of their job on time and to an adequate level?
     
  8. My advice would be to make your expectations clear right from the start. Always make any requests including deadlines in writing - I use email a lot to remind people that deadlines are coming up or of things that need doing. Also, a bottle of wine at xmas is always gratefully received! I guess the key thing is organisation - staff are happy to pitch in if you have good reason for what you are asking them to do, and make life as easy as possible for them!
    Also - develop a thick skin if you don't have one already! You are the person who has to fight the corner for your staff with SLT, but you also have to be the messenger when SLT want things done. You can get stick from above and below!!
     
  9. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    Great advice, thanks! Keep them coming! I really want to be as prepared as possible!
     
  10. Only difficult if you hide away and don't focus on the staff, the hardest thing is finding time to work on your own teaching.
     
  11. How do you enlist support from your line manager? I find this extremely difficult. At my school their own interests are the priority. I also find that some teachers - although a minority - undermine teachers in charge and heads of department by going direct to line manager or going to them if they do not like a particular decision or directive. Great if line manager is supportive but when they are not things can get difficult. Our school is very political and this makes life difficult!

     
  12. I have had to try to manage staff who have refused to mark work, give fedback to students and have delivered poor lesons in my current role. I have tried to get my luine managers over the years tosupport me in dealing with these staff, but because one was the head I had little support. Now, with a new line manager briought in for our new and additional specialism, i am being blamed, with the consequences that are associated with it, and with the weak staff carrying on as normal.
    Advice please on how to change things around.
     
  13. Until I became a HoD I believed that most staff were like me, hard working always trying to engender the best educational environment and willing to go the extra mile to make the difference.

    What a shock it was, I started to notice how early some staff left and how slack their documentation was, eg marking and planning. In discussion with other HoDs, I found that trying to implement a new strategy introduced by SLT means having to listen to far too many whinging complaints and being creative with language to point out that this was their jobs without generating mass depression.

    It soon becomes apparent that being a HoD requires remarkable skills of persuasion and a level of resilience that enables you to focus on the big picture and not be too disappointed in the day to day problems.

    I recommend giving clear short term SMART targets which are discussed on a regular basis. If your staff are working below expectations, try to focus on ways forward and not dwell on mistakes.
     
  14. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    I'm not yet a HoD hence my original post, but wanted to attempt to respond to your post in how I would deal with it. I may be wrong, but this would be great for other people to point out what could be done differently!

    I think I would at the next department meeting have created a vision for the department with a deadline, for example by this time next year I would want all our SoWs to an outstanding standard, teaching to be consistently good, feedback effective and marking informative. I would then inform staff for this to happen there would be drop in sessions, (do you do learning walks? it might be worthwhile walking around your dept with SLT?), regular book sampling, and possibly feedback from students on a termly basis about how their lessons are going, but putting a really positive spin on it. I would then give deadlines and delegate jobs to everyone in the dept. Could you link poor teaching to PM targets?
     
  15. I'm still in my first year as a HoD and I have found that the demands on my time are far greater than they were when I was without responsibility. I now not only have to find a balance in supporting my staff and reporting regularly to SLT, but I also have to balance my HoD responsibilities with my whole school responsibility and it's a bit like fighting fires at the moment albeit thoroughly enjoyable.
     
  16. I'm not yet a HoD hence my original post, but wanted to attempt to respond to your post in how I would deal with it. I may be wrong, but this would be great for other people to point out what could be done differently! I think I would at the next department meeting have created a vision for the department with a deadline, for example by this time next year I would want all our SoWs to an outstanding standard, teaching to be consistently good, feedback effective and marking informative. I would then inform staff for this to happen there would be drop in sessions, (do you do learning walks? it might be worthwhile walking around your dept with SLT?), regular book sampling, and possibly feedback from students on a termly basis about how their lessons are going, but putting a really positive spin on it. I would then give deadlines and delegate jobs to everyone in the dept. Could you link poor teaching to PM targets?
    ithinkineedahug that is all sound advice and I myself have implemented much of that in my post, but what do you do when you share your vision (pretty much as above) which one member of staff would be happy to shove and just carry on doing ok, carry out all the checks, give out the advice, get feedback from students etc but find that they do not progress because they simply don't want to? They are happy being satisfactory they have done it this way for years so why should they change? SLT want to see change but also don't want to be the ones that upset the apple cart.
    Advice please on that one, because I am stuck!
     

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