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HoD how do you cope?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Grafton83v2, May 1, 2012.



  1. I moved to a new
    school to become head of ICT at Christmas. How on earth do people cope with
    this job?

    <font size="2">I'm at school for 12 hours a day most days and I'm still spending
    most my evenings taking work home.</font>

    <font size="2">I have briefly considered leaving teaching altogether but I have
    no plan of what to do next so instead I've decided the best thing to do would
    be to take a pay cut and become a normal teacher again (I used to really enjoy
    that bit of the job).</font>

    <font size="2">Will I have trouble finding work seeing as I've only been at this
    job for 5 months?</font>

    <font size="2">Will I also struggle to justify my decision to leave at
    interviews?</font>

    <font size="2">I do think that if you realise you've made a mistake it's best to
    admit it and do something about it, essentially that's what I'm doing.</font>

     


  2. I moved to a new
    school to become head of ICT at Christmas. How on earth do people cope with
    this job?

    <font size="2">I'm at school for 12 hours a day most days and I'm still spending
    most my evenings taking work home.</font>

    <font size="2">I have briefly considered leaving teaching altogether but I have
    no plan of what to do next so instead I've decided the best thing to do would
    be to take a pay cut and become a normal teacher again (I used to really enjoy
    that bit of the job).</font>

    <font size="2">Will I have trouble finding work seeing as I've only been at this
    job for 5 months?</font>

    <font size="2">Will I also struggle to justify my decision to leave at
    interviews?</font>

    <font size="2">I do think that if you realise you've made a mistake it's best to
    admit it and do something about it, essentially that's what I'm doing.</font>

     
  3. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    If I saw your application had a short 6 month job on it I'd be wondering about it but depends on the rest of your application as to whether you'd get through to interview.
    I probably would recognise and acknowledge the strength of character it takes to say "No wrong move" and step down at the interview; I'd prefer someone who's done it before over an NQT personally but then wages are not my problem [​IMG]

    Have you spoken to your line manager? or Headteacher?
    Have you spoken to others in the LA? Where are you based?

    Why are you only taking 12 hours to do what it takes me 16 hour-a-day job? [​IMG]




     
  4. No I've not spoken to my line manager about it, as soon as I start applying for other positions I will speak to her. As I understand it I have until the 1st of June to hand in my notice for a September start somewhere else.
    My line manager will not be able to reduce my workload. I'm just too streched at the moment, perhaps because I don't have enough expirence but it's making my work sloppy and my classroom teaching is suffering both of which I can't accept.
     
  5. It is tempting to think that you should be able to cope on your own, but clearly, you do need to have a conversation with your line manager. They should recognise that you may need support and might be able to make suggestions. They won't want to start recruiting again. The job gets easier over time, but you also need to organise your department so that you start cutting down the time it takes to do everything. Firstly, I would ask why you are spending so long each day - what exactly is it you are doing? What is necessary, and what isn't. You might be surprised that noone will ask you about a whole load of jobs so why do them? Secondly, you need to take a serious look at the jobs that you are doing? Are you setting and marking too much homework? Are your records too detailed? Are there smarter ways of working, cutting back. Thirdly, the art of delegation is a tricky skill but if you have a team, start thinking about what they might do to ease the load. Fourthly, start planning each day, week and month. Set yourself realistic targets about what you will do and make sure you know when to stop. I would suggest working 8.30 to 4.45 then stop, and if something can't be done, then sod it, it doesn't get done.

    I can recommend this for a fiver:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-That-Frog-Important-Things/dp/0340835044

    Things get easier but it is up to you as head of department to make it easier, to organise things so you worker smarter and faster. Do talk to your line manager without talking about resigning first though.
     
  6. Llamafarmingguru

    Llamafarmingguru New commenter

    I have just nervously read this thread. I'm due to start as HoD in September and I have to overhaul the SOW from ks3 - 5 as well as implementing ESW I KS3. Any tips would be welcome :)
     
  7. Take the lead but get your department involved. Regular meetings, review the SoW together, collaborate on the writing and oversee its progress. Don't try to do too much at once (why are you coming in and changing everything without asking what they think they do well... you'll be surprised how much tweaking saves an overhaul).
    Lots more tips for a HoD but read some of the older threads here.
     
  8. Absolutely 100% agree. What you think is a priority and what is absolutely critical are very different. Focus on the obvious - set yourself a plan of everything you have to do and order them by date of completion. You'll find many jobs can be pushed to 10-12 months time.
    I still count being on TES as "working" in my mind - unfortunately I work the full 8:30-5pm at school then come back until midnight dipping in and out of work (remoting in via RDP) while watching tv etc. It's not sustainable, but there are periods of the year it's unfortunately necessary!
     
  9. I can sympathise hugely with the OP, as a fairly recent HoD.


    I was lucky that the previous incumbent had a phased exit, with 1 year as a strategic IT leader and me as curriculum IT leader before he left. That meant I had someone to partly share the workload and also someone who knew the ropes pretty well, although his approach was very much to leave paperwork until he got shouted at - clearly the paperwork that didn't involve him getting shouted at didn't really need to be done.


    I've not gone for that approach, but I really would talk to your line manager. If they're any good then they'll find a way to reduce your workload. That doesn't necessarily mean taking jobs off you, but maybe looking at how carefully you're doing the jobs. Ultimately I spend the vast majority of my time being a teacher, and relatively little being a HoD. It does still seem like a lot of time, and I was surprised at just how much. The paperwork, especially at this time of year when CA/coursework stuff needs sorting, can really mount up but your line manager's job is to help you cope and if they don't know there's a problem then they can't do that.


    It might be that stepping down to a non management role is the right thing to do, but it might well be that with a little support and some strategies to solve the problem. It might mean that this time next year you are loving the ability to effect change in your department and to support your more junior colleagues, as your more senior colleagues should be supporting you now.


    Good luck, and illegitimi non carborundum!
     
  10. Llamafarmingguru

    Llamafarmingguru New commenter

    I was probably sounding a bit dramatic with the overhaul :) thanks for the advice.
     
  11. it1

    it1 New commenter

    I can't help feeling that you may be acting in haste here!
    Teaching is a busy/tough job, managing others is even harder.
    I have been HOD in two different schools for over 8 years, one was special measures so had that added pressure.
    There is lots of advice I could give but there is really only one key question:
    "Is it for the kids?" - if the answer is not yes then why are you doing it. Plus, any line manager who is worth their money should support you. There will be things they can do.
    I would be keen to know a bit more about structure of your department - how many staff, how many TLR holders, how many kids do ICT, NCT etc.
    I would also recommend speaking to other HODs in school.
    I think you'll regret it if you quit your role. Also, agree with some advice above - you need to prioritise, share and use the team you have.
    Have you considered asking your HT if you can have your team off timetable for a day in last half-term once Y11/13 have left to joint plan schemes etc? If you take them off site, order a lunch and need to produce evidence by the end of the day I think you'll have a very productive team. Networking with other HODs is also really useful - share and ask people to share their stuff. Good luck
     

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