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Im in a dilemma

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by WaltWhite, May 8, 2016.

  1. WaltWhite

    WaltWhite New commenter

    I’m in a dilemma!

    For the past couple of years there have been times when I have been very stressed out at work. I work in an “outstanding” school but behaviour around the school and noise in lessons is anything but. When an observed lesson doesn’t go well, we get a written warning from the headteacher and then weekly “support” sessions, ie. more pressure.

    I know I must take full responsibility for my lessons but now I realise it is getting me down, and feel like I want to get out of teaching. This isn’t an option for me though as I have a family to take care and need the financial support. I also still enjoy working with young people, and feel the best option is a new environment. If things work out for me and I do a good job I would like to maybe go into a role as an Assistant Head somewhere in the future

    I am currently a Head of Year (6 years) and have been offered a role as a Head of Biology in a new school. It seems calmer, the staff work very hard for the pupils and it achieves outstanding results. They say they cant get experienced teachers so are willing to give me a 4 day week so I can take on childcare so my wife to work

    I am concerned that in the next couple of years if I’m applying for Assistant Head roles that this sideways move or demotion in some eyes, will look unfavourably for me when it comes to shortlisting.

    I also think I need some more experience in whole school intiatives, maybe this would be difficult for me as a new person arriving in a new school with a not as high profile role

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Maybe I am overthinking this but Im am nervous and stressed that if I don’t do something by 30th May Ive got another year where I am unhappy. I owe it to my family to sort this out! Sorry about the long message
  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Is this really so important? If you were happier in a role as Head of Biology would you still go for the promotion?
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Could also be seen as widening your experience by a different school and a new competence in curriculum leadership and development. That would open up more AHT opportunities.

    Have you seen the relevant Theo's letters on how to accept a job and how to resign?

    Best wishes

    ValentinoRossi, WaltWhite and wanet like this.
  4. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Demotion? Nonsense. In a particularly academic school, it might even be seen as the opposite.

    I can't see this move as doing anything other than providing you with valuable experience of another kind of middle leadership which will only make you more attractive if you decide to apply for SLT in the future. It's certainly opened up the academic pathway (Head of Faculty, Director of Teaching and Learning, Director of Studies, Academic Deputy, etc etc etc), for which you really would need HoD experience. In my current place, the pastoral deputy went from a HoD to a HoY before his current position; our academic deputy was an assistant HoY and then a HoD.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    Just what I said!


    Best wishes
    WaltWhite likes this.
  6. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Many heads have a preference for middle leadership of academic areas over pastoral - if only because the data which shows your effectiveness is more evident.
    WaltWhite and wanet like this.
  7. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Indeed, many year coordinators are now none-teachers with no progression pathway.
    Dragonlady30 and WaltWhite like this.
  8. WaltWhite

    WaltWhite New commenter

    Thanks for your replies really useful. I suppose it's that the role is not a head of Science post, it is a Head of Biology and I would report to the Hesd of Science. I was concerned that it would look like a backward step? But all your points about giving me added experience and evidence of effectiveness make sense
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    So, have you seen the relevant Theo's letters ?

    Best wishes

  10. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    You seem a bit confused. You are unsure about whether to leave teaching totally or whether to be an Assistant Head? Being an AH is a lot of work, and you will be responsible for the teaching of others, not just your own, so you must be very confident in your own teaching to consider this step. I suggest you walk before you try to run - make sure you are totally secure in your own teaching before you rush into an SLT role. I have been teaching for 13 years and am just about to start my first SLT role in Sept. There's no rush - choose the school which will make you happy and where you can shine, and the rest will follow when the time is right.
    louisa.george, WaltWhite and wanet like this.
  11. WaltWhite

    WaltWhite New commenter

    Thanks for this @international schools your reply makes a lot of sense. I am really confused and stressed out. I haven't been able to sleep last night, and don't feel good this morning, just as I have to go in and deliver an assembly great! Right now I just feel like from my current position of Head of Year to this new role this is a step backwards. I feel like now it is a Key Stage Coordinator role that has been rebadged (Head of Biology) to make it more appealing to a more experienced teacher. Nothing against the role itself or anyone doing it, but just makes me at the moment feel like why would I do that, and I feel very negative towards myself. The financial drop (which we can just afford) makes me feel bad for my children and supportive wife.

    Really stressing about this, wish I was more decisive about it all.
    Sorry just need to post this this morning
  12. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    The thing is though, the actual school can make a difference. I took a downwards move from being HOD in a large comp to being sole teacher in a lovely indie school. The department expanded, so I was back up to being a real HOD again. Now I am just about to begin my first SLT role in Sept. It can be better to be at a more junior level in a school where you can shine, rather than being more senior in a school where you aren't doing so well (I have implied, maybe wrongly, from your first post that your teaching has been criticised in your current school). I couldn't deal with rowdy behaviour in the comp and it therefore wasn't a secure base to develop my career. In a lovely indie, my teaching has been able to shine and that has helped me to get the references I needed to get my first SLT role (also in an indie school btw). Forget money. Forget job titles, offices and status. Go where you will be happy, and also where you can make the most difference to the students. It is my experience that, if you do this, the career progression will naturally follow.
    louisa.george likes this.
  13. WaltWhite

    WaltWhite New commenter

    Thanks @internationalschools really helpful. I have been contacted and told that they don.t want me for the role I applied for but may have something else in mind. Will see what happens!
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good luck then!


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