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Our deputy never teaches...

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by waterfall9, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. I was reflecting job descriptions and, basically telling it as it is! Much as I respect your view re whole school community, all staff are employed by the the Govs, therefore, if the Govs direct the head, or agree to the head's plans (if that's the way it's done) all staff are obliged to carry out their part of any direction (as long as they meet JD's and terms and conditions) whether they like it or not. I am sure that there are dictatorial heads out there that do take the view you put forward, and If they have the gov body in their pocket, then yes they can "do just as they please" with or without the staff agreement or blessing. If the gov body backed the 50 kid class, as long as it is within DFE guidelines, then yes staff would indeed have to put up or shut up!
    Personally I don't believe this is the best way to run a school, there are times, of course, when, as a head, you might have to make decisions that are not universally popular, but many brains are better than one brain and it's a very insecure, sad and lonely individual that has to run things on their own.
    Hence, my point, if you don't like a school, move on or train to run a school in the way you feel it should be!
  2. The thread is essentially about senior staff teaching a bit, and we are all anonymous here. The thread hasn't been about amazingly poor teaching.
    I will list some advantages of senior staff doing some teaching.
    It shares the burden.
    It keeps them in touch with the students.
    It keeps them in touch with the (ever evolving) craft of the classroom.
    It keeps them in touch with their subject(s) of expertise.
    It gives them credibility.
    It is a sanctuary away from the admin burdens for a bit.
    It may help the budget stretch a little further.
    If they are any good it provides an example of excellence, and others can observe them to see what's what.
    It provides a platform where they can offer specific advice to colleagues.
    It would be a regular reminder regarding the working environment, and sharpen focus regarding necessary resources.
    Parents would appreciate it.
    It would offer meaningful input in parents evenings and report writing.
    The above are some thoughts that occur to me today, there may be more, and some of them may be a more valid reason than others.
    The case against seems to me that heads are so busy, and they have paid their dues anyway. Which leads me to ask the earlier question do heads need to have ever been a teacher.
    Two things that suggest that heads need to have taught (and still teach a bit?) are the phenomenology that heads and senior staff are drawn from the ranks of teachers. Also that cover has to be spread evenly between all staff including headteachers.
    There you go, an attempt to re-establish a reasoned case for senior staff teaching. I have also tried to avoid the snide slightly personal comments that contributors to this thread are suscepitable to.

  3. OK, but we have strayed from the main theme of the thread about senior staff doing a bit of regular timetabled teaching. You have said that as long as things are done within the rules, staff put up or shut up......ok, but so many headteachers would give grief to staff who worked strictly to rule. It works both ways, but senior staff are able to exercise the kind of power that can damage the working lives of teachers who do follow the rules. Maybe if staff work to rules then senior staff themselves should shut up, and put up in such a situation.
  4. I like to believe that in the vast majority of schools "give and take" coupled with shared ideas and expertise is the way things are done. Again, whether senior managers should have a timetabled teaching commitment is dependant on the circumstances and unique make-up of each school. I have a non-teaching deputy and SENCO, on an ad hoc basis both do go into classes to work and work with groups, as do I. We also have a policy of employing the best staff and developing our staff to be the best. I am the first to admit that the vast majority of teachers on our staff are better at what they do than I am, or possibly ever was (due to the fact that I have not been a class based teacher for the last 15 years). However, I know what an outstanding lesson looks like, and more importantly the steps required to develop teacher skills and whole school attitudes/procedures to enable teaching to be outstanding. The secret to my success is watching and listening to those who know more than me(and admitting they do), reflecting upon what I know, developing what I need to know and sharing my "whole take" with those around me and listening to what they have to say.
    In my particular setting I do not believe that taking up a timetabled teaching role would:
    a) Add any extra value to a child's education
    b) Give me any more or less respect from staff or pupils
    c) Benefit the running of the school
    d) Help me do my job any better.
    I would also apply the same criteria (exchanging "me" for "them", obviously) when making a call on whether my deputy or senco had a timetabled teaching commitment.
    When relationships between management and the rest break down, when fear is the main motivation, you tend to find that good staff do move on(people like me are always on the look out for these lost souls) and that the school gradually becomes ineffective and failing, with staff, quite rightly refusing to put in that little bit extra that makes all the difference. Having had the privilege to "work" with quite a few schools that have suffered this fate I have never felt that senior leaders not having a teaching commitment has been the cause of the school's fall. More than often the cause has been: lack of leadership, lack of skills, lack of compassion, lack of knowledge, bone idleness, blaming everyone else, letting people get away with murder, not letting anyone get away with anything, walking around with blinkers on, ignoring any form of council, listening to many stupid people........the list is endless and, again, unique to each school. The basic problem normally comes down to one of trust!
    Then again, like the army, when a good teacher is not moaning, a good teacher is not happy.....and I think that is down to high expectations, expectations that, sometimes, no head can meet!!!!

  5. Oh yes, one more common thread to a lot of the "probelm Schools" I've worked with has been: "Head working from home" now that really gets the staff's goat! and mine!
  6. May I say this is an interesting response. I have been unfortunate enough to encounter senior staff however who interpret 'give and take' as all give and no take. Also the demand/request/expectation for 'that little bit extra' is often an excuse to exploit.
    As you have said earlier, given the structures in schools, if senior staff quote the 'rules' to get compliance, then they should not be suprised if the rules are quoted right back at them in order that staff avoid being taken advantage of.
    I take your point that senior staff not teaching is rarely the reason a school may fail, however it may point to the culture within that school, and the attitude that puts the back of teachers up that is encompassed by the notion 'do as I say, don't do as I do'.
    I am impressed by your revelation that the vast majority of your staff may be better at teaching than you are, after being de-skilled because of a 15 year gap. Such humility is refreshing, however the part of your list that says 'lack of skills, lack of compassion, lack of knowledge' may be adressed by some senior staff by re-visiting the classroom, not in an 'ad hoc' way, but in the timetabled manner most teachers experience.
    Could there be a sub-conscious resistance by senior staff to doing some teaching because they fear they may not be any good at it any more? Or could the resistance come from a 'how very dare you' attitude by some senior staff that they could be called upon to sink so low as to be back in the classroom for a while after spending a career trying to get away from the kids?
  7. But, I am not employed as a classroom teacher, so why should I be as good? nor did I say de-skilled, I think not practiced would be a better descriptive phrase.
    It may, on the other hand, it may not! Putting a teacher's back up is quite easy at certain times of year, in fact, the word "change" tends to do this without any further embellishment. Teacher surveys are a great read, we did two last year, one in July and one in September, the results were very interesting, guess which one was the most positive? so now we do it in February. When you employ a large body of highly educated people they all have their own opinions and tend to be passionate about them, therefore, back-up=ongoing issue.......
    Please consider not all skills and knowledge used in school are teaching related, but relate to teachers, among others. If senior staff need to practice and revisit class teaching as a developmental aid to school improvement, then yes I agree, if not, then what's the point?
    It could be in certain settings, it maybe that those who don't care for class teaching make good heads, it could be that your view is very cynical, it could be that some teachers understand what is involved in managing a school far less than those that manage understand teaching?
    Who knows!
  8. It may be a cynical attitude that I hold, however after teaching full on since September 1976 my wariness and questioning nature has helped me to survive. I do find that accusations of cynicism, or unprofessionalism are often weapons used to deflect away from uncomfortable, yet reasoned arguments. I don't think you have done so however.
    I could regale you with many tales of self-serving, even corrupt senior staff, and indeed such tales about all folk who work in schools, and as a result my personal starting point with all those in authority is that they are such (corrupt) people, until they demonstrate otherwise. The majority of colleagues I know start from the position that most senior staff are good people, and they hold that view until something happens to change their opinion.
  9. If any new Deputies or Heads are reading this I would like to repeat that you should not feel pressurised to teach if it is not on your timetable. If you are a small school Head you need to balance your commitments very carefully. You can show support and demonstrate your teaching ability in many ways without a class commitment. If you are new to a senior post or school settle in first. I have seen too many overstretched Heads trying to save money by Teaching or trying to please everyone by doing so and then end up getting ill. You have a commitment to your staff but you first have to manage all the stresses of the job and look after yourself.
  10. Yes obviously the roles have different slants, but inevitably, we are there for the educational needs of the children. Teaching and learning is the CORE. So if a group is disrupted as there is absence, the deputy should step in at least once in 5 years, instead of disbanding the group, or phoning up cover supervisors (with no QTS) to take them (AND paying them extra!). That is just one example. School got great feedback from OFSTED, due to the quality teaching of staff. By the way the DH was given a day off during Ofsted! I still think you need credibility as a leader!!!!
  11. Absolutely right! The outstanding schools all say leaders need to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk!
  12. Sorry can't let this go. As a senior leader you do not need to teach a class regularly. You utlilise your teaching skill every day in many different ways and there are excessive responsibilities which you have to meet. As a Head, DH or AH you are constantly having dialogue with others regarding learning and teaching at all levels. You are also subtly training others by example all the time. This impacts on practice across the school. I am in no way defending the DH you have cited, I have no idea what goes on in your school. I am however defending the rights of senior leaders to do their job effectively.
  13. Let's face it this is about one person, we've debatedf smt/leadership teaching and you keep bringing it back to your D/H. Have a rest, i'd worry about your own job, not someone who you have no control over, life's life that sometimes I'm affraid
  14. Really, well that's news to me, and, if you'll pardon the expression, total trash! Walking the walk and talking the talk indeed, what ever that mabe! .My teaching leaders are excellent teachers and leaders, my non-teacing leaders are all outstanding at what they do too. I'm affraid this Class/subject led discussion is just exposing how little you all know about good leadership and management and exposing a lot of personal baggage that you carry. As I've said every school is different, how that school manages it's own business is up to them, as I've also said, if you are a teacher in a bad school, or one that does not suit you, do your job until you move on, you probably won't be happy until you do
  15. Maybe you are the one that needs to think on... I love my school and children and my head...but some individuals like ts DH needs to talk the talk... they get paid, my hard working colleagues carry the can, as I do. I know more about leadership and management then you might expect. I do not have personal baggage, only a caring for my colleagues and the children. Are you a head? because you seem not so. My school is NOT bad nor is my head BAD, my blog was about senior leaders leading...(By the way, I have been encouraged to stay...when trying to move on....) If your leaders are so fantastic, then they do not need to walk the walk....my DH has not taught ever! and staff are judged by her!! So get it right.
    I am happy as I get outstanding PM, but maybe writing in a head forum stirs up too much in the ones who want to bash us that care enough to write. I WANTED TO KNOW IF THIS GOES ON IN OTHER SCHOOLS!
  16. Yes It is one person but there are plenty like that, maybe not obvious on a HT forum. Life has been like that and have (like my colleagues) tolerated it. But I did not post to get sympathy, nor moan. It was to open up the discussion that this goes on does it? As it is engulfing our school...is that ok to ask?
  17. There are some senior leaders who are a bit like saints. There are many senior leaders who believe they are saints, and there are some who behave like devils.
    The point is if you meet one wrong 'un (and I have met several, and we all know of several more) it colours your opinions somewhat, and is particularly annoying if such a one stands in judgement over you, and is able to threaten via a reference. An earlier post referenced showing leadership qualities in subtle ways, well poor treatment of 'underlings' can be pretty subtle too.
    I have know at least two people who have said the way to get on in teaching is to 'get as far away from the kids as you can'.
    However one of my all time heroes is a current deputy head in my school, she is magical, saintly and simply awesome...and believe it or not she also does some teaching and wouldn't have it any other way.

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