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Wished you'd known...

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by Walksonwater108, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Walksonwater108

    Walksonwater108 New commenter

    I applied for some AH posts 2 years ago but wasnt ready.

    This year I got the first job I applied for really excited about the new post. Just created a new tes account as my old one was linked to my actual name and think I might be asking for a little advice over the next few months.

    Any advice for a newbie?

    What do you wish you had known in the first week, term or year?
  2. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    As someone who is applying for their first AH post myself, I'd be interested to know what you have done in the last 2 years that makes you ready now but not then?
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I'm thinking it was probably this: gained enough experience to be able to offer examples from that experience to support my answers at interview.

    I still interview candidates for SLT posts and what unites all those with less than 8 years' experience of teaching (with at least 3 at middle management level) is their inability to draw on sufficient experience to respond well to most questions.
    Walksonwater108 likes this.
  4. Walksonwater108

    Walksonwater108 New commenter

    Very much what MM said, I actually have 7-8 years middle leader experience, but my head fed back that she didn't think I was ready after a few applications. I asked for some clear feedback and what areas of improvement she though I had and I found opportunities to fill the gaps and make improvements. I actually didn't need to stretch or develop too much but more become confident in those areas and in part be more overt with leadership about what I was already doing. The main thing for me was that two years ago I didn't feel confident in myself at interview (sub consciously I maybe knew what my head said was true), this time I felt confident because I knew I was ready. the process was though but very enjoyable and I never thought I would say that about two days if interviews (data tasks, interacts, t and l task, presentations, hour long interviews). As much as it felt like a kick in teeth when my head told me I wasn't ready I took it on board and realised it's not something I wanted to race to if I was going to fail.
    Middlemarch and sabrinakat like this.
  5. dookiedaveuk

    dookiedaveuk New commenter

    From my personal experience, I almost had to decide that I wanted to start to apply for SLT positions a 12-18months ahead of actually being prepared. Over the course of those months I prepared by (in no particular order)
    • Upped my game generally throughout my approach to every facet of my existing role
    • Went on CPD specifically aimed at aspiring to SLT - and then actually reflected on it, and used it to have an impact on my work
    • Became a staff Governor to gain experience of that side of how a school runs
    • Joined and took a leading role in a cluster working group
    • Talked to my current Head about my aspirations, and asked about shadowing opportunities, and other opportunities to help prepare me
    • Took on some whole school responsibilities, and tracked these through to completion. Including presenting to MLT, Governors, and whole staff CPD.
    • Once I had some of this underway, I applied for an internal SLT internship. The benefit of this to my understanding and practice was massive.
    I applied for around 10 positions before I received an interview - in my area there was a pool of approximately 70-80 candidates applying for jobs at this level. For every one of these applications I visited the school, met the Head and took a tour, and wrote a bespoke letter tailored to what I had found out about the school. I was lucky in that I had built up good relationships with some very experienced people in the LEA that read through all of my application info etc... each time.

    Once I had secured my first interview I got the job straight off, but please do not underestimate the effort it takes to be successful. None of this even takes into account the SLT interview process itself - which is a process different to any other that you will have experienced before.

    Luckily, if you are the right sort of person for SLT - all of the above is actually what you want to be doing anyways, and your resilience and determination is what you rely on each day to get the job done.

    Best job I've ever had! it boils down to the experiences MM talks about above.

    Hope this helps.
    Walksonwater108 and Middlemarch like this.
  6. dookiedaveuk

    dookiedaveuk New commenter

    • Value the staff, and show them that you value them often.
    • Don't forget what its like to teach a 90% timetable
    • One-touch paper - as soon as you get a job/piece of paper, deal with it if you are able, delegate it if appropriate, or bin it if you can get it again from anywhere else
    • You will need to figure out what method of planning is best for you, whether it is a 'day-book' (as Theo suggests), or a planner, or a notebook etc... but you will need to be organised. Personally, planners have never worked for me - but you figure out your own method.
    • Be reliable and dependable (reply to emails promptly, follow through on promises, turn up early whenever possible - generally be reliable)
    • Be humble, and realise that often the people you are leading know more than you about most of what you are talking about. Your leadership ability is what helps you direct their experience to achieve great things.
    I could go on... but that's enough for now.
  7. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Don't be afraid or unwilling to do the more humble and menial things too. Pick up litter, help carry those chairs, volunteer to take someone's registration when things are tough.
    Short handwritten notes of thanks, on headed paper, go a million miles to make people aware they are valued.
    Leadership is different to management and takes more skill. Your team (staff, pupils, PTA, whatever) need to want to follow your lead, rather than you simply telling them.
    Never neglect the support staff.
    veneris likes this.
  8. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    It took me too long to work this out: don't waste time telling people what to do and then running around trying to enforce whatever it is. It's much quicker and so much more effective in the long run to make them want to do it.

    Of course, it's also harder and requires more skill. But it's worth it :)

    The support staff can be your lifeline in a busy and stressful time. Make sure they know you care about them and value them.

    The most important people in the building are not the SLT but the people who spend most time at the chalkface because they have the most direct influence on learning. Never, ever think you are more important than them. You are there to facilitate optimum teaching and learning - don't make the mistake some new SLT make and puff yourself up in your own self-importance ;-)
    Walksonwater108 likes this.
  9. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    This has made me feel better at least.
    I've applied for 2 jobs (1 I was certain I was going to get) and not got an interview and was feeling down as I am feeling that it will never happen for me. I have even been looking in to other jobs as I've been so annoyed about it. At least it has reminded me that I've not actually done much applying in the grand scheme of things.
    GLsghost likes this.
  10. Walksonwater108

    Walksonwater108 New commenter

    That is awesome well thought out advice thank you - dookie
  11. L4xsh

    L4xsh New commenter

    Hi, what was the interview process like, what did it intail? Thanks
  12. Walksonwater108

    Walksonwater108 New commenter

    Veneris - thank you also for your response, wise words indeed!

    L4xsh - There was a first day which involved several tasks (In trays, Data, mini interviews, presentations...). It was very intense but I focused on enjoying it, answers came easily and I didn't do much preparation on them. I decided that I work in school everyday with students and that I would anchor my answers in that experience whilst also trying to approach from an AT role (instead of a RSL/HOD).

    I did use two different colored pens for data and in tray tasks which I think helped clarify my thinking and was genuinely surprised they could read my hand writing.

    I got a phone call inviting me through the second day (which was a surprise again as the other candidates seemed very strong) I then had 2 one hour long interviews. One with students and one with a large panel of SLT and CoG. Again intense but just remained focused on drawing from my experience and personal beliefs about education.

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