Eight years ago I was celebrating, having secured my first DHT 3 to 18 pupil support post, as I have been reminded by today’s Facebook memory.
On Thursday, I was lucky enough to speak at an event for the Scottish Learning Festival about leadership in education.
I referenced the fact that I am of an age where I sometimes catch myself saying “oh, we tried that in the nineties and it didn’t work” or “that’s just an old initiative re-invented”. The risk that comes with that is that we become grumpy, jaded or cynical about positive change and add to the problem, rather than being part of the solution.
In fact, every iteration of an attempt to bring about change, progress or improvement in either our personal or professional life can add new value to the previous iterations, as long as we pause to reflect on what has gone before.
Every experience we have is an opportunity to learn, from both the things that went well and the things that went less well.
The fact that I am now back in a job with the same title, opportunities and challenges that I took on eight years ago is an example of how this can work.
Far from seeing this as a backwards move, it is an excellent opportunity to approach the job with eight years’ worth of insight and experience that allow me to achieve even more than I could last time round.
At the end of my first formal full week in the new post, I am both exhausted and exhilarated. There is no denying that helping to run a school in an ongoing pandemic is tough, with the combination of staff and pupil absence and ongoing restrictions meaning that every day is a massive excercise in creative thinking, contingency planning and solution focussed decision making. But the incredible commitment, generosity and passion of the adults working in the teams around our children makes this possible, alongside the enthusiasm and joy shown by the children themselves.
This week, amongst other things, I have taught P1/2 for a morning and P6/7 for a morning, co-delivered PSE classes for S1,2,4 and 5/6, attended several meetings, made connections with several of our parents/carers and helped my colleagues to plan some exciting developments for the future of pupil support in the school.
The highlight was probably getting the P1/2s to roleplay and perform the joke “Mrs Carter, my pen’s run out!!” “Why don’t you run after it then?”
(Don’t worry, there was a tenuous link to literacy).
When I asked a P1 the day after if he could remember what I’d taught him, he said “to laugh.”
I can assure you that the future of quality comedy in the West of Scotland is guaranteed.
What a blast. I love my job!