Early career teacher: Learning to find balance

After a long term, a school trip and end of term meetings, our early career blogger has been reflecting on which skills he needs to develop next.

ECT-cropped-430x2861I’ve been told that by Christmas we had completed 38% of the academic year, so it is no surprise that the students were exhausted and I think the majority of the staff were on their knees. The last week was a blur. I struggled to stay engaged and, if I did, I’m sure the students did as well.

This half term was certainly a busy one during November we had our A2 trip to CERN and this year we took 50% more students. I was worried about the extra numbers and this year I had a lot go wrong in the planning stages (not sure where my head was at) but I’d rather have things go wrong in the planning stages than on the actual trip!

Then two weeks before the Christmas break, we had a departmental review. Why it couldn’t wait until the new term is beyond me. I know management have their reasons, but sometimes it feels as if the SLT is so far disconnected from the realities of teaching they don’t realise the implications of their decisions. I recently read an article that stated that teacher’s morale is at an all-time low, a YouGov poll showed that 55% reported morale as ‘low’ or ‘very low’. I am quite an optimistic person, but I’m finding it very hard to cope with the constant changes and politics being played in Education. The promises of teachers being able to just get on with teaching, seem to be a distant memory and things at the moment couldn’t be further from the truth.

My biggest issue as Head of Physics is that I’m struggling with getting my ideas to fruition.  I am still finding it difficult managing people and I am having to do a lot of the tasks myself, it’s not that I have a problem with delegation but it I find it challenging especially as I am the youngest in the physics department by a number of years and as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs the department contains the Head of Science and the previous Head of Physics, so sometimes it feels as if I’m walking on ‘eggshells’ when I ask them to complete tasks.  Instead of informing my department, I find I am always asking for their input but I believe in the New Year, I need a greater balance.  I need to have conviction in my ideas, learn when to take advice and know when I must give instruction. These skills are not something I will easily learn and I hope that in time I will get better at exercising them.