On Friday I attended a conference on Career Planning for teachers in their first 3 years of teaching. It has left me with a lot of food for thought, some of which I am going to share now. There were a range of sessions to choose from and I attended talks on Moving to Department Head; Getting Noticed for the Right Reasons; and Progression through the Pastoral Route. The first keynote speaker was Jackie Beere who I found to be particularly inspirational and a great way to start the day. From her speech I have started to read into growth mindset, learning to learn and metacognition. These are all things I have heard about before but never really looked into. In fact, I've got so interested in this area that I've emailed my headteacher to discuss how it could be brought to our school. My push for contacting him also came from Jackie and the other speakers. Each one of them emphasised how important it is to volunteer for things and put yourself out there, I'll come back to that in a bit. Jackie told us all about her career and how she has got to where she is today, she's a very impressive lady and really interesting to listen to, in fact I was disappointed when she had to cut off her speech as she was over running. I could've listened to her for much longer.
The other keynote was by Alex Reppold, billed as NQT of the year 2008 and the youngest head teacher in the country, a tagline he was very keen to correct. He was indeed NQT of the year, in Hull, and is no longer the youngest head having just been knocked off the spot by a 27 year old. Regardless of all that I found his speech equally motivational. Alex stressed a point also mentioned by some of the other speakers about 'getting to good and then working out what you want to be outstanding in'. Alex talked about his personal experience of getting 'in the know' about a particular topic or issue and then sharing it with teaching colleagues and SLT. He said that before you know it, you're known for doing that and become the go-to person. Over time if a role opens up that is related, you're likely to be the one considered for it. 'Do something, share it and people will notice'. Finally Alex talked about not being 'a mood hoover'. He admits that this is not a concept he came up with but I really liked it and it's definitely worth a mention. We all know a mood hoover. They're the person that dismisses all the new ideas, finds obstacles to everything and is resistant to change. Alex stressed the importance of not being a mood hoover. That's not to say you can't question change, in fact you should. Ask questions, give suggestions and always try things out rather than just saying no!
The key points that I've taken away from the day are:
- Volunteer and just say yes.
- Find what you're interested in and become an expert in it.
- Do something and share it.
- Focus your vision, work out what you're aiming for and the experience you need to get there.
- Experience does not need to come in the form of a paid role, find something relevant to what you want to do. Can't find it? Start it yourself.
- Get involved with the good bits - especially with the students you don't teach.
- Keep up to date with everything that is changing, make yourself the person in the know.
So now it's the end of my NQT year! Slowing down and relaxing sounds like a good idea, right? Nah, not for me thanks. My Ma Education starts next week and I have loads of reading to do, I have a copy of David Didau's #wrongbook next to me that I'm itching to read and I've got lots of exciting things going on at home. I'll slow down next summer. Maybe.