Reflections from a Relieving DP

I have been relieving deputy this term and, with the term almost over, it is time to reflect on what I have learnt from the experience.

Here is my immediate list of lessons learnt and ideas reinforced:

  1. Never plan to get something done in school time – it will never happen or, if you start it you will never get it finished.
  2. Having said that, it is vital that you allocate time for forward planning or otherwise decisions will always be reactionary rather than proactive.
  3. You can’t please everyone simultaneously – someone will always be dissatisfied with your decision; be it a teacher, student or parent.
  4. It is possible to find at least one redeeming feature in even the toughest student – you just have to keep looking.
  5. Almost all students want to learn and do the right thing – just sometimes they don’t know how to go about doing it.
  6. Some teachers will palm off a problem rather than deal with it themselves if you let them.
  7. Building relationships with students and their families is vital if situations are going to improve.
  8. Focus on and reward the positive. It is far better to see things from a “glass half full” perspective in this job otherwise the negativity could destroy you.
  9. Maintain strong communication links with the principal and other executive members – listen to their ideas, suggestions and advice and also be confident enough to share your own with them. A team is far more effective than a solo player.
  10. Think outside the square – if the usual strategies aren’t working then using them again won’t achieve a different outcome. Actively seek out alternatives and tackle issues from another perspective.
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About madiganda

Head Teacher English and now literacy consultant, passionate about English, education and embracing the future. Oh and a reality tv fan!
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6 Responses to Reflections from a Relieving DP

  1. Roger Pryor says:

    Hi Paula

    Thanks for sharing such a good listing with us. These are all such realistic ideas with a very evident grounding in a sense of commitment to the business of our business. Well put !

    Roger

  2. Jonesytheteacher says:

    This list resonates with my experiences as caretaker DP. You could add “maintain an even keel emotionally”. DP is such a different experience to HT, and everyone (classroom teachers and HTs) should walk in DPs shoes at least once to see what a balancing act it is. Nice work!

  3. Jan says:

    Thanks Paula. This list is certainly worth sharing and could well form a nice set of “guidelines” for new DPs. It shows a high degree of emotional intelligence and a commitment to the wellbeing of your students. Cheers.

  4. Great list, Paula. Most of us tend to set goals that are unrealistic and become frustrated when we don’t achieve all we planned. During our planning, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that implementation will require working with others — and collaboration always takes time.

  5. mgiddins says:

    Great list, Paula! I may have a stint as Acting DP this year and I shall keep that list in front of me. Well done for articulating it so well.

  6. mrborgert says:

    What Paula neglects to mention is the fantastic job she did as the relieving DP – the students at our school particularly really appreciated her efforts and as a colleague I reckon she was awesome! A pleasure to work with!

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