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:
- Never plan to get something done in school time – it will never happen or, if you start it you will never get it finished.
- Having said that, it is vital that you allocate time for forward planning or otherwise decisions will always be reactionary rather than proactive.
- You can’t please everyone simultaneously – someone will always be dissatisfied with your decision; be it a teacher, student or parent.
- It is possible to find at least one redeeming feature in even the toughest student – you just have to keep looking.
- Almost all students want to learn and do the right thing – just sometimes they don’t know how to go about doing it.
- Some teachers will palm off a problem rather than deal with it themselves if you let them.
- Building relationships with students and their families is vital if situations are going to improve.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.