Reflections on my first week in a new school

Richard Endacott

Friday, 21 September 2018

“Billy No Mates”; a derogatory term used by the school bully on the playground during the mid-80s, now here I was in 2018 stood in the corner of the canteen of my new school, watching others share their holiday stories and generally catching up.

In the classroom I am extroverted and confident, away from the classroom I am introverted and scared! All my close friends are people I met before I was 20 and now I was stood in a room of 150 people seemingly all unaware of my existence, or so it felt.

Of course, I met a few people on my interview and there were some familiar faces, however, that was 4 months ago, the first interaction I had was with an Assistant Head who out of politeness asked me the standard questions before moving on to the other “Billy’s”. It was time to put my fears to one side and be positive! I collected my free cup of coffee and croissant and sat with the finance team.

"...the best school leaders always set by example. I had already made a conscious decision to get into school early and to dress as professionally as possible."


As a new middle leader, this was a masterstroke. Whilst fellow teachers make for superb conversation, it is always worthwhile to get to know the people who make the place run. There is so much you need to understand about schools, who all run in seemingly autonomous fashion, photocopying, budget requests, timetabling, laptops, behaviour systems etc. are time-consuming tasks, but if you do not know who is in charge you spend the week running around like a headless chicken.

Preparation is critical when meeting your team for the first time. Coming into a new school in a school leadership position can be daunting as you are being judged for credibility. I had an agenda written, but my primary aim was to find out the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the Faculty. Getting others to talk about themselves, the Faculty and the school helps when cross-referencing your own thoughts and builds trust as others can see you not an egotistical maniac about to rip apart their previous good work.

 

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My previous school leadership experience had highlighted the importance of conduct and remaining positive. I prepared my first week to minutiae detail, where I was supposed to be and when to point others in that same direction.

I had moved from that timid individual in the school canteen to a confident and positive school leader.

Instilling confidence in others and help my own in knowing that I could start the year ready to make a positive impact on the lives of young people.

The same process had been applied to all my lessons throughout the first week. Thorough preparation and the setting of high standards is essential in the classroom, so why would professional relationships with colleagues be any different?

The first week is done and I now get invited for lunch with other colleagues. I would call that progress indeed!

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About our Community Expert

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Richard Endacott

Career Development Lead

Richard is a history Teacher by Training and for the last few years been head of sixth form. His specialism is leadership and career development in the classroom.

 

 

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