The purpose of our Senior Leadership team in school is to create the conditions and culture where excellence can thrive. This is not an easy job; as Dylan William, government adviser and general teaching and assessment guru, explains above, growing and developing teachers into great teachers is a difficult and tricky business. One lifetime is not enough to master all the complexities of teaching! Those skills are varied and complex, and often simplified by politicians in order to sell a quick fix to the public. Creating good teachers often can be done using some fixes, but growing truly great teachers takes time, coaching, effort, intelligence and an understanding of the finer subtleties and nuances of teaching.
Teaching well is not an easy job. It’s difficult, exhausting, rewarding, challenging and is such a complex skill that there is never a lesson in the world where everything runs as you wish it to. The truly great teachers plan well and are able to adapt as they go, taking into account the reactions of 30 people, sitting in front of them, all of whom will be reacting differently to the learning taking place in the lesson, and putting that learning into a context they understand before being able to apply it.
This week the Senior Leadership team begin lesson observations in and around school. This allows us to make an accurate judgement on the teaching within each year group. As a tool for improving teachers, however, it is just one of the many tools at our disposal. Others include:-
- Support in planning lessons
- Consistent challenge regarding the curriculum they teach and their teaching choices
- Encouraging peer observation
- Videoing yourself teach – a real eye opener!
Developing teachers who are already good, which we are lucky to have here at Layton is a fine art and takes time. A mindset in teaching which says ‘I am never the finished product’ is essential. So, as SLT our role is to ensure we all have a growth mindset – something which runs alongside our vision of ‘Growing great Minds together’.
The right balance of support and challenge is essential; too much challenge and too little support and staff become disheartened and believe they have to achieve unobtainable goals. Too much support and too little challenge and staff believe their teaching is better than it is! It’s a fine balance and one I feel we strike well in our school. We question everything to see where, how and when it can improve.
So, as I sit in the next twenty five lessons or so over the next couple of weeks, my main focus will be on finding what works, what could be great, and how we can move each of our teachers closer to greatness. It’s a journey that I know will never cease.