The insecurity inside of me, usually well-tamed by my confidence, sometimes suggests that my optimistic slant on education has many detractors. Self-doubt rears its head and trips my self-assurance, telling me, amongst other things, that passing readers of my blog will automatically think the grass is greener on my side, writing off my ideas as the idealism of the privileged.
Well they're not and @BridgemaryTL has inspired me to finally write my 'about me' spiel to debunk the theories my imaginary foes might have about me only being so optimistic because I've got a cushy job. I'll attempt to be brief and I hope it won't come off as whingey or boastful.
I am a husband and a father of three girls aged 5 and under (I make it a point to be home for bath time and bed time most nights). I hold a practical leadership position at my church (Sunday and some midweek commitments). I am an assistant head with a responsibility for maths and UKS2 (a team of 4 other teachers). I teach a 70% timetable in year 6 focusing on maths and English (with all the planning, preparation, marking, assessment and analysis that goes with it, not to mention SATs). Prior to starting this job (last September, my first leadership role) the school was inspected and rated 'Inadequate' (and the report was kind!) - I took the job knowing this. As a consequence, the behaviour of the children who have spent the longest in the school is challenging and their learning behaviours are improving but not yet consistent. Across the school, percentages of children at ARE are very low, although progress is rapid. There are still many areas of weakness in the school despite rapid improvement and my responsibilities include observing lessons and coaching the members of my team, as well as leading their PPMs, in-phase moderation and the like. I commute in and out of the centre of one of the UK's top 10 biggest cities at the beginning and end of each day.
I've tried to be matter of fact about my roles but if it is not clear, I have a jam-packed schedule and I work in a challenging setting. My optimism and positivity abound despite the every-day pressures of my job and my home life. Perhaps my optimism is what led my to my current school. Perhaps my increased positivity is as a result of working on such a challenging environment. Whatever the case, even when times get tough (and they do), it is possible to be optimistic and positive about teaching.