I am in week 4 of my new job. I am now a Head of RE at a different school in South West London.
I spent the summer worrying that I wouldn’t be very good at being a HOD, that I wouldn’t like the new school or that I would just have no life with all the added work. However, after three and a half weeks (which is still of course, very early days) I am really really enjoying my new job.
The culture of the school is very different, which I think is important to experience during your career. I have met many teachers who have taught at one school for more years than I have been alive, and of course, I may be one of those teachers one day. However, I have always been keen to experience different types of schools and meet different colleagues and I feel very lucky to be able to do that so early in my career. I have learnt so much already from experiencing a different school and can already feel myself developing into a better teacher.
One of the things I was most concerned about was not having enough time to do my ‘actual’ job of being a teacher. I am working really hard to ensure that my classes feel like they have a proper teacher who will invest time and energy into them, as well as balancing my new role of being responsible for the religious education of the whole school. I have found that I am becoming much more effective at planning and efficient in the things I need to do. I am cracking the ‘get the little things done’, as I have found that if I put them off until later, later never comes!
I am also facing the new challenge of managing and leading other teachers. This is something that I have never had any experience of as I did my degree straight after sixth form and then my PGCE straight after that. The other members of my department are all more experienced than me and at a variety of stages of their career so I am on a steep learning curve of working out which is the best approach with each of them. I have found that asking their advice has been a good approach so far, and I am keen to ensure that I am seen as very much part of the team rather than dictating and constantly delegating.
I have found that I have more work to do, as expected, however I am finding that being a more integral part of the direction of the department is enough motivation to not mind the extra hours!