With the pressure on teachers to be constantly raising the bar in the classroom, schools are having to make their professional development programmes a matter of priority. If you aren’t giving your teachers first class cutting edge professional development, then how can you expect them to be constantly pushing the boundaries in the classroom?
However, some schools are still way behind the times when it comes to their offer of professional development for their staff. For many schools, a one-size-fits all approach still reigns supreme where all staff are treated the same, irrespective of their individual needs and interests. This can frustrate staff and even cause them to look for pastures new due to a lack of time and effort spent on them.
This can be even more prevalent when it comes to leadership development. Most internal development programmes tend to focus on classroom pedagogy and general teaching techniques, but miss out on developing teachers as leaders. One of the common reasons for this may be a reluctance to develop their staff into leaders that they will begin to lose to other neighbouring schools. Although every school will tell you that they are happy to develop every human being in their school – from students to teachers; not many schools will want to see all of their aspiring leaders move on to other schools due to the first-class development that the school have provided them with. This can be a tricky situation for schools to manage, hence why some schools shy away from putting lots of time and effort into leadership programmes if they know that it might result in some of their bright young talent moving on.
If you feel that your school doesn’t have a great offer of leadership development opportunities, there are other ways to take responsibility of your own development, away from the school. Here are some quick and effective ways in which you can do this:
1. Commit more of your time to reading. There are an enormous amount of current and ex school leaders that have written books about their experiences in senior leadership and their tips on how to be successful. Committing some of your own time to reading and reflecting on your own leadership characteristics, is a great way of taking ownership of your professional learning.
2. Using an online professional development site like Bloomsbury CPD for Teachers. This way you can dip in and out of many areas of school leadership whenever and wherever you have an internet connection, so you’ll never have to wait to be developed.
3. With the explosion of social media, many teachers and leaders are frequently tweeting and blogging about their experiences of leadership on a daily basis. By extending your professional network on social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn you can join in the conversation in the virtual staffroom.
Leadership can be a time when you need to stand on your own two feet and make decisions for yourself, without having someone to hold your hand all of the way. The same can be said for your own leadership development. It might be time to take the initiative and the ownership for your own destiny as a school leader.