The story begins with one of my teachers who was on a journey of wanting to become an awe, inspiring, fun, interactive and engaging teacher. The problem she faced was the environment she was teaching in was extremely toxic, lack of professional development opportunities, low self-esteem, lack of self-belief and no motivation to work in this environment. Most of the teachers in the school were also unqualified. The senior leadership lacked experience, hence the support the staff required lacked in most areas. Ayesha (not her real name) was a passionate, dedicated, committed and motivated teacher. She did not know this herself. She had only taught a year previously under the previous headteacher. However, she had not progressed at all over the first 12 months of her teaching career. Fast track a year later when I was appointed as the school’s headteacher and consultant, I decided to work with many teachers by providing CPD, coaching and mentoring sessions. Ayesha was a teacher I had identified as someone with huge potential.
At the time I started most teachers including Ayesha were demotivated, almost turning up to school like she was forced to. The work was lack lustre and to a very low standard. This was due her mindset and lack of personal belief. The salary was also not that great hence, there was really no motivation to be a teacher. Alas it was a job. One she hated! Her language and teaching style was that of a poor teacher and this showed through her observations and walk-ins. I spoke to her and suggested that would she be willing to carry out some tasks (unpaid of course), however the training she will receive will keep her in good stead and ensure she transitions towards being an outstanding teacher. She was a part time PE teacher but at the same time she was studying to become an English teacher by enrolling an English language degree. It was her first year. We identified areas she can improve significantly, which she and the rest of the school were provided support in. At the same time Ayesha approached me and said I want to do more as I believe in your vision and mission for the school and it looks like exciting times ahead.
A month later I gave her the opportunity to show me what she could do by giving her responsibilities as an EC coordinator. With the weekly training and showing her how to collate evidence, documentation and analysis of all activities, she now had a difference about her, she was connecting with people more and her motivation grew day by day to the point she actually started to believe in herself. Step by step she changed the entire EC curriculum and produced amazing folders with all details of every activity with the feedback analysis of all participants. I now gave her the opportunity to teach English KS 3 and this was initially done through a co-teaching process so she could work with a good teacher. The co-teaching again gave her confidence in understanding how to manage the classroom as she had been provided CPD training. Theory is one thing and actually applying the theory is another.
Within a few months she had gone from being a teacher with all her issues to one who was regularly meeting me on a daily basis to show me what she could do. She had 2 roles in the school the EC coordinator role and English teacher role. She wanted to learn more so I allowed and trained her in different areas and her enthusiasm was amazing. She felt she could achieve anything. She was later given the role of data analysis of tracking whole school progress. The school had no data and she managed to collate all the archive data and convert the data into spreadsheet for further analysis for the last 3 years. A mammoth task indeed. This was pure motivation and the will to succeed. Within 6 months she had been trained up in this area. Other teachers who had years of experience now began to take notice. She was been marginalised and bullied because of wanting to progress and this led her to being upset on a number of occasions. By providing her support and the belief that she was on a fast track to become and outstanding teacher, she pursued the course of action that we had laid out. In the end she ended up with several diverse positions. This inspired many of the teachers in the school and they now started to question how they can be trained up to that level. It took one or two teachers to motivate others.
After I had left the school, she called me one evening, slightly panicky and asked if I could give her advice regarding a job interview, she had the next day. I said sure! She stated that she has an interview tomorrow for an English teaching position. I suggested over the 2 years to reflect on the training she had been through. The journey she had taken, and the language she was accustomed to. I also suggested that she takes her PDP with her and present that to the interviewing panel. Sometimes it now what you say but it is about the evidence that she had collated and the training she had been given would be more than sufficient for her to be offered the position.
The next day after her interview she called me overwhelmed of what had transpired. She felt amazing and through shear ecstasy she stated she had been offered the assistant heads role. She asked me what she should do. I did suggest she was not quite ready for the position and that she should take a HOD role with 1 or 2 leadership responsibilities. We can work further on how to transition on the next level. Remember this was a teacher who was unqualified, 2 years’ experience and worked under my supervision only. She knew the effort, commitment and all the hardwork she had carried out was now coming to fruition.