Thursday 2 May 2013

Z looks at herself, flatteringly (over-flatteringly)

I've been doing a bit of straightforward self-appraisal, but with a deliberately appreciative eye.  And yes, I can see why people are reluctant to take over from me.  Normally, one sees ones shortcomings and takes for granted what one does well enough, but I have to understand the situation.

Today, I was due in Music - two double lessons, one before lunch and one after, with two Year 7 classes.  First, the downside - I've missed the last two because I was out for lunch.   Then the balance - I had a great time (nothing to do with being a governor, that, except that it matters to me that I spend time in the classroom because that's what matters most in a school, the learning and the teaching) and I was some use.  Indeed, this afternoon, a lad observed "When you concentrate, this is really good" and that was as a result of my input (including, darlings, I sang along to help.  I am a reluctant singer, normally).  In addition, though I'm not in with a governor's hat on, it keeps me aware of what's going on, I can't help observing, though I have a careful awareness of the position of trust I'm in.

On the way in, I was spotted by the Head, who came over for a chat and filled me in on a situation.  I understood completely because I know the background and everyone involved.  We discussed and agreed what I'd do, and I assured him I'd not go beyond that.  Don't make a tricky situation worse through naivety, or leap in through over-enthusiasm.  Come to that - darlings, this is Z with Good Advice hat on - write an email, save it and read it again the next day.  You'll probably tone it down.  If you're on shaky ground, even in one small area, that's what'll be picked up, so don't say it.

Later, I had lunch in school (pleasing the cooks, being seen by pupils and chatting with teachers) and then went for a chat in the Finance department, where I was filled in on another area - no need to do anything, it's being done (nothing to do with money, btw) but a potential problem that needs quick attention (and an appreciative email to another member of staff).

That's it, really.  Four and a half hours in school, two and a half on Tuesday, it'll be another hour or so tomorrow - that's the equivalent of a day, plus about three hours of computer work, plus some discussion, another two hours perhaps - though a fair bit of that was about me, so let's call it another half-day's worth.  But it's not the time spent this week, it's the accumulation of time that gives me the experience.

Right, so that's how I happen to do the job.  It's not necessary to be so hands-on, it's how I like to do it, keeping my ear to the ground and not thinking of this as a managerial job but as one that involves people, especially the children and their future prospects (in an all-round sense, I'm not meaning just exam results).  It's the reason I have been doing it for the past twenty-five years - that's an exaggeration but not much, it'll be twenty-five on 1st September.

I can also talk about my shortcomings because there are plenty of those, but they're what I grapple with in private, not that I won't acknowledge them in public.  I'm a simple person who is good at making links, but I have to do a lot of work to be able to make those links and others could pick up the details quicker.  In addition, this job is changing, in future it will be more strategic and less hands-on, more for someone with solid business experience and that won't be me.

I've run out of steam, I don't know what more to say.  Anyone with the interest and some time could do this job, but they'd do it differently from me.  But that would be fine, I'm not doing it as well as it could be done, just as well as I can with the time and ability I've got.  I put on a good face, that's all.

Anyway, in other news, it's looking up on the Nadfas secretary front.  We might have a volunteer.  I think that's a three-exclamation moment, don't you?  We might have a volunteer !!(!)  I'll keep you posted, darlings.


Unknown said...

If and when you retire, what on earth will you do with all that extra time, that's anywhere near as satisfying as what you're doing now?

Z said...

But on Monday, I was sitting at the computer feeling completely clueless. It took real effort to pull myself together and get to grips with it. I know what you mean though, and the same thought is occupying me at present.

janerowena said...

I came on to say the same thing as Mike and ann - and then remembered that my time just seems to be eaten up by all sorts of things that I would never have thought of. I really resent having to collect my son from school sometimes!

Roses said...

It sounds to me, like you're doing a full-time job without any monetary gain, with all the skills and expertise that makes you an incredible asset.

Yes, the person who comes after you will do it differently, but better? I'm not sure how they could.

They will have an uphill struggle to earn the respect from the teachers, staff and kids that you have.

Z said...

I have an overview, I'm a sounding board and good with helping find solutions to problems, I've become good at delegation to people who are better equipped than I am to do things, I'm a reasonably personable public face once in a while - but I'm not the best nor the only good person to do it. I had in mind five years from the start and I still think that's reasonable. And there are projects coming up that will be easier for someone to come in on from the start than learn about later - this is a good time to find someone to take over from me in a year or two.