Wednesday, 14 November 2012

For starters...

You were sucked in by the title, eh? Admit it! You thought "What sort of an idiot would post a title about his failure to learn better?" Yeah, well, you were sucked in by a cheap punning title, not me...

So this is my first blog: a few brief intros and an outline of why I'm filling the internet and Twittersphere with my own bilge should probably preface any further writing.

I'm a secondary teacher in the UK, have been teaching over 17 years, have been in charge of one department or another for 16 of those, and have managed four different departments or faculties covering three different sets of subjects. Sounds very grand, but I'm pulling the wool over your eyes to draw attention away from the fact that I teach Media and Film.

Embarrassing? Yes. But only because of the connotations everyone already has about my job, ironically enough usually derived straight from the media itself. Not the most reliable of sources.

I'm actually very proud of what I teach: I think students need to know the extent to which the media manipulate them, and others try to manipulate the media in order to manipulate them too! I regard it as a service to society. My view is seldom shared by others, especially those who teach "proper" subjects...

I'm also incredibly proud of the way I teach: I took a leaf out of this guy's book before I even knew he existed...


(I know, you've picked up on the shameless use of a funny video to make sure I don't lose your interest: You're cleverer than me) I make sure I don't give content: I teach skills, and I teach students how to learn for themselves. I don't make it easy for any of them, and hopefully I give them all a brain-ache by the time they leave the class, but I make sure they know that it's for their own good, and they all see the benefits in the long-term. Teaching has never been a popularity contest I was ever much good at, but seeing the potential in students was.

Until eventually some unwise owl suggested this was a skill I could use to lead staff. This is the journey I'm embarking on today, as an "aspiring senior leader". The view on the journey looks like a beautiful tropical island as seen from the sea, but the journey itself often feels like it should have an abrupt drop, like walking the plank. I will never get used to thinking of myself as anything but a fraud in most fields, but hopefully that will be put to good use: Humility and knowing you always have more to learn are key leadership qualities, I think. I don't want to become a leader who leads because they feel a God-given right to do so, or because I think I know better than anyone and everyone else. If I lead anyone, I'll be asking for their help. And indulgence...

So, first blog over for the Aspiring Senior Leadership Development Course. Not so painful. For me at any rate. I wasn't the one who had to read it though.

Over the coming months, I'm going to try and blog regularly about my journey, my interest in media education, educational philosophy, my antipathy for government involvement in education, my love of learning through technology, my growing conversion to Apple products which has taken me somewhat by surprise (as it has my bank manager!), and all sorts of other things. Your comments are welcome. Your support is appreciated. Your positivity will be repaid kindly through karma.