Starting at a new school is a wonderful opportunity for professional and intellectual growth.
I’ve been fortunate enough to this year join a new team of committed educators who have demonstrated to me that professionalism is alive and well in education. What has excited me the most, however, is the pervasive belief among my colleagues that they are yet to achieve their best and the consequent thirst for ways to improve the learning of all students.
In just the past week, a re-imaging of teaching and learning at the Middle School years has been proposed. This new direction promotes the fundamental importance of the Middle School Years as a time for critical academic and emotional development in our students. The leadership of Middle School curriculum will be overseen by a Director of Teaching and Learning (Middle School) who will hold ultimate responsibility for the curriculum in all subject areas in the Middle School years. This centralization of leadership and accountability will enable those who hold positions as subject-specific Middle School curriculum leaders to experience a greater level of support and guidance.
Whilst I subscribe to the belief that a distributed leadership framework is the most effective leadership framework for large, multi-campus schools; this new direction will require a clearly articulated pedagogical vision and the close engagement of teachers with any new pedagogical program if it is to succeed. This will be no small challenge for both the cross-campus curriculum leaders and the Director of Teaching and Learning. A transformative leadership style may need to be engaged – particularly in the early stages – to attract the best and the brightest educators to the various Middle School campuses.
Teaching in the Middle School can be perceived as ‘second-best’ by educators who see working with older students in the various Senior Schools as being more prestigious and professionally advantageous. As an unashamed Middle School-er, I prefer to reflect on the analogy of a rowing crew – where the middle oarsmen are the ‘engine room’ of the boat, driving for success through hard work, discipline and unity of purpose. Within any school, the Middle years are the time when the seeds of success at Senior School are sown and nurtured through their formative stages.
I look forward to ‘leaning in’ on this exciting new journey and playing a part in its inevitable success.