Nearing the end of the academic term I’m feeling a mixture of hope and frustrations
Hope because there are increasingly more leaders in education who are embracing the concept of staff and student mental wellbeing as being intrinsic to what we teach, how we teach and what we value as central to having a positive culture and education environment.
Hope because the organisation #WomenEd, which aims to Connect existing and aspiring women leaders in global education, has grown in numbers and countries in tackling gender equality; gender pay gap; gender and diversity representation in leadership; flexible working conditions and is empowering women to be 10% braver.
Hope because thanks to The DfE coaching pledge, inviting all current leaders to make a voluntary pledge to coach aspiring female leaders, I have been offered coaching sessions supporting me in my leadership role, through leadership development opportunities & sharing of great practice.
Frustrated because of the lack of Diversity on our school leadership boards . Great Britain is not an all white, all male society: Why am I predominantly seeing this on many of our school leadership boards? What message is this sending out to our young people and to our fellow colleagues?
Frustrated because some of my colleagues, around the country, are still micromanaged- their authentic styles and spirits muted due to a desire for control and cosmetic uniformity and the culture still exists that you should sacrifice your family by working at weekends and late on week nights meeting impossible deadlines and expectations.
Frustrated because I recently had a conversation with a senior female leader and we were discussing her leadership journey. Part of her reply was this: I had to work 10 x harder to be recognised. I had to be 10x better than the men to be legitimatised for the appointment.
This left me deflated as I felt this was still intrinsic to female leadership opportunities in the workplace
During the summer holidays I hope to spend a lot of time reading, swimming, cycling, camping and relaxing with friends and family. This period is a vital window for me as a teacher – allowing me to completely unwind and focus on my wellbeing, my relationships, my family.
But as August ends I will start to feel that familiar tightness in my stomach as I acknowledge the infinite list of things I must get through in the first academic term; The juggling act of work-parenting -being in a relationship; The difficulty of striving for balance so my own mental wellbeing is carefully monitored; feeling passionate and driven enough to do ‘another year’ because I feel like what I’m doing matters – has value – makes me feel valued.
I will also find myself dealing with the familiar self-doubts creeping in; questioning my career journey – the possibilities that might happen – and those deep frustrations echoed earlier with the status quo and the nation’s education system. I don’t want to have these same frustrations next year.
The conditions surrounding my working life cannot be on ’Repeat.’
It is important I harness these thoughts and frustrations and channel the energy into bringing about positive change.
To do this, I’m calling on the tribe #WomenEd to join me in writing a blog where we announce our Pledge for Change.
WHEN: Post a blog, anytime in the last week of August from Friday 24th August till Friday 31st August
WHERE: Post your blogs on social media platforms (Facebook or/and Twitter)
HOW: Use all three hashtags when posting #womened #pledgeforchange #DGMeetweek
WHO: Anyone who supports the #WomenEd values including #HeforShe supporters. You don’t need to let us know you will post a blog – simply post a blog sometime in that week.
OBJECTIVE: In the spirit of the WomenEd 8 x C values – To communicate and be heard; to find solidarity though our global connection ; To build relationships, collaborate and be forward and outward looking ; to challenge our thinking and the organisations in which we work; to read each other’s pledges and remind ourselves we are not alone but we are a powerful community ready and committed to supporting each other; to believe in ourselves and be 10% braver with our pledges, taking ourselves out of our comfort zone, and building confidence; to blog with clarity about the changes we want to see and what we will do to enable that change.
I hope the thousands of followers will join me in being 10% braver and reflect and pledge on how we can harness our thoughts/frustrations/energies into bringing about positive change for gender stereotyping in education; young girls still denied an education; female representation in education; gender pay gap; mothers working in education and our own career paths in education as we smash those glass ceilings. Always being driven by our values and desire for an inclusive culture that promotes equal opportunity in every aspect of education.