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Which way?


Picture: Richard Marti

It’s about time I wrote something about the recent difficult personal decisions I have had to make at school in the last 6 months. Believe it or not about 3 years ago, I was going to leave teaching. I had fallen out of love with it and was lacking enthusiasm and direction. I came to a decision to go for a change and have a stab at a Deputy Headship and see if the challenge was indeed what I needed. I was delighted to get the Deputy Headship at Heathfield and enjoy so much driving improvement and leading by example. In June 2011, I was told that my Head teacher was going to be leaving and heading back into the classroom. As Deputy Head teacher, it was my duty to act up Acting Head teacher for at least 4 months until January 2012 or April 2012. The Governors were happy to give me a chance to fall in love with the position giving me time to complete my NPQH and apply in the spring term 2012. At first, I was up for it and could really see myself in role, however, during the summer, I was involved in the Cloudlearn project (Heppell.net) which I found refreshing and very much time to reflect over the power blogging has had on my development. I consequently had quite a bit of time to think things through and prioritise what I wanted out of my career over the next few years.

I had decided that my desire to spread the word about the value of blogging with pupils was a burning passion and being a Head teacher would not be the right move. However, I was looking forward to the position of Acting Head teacher but I was clear about something. I didn’t want school supporting me by waiting for me to get myself in a position to apply. Back in September 2011, Heathfield began the process of finding the right person to lead the school forward from January 2012. I wasn’t involved in this process and was 100% confident that the Governors would find the ideal person. This they most certainly did! Heathfield will be welcoming our new Head teacher Jo Lindon from January 1st 2012.

Everyone that knows me understands the transformation that has taken place in me over the last 2 years. I now find myself with an uncontrollable burning desire to spread the power of blogging, more importantly the power of an audience. I am blessed with a fantastic following on Twitter and a growing reputation that seems to be reaching beyond Twitter. I want to use this to reach teachers that may currently be in the position that I was in 3 years ago. If a teacher like me can be changed like I have been over the last 2 years, resulting in a positive impact on many pupils and teachers, then I can’t help trying to put myself in a position where I can impact more teachers and more importantly many more pupils too.

So, here I am…

Two weeks left of my Acting Headship. I have loved many aspects of the job but even though I have tried to keep connected via the Well Done Blog and QuadBlogging, elements of the role have been very challenging. Anything that has involved the pupils – I have loved. The staff are great and very hard working and our parents are brilliant too. The corporate responsibility is to be honest a big jump and that’s the hard reality that occasionally keeps me awake at night. Asbestos, Health and Safety, Legionella, Water Flushing, Water Temperatures, Extractor Fan Cleaning, Service Level Agreements. These things are so essential but lead you away from the pupils. Some people must thrive on getting all this done and are able to quickly assign people in the right place to deal with all these things but as an Acting Head teacher, the learning curve is so steep.

I have made my choice, it’s not a shock to people that know me. You’ll keep reading on Twitter about ‘My Mission’ – Getting as many teachers and pupils involved in writing to a global audience for a true purpose is my mission. Doing this from the position of Deputy Head teacher at a school with an International reputation for exactly that seems like a good place to be to me! In addition to this, we still have so much to do at Heathfield, embedding blogging further is just one small part of the bigger picture!

December 9, 2011

6 Comments

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  1. Claire Lotriet
    December 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    I had no idea you had got to that point three years ago, David. I’ve so enjoyed following you, Heathfield and everything you do via Twitter and the wonder of the Internet. Your enthusiasm for blogging is one of the main reasons http://kensingtonavenueps.net even exists. True inspiration! I’m thrilled you’re continuing your mission and look forward to what it brings. 🙂

    • David Mitchell
      December 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Claire, to be honest, it’s my network of people like you who have inspired me! I’m in a great position to be able to promote the value of blogging to teachers that have not even heard of it. I just can’t help it now – It’s Mission Possible! 🙂

  2. Dughall McCormick
    December 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    I am a firm believer in following your heart. To do anything else would surely ultimately lead to at least one person being unhappy if not more.

    You have been such an inspiration to so many through your fabulous work with pupils. I understand the frustration you have felt with the distractions from this that acting headship has necessitated. If I know you, I think you are motivated by impact. You are driven by a desire to have maximum impact upon the largest numbers of learners as possible and by whatever means necessary and if this means relinquishing the reins as head of a school then so be it.

    I also know that by whatever means you have available, be it this blog, Twitter, a passionate keynote or helping the kids to spread the message, you will continue to make a huge difference to learners of every age.

    Here’s to (almost) a new year. I wish you continued success in your mission!

  3. Pauline Roberts
    December 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    I think this post exemplies that there are many ways to be leader. Good luck on your new journey and I admire your courage in choosing the less followed path

  4. AnnMarie Delaney
    December 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Thought I ought to inform myself a little about blogging – call it homework! This is quite a read! I really enjoyed my visit to Heathfield today and am truely looking forward to the opportunity of working with staff and pupils from January. I hope we can generate some equally powerful Maths blogs!

    • David Mitchell
      December 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

      Glad you have found it and you are reading through. Blogging is a great way for me to reflect over aspects of the job and current issues highlighted and discussed in the education community.

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