Friday period 0 – “Hope” in the head’s office

web-Balloon-girlAs a new head back in January I chose a theme for 2015. We are a church school and the previous head had been at the school 28 years as a deputy then as a head. He often told the children he “loved” them and they genuinely agreed. SO I long pondered on faith, hope and love BUT decided on…..

hope for a number of reasons but three compellingly convinced me:

1) I genuinely believe we need all need hope, and I ordered a copy of the Banksy shown here -well a copy not the original, for the office. “There is always hope” I wanted it up on the wall to point to and present for anyone who came my way be they upset, coping with tough stuff or on the edge of bad stuff. A daily reminder that we all need someone to have hope for us, in us and standing with us. A parent, a friend, a teacher can and perhaps must bring some hope in an age where we continue to worry over the health, especially the mental health and well being of each other.

2) This happened – I had taken a Y13 class a few years ago and it was the day all teachers so love when mocks are handed back. Their scripts were pretty bad. In those days I just went through he paper, we discussed exam technique BUT frankly they just didn’t know enough, understand enough and then applying tha weak gasp in a new situation as Salters’ demanded was impossible. I think few scored very well overall , some scraped an E or a D. There was me their committed energetic Chemistry teacher ( who had clearly taught them well) and their was me as Head of Sixth form having written great references as I did believe in them –  did they not see how they had done the proverbial ( let me down let their families down let the school down BUT worst of all let themselves down). Wow was I let down and wow did they get both barrels and although I was as nice as I could be and didn’t pick on individuals I made the points any reader knows well in the post mock debriefs. The class packed away and as the last Y13 left I just said “Are you OK with all that?” “Yes Sir” she said but her face told a different story full of angst and worry. “Go on ” I said “something is troubling you.” “well yes Sir – however bad it gets and you were dead right to tell us this was bad, you can carry on if you have hope, if you think someone still believes in you. ” She smiled and left. It was a critical moment, after that whenever I needed to deliver the same news (ie annually!) it was  a case of “you have a problem what can we do about it”.

3) When  I did my NPQH I have written elsewhere it wasn’t much help buntitledut I came across the writing of Alan Flintham. if you are a leader and have not read his book you should. “Reservoirs of Hope” The case is simple but profound. Heads and their offices should be places of hope, reservoirs of hope BUT what if the reservoir runs dry – what causes it to run dry and what can we do to ensure our own hope is “topped up”. That’s a gross oversimplification but read it and tell me if it isn’t full of wisdom from his time as a headteacher – yes as a headteacher not an inspector or advisor but sitting in that same office offering hope – and seeking ways to top it up.

If you are in a church school:

Hebrews 6:18, 19 that we can take hold of the hope set before us and may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Isaiah 40:31   but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 71:14    As for me, I will always have hope;

No Questions this week a few quotes:

To live without Hope is to cease to live.         Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.  Helen Keller

Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours. Swedish Proverb

Iconic image of the 2008 Presidential campaign by Shepard Fairey,

Iconic image of the 2008 Presidential campaign by Shepard Fairey,

Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

 

You might like to read other posts from my timetable of teaching – each is set out from lesson in the school week, before or after school or at the weekends, appropriate to the time of day. I have also started a  class lists or “set lists” which was to answer the questions: “why be a teacher?”or “why have other responsibilities in a school?” Shortly I am starting a new area about progress from one role or experience in teaching to another with hints and tips about successfully moving on in the job and your teaching career.

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7 thoughts on “Friday period 0 – “Hope” in the head’s office

  1. John, Many thanks for your kind and affirming words about my book “Reservoirs of Hope”. There is now a slim follow-up version “Sustaining Hope in School Leadership” published by Grove Books at £4.00 (on Amazon) with useful practical exercises based on my conference presentations). Please check it out if you can and alert your Headteacher colleagues if possible. All the best, Alan Flintham

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