Schools are complicated, organic institutions. They operate on many levels but key to their success is the relationships within them. As the leader of a school one of the most important roles that I have is to nurture successful relationships at all levels. This is especially important in a school like mine where the children are so needy and you have to give so much of yourself. Containing them in your classroom is exhausting, but incredibly rewarding, especially when you realise just how much progress they are making.
In order to facilitate the pupil-teacher and pupil-learning support assistant relationships I have to ensure, as do other members of the senior leadership team, that the staff are emotionally resilient enough to cope with what is thrown at them. This can be a tricky balance. There is a fine balance between support and disempowerment and we want teachers to be able to manage their classes. At the same time, there are instances where a child needs time out of the class in order to calm down and be ready for learning again. Then what becomes important is how the child is welcomed back. I can tell when teachers are tired and stressed as occasionally the welcome back is not quite as unconditional as it usually would be. When I see this I make time to have a chat with the teacher and find out what’s troubling them. Sometimes it’s school related, sometimes it’s not. I can usually give them some time to catch up and sometimes the chat is enough.
It’s the same with the learning support assistants. They can be the brunt of the most challenging behaviour at times. They are brilliant at managing this. But they too have their limits and need support. Usually the time to listen to them is enough. They, like the teachers, need to get things off their chest.
My staff are brilliant at coming up with solutions to their ‘problems’ and more often than not they come to see me about an issue but they have already got the answer and just need me to reassure them that they have.
My school is only achieving the outcomes for the pupils that it does because we, together, are a strong team. And we continue to grow and develop together…