( if you are not a Spanish speaker, the tune will help for the post today!)
So why have I decided to leave the best department in the land and weans I love from the bottom of my heart? Because I need to learn.
Oh aye, and I did it my way.
Let me tell you about the last 2 1/2 years. I took post in a department that had the talent, the resources but had been given such a kicking for years that confidence, vision and passion was barely flickering. My job was to get that ignited again and of course shake it up. Standing back and looking at the work my team has achieved in that time is nothing short of breathtaking.
I remember the interview as clear as day, my hair was being its usual unruly self and was straining to escape the pink flower trying to tame it. I left thinking that was ok, no hard questions.
Being offered the post was just what I needed and little did I know what an adventure it was going to be.
I moved my stuff in over the holidays and I remember thinking I felt like I had come home.
I liked the feel of the place – sure it needed a bit of fairy dust but potential was there.
First day meeting staff was a hoot, most eyed me pretty sceptically and that has not left. Her from HQ was the quote.
The department was ready to be taken forward and I swore I would.
I asked them what they wanted from their work and the answer : more kids passing exams and to enjoy coming to work.
Cards on the table? I wanted to put a stick of dynamite in the base and shout there was a new sherif in town.
I refrained from that. It I did have a Great Wall of China to pull down.
I actually did, and got a doing from the janitor for scraping the floor. Aye.
We overhauled the curriculum and little by little, demystified the teaching and learning of languages for staff and more importantly the weans.
The new intake just thought it was always like that but existing students were delighted with the changes.
Other staff in school were suspicious of me and what I was doing. The department were fully on board and the creativity started to flow, and the happiness too.
The kids enjoyed lessons and were engaging in this new modus operandi. Discipline took care of itself and people started to realise there was method on the madness.
Personally, I took an absolute kicking. Established staff didn’t like that a department who previously has been off the radar was now coming into its own and operating with a higher profile.
It’s easy to criticise when you don’t know but some of the chat was outrageous, from who did I think I was to we don’t do it like that here.
Really? Is that right?
We rode out the storm and do you know what? kept our dignity.
It’s easy to lose sight of what is important. The weans. Every time.
Our kids love our subject and they never let us down.
We took wider achievement and removed it right up, we had theme days, visited restaurants, worked with uni,booked cinema trips, told everyone and their granny about the kids and stood back and watched the magic happen.
Because that’s why we teach.
Don’t get me wrong, I cried, I swore a lot, I questioned but I worked with a team who bought into the madness and I had support from my headteacher who believes in my vision for language and for weans. Despite telling me when he first met me he wasn’t convinced about languages.
We’ve transformed our corridor into our story, our base is open and seniors have their coffee and come for a blether.
We’ve made it their home as much as ours.
These kids have left the biggest footprint on my heart,and humbled me on a way I can’t even begin to describe. They’ve taught me so much about myself that I feel I was the student. Their love for the subject and my team came to the forefront at national teaching awards last year and what a riddy that was.
I received a card from a former manager who told me to stop greeting and to say I knew you would do it, the department has become the beating heart of the school. My ladies did that.
As a leader I’ve pretty much played by my own rule book but I’ve tried to support, inspire and look after my girls as much as my weans and lead from the front. Can’t expect them to dress up in the Spanish frock and shake their maracas when I won’t,
( not a pretty sight I tell you)
My job went live on Saturday and whoever comes in to take over will have an early Christmas.
So why am I going?
Because I love it, but it’s time to pass on the baton. It’s also time for me to learn. I wrote during the week about pushing myself out my comfort zone, and now it’s time to do that. In a big way and as I feel almost bereft and a bit wobbly. I know it’s not only the right thing for me, but the right thing for my family.
It was indeed my manera. With trainers. And yes, I am getting that star tattoo.