Welcome to the third edition of my “Headmaster’s Blog”.
I began my last blog with a reference to football and I hope those of you that don’t follow football will forgive me for beginning in the same way this time. Mrs Nieroba, our Marketing and Communications Manager at Hulme Hall, had suggested to me that I look at a comparison between the European Football Championships and a school staff in terms of what makes a good and successful team unit.
I immediately thought back to the Champions League Final of a few weeks ago – sorry fellow City fans – when many felt the City manager took a vital cog out of the team, which then was defeated having enjoyed an amazing season up to that point. Now Gareth Southgate, the England manager, is being accused of not playing enough “flair players” in his teams.
The truth is that you need a balance and I think the same applies to the composition of a teaching staff. You need your flair players, the mavericks if you like, that will question, challenge and inspire children to find out more about the various subjects that they are studying. Whilst I would hope that all teachers can inspire children in their own way, some children may find that approach intimidating or may prefer the sort of teacher who clearly marks out the subject content, regularly checks understanding and offers clear advice as to how pupils can satisfy examination criteria. Some pupils may be more comfortable with this safer style and be happy to “know where they stand”, others may find it a little boring perhaps.
The truth is that you need a combination in each successful team – you need the good steady, performer who knows their role and completes it to the best of their ability every time. Then you need the creativity and the risk taker, the player, or teacher, who is not afraid to step outside the confines of their role and try something a little bit different. The important thing to remember, I think, is that both types of role – and all those in between for that matter – are equally valuable and any successful team will require elements of each.
Even as individuals we require both elements in our character to be successful. Taking risks for the sake of it and trying new ideas will not work if those ideas are not backed up with hard work, and those of us who generally work hard but might be more risk averse will need to step out of our comfort zone at some point and take a risk or two.
I always enjoyed being taught by teachers who would try new and different ways of getting their ideas across, but I also wanted to be confident that they “knew their stuff” and I would stand a good chance of passing my exams, so I suppose I fell somewhere in the middle in terms of the teaching styles I preferred.
Children today I believe can respond to a variety of different styles and what appeals to one pupil may not appeal to another. I think a mix is probably best and I am sure the England manager would argue the same as he approaches the knockout stages of the Euros.
As we approach the end of another academic year, one that has been like no other I am sure any of us can remember, I am reminded of another analogy; that good and successful teams need to evolve and be refreshed from time to time. At this time of the year, schools across the country will be saying goodbye to staff who have offered many years of dedicated service, before bringing in some new blood in September. At Hulme Hall we are no different and will soon bid farewell to several colleagues who have contributed many years loyal service to the school. We are grateful to them for their efforts and wish them well in the future – I will speak about them individually in my end of term letter to parents. At the same time, we look forward to welcoming new staff to the team and indeed new pupils to the school in September. I am sure all will make their own valuable contribution to the school community.
In the meantime, the supporters of the England football team amongst us will be hoping Mr Southgate gets the balance right in the next week or two.
Thank you for reading and I will try not to mention football in the next blog! I hope you all have a healthy and enjoyable summer break.