Our school has problems.
No surprises there; all schools have them. But our school also has an all-too-rare culture of regular developmental feedback, and that makes all the difference.
Today I chaired an open meeting for teaching staff only. Management was away at the AMT conference in Greenwich, and we all know how the old adage goes: while the cats are away, the mice will get together at a mutually convenient time and identify what they feel are the school’s critical weaknesses, before compiling a document of constructive suggestions in order to effectively address the situation.
A full ninety minutes had been set aside, but it wasn’t enough time. I’m proud to say that despite only managing to cover six of the nine points on the agenda, my colleagues and I managed to fill every one of those ninety minutes, as well as six whole A4 pages of 10-point Calibri. I’m proud to say I work at a place where teachers are invested enough in the school’s heart and soul to actually want to make long-term changes, despite the inherent hard work and uncertainty involved. I’m proud to say that not one of my colleagues seemed uncomfortable voicing their (at times, unpopular) opinions for fear of repercussions down the line, despite the fact that everything we said was written down for posterity.
And as if that wasn’t already enough catharsis for one day, our school director came into the staffroom straight after the meeting and asked if we could sit down together at the end of the very same school day, so that she could personally read and try to understand each of the suggestions we’d included in the document.
What more could you ask for?