#28daysofwriting Bittersweet Leadership

Timer set to 28 minutes. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. Go.

Today I was reflecting on good leadership. Good leaders develop their staff to a point that they then gain promotion and in turn become great leaders.

This is why I am exhausted. I have been trying to organise Lead Trainers, Trainers and Teacher groups for a program called L3 (Language, Learning and Literacy). It is a Kinder and Stage 1 program designed for schools where 20% or more of students will not reach stage 1 outcomes. However, it has been successful in a number of other context.

It’s expensive, it is intensive and involves teacher coming to training and being observed in their classroom. But it works and it creates quality teachers and develops future leaders.

Normally it is a nightmare to organise. Trainers leave, you have to find trainers qualified to train in the areas they are needed. You need to juggle personalities and vast distances that need to be travelled. To complicate matters, the NSWDEC started this new program called Early Action for Success (EA4S) where an instructional leader is appointed to schools where significant numbers of students are not reaching their benchmarks. It has been incredibly successful and is having a huge impact on the educational outcomes of the students who need it most. But they keep stealing my trainers.

My rational brain keeps reminding me that this is because we are training great leaders who go onto bigger and better things. They are creating quality teachers and using research based pedagogy to do it. I also am of the firm belief that we all work for NSW Public Schools first and foremost and training someone who moves on is like paying it forward. However, my exhausted brain is tired of trying to fill the gaps and starting again when these great teachers are promoted. It’s like Ground Hog Day. We should have seen it coming and we did have some succession planning, but the Instructional Leaders did not exist until recently. We are trying to future proof now, but that doesn’t help me in the short term.

Every time I find a new obstacle I remind myself that it is because we have done a magnificent job of supporting future leaders. I will continue to support them and be struck my the bittersweet joy, pride and sadness when they move on to bigger and better things.


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