Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Preparing To Become Head Of Curriculum/Subject Department - Part B

If you are reading this second article on becoming a Head of Curriculum, then I believe you are seriously considering become a curriculum leader where you can have a more direct influence on what is happening in many classrooms. The aim of this second article is to give you more strategies to help prepare you to present yourself as a candidate for these positions. They are designed to expand your skills and experience to provide you with as good a background as is possible to do the job.

As mentioned in the first article, you need to create an action plan that includes each of the areas discussed below. You know your own strengths and weaknesses so create a set of development goals based on what areas you need to develop. These need to be the basis of your action plan. If you are not sure of your strengths and weakness, seek a professional mentor to guide you here. Remember to review your goals and action plan regularly and make changes, deletions and additions, as you feel necessary.

Below is the final list of four areas to consider in your preparation to become a Curriculum Coordinator.

1. Personal professional development

2. Outside school but within the educational community

3. Your curriculum vitae

4. Activities beyond the school community

Personal Professional Development

• Keep a diary of all professional development activities in which you have participated. Include all your professional reading.

• Continue to upgrade your tertiary qualifications.

• Seek a mentor for each area of personal expertise you wish to develop.

• Attend as many professional developmental activities in as many aspects of education as you are able.*

• Offer to be involved in planning these activities in your school.

• Suggest topics for professional development activities in your school.

• As you gain experience, you may wish to offer to present a session at one of these workshops.

• At these professional development activities, be prepared to ask questions and offer input from your own experience.

• Where money is allocated for personal professional development from the school budget, make sure you use it up every year.

• Seek activities that are linked to your goals.

*There are many organisations within the education community that provide opportunities besides those offered at your own school. They include:

(a) Your own educational authorities at the local as well as state level

(b) Subject associations. Primary and secondary teachers can benefit from joining these associations and attending their conferences

(c) Private providers associated with educational technology

(d) Universities who sometimes offer opportunities

(e) Teachers' unions

Outside School But Within The Educational Community

• Join your union and be an active member.

• Join appropriate subject associations.

• If you are involved in school sport, become involved in the district and state sporting bodies that organise sporting competitions beyond the normal school competitions. Here you will meet very dedicated people from whom you can learn much. Opportunities exist here to get organisational and leadership experience.

• Offer yourself as a candidate for department committees which look at curriculum change, moderation of school results/performance and other issues.

• Write articles for professional journals - be they for a subject association or your union.

• Keep a diary of your involvement in these organisations.

Activities Beyond The School Community

• Become involved in your local community to show you have a concern for local issues. This will be very important in country areas.

• In your CV, list skills or experience you have gained in the general community. You may be a Life Member of a club. You may have been a champion public speaker.

• Public organisations can give opportunities to develop leadership and organisational skills.

Your Curriculum Vitae

• Once you have been through the 'Job Description' for a Head of Curriculum, you will know the criteria used to select candidates for those positions. Then you can set up the sections in your Curriculum Vitae (CV) that link to those criteria.

• Your CV must be a document that is always in development.

• Do a draft CV as soon as possible.

• Update your CV annually, at least.

• When you are close to applying for a position as a Head of Curriculum, ask one or more of your mentors to edit your CV and make further suggestions.

• Ensure your CV shows you have an all-school perspective.

• Before you submit your CV or statement to the relevant authorities, do some research about the school to which you are applying. Make sure you address any special aspects of the school that your experience and expertise will enhance.

One final note: You are not going to use all these strategies. Select those that fit best into who you are. Pick the areas that you need the most development in and concentrate on those first.

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