Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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

Within five years of starting your teaching career, you will have decided that you want to remain a classroom teacher or you want to become a curriculum leader where you can have a more direct influence on what is happening in many classrooms. The aim of this and the next article is to give you some strategies to help prepare you to present yourself as a candidate for these positions.

I believe that there are six areas in which you should centre your preparation. This article will discuss the following two areas. (The others will be discussed in the second article).

1. In the classroom
2. Within the school

Many of the ideas I shall suggest may well be part and parcel of what you already do professionally. You will need to expand on them. The lists of ideas on each area are extensive. You will not be able to do them all at the same time. Here is where an action plan comes into play.

It is important to note here that your goals and action plan must be flexible and open to change. Review them often and keep an ongoing record of what you have achieved. Record everything you do and achieve in your personal annual diaries. Store old ones in a place which is easily accessible. You will be surprised how often you will need to refer to them in the future.

With regard to these two areas of your preparation, I have listed ideas for you to consider. Select those that your action plan and goals suggest should be priorities.

In The Classroom

• Create a folio of resources on all aspects of your teaching.

• Create a set of goals you have for each class you teach. Review them often and change where appropriate.

• Use as great a variety of teaching pedagogues as possible.

• Become proficient in using a wide variety of technology.

• Become proficient in using a wide variety of assessment tools that reflect your teaching pedagogues.

• Become proficient in using a wide variety of behaviour management tools.

• Develop a set of class rules that complement the school's behaviour management plan.

• Make the school administration aware of what you are doing. Invite them into your classroom to see what is happening. Ask them for feedback on how you are progressing.

• Find a mentor to help keep you 'on track' - one who can see you at work in the classroom.

Within The School

• Develop an understanding of how the whole school works.

• Involve yourself in all school activities.

• Accept organisational roles within the school, e.g. sport, camps, concerts, chess club, debating and academic contests.

• Accept leadership roles in the above areas.

• Accept leadership roles in curriculum areas within your class groups or the whole school.

• Contribute often to staff meeting discussions. Ask questions for clarification where necessary.

• Offer to mentor students and trainee teachers.

• Offer to become a Year (in high schools), or House Coordinator/Master/Mistress.

• Develop an understanding of whole school issues. As a Head of Curriculum, these issues will impinge on what you would like to do. Therefore, you need to be aware of them to help in your planning.

Make sure you keep a record of all that you do and achieve. Evaluate every new idea you try and look for ways to improve, add to and expand your professional skills. Here your professional diary is your greatest asset. It will have the evidence you will need to present when you go through the selection process.

The next article will look at how you can gain a whole school community appreciation of education and how to use your involvement outside your school life to enhance your skills and reputation to help make you an ideal candidate for a Head of Curriculum.