Press Shift And Seek New Experiences

What are the conditions all staff need to be able to carry out their duties effectively?

Tim Brighouse and David Woods in their book What Makes A Good School Now? say there are four conditions:

1. Responsibility

2. Permitting circumstances

3. New experiences

4. Respect and recognition

When it comes to new experiences Brighouse and Woods talk about the importance of being exposed to different worldviews to keep us intellectually stimulated.

In many respects, CPD should do that but there are other new experiences that we should all aim for and that is moving school and multiple times too. As Brighouse and Woods say,

….certainly to make a career in simply one set of school surroundings is less broadening than to have experiences of three, four or five different settings.

That’s a polite way of putting it.

The reality is that if you stay in a school beyond 7 years then there is a “real risk of becoming stale”.

And I’ve seen it. Staff that are rooted, coasting or in a rut are either too comfortable or just too afraid to move. Watch their teaching and chat to them and you’ll soon pick up they are behind the times.

Medics move around and they move around a lot and the reason for that is to build a healthy CV that is based on a variety of new experiences.

You simply cannot progress and develop as a fully formed teacher by being in one place, being in the same class, with the same Year group and sitting in the same chair in the staffroom. Sometimes staff keep the same class which can’t be good for anyone.

Neighbouring schools could engineer ‘swaps’ if they were forward-thinking enough but there is a real reluctance for schools to work together in this way.

A teacher exchange for even a year would give the staff involved a change of perspective and some much needed new experiences to help shape their professional development.

Although ‘swaps’ would help, ideally all staff should be in post for a few years and then move on for their own development and for the wellbeing of their schools. The system would be able to retain staff so much better too.

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