Every September Headteachers will stand infront of colleagues and set the tone for the year. I remember my first INSET morning as an NQT where I was told my role was loco parentis. The time was that parents were trusting us to treat their children well in addition to GCSE grades at the end of 5 years. A family approach to school leadership hand in hand with parents. This meant lots of contact with parents and an open dialogue. I have fond memories of my first teaching post. Lots to do with the tone set by my Headteacher.
A different Headteacher spent a good proportion of a meeting at the start of September reminding us how lucky we were to have such long holidays. Our holidays are long enough to have quality time with our families, deal with life tasks such as dental visits etc. With clarity I can remember being told that the payoff for long holidays was not being able to have flexible working hours and realising that we simply cannot take time off to see School nativities etc. The tone of that school was very different to my introduction to teaching. Staff worked hard yet had to compromise on family life experiences. My memory is of wistful conversations about events people missed and can never regain. The leadership tone set the emotional weather in that community.
This year I start a new journey in a new school and another Headteacher setting the tone for staff and students. It has been a fast paced start to term already but one week in I have 2 memories already stored in my head how to lead a school. When your Headteacher gives an assembly about the school working on hearts and minds things are looking positive. No exam factory mentality but well rounded citizens. Students being told they are part of a big family for the next 5 years means we are all in this together. Staff being told to tell leadership about life events such as first day at primary school so we can look after each other as a staff community too. Headteachers create the community staff and students work in but they also create memories. Happy memories create a positive working environment so remember to carefully plan those first September meetings.