Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend my first professional development course since the start of the year, and my first since starting at my new school. It was about being an effective Head of Department.
My last school was quite isolated and so, although they were quite generous about sending us on courses, there were never all too many of us gathered from the area. Sometimes courses were even cancelled due to the fact that there weren’t enough people to sign up. One of the greatest things about the course I was on was the fact that there were so many people there. There were about 50 other heads of department and it was a great place to network and share ideas.
Not only did I gain a lot of fantastic insight and ideas from my colleagues through meaningful conversation during the two day workshop, but the workshop itself was really helpful. It had some really experienced facilitators who were able to provide some really useful resources and tools to use both every day as well as in specific situations.
The first thing I did once the course was done (literally – I was still in the parking lot) was call one of my best friends who is a colleague from my previous school. I couldn’t wait to tell her some of the things that I had learned about on the course. I thought about her all throughout the course because a lot of the ideas fell into one of two categories… 1) ideas we had spoken about at length, enjoyed very much, and had a very good pedagogical understanding of or 2) issues we had spoken about at length that we never could seem to solve or were unclear about what the best way to go about was. We talked on the phone about my course for over an hour before I even left the parking lot.
I told one of the members of my department today jokingly, “Don’t worry… now I can be effective!” They replied back without hesitation, “You mean that now you can be even more effective!” They probably didn’t realise it at the time but that casual little exchange really made my day. Here’s to hoping I continue to steadily increase my effectiveness.
By linear regression, however, that would mean I was incredibly ineffective if you go a few years into the past…