Career mistakes: Looking back, instead of forward

14th September 2012 at 01:00

Once, when I worked in a school with a multi-award-winning musical tradition, a colleague who had gone to be a head elsewhere invited top musical groups from his old school to give a concert that would demonstrate the kind of thing he wanted to happen. I ran a choir, so I went, along with my smart, uniformed young people. I remember our self-confident "Look at us" attitude. It provoked a polite but puzzlingly restrained reception.

I still reflect on that evening, realising just how wrong something that seems quite exciting and positive at the time can be.

What is the right thing to do?

What I didn't fully realise, in my inexperience, was that my former colleague should have been working from the inside out, using the skills that had won him the headship to identify and build on the strengths he would surely find among people in his new school who were yearning for leadership, rather than trying to impose good ideas from outside.

Gerald Haigh

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