Have you noticed?

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
WHEN my husband began teaching 30 years ago at an inner-city secondary modern, the headteacher retired daily to his study for an hour after lunch.

Then headship meant a comfortable armchair and an afternoon nap as reward for years of slaving at the chalkface. No more teaching, dealing with awkward parents or recalcitrant children - that was the deputy's job.

Heads had tea with the director, sherry with the governors and took morning assembly in cap and gown. Now, they have to understand how their budgets and drains work and they go n leadership courses.

I've had another questionnaire to complete for my head's course. Fifty pairs of opposing statements on a computer-readable grid to mark where we are now and where we would like to be. My responses show a clear pattern: aspirations firmly at one end on the range, achievements one space behind.

Like the teachers of my youth whose top mark was nine out of 10, I cannot bring myself to acknowledge perfection. Perhaps I have been converted to the doctrine of continuous improvement. Help! I need a lie down.

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