High-flier shows business acumen

11th May 2001 at 01:00
Eleanor Caldwell profiles a young teacher who strongly believes in marketing

For the young P7 teacher at Flora Stevenson Primary school in Edinburgh, the secret to professional success is clear. "Teachers need to market themselves and assert their professionalism in society," says 24-year-old Graham Logan.

Dressed in a stylish jacket, he baulks at the poor sartorial image of teachers. A professional modern image, he says, commands respect and will inspire pupils.

Mr Logan was appointed senior class teacher at Flora Stevenson last October. It is his third post since graduating with a first-class BEd from Moray House in 1997. "I was very focused from the start," he says. "I had four job offers before Easter in my final year."

Primary teaching, he says, is "intellectually stimulating" and offers him a challenge in a variety of specialist subjects.

Keen to draw parallels between business and education, he compares his own career path with that of contemporaries in business and medicine. He believes his salary and conditions of service compare favourably with accountant and junior doctor friends.

Quality of performance, not years served, he believes, forms the basis for promotion in business and should be adopted in education. Mr Logan considers that his own rapid promotion has resulted directly from taking an active role in school and in local and national initiatives.

In his first appointment to the primary department at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, he was made its first information and communications technology co-ordinator. With an already good knowledge of ICT, he explains that he took a systematic approach to his work. First he analysed the school's needs, then approached colleagues and focused on specific areas for development, such as desktop publishing. This led to his establishment of an after-school club and to further involvement in work with the information technology support unit in Edinburgh.

Looking to what he regarded as "better promotion opportunities" within the state system, he moved to Gylemuir Primary, Edinburgh, after 18 months, where, after an HMI inspection, he was invited by inspectors to participate in work on the assessment andachievement programme in English language. This led to current work on the national framework for the assessment of reading.

He emphasises the importance of sharing expertise both with colleagues and pupils and this has led him to lead training sessions for classroom assistants and in-service ICT training; he has also developed a policy data bank of good practice at Flora Stevenson.

Mr Logan has taken a variety of courses, including sampling MEd and Master of business administration modules, and says that after attending courses, he consciously reviews his own classroom practice. "I consider how I can further enhance my teaching and actively transfer good new ideas." Reflective diaries and brain exercises have proved particularly effective in the P7 class Mr Logan is teaching.

He has also found a new focus for sharing expertise in ICT and early literacy through delivering guest lectures to BEd students at Jordanhill and Moray House. As a young teacher, he feels he can offer fresh inspiration to students on a course which gave him "a very valuable professional grounding".

Although taking the senior class - often the norm for a male primary teacher - Mr Logan says that he would like to gain more experience with younger pupils. He says he "thrived" during short periods in nursery and infant classes at Gylemuir and sees it as important for teachers to work at all levels in school.

He is ambitious for the future and hopes to take the Scottish qualification for headship but is not single-mindedly striving to become a headteacher. Leading a school is for him "just one of many exciting potential opportunities".

Mr Logan is currently working on a P7-S1 transition initiative funded by the Scottish Council for Research in Education, designing a website for Flora Stevenson Primary and is looking forward to being involved in his school's centenary celebrations next year.

So what impression does all this initiative and efficiency create? Flora Stevenson headteacher Ian Marchant, describing his senior class teacher as "highly talented and able with an excellent ability to support both colleagues and pupils", says that the educational world is "Graham Logan's oyster".

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