In the middle - A fresh start in a new job

18th July 2008 at 01:00
So, you are shaking off the dust from the old place, leaving the tatty resources and the recalcitrant staff

So, you are shaking off the dust from the old place, leaving the tatty resources and the recalcitrant staff. You can be reborn, start again and never miss a deadline or chuck the filing in an ever-increasing in- tray to be abandoned. You are going to be an organised, all-things-to-all- people, strategic manager. You have been promoted.

For anyone who has woken up after a successful interview and thought, "Can I really do this?", well, yes, you can.

You have some obligations to your old school. Get the results and feedback before calling your new school and asking how the tests there went. People will be impressed that you already care about their performance at key stage 3, GCSE or A-level.

Settle your books, papers and resources in your new area, be it an office, classroom or departmentalpastoral base. Do this before term begins so that you feel you are at home before you start business. Buy new pencils, pens, folders, coloured dividers and sticky labels. It always makes you feel better about what you are doing.

While you are unpacking, talk to everyone you see around the site. Make a point of telling the site manager, or caretaker, that you are in. They will be pleased that you respect their systems and will remember you in the autumn.

Plan as many lessons or meetings as you can while you are on your summer break. It will be a good store for the new term, and you can hit the ground running. If you have a timetable for your key meetings and a list of the topics you would like to cover in them, you will feel more confident.

When you arrive for the pre-term training day, listen, greet people and smile. Check out what everyone is doing and look for the movers and shakers so that you enlist allies for your initiatives.

Avoid the phrase "At my last school we used to . ", and allow comments on how your predecessor was more timely, less demanding, more entrepreneurial, to fall like water from a duck's back. They chose you and you are wanted there.

Good luck!

Di Beddow, Deputy head, Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

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