Middle Management in education is hard. You are constantly riding a see-saw of responsibilities and expectations. One minute you can be working alongside a colleague with a classroom issue and then the next you are justifying budget spending to your Principal.
For me the see-saw nature has two parts.
Firstly, you are required to manage the masses.
This is where you work with your team in the trenches of education. It is the day to day business of classrooms, students, timetables and computers that wont work. This involves subject and classroom planning, dealing with students, working with parents and trying to be an empathetic team leader. It involves leading your team and providing leadership, often when staff don’t want it or feel they don’t need it. It is about being an advocate for the needs of your team and voicing this to more senior leadership.
Secondly, you are required to report to senior leaders.
This involves involves working with senior leaders who are responsible for the wider vision of the school. It might be a short project or a wider school issue. You are often required to report on student data, budget spending, and give feedback on how your department is progressing. At times you have to follow the part line on policy, timetable, vision and planning, even when in your heart you don’t agree.
The result is that you ride the never ending see-saw of middle management. Ted Bauer calls it being caught between the mistresses of the work world.
Over the next few posts I am going to reflect on some things I have learnt from riding this see-saw for around 10 years. If you have anything to add, or want me to reflect on, just leave some ideas in the comments below.