#PledgeForChange20 - my first blog

by Claire Lowe @ExecPrincipal    @CharlieMackesy The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse

Ever since I can remember I wanted to teach.  At an early age I used to love playing schools with my little sister, she was always the pupil, and, at my forward thinking primary school, I had the privilege of being a teacher for a day – first one in my class to have the honour of doing it and I loved it, the planning, prepping and thinking all at the tender age of 10!

When I was fortunate to gain my BA(Ed), I went on to work in schools across Hampshire and in the Middle East. Respected as an excellent teacher, educator and leader I was asked to share at a granular level what was happening in my classroom and why the children made fantastic progress. Some of what we did in those days was innovative but came back down to #connection and relationship building with children. I was happy to share and happy to shine.

Fast forward 20 years and I find myself in the most amazing position in the education world, the leader of an education trust, a CEO.  Although I am as passionate now as I was back in the early days of my teaching career, I no longer share or shine in the ways I did in the past.  Reading the Charlie Mackesy book over the past few days has made me think about why I stopped being that person. I was scared! This change in me had happened over several years and, on reflection, it happened as I pushed the boundaries. I became one of the first Executive Headteachers of a Federation of Schools and then founded the first Primary School Multi Academy Trust in Hampshire. Other headteachers started talking about me rather than to me and phrases like “empire building” “business woman” were aimed at me.

I had rejection, set back and more rejection but I kept smiling, and unwittingly, I stepped into the shadows, shining my light on others but all the while neglecting the bright light that was shining not just within me, but within my organisation. Even using the word CEO to describe my role has been tough to do until now.

Now, and writing this down has been the catharsis that I needed, I realise that I need to share my passion for life, learning and growing in all its forms. To own the role that I have and not be worried if my role makes others feel angry, bitter or jealous. I am in a position to make a positive difference to not only the staff and children in my Trust, but also to be a voice for values led education on the national stage. So my #pledgeforchange20 will be to #communicate, to speak and be heard about my role, my wonderful Trust, my life outside of work. The first part of this journey is to set up this blog – big step and has taken me a while to figure it out, but I’m here and doing it.

Watch out 2020, I’m coming for you  @WomenEdSE   #WomenEd 



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