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The Power of 10…how I’m 100% ready now!

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by Annelouise Jordan @Leazy84  #Pledgeforchange20

10 years later and absolutely 10%braver! I signed up for the #WomenEd #DGMeet #Pledgeforchange20 blog event in order to see what it was all about. So, here I am and here goes…

I don’t know about you but I have actually shied away from being brave my whole teaching career. I only began to be #10%braver when I was in The Hague earlier this year and @LizAMFree was dressed up in a Victorian outfit in her office and handed me a free copy of ‘Inspiring Women to Lead in Education’ #WomenEd. The meeting was so brief, but in those moments she sparked something in me that made me want to challenge my own beliefs. Her love and passion to spread the word that there is inequality in leadership, that women are under-represented and that she believed I could be and do whatever I set my mind to. So I did!

10 years ago I started my Probation year (NQT) and we all know how eventful that is! At the end of the year there were very few jobs in Scotland. Of the 249 of us who interviewed for a single full time job only the son of the Head Teacher got it. First blow! Shortly after this, I moved to another country. I don’t know why I didn’t feel brave in my teaching career. I was promoted quickly to Year Group Leader and later when I was asked by my Head Teacher to lead the Key Stage but I felt I wasn’t ready and turned it down. I was an easy choice and a bit of a push over. I never argued back, I accepted decisions and I took the blows. I lost my drive and confidence so I left and moved to another school. One that would give me more opportunities…which it did, but I still received the blows.  Around 6 months into a new job I fell pregnant (shocking!!!) and at that time I was working towards being a subject leader.

When it came to the end of the year I asked about getting the title and salary to go with the job but I was told it would not be possible since I would be taking maternity leave during the next academic year. I thought this was entirely reasonable, why would they pay me a salary to do the job for only 2 months of the academic year? There were no alarm bells for me at all!

Then, whilst I was on maternity leave I heard that the position of Key Stage Leader would be coming up and I thought I could do it. I asked SLT if they thought I should apply for it and I was told I could but that it would be a lot of work for me and that I should aim to focus on getting back into the swing of things at a slower pace. Again, no alarm bells rang and in fact I thought I was daft for even considering I could do a job like that straight after maternity leave, who in their right mind? However, every cloud and all that…I got the job I was working towards before I went on maternity leave, not quite Key Stage Leader but it’s a start, right?

A couple of years later I applied for another Key Stage Leader role and at the interview I was asked “How has being a mother prepared you for the role as a leader?” and to this day I still don’t know how I feel about this question. I didn’t get that job due to a lack of experience and, as far as I know, not because I am a mother.

Fast forward to 2019 and I am in a meeting with SLT in order to discuss my future with the school. At this meeting they praised me but I was advised to stay in my current role in order to consolidate my skills. What did I take from this? Well, I had already met @LizAMFree and read a few chapters of my new book, so the alarm bells started ringing quite loudly. 

Now I am proud to say that I am Deputy Head Teacher of an outstanding school and working alongside a Head Teacher who is already preparing me to move on. That is the kind of commitment we should have for one another. Let’s not keep the woman down, we should build her up and make her believe in herself!

Thanks to all the strong women who have supported me and I hope I too can connect with at least one other aspiring leader and ignite the same passion for change!

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Saturday, 01 October 2022

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