To move on… or not?

It’s difficult decision time in the Hippy household.

It’s also really hard to write this post.

My anonymity is laughable, given the way that I have carefully protected my pseudonym over the years (I originally intended it not to be obvious who I am whenever I posted here, believe it or not) and so colleagues, potential employers, even students may see this. So I must be careful. Tactful. Oh dear.

In short, I’ve seen a Head of Department job at a very good school nearby, have looked round the school and need to make a decision about what to do next.

At the age of 29, I’m an Assistant Head of ICT with an appropriate TLR. Where do I go from here, and when? Do I jump straight in for the Head of Department job? The pastoral side is not for me – I like having a tutor group, but have no intention of becoming a Head of Year or Head of House. Do I wait a little longer to be more settled and comfortable? Do I want to be a Head of Department? What advantages will it offer? Am I better off looking at an e-learning or whole school role?

The advantages of being a HoD seem to be freedom/autonomy, responsibility, money and something good to put on your CV. Where I work I already have the freedom and autonomy, responsiblity is tempered with accountability, the money I’m on isn’t bad (although I could always find a use for more), and the last point is where I’m stuck.

But do I want to take a risk of leaving the school that I love working at, with colleagues I’ve come to know well and like, with students who know me and (generally) respect me and all of the others things that are great about where I work – for the sake of improving my CV?

But if I don’t, will that leave me sat here, unable to move should I want to because I’ve stagnated; procrastinated for too long?

I’m really torn, as you can probably tell. And I can’t really say I’m looking for someone to tell me an answer. This blog is a good way for me to reflect, and the things I haven‘t written have likely helped me as much as the things I have.

A difficult decision indeed…


5 thoughts on “To move on… or not?

  1. 4goggas says:

    I’ve been where you are. Had big decisions to make re which route to go – Assistant Head etc. Like you, I knew that the pastoral role, although we all do it in some shape or form, was not for me. I love the variety in IT. Its hard to stay on top of all aspects all the time, but I try. I moved because I KNEW it was time to move on. Perhaps your’e not that convinced yet? Which makes it easier: apply, don’t get job, all good. However, once you get itchy feet…

    From what I’ve seen of your stuff – its brilliant. Go for that HOD position. But HOD position means A level teaching and much less time for developing the Web 2.0 and elearning side. Welding the two is a good compromise, but not always entirely achieveable beacuse of exam board constraints and deadlines. The position of E-learning is boound to improve, I reckon, and if there are no suitable jobs this year – 2010 will surely see a load more. Good luck!

  2. Hi there. Know what you mean about anonymity – I went underground a few years ago to be unrecognisable and ended up posting my existence everywhere… I also understand your dilemma and have no answers. Depends on what you think is more important – comfort, nice working conditions or a bit of risk. I’ve been at my place all my career and don’t regret it at all – but I’m on my third regeneration, role wise so in a sense I’ve had the best of both worlds. But if it is any help I once read a useful thought – that looking back on your life in future, you might regret things you did – but that you will regret things you DID NOT do far more.

  3. I know these dilemmas – with one income and two children, I exprience the same pressures to do the right thing over perhaps doing the best thing. One quick method I was told by a friend was to name the side of a coin GO and STAY. Toss it, and examine your feelings – what would you like it to be – befoe revealing. Sometimes the grass is greener on the otherside because they make you mow more often! I’m not on the best money, but i’m at a school I adore and it truly feels like home. Isn’t that worth a lot?

  4. Hiya,
    Great position to be in – always best to look at new opportunities when you are happy as you are. It allows you to be objective about what you are taking on.

    ICT offers so many challenges and opportunities that it’s difficult to know where you could be 5 years on. As I mentioned on Twitter you’re fortunate to have plenty of schools around you – there are only 2 up here and I would have to fight Mr Mackenzie for any ICT role – and he would beat me hands down! Moving forward I can only imagine the number of whole school and local authority positions increasing.

    You’re already doing the right thing – weigh up the pros and cons – where are you going to be able to develop your own skills in a way which suits you the best?

    Good luck either way!

  5. I’d been at my last school for ten years, achieved AST status, had good relationships with my colleagues and (most of) the pupils. It was very comfortable and I felt at home.

    Then came the opportunity to work as an adviser for the local authority. It was/is only on a temporary contract (5 terms). After that I clould be looking for work again.

    I’d read the quote (I think it is by Mark Twain) that looking back you are far more likely to do regret what you DIDN’T do than what did. So I took the gamble.

    Besides, at 24 I went to work in Bogota. Everybody said it would set my career back but once I returned I found work immediately. Then in my late 30’s I went to work in Jordan. Everybody said it would wreck my career, but once I returned I found work immediately.

    We work for a long, long time. If you don’t move on it sounds like you have years ahead of you at the same school. Is it going to satisfy you? Wouldn’t you like to have influence that goes wider than your own classroom?

    Think about people at your school that have been there a long time and then retired. Do you notice how quickly they are forgotten? Is it not better to keep moving? Each time moving upwards giving yourself new challenges, new perspectives, new opportunites to influence what happens in education?

    It was a wrench, but I made my move and am loving every minute of the new post.

    Good luck.

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