August 2022
by Lauren Anderson, Deputy Principal, Toronoto HS (currently on maternity leave)

Your journey to Executive Member is one which can be inspirational, transformative and motivational. This doesn’t mean that you won’t experience feelings of being overwhelmed, exasperated and frustrated. Whether you are a newly graduated teacher, experienced classroom teacher or a newly appointed Executive member, navigating your career through the complexities of a modern, complex and comprehensive educational setting is tough, yet one that is rewarding and fulfilling.

Moving from a classroom teacher to an Executive position is an individual and unique process, one which cannot be compared to others. Set your goals and respect your journey, this is not something that will happen overnight. It won’t be easy and it may be frustrating. There’s no doubt that there will be plenty of late nights, long hours, sacrifices, self reflection and moments of questioning “why am I doing this?” or “is this really worth it?” If your answers to these questions involve inspiring young people and making a difference to the lives of others, rest assured, you are on the right track.

You will naturally gravitate towards what you enjoy most, whether this is student wellbeing, curriculum, pedagogy, formative assessment, behaviour management, student leadership, student voice or sport. Dive right in and love what you do, absorb it all. Keep in mind the importance of opening your world to extend beyond your comfort zone. Explore areas in which you know less about. By taking on these opportunities and challenges, you may just find a different passion, one that potentially guides your career in an unexpected, yet rewarding and purposeful direction.

Once you have found your passion and set your goals, research the skills, experience, knowledge and understanding required for the Executive position you have set your mind to. By looking at the selection criteria required for similar positions and becoming familiar with the selection processes, you have essentially found your career goal success criteria. These are the milestones you need to achieve and experience in order to be ready for your next career move.

Applying a growth mindset and approaching difficult situations or hurdles as opportunities, rather than inconveniences, will enable you to build a deep repertoire and extensive toolkit of skills which can be applied to a range of executive roles- Head Teacher of PDHPE, Wellbeing, Teaching and Learning, Secondary Studies, Special Education and Learning Support. The world is your oyster!

Absorb and soak up advice from your mentor and those you respect the most, people who are like minded, motivated, inspirational and most importantly, those who don’t dull your flame- they encourage it. Sometimes, casual conversations and professional dialogue can invoke that “light bulb career moment”. By continuing to learn, attend professional development, listen and read, you will expand your knowledge and understanding, becoming a passionate expert in your chosen field.

Don’t forget to enjoy the process along the way. Establish and maintain relationships, have a laugh at yourself, take on feedback and don’t be afraid to slow every down once and in a while to take a breath…something I am yet to master.

Applying for Leadership Roles webinar
Join us on 25 August 2022 7-8.30pm for a webinar on applying for leadership roles. Janice Atkin will guide you through the process from advertisement to application. Find out more.


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