What makes you come to work in the morning?
A trap is waiting to be sprung for me, I can tell. I am receiving emails from a member of staff who feels aggrieved at the centre’s recent recruitment of staff on very old contracts. They have all been offered permanent posts while this teacher, on a newer less ambiguous contract, remains employed under very precarious terms and conditions. The emails are all info-gathering and one gets the impression that once the trigger information has been supplied, then the trap will fall.
The plight of the middle manager – neither fish nor fowl, ni chicha ni limonada. I understand entirely where the teacher is coming from but feel slightly resentful at the subterfuge. I have always tried to play it closer to the staff – growling and grimacing when I felt that the role demanded it, but always trying to keep a sense of perspective. Surely it’s obvious that I am the Teachers’ Friend?
On a management course I was told of the telescope perspective: middle managers tend to look down the telescope through the correct lens. This has the effect of making things seem much nearer than they really are. Teachers, on the other hand, look down the telescope through the bigger lens, making the manager seem further away than they really are.
I get frustrated by the hierarchy side of things. We’re all there doing a job. Given our rate of pay, there is a reasonable expectation that we view it as a job worth doing well. But teachers would probably take less umbrage at the rate of pay and more at the lack of conditions that support them. They have very little time for self-development, very little time for course development, very little space in which to develop one thing or another – there is a self-serving expectation that development should come within the teachers’ own time.
Were I more than a lowly middle manager, I would have greater emphasis on the conditions that Daniel Pink refers to in this sterling video. If you haven’t seen it yet, believe me when I tell you that it is worth setting aside the requisite 11 minutes. Block them out now in your agenda and come back and watch the film. That way, the stats on this blog should double!