“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~George Bernard Shaw~
Dealing with staff can be very difficult. In fact, this may be one of the most challenging aspects of being a headteacher. The main thing that I have realised is that you cannot please everyone and if you try to, you will only become disheartened because it often isn’t feasible. There always seems to be someone who isn’t happy about something or who has not felt involved in the process, or who hasn’t had the communication….etc, etc.
Communication is an issue that constantly arises in every organisation. I have seen it in schools with staff numbers less than ten to schools with hundreds of members of staff. So, how do you keep everyone in the ‘loop’? How does everyone know about what is going on?
Very often it comes down to the individual member being proactive about finding out what is happening throughout the week or finding out about what things have been discussed in meetings. It is about taking the time to ask questions or to sit and read the minutes….
During the week it is difficult to find the time to discuss all of the issues that need to be dealt with, which then makes me question where in the week you find the additional time to do this. Today I was thinking of time in the week where the key stage teams could meet to discuss pertinent issues that could be discussed outside of the ‘whole’ team meetings. I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve communication.
I utilise various tools of communication. Just today, my ‘Weekly Timetable,’ has become a ‘Two Weeks at a Glance’ Timetable – to keep a rolling ‘quick’ view of the events that are coming up. I have a communication book that is taken around by children in the mornings about any events happening during the day or any changes to the timetable. Often, it is just a quick message to say ‘Good Morning’ and to ‘Have a Great Day!’ I have teaching assistants attend the staff meetings and then feedback to the rest of the teaching assistants during a set time during the week. This then helps to ensure that they have a chance to discuss the key issues that teachers brought up.
Communication will always be an issue at some point. Certain methods will often stop working and so new ways need to be established. However, it is about evaluating your current practice, finding out from staff how things can be improved and what needs to be implemented to make those improvements.
I don’t know about you, but in school there is so much to do and so many conversations that take place that you actually may begin to think that you have communicated something when in reality it could be plausible you haven’t! This is another example when my check-lists become so useful because as I then discuss things they get checked off and minuted.
I, among others, will make many mistakes…..but as we constantly tell the children, we learn some of our most valuable lessons in life from making mistakes. As a result, we will find the very best way of doing things; eventually becoming outstanding….