Monday, 28 September 2020

Tonight Matthew, I'm Going To Be... A Gallerist

It's a fairly well accepted concept that a teacher is so many more things than a teacher - that a teacher puts on many different hats even during the course of one day. I think the same is true for school leaders too.

For a part of today I found myself acting as a gallerist, or a curator.

We have, as many primary schools probably do, many, many display boards around school. Too many, perhaps. And what happens to display boards when teaching staff are getting on with teaching and doing the important stuff? The content sometimes gets a bit old. That or teachers have to spend time out of class, or out of hours, putting up displays - something that, in my opinion, really should be minimised if we care about our children and staff at all.

So there I was double-sided taping the large art prints I'd order to black paper, gluing the accompanying information I'd collated and trimming it as perfectly as I possibly could. I was in 'the studio' overlooking 'the heartspace' off which many of our classrooms are situated. I could see and hear school going on all around me - I noticed this because I suppose I was desperate to legitimise the time spent gluing and cutting and stapling. I could almost feel the calm, purposefulness of what was going on through each of those doorways and in all honesty I wondered if what I was doing was worthwhile.

Afterall, I'm a deputy head - shouldn't I be doing something else? Did these Eric Ravilious, Georgia O'Keefe and Jacob Lawrence prints really need backing and putting up by me? Yes, I told myself, they did - because this is one of the many problems of being a perfectionist: you learn very quickly that there are some things you just have to do yourself. And yes, because for all intents and purposes, I am the art lead in the school and it is my job to educate staff and children in matters relating to the arts. 

And actually, yes, because I have to balance out some of the other less desirable things I have to do with things that are actually enjoyable - this for my own mental wellbeing. Besides, what was I actually thinking about all that time? Well, many confidential things that can't be repeated on my blog: I was providing myself with time and space to think through the issues of the day - the things that were on my mind over the weekend, the difficult conversations that need to be had, the logistical problems that need working through. 

On the outside I was cutting and sticking, on the inside I was doing what I'm really paid to do: lead.

If I were to go from one high pressure situation to another, never allowing myself down time doing jobs that seem a little more menial, would I really be properly ready for the next meeting, the next time someone brings a problem to me or the next time I have to deal with a behaviour issue? I think not.

So, some thinking got done - hopefully preparing me for the future - and some nice (I think) displays were created in the process.

Yeah, I'm OK with being a gallerist.

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