Schools turn a blind eye to bad managers as long as they hit targets

Nov 21, 2015 by

Outstanding teachers don’t always make good managers – there’s more to leading a team than making sure Ofsted is happy

As soon as John* became a deputy head it was clear that he did not have the skills to deal with his team. He was an outstanding teacher, but couldn’t handle his new role and became autocratic. He now dictates how his staff should work, stands over them, checks every little thing they do and undermines them at every opportunity.

As with many excellent teachers, he is a terrible manager. Once he complained about a display outside a classroom. I thought it was a good example of quality work, but John disagreed, criticising the teacher in front of her teaching assistants (TAs) – and me – for not double mounting and allowing the “messy” work of a child with special educational needs to be displayed. He demanded that it be taken down and put up properly, leaving the teacher visibly shaken. I helped her re-do the work; it didn’t look better, but it was done to his specifications, and so was deemed acceptable.

Even if it was a shoddy effort – which it wasn’t – speaking to a colleague in such a derogatory manner was unprofessional. A quiet word, or suggesting that a TA who was particularly good at displays might be able to give some pointers would have been a better course of action. John is now a headteacher.

This is not an isolated case. Often teachers who are outstanding practitioners, producing amazing lessons and getting great results, can be completely out of their depth when promoted to management.

Source: Secret Teacher: schools turn a blind eye to bad managers as long as they hit targets | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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