I had an article published recently where the editor had described me as a “champion of collaboration”. I was completely delighted because:
a) it proved that at least one person had actually read some of the stuff I write where I bang on about schools working together for mutual benefit. It’s just such a no-brainer that I just don’t see why….sorry, sorry, not the right time.
b) that it was written by a third party and not by me – usually with these things you have to write your own bio and I struggle with self promotion to the extent that I’d probably put “makes a reasonable cup of tea and knows a bit about goats, fair to middling at school stuff, I suppose”.
But then I’m a school business leader, and we’re not overly prone to trumpet blowing, well, certainly not our own.c) that I was a champion of something. Champion. It’s a wonderful word, so full of success and positivity and fight. I’ve never been called a champion before. My dog once came 4th in the Best Rescue category in a dog show, but that was only because he looks like a sausage roll on cocktail stick legs and he was wearing a Bruce Springsteen bandana at the time. But me? Nah.
So whilst I was rolling the word deliciously around in my mouth, tasting it, savouring it and putting on a dodgy geordie accent with which to pronounce it, I got to thinking that everyone should be a champion at something. Everyone has talent, everyone has a special ‘thing’ that defines them. Some have hundreds, but everyone has one.We’ve all used the word ‘champion’ to try and con people into taking on more work for no extra money – remember the imaginary ‘IWB Champion’ badge we stuck on any teacher who knew how to turn a Smartboard on, back in the Harnessing Technology Grant days? Or the Eco-Champion accolade we give to anyone who picks up a bit of litter at the end of lunch duty? I don’t mean that, I mean finding something that sits at the heart of the person, their core value.<Lyrical bollocks moment> And then, drawing that value out of them to inspire and ignite their passion into something they can be proud of and that can drive us all forward, each bringing our unique skills to the table to form a great armoury of collective strengths and passions for our schools to share – and imagine, what an armoury that would be </end lyrical bollocks moment>.Sorry, the kids have got Guardians of the Galaxy on in the other room, but you get what I mean? School folk don’t work in education for money, they work in education for passion, for love, to make a difference.
We all know which policies and agendas make us furious, and which challenges and opportunities make us excited and inspired. I know my staff work harder, better, more willingly if they’re working on something that sparks their interest, something they care about. So that’s what I’m going to do – find the core purpose of all my staff and make them Champions of it. I’m might even ask them to write their own Champion badges, with the words they think sum up their greatest strengths and passions.For me, I’m bagging Collaboration, Animal Therapy and Daft Ideas Blogs for mine. Which would be yours?