How Many Years Does It Take To Becomea Math Teacher Creating a Mission Statement As a Head of Curriculum in a High School

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Creating a Mission Statement As a Head of Curriculum in a High School

When you are first appointed as Head of Curriculum/Department, you go from being ‘one of the guys’ to a person in a solitary role. One moment you’re a “follower” and the next, you’re out front as a “leader.” It’s a new feeling for you and you may feel isolated and wonder why you let yourself in. Let me tell you, that’s how most people feel.

Personally, it took me most of the first year to settle into the school and much longer to create an efficiently functioning department. It is true that I was in a large school of 1200 students where almost all of them did Mathematics. My teaching staff, made up of 26 math teachers, was spread across all the teachers’ rooms in the school. This made my initiation more difficult.

This article comes out of my experiences of almost 16 years as a Head of Department (HOD). In recent years, I have been asked to present workshops on my role to groups of newly appointed and aspiring HODs.

The success of my department was not based solely on what I contributed. It came about because I was able to develop a culture where I was a leader among leaders. This is the essence of successful leadership.

Part of being a successful leader is having a set of behaviors that enshrines what you see as your role. This can be in the form of your own Mission Statement.

Below is the one I presented to the teachers in my workshops. I hope it gives you something to consider for yourself.

My mission as head of department

I had to:

• Provide a quality service to my staff, students and parents (ie I have to make things happen).

• Be an innovator and challenge my staff to innovate.

• Continue my own professional development (ie I need to become a ‘catalyst’ for change, a guide for others and a mentor).

• Listen first, speak later (ie, be or become a powerful listener).

• Have short-term and long-term goals (that is, to be a ‘change agent’ for the better).

• Share the load, (that is, be a leader among leaders).

• Do it now, that is, do it. (If there is a problem to solve, work to solve it now)

Use this as a starting point to create your own mission statement. Keep a copy somewhere you can see it often as a reminder of how you want your staff, parents and students to see you.

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