The challenges facing Educational Leaders
Author Lee Gane
As an educational leader your role according to the regulation is ‘to lead the development and implementation of the educational program’ . What this actually means has been an area of great discussion and entails too many components to go into this micro blog. The component of this role that I would like to explore, is the role of mentor, coach and role model that you need to take on to build the skills and knowledge of others in the service in order to be able to lead the development and implementation of the educational program.
You yourself need to have confidence in your own skills and knowledge to be able to guide and inform others. You need to have the time and space to build respectful and trusted relationship with others to be able to lead with influence. One of the major dilemmas which will make your job so much harder will be each educators own knowledge, skills, confidence and self image. How do you build confidence and skill in a team when members of that team may feel undervalued in their role and so overwhelmed by the current workload that they may not have the professional identity or the capacity to take on board any strategies or program changes you have suggested?
Now if that isn’t challenging enough, add the constant staffing turnover which has you regularly going back to the beginning and covering the same ground over and over again. Having to establish, form and build new professional relationships, regularly inducting new staff into the program and the services philosophy takes time and can hinder the progress of the team and your program. You will also find yourself as the Educational Leader having to provide on the job training to educators whose qualification has not provided them with the necessary fundamental knowledge of child development or child development theory.
The complexities and responsibilities of the work can be overwhelming for many educators and Early Childhood Teachers. As a result 1:5 practitioners are projected to leave the profession each year. To provide a quality education and care program you will need to be able to retain your EC Workforce and support them to grow in confidence, knowledge and skills.
We need to get off this carousel that the profession has been on for decades and onto a path of stability and sustainability. So that the education and care workforce can move past professional competence and toward professional mastery. To lead the development and implementation of the educational program, Educational Leaders need a team of Education and Care Practitioners (ECP’s) who are committed to quality improvement and have or are willing to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to contribute to professional discussions and to implement the set goals and planned changes to the educational program.
” To lead the development and implementation of the educational program, Educational Leaders need a team of education and care practitioners who are committed to quality improvement and have or are willing to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to contribute to professional discussions and to implement the set goals and planned changes to the educational program”.
ECW will work with you to build the capacity and confidence of your teams. For less than two dollars per week your educators and early childhood teachers can join their professional body, access information, support and advocacy that will support the sustainability and professional growth of Education and Care practitioners, your team and collectively the EC Workforce.
As a workforce we need to start by coming together as one body of professionals working toward collective goals. As a professional workforce we
• value and support each other’s contributions,
• take a strength based approach when working with others
• share our professional knowledge and expertise to build capacity
• take a closer look at what is essential work and what is unnecessary work
• prioritise respectful, reciprocal relationships with children, families and colleagues
• are proactive and committed to quality improvement and professional growth
• identify and engage in quality professional development with clear learning outcomes in mind,
• access only the recognised reputable information needed to fulfil the responsibilities of the roles,
• avoid commercialised materials that add to unrealistic expectations and increased burden
• slow down the program to minimise anxiety, allowing the time and space needed for us all to ‘be’
• remember that the learning is in the process not the product or the outcomes
• embrace professionalism and present a professional image
• raise the profile of the profession
• Inform families and communities of the knowledge, skills and expertise required by education and care practitioners in the daily performance of their role
Through ECW membership and by working together and supporting each other we can shake the babysitter label and grow a confident, capable and sustainable EC Workforce and grow a professional footprint that is recognised, valued and highly regarded.
When our environments are more supportive and less stressful, when we are investing in the people and the relationships there will be greater capacity for everyone to grow. Only then will we see an improvement in staff retention and greater capacity for professional growth and sustainability.
Once we can stabilise and build the education and care workforce we will have a wealth of EC practitioners with the knowledge and skills to inform the broader community of the professions contribution to the education, health, wellbeing and future productivity and prosperity of the nation.
ECW is working with and for the EC Workforce, advocating for the interests of Educators, Early Childhood teachers and anyone working in the education and care field. By joining ECW you are actively contributing to a future where you are valued and recognised as a highly skilled professional with a voice in matters that effect you and the work that you do.
ECW would like to offer Educational Leaders whose team (four or more practitioners) signs up to ECW membership, FREE membership for as long as their team holds membership. To claim your FREE membership simply complete a service membership form include your name and position (Educational Leader) on the form with the name and details of four or more Education and Care Practitioners (ECP’s) and email the completed membership form to firstname.lastname@example.org