I’ve been thinking a lot about role models for staff lately, especially in the context of staff development. Sometimes it’s a lonely job being Head of Department, and it’s through the work of role models and support in school and beyond that I find guidance, benchmarks and a context for my own practice.
I’m increasingly aware how much difference it makes to have opened the window of Twitter wide to share in the tremendous wisdom and experience of my PLN. I feel like the gurus of MFL who have been influential in my work, such as Joe Dale, Rachel Hawkes and Jose Picardo (and the list goes on far beyond that) are almost household names. They lead, experiment, inspire and share. I hope one day to be confident enough to do the same.
Leaders and followers are nothing new. The cautious watch with curiosity as the innovators and new adopters plough furrows they wouldn’t be brave enough to attempt.
“She’s just trying to be like X…”
I caught myself feeling slighted this week when it was suggested that I was trying to emulate a universally esteemed colleague in a successful school.
Yes. I am.
What’s wrong with that?
Perhaps unsurprisingly that left me somewhat perplexed. How can it be a bad thing to look at excellent practice and say “I am going to learn from their experience and adapt that for my context.” The wise early majority benefit in exactly that way and can be reassured in their decision-making yet still remain ahead of the masses, perhaps adding a layer of innovation of their own as they go.
So is it reasonable to criticise thinking if it is based on others’ inspirational practice? Does every idea have to be a new idea to be good? I don’t think so. It smacks of ‘not invented here’ syndrome, or the laggard’s cowardice…!