Teacher, Wayne Roland, shares with Steve his experiences teaching in a school where leadership communicated a strong message that every student and every teacher matters. Years later, in different teaching settings, Wayne shares how these early leadership behaviors impact his teaching. Consider how these elements fit into your leadership decisions.
Get in touch with Wayne: Wayne.Roland@cy.kaiwenacademy.cn
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Steve: 00:28 Leadership that communicates every teacher matters. Today on the podcast, I’m joined by Wayne Roland, who currently is the head of PE at the Kaiwen Academy in China. Wayne was a participant in a virtual session that I had facilitated for middle level leaders at his school. And following the session, Wayne sent me a follow up message sharing how a teaching experience that he had had earlier in his career connected to many of the elements that that I was sharing in my session. And when I read his thoughts, I responded and asked him if he would join us and share some of his insights with us here today and I’m delighted that he agreed. Welcome Wayne.
Wayne: 01:24 Thank you, Steve. Thanks for having me.
Steve: 01:27 I’m wondering for starters, if you’d share a little bit about the current role that you have at at the Kaiwen Academy and then jump
us back to this school in England that was earlier in your career and somewhat framed your thinking about teaching and learning.
Wayne: 01:47 Thank you. Steve, as you said, I’m the head of secondary PE at Kaiwen Academy in Beijing in China. This is my fifth year as the head of PE. I teach 6-12 which is 11 to 18 year olds, both boys and girls. My main role is to design and implement the Cambridge and Chinese national curriculums. And the two main programs that sit at the top of our PE program include the IGCSEP or 413 program, and also the sports leader UK program.
Steve: 02:34 And now jump us back to the school that you wrote me about in England. What was your role there?
Wayne: 02:42 So my role at Halifax high school under the head teacher, Mr. Jeremy Waxman, to start with, I came in as a physical education teacher. Towards the end of my, my eight years at the school I became head of physical education.
Steve: 03:05 And so when you wrote me about that school, one of the pieces you shared with me was the way the school was structured with a head teacher, and deputy heads, and assistant heads. I’m wondering if you’d describe that structure a little bit for us and how do you think that structure impacted teaching and learning there?
Wayne: 03:30 Yeah, so the structure included head teacher, deputy heads, three assistant heads, each for behavior, teaching and learning and special educational needs. And the head teacher’s teaching and learning system was based on trust, integrity, care, love. And about 20 years ago now, that every child matters initiative, which had five main strands to it as be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution to society and achieve economic wellbeing. He also ran teaching and learning system based on trust, integrity, care, love, and every teacher matters, looking after his staff wherever he could. All five of those senior leaders taught between eight to twelve lessons per week, mainly for two reasons: to learn and understand what was going on on the ground in their school, and to have the opportunity to build relationships with learners, but also staff members. From there, the system continued where there was heads and assistant heads of year heads and assistant heads of house. And these main roles ensured that learners were given their extra support by a set up of a professional pastoral system. The school then had heads of departments supported by second heads of department. So it was a really thorough setup from top all the way down to the teachers at the foot.
Steve: 05:20 So it sounds like there was a lot of teacher leadership in place.
Wayne: 05:25 Yeah. A lot of teacher leadership in place that really give all staff members in the school the opportunity to, to grow into one of those teacher leading positions.
Steve: 05:42 I know that you’ve been in a couple different international settings since. I’m guessing in many of the situations, those administrator and leaders, having a teaching assignment tends not to be present. Is that accurate or have you worked in somewhere it was present?
Wayne: 06:02 Yeah, In the two schools that I’ve been in since my school in Halifax, which includes the school I’m at right now, I don’t see it as something that is seen as important as the leaders at my school in Halifax. I have witnessed a few lessons covered here and there, but not as sort of what I learned to be as in the job description as the senior leaders at Halifax high school.
Steve: 06:36 How did you see that impacting, I guess, both teachers and students?
Wayne: 06:41 For me, it had a major impact on the way that I viewed the senior leaders at school. When they addressed those in staff meetings or on professional development afternoons where I could directly relate to everything that the senior leaders were saying because they were having the same experience as me in the classroom.
Steve: 07:10 That that’s interesting. In our in our work at PLS 3rd Learning, much of our instruction is provided by people who are classroom teachers. They’re offering courses for other teachers. And frequently in the evaluations from people who are taking the courses, a frequent response that they have is the positive nature that that person who was instructing them, was able to pull an example from that day with a student, in illustrating what it was that they were talking about. So there’s kind of a believability that that jumps out that you don’t have to work quite as hard to earn.
Wayne: 08:01 I understand. I think the true impact for me, the head teacher was highlighted in a final assembly at the end of every academic year. Something that I don’t think I’ll ever see again. He would stand in front of 650 learners, hundred and 50 members of staff and he was able to call out the forenames and surnames top left to bottom right of every person in that room because of the lessons that he taught and his activity inside and outside of the classroom, the corridors, the gym, the cafeteria, and how the young learners responded to Mr. Waxman reading out everybody’s name was just a joy to see. And that in itself had a huge impact on the feel of the school and everything that went on inside it.
Steve: 09:03 I bet. How did the school approach professional development or learning for teachers and was peer coaching part of the program that teachers were set up to learn from each other?
Wayne: 09:23 Yeah, so at the school, every Wednesday afternoon, there was professional development training, and that was something that was very big in the school. And something that I sort of was a part of there was again, the professional development, but I haven’t had it since I left for international education where the professional development has somewhat been replaced by a meeting. But in my school in England, it was professional development. And something that I was involved in, an initiative that I was involved in, was a staff mentorship and professional development program. And this was when I first entered the school as a newly qualified teacher, the NQTS and junior teachers were given the opportunity to enter a program for three years where they would be able to shadow one of the senior leaders in the school.
Wayne: 10:33 The idea of this initiative was for the school to keep staff members long-term and possibly promote from within. And in the fourth year of service, if not given one of those middle leadership roles, then you would be given a personal responsibility that you were able to choose or negotiate. A number of middle leadership and assistant leadership roles came up in the fourth, but in particular, the fifth year of service and promotion from within was something that the school leaders and the board members were always looking for because we knew the school. And it was fantastic to see in my time in the school that a promotion of an individual that started the school as a teacher actually ended up as the head teacher towards the end of my eight years at the school, which for everybody was just wonderful to see I’ve got a career moving forward here.
Steve: 11:41 That historically has been a problem in teaching, that quite frequently for teachers to advance in their career, there’s a requirement to leave the school that you’re in. And you’re right. I think we miss a big opportunity there to not only grow people, but grow their commitment to the to the program.
Wayne: 12:10 Definitely.
Steve: 12:12 Well, you mentioned to me in a side conversation that we had, that you have had some thinking about looking to take on a an administrative role in the future. Looking back at this experience that you had, and add to it, the experiences you’ve had since, what do you see as some of the important things you think you’d wanna focus on as you would move into a school administrative leadership role beyond a teacher leadership role?
Wayne: 12:52 Yeah. What I take from my earlier experiences and in particular, the head teacher, Mr. Waxman at Halifax high school, is to really put the students at the heart of every decision that is made and also to place as much and for on the wellbeing of all staff members. And in addition to that, taking responsibility as a staff leader to ensure the best educational outcomes for learners, which includes something that is almost forgotten, personalized learning and wellbeing and support and guidance for staff, families, and parents. And although teaching and learning has evolved over time, curriculum, technology and obviously now during the last two years, online learning. I think what I’ve learned is the core values will always remain the same, which going back to what I said right at the start, is trust, integrity, care, and every person in the school matters.
Steve: 14:14 Well, thank you so much, Wayne. If you’re okay, I’d like to put your email address into the lead-in to this podcast so if people
have questions or thoughts they could contact you directly.
Wayne: 14:28 Of course. Thank you.
Steve: 14:30 You bet. Have a great day.
Wayne: 14:32 Thank you, Steve.
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