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Phil Douse (Assistant Headteacher), Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys

[Managing Workload] Busy Assistant Head Halves Meeting Time, Increases Family Time & Radically Improves Students’ Responses

The Coaching System Which Dramatically Reduces Teacher Workload

Assistant Head Phil was initially sceptical about the learning to coach. Now he realises how much it can help him in his everyday role…

Coaching was something I was pretty clueless about.

It was quite an intriguing thing and from going through the process, I think it’s changed the way I think about things – and how I work and troubleshoot – which for me is quite a change!

I don’t tend to change too much with things, and definitely how I think about things!

Another colleague I coached was quite a new teacher who was having concerns with behaviour management in lessons, and specifically how quickly students were initiating tasks in her lesson.

And before I did the coaching thing, people would come to me and they would look to me to solve the problem, as in speak to a student or remove the student.

And actually by turning that over, by discussing it and going through it and then her coming up with her ideas, you could see the confidence because she had come up with them. It made a huge difference.

With my role, time is something I don’t have a huge amount of, so if there’s something that I can do or reorganise which improves time it’s really helpful.

And having a structure and very focused meetings is really good, especially with parents.

  • It completely transformed meetings. So it cut them, I would say, at least by half – if not by a hell of a lot more than that!

Another skill was questioning. (I think that I was the same as everybody else!) It radically changes student responses in lessons.

The coaching and the being coached was fantastic.

I worked with Marc Smith, which was incredibly useful, and for me it worked both ways.

Being coached in an area which for me was quite a big task, and he split it up. That was really useful.

I think also the idea of don’t want to let him down so if I’d agreed that I was gonna do something, I’d always do it.

Overall, the sort of differences to myself… Professionally I’ve really changed.

I think me changing my mindset about something is quite a big deal – and I don’t share that that often – but it has! It’s really changed how I approach things.

And time is crucial.

And as teachers we all complain we can’t do anything because “we haven’t got the time,” but if you can do something which creates more of it, it’s HUGE!

And then you can end up appreciating things actually outside of education which are more important. 

So with a young family, I think being able to spend more time with them in the evenings, getting down to things a lot faster, or attributing “I’m going to do this at this point and then I’m gonna move on,” has been absolutely massive.

In a nutshell, what has it done, it’s created more time and therefore I’ve been able to have a more relaxed approach…

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