It’s all in the detail

This month I have been excited and inspired by the work happening at The Manchester Grammar School. Gill and I met with the teachers to take stock of what we have been trying and learning together. As part of this, we talked about the impact that doing one-page profiles had made on teachers.

Dr Samuel Crawshaw is a Head of Year at The Manchester Grammar School, and he is my guest blogger this month. He describes how he started to develop his own one-page profile, and was then supported to add detail by Gill Goodwin, who asked him questions to help draw out the information to complete his one-page profile.

After our pastoral school staff spoke to Helen about how other schools had been using One-Page Profiles, we realized that the first step in introducing them to our pupils would be for teachers to have a go at writing their own One-Page Profile. My first attempt at writing anything down was done at home during the summer holidays. I asked my wife and children for some attributes to put in the appreciation box on my One Page Profile. My daughter said that I was “not boring” whilst my wife suggested that I was a “great dancer”. My thoughts on what is important to me were quite vague, which meant that I also struggled to fill in the final box describing how others could support me.

At that stage, this was the information that I had in my one-page profile:

Like and Admire: Friendly, Organised, “not boring”, “great dancer”

What is important to me:

  • I like supporting my family and making sure they are ok
  • I love watching good (and bad) films with my kids
  • Running
  • Playing with my guinea pigs, Nibbles and Pops
  • Experiencing wilderness
  • Making Biology inspiring

How to support me

  • Don’t shout at me; if something is important to you, make sure you have my attention, and then tell me
  • If I’m on the phone, let me concentrate
  • Encourage me to go for a run

Gill Goodwin was the trainer supporting us in developing one-page profiles. She looked at my One-Page Profile with me and asked me some thoughtful questions about some of the things that I had stated were important to me. She helped me to transform a one-word statement such as “running” into a clearer explanation of how far, when and why I wanted to run. I work in a busy pastoral office between lessons, and Gill also helped me to explain in my One-Page Profile what I found difficult about working in such a busy and sometimes crowded space. My colleagues then had some clearer ideas about how they could help and understand me. Our pastoral team also took part in some exercises to list each others’ attributes, which was a great way for us to bond as a team.

Here is how my one-page profile developed to be more detailed:

Like and admire: Approachable, Responsive, Organised, Engaging

What is important to me:

  • Not to be late for lessons
  • To respond promptly to emails and phone calls, to me this means on the same working day that I receive them
  • To have a written record of pastoral decisions made about pupils; this means that I prefer to confirm decisions by email, so that when my memory lets me down, I can remember what was decided and who authorised it
  • It’s really important that I eat an evening meal with my family every day, so I should usually leave school by 6.00pm
  • I am happiest when I run at least 10 miles a week – a couple of miles before school every day helps me clear my head and wake up

How to support me

  • Know that not being late for lessons is important to me, please don’t be offended if I have to suddenly end a conversation – I often have to get to the other end of the school site to teach lessons
  • Please read the contents of my emails carefully (I’ll try to be succinct) and respond if I have asked for something – I may need this to confirm that we have both agreed to the same plan of action for a pupil
  • If I’m on the phone, let me concentrate
  • Tell me to go home if I’m still at work after 6pm

Heads of Year and other pastoral staff used our own experiences of writing One-Page Profiles to explain the ethos of personalization to parents, pupils and form tutors. We showed our early drafts, and also our final One-Page Profiles, as examples of the process we had been through, to define exactly what was working well for us, and also aspects of our lives that we wanted to develop. My One-Page Profile was also shown to pupils in assemblies and tutorials, so that our pupils could see that making a One Page Profile should be an enjoyable and fun experience. Our pupils were keen to embrace the idea, and I knew that they were fully engaged in the process, because pupils started asking me if I’d been for a run yet that day when they passed me on the corridor!

Writing a One Page Profile has helped me and my colleagues to support each other more effectively in the daily little things, as well as the big things. The most positive aspect for me has been that one of my colleagues now comes into my office and switches the light off if I’m working too late. I’m getting out running much more than I used to, and I feel I have more energy to teach fun, exciting lessons.

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