Looking back on my moleskine moments

Feb. 28, 2019
Aidan Severs

Aidan Severs

Assistant Vice Principal, Dixons Manningham Primary

As part of the Teaching Leaders programme, we are encouraged to write down our reflections in the moleskine notebook provided.

Now, after I have finished the Teaching Leaders programme, I sit at my desk with the moleskine by my side. Flicking through I am transported back in time and I’m on my middle leadership journey once again.

The Residential

The first pages - the Residential. There are copious scribblings from the inspirational keynotes – I ask myself yet again ‘What is my calling?’ and I’m reminded of the importance of thinking about the future, setting a vision, developing a culture and engaging others to deliver on that vision and be part of that culture. 

Multi-coloured ink records vital information on how to effect change – vital in retrospect because I now know from personal experience that the models I’ve drawn in my notebook actually worked.

In black capitals I made hasty jottings on risk taking: ‘The risks we make become the measure of our greatness’. And boy, to say that’s been proven to be true would be an understatement.

Amongst the jumbled hurried scrawl there are gems of wisdom that I now see to have had a transformative effect on my leadership. The thrilling whirlwind that was the Residential, upon reflection, was actually what I needed to kickstart a year as a middle leader.

Seminars and challenge days

As I turn the pages, I find myself back in midweek seminars and weekend challenge days with my supportive cohort – people who became friends and confidants: a support network with whom to share ambitions, develop thinking and to try out new coaching techniques. 


Summaries of my coaching calls reveal almost forgotten problems that my coach talked me through. I know we must have found actionable solutions to these problems because I finished last academic year with a strong and dedicated team of teachers who strove for excellence everyday with the children in their classes.

The outcomes spoke loudly of their successes and my coach gave me the confidence to understand that I had been instrumental in my school’s achievements.

Area Impact Strategy

Browsing through my moleskine I rediscover details of my reading and research into my chosen project – improving reading - and I call to mind the transformative changes that Teaching Leaders inspired me to make.

Without the focus of my Area Impact Strategy (AIS) and the helpful sessions at the Residential, seminars and challenge days, I don’t think I’d have been as inspired to give so much of myself to achieve my goal. Teaching Leaders certainly taught me drive and determination.

Although so much of what I learned last year on Teaching Leaders is now internalised and has become a natural part of how I function as a leader, it’s good to know that whenever I need a reminder my moleskine is there, immortalising the wisdom of a year so well spent honing my leadership skills.

So, if you find yourself on the Teaching Leaders programme and you’re sitting surrounded by your cohort, in a lecture theatre or classroom, make sure you too make the most of those moleskine moments – you won’t regret it.

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This article originally appeared on the website of Ambition School Leadership. In March 2019, the Institute for Teaching merged with Ambition School Leadership to form Ambition Institute.

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