My Ambition isn’t just about me

Nov. 28, 2016

'That Boy Can Teach' @thatboycanteach

Assistant Vice Principal, Primary School, North of England

Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt once said “It is my fervent wish and my greatest ambition to leave a work with a few useful instructions for the pianists after me.” And that’s my ambition too. Well, apart from the pianists bit.

Leaving a few useful instructions actually sounds a little unambitious, but in essence that’s what education’s all about. If those ‘few instructions’ were how to multiply two digit numbers by four digit numbers and how to hyphenate words then, as a teacher, I’d be lacking in ambition. But if they are how to be confident in your own abilities, how to be respect others and perhaps ultimately how to be ambitious, then my ambition is great.

It’s developing such qualities in those who possess the future that spurs me on in my own career as a leader. This leaves me positive about the impact my school can have on the young lives of our pupils, and it makes me optimistic about the education system in which I work. If I can inspire children and other educators to think similarly then the future is that little bit brighter.

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Ambition as a teacher

Many would look at the children in our school and assume, based on the levels of deprivation, that they lack ambition. But staff in our school know that if you scratch beneath the surface you will find children brimming with ambition. However, as Bryant McGill pithily put it, “Ambition without action is fantasy”; and the action part is where we teachers and leaders come in. It is my role to be as instrumental as possible in making the ambitions of the children in my school a reality. It is my ambition to do what it takes to help children take the necessary steps on the path to personal success.

Ambition as a leader

As a leader I have the great responsibility and privilege of having a possible impact on the lives of more children than just those in my class. My ambitions as a leader remain rooted in those potential outcomes for the children whom I have the privilege to influence. It is my desire to lead other teachers in providing the right set of circumstances in which their pupils will experience a crescendo of achievement.

"If I can inspire children and other educators to think similarly then the future is that little bit brighter."

The team I work with is made up of highly motivated, committed and diligent teachers – together we have the potential to do great things and key to ensuring that my ambition is not just fantasy is to ensure that my team are led well. I hope to be less of a conductor, standing at the front directing, and more of a fellow musician – one who never forgets what it is like to be part of the band. And my team members all have their own ambitions – some of them to be leaders, others to stay and do an increasingly brilliant job in the classroom – and I hope to support them as they develop their own skills and abilities and pursue their own goals.

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Ambition as part of a network

The education system has its challenges but I see potential in a system whose workforce are positive and optimistic about how they can influence those within their sphere. Imagine the impact that could be had if every leader in every school saw the potential in being solution-orientated, finding innovative ways to make the system work for the schools we work in. It is my ambition to ensure that this is always done, for the benefit of the learners, at the schools I work in.

I have lofty ambitions, I realise that, thankfully I’m not a one-man band. This year as a participant on Ambition School Leadership’s Teaching Leaders Primary programme, I have been challenged, encouraged and supported in making my ambitions reality. I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside like-minded people to analyse and develop my skills as a leader.

I wish to inspire as many others, colleagues and children alike, to be ambitious themselves.


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

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