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Be Yourself

Dr. Clare Campbell has had a number of roles in education but she’s always tried to stay true to herself. When she became headteacher, she didn’t change.

Her ethos is to always strive to do the best for the children and to be yourself.

Over the years I have worked in 3 different schools, in lots of different roles as a class teacher, SENDCo, Art Lead, RE Lead, PE Lead, Assistant Head, Headteacher, RE Inspector and in every role and in every school I have worked in I have always tried to stay true to myself.  I am not a dragon, I don’t ever shout at children or humiliate them, or make examples of them and when I first started in headship, it felt as if some of the staff and some of the parents were expecting that was how a headteacher should behave and that children should be frightened of being sent to the headteacher.  That is just not me and it never will be.  

Sometimes I have tried new things and I have had criticism from parents or staff about introducing new methods, but if I can always hand on heart say that all the decisions that I have made have had the children’s best interests at heart, then I have done my job.  I have to be a champion for the children, I have to make decisions that put the needs of the children first and sometimes, the needs of the most vulnerable children first, not the needs of the staff, the needs of the parents or the governors.  I have to stay true to myself, my core values of compassion, service, kindness and love.  I genuinely love my job and I love learning and I know that I will go on learning for the rest of my life.  It is this passion for learning that I want to pass onto the children in my care every day.  

My advice to new headteachers and new teachers is to be yourself, at interview, in the classroom, in front of the staff, in front of the parents and in front of the children each and every day.  Be true to yourself.   

Primary education would be pretty perfect if… teachers were left to teach.  I am not a big fan of a data-driven school, I want a kind school, a happy school, a school where children love to learn and learn to love.  A school where individuality is celebrated, where there is equity, where children feel loved, respected and valued.  I don’t think that SATs results, phonics scores, or early learning goals have much of a place in my dream school.  Teachers who are left to the art of teaching, who can be themselves unapologetically every day.  I want a school full of teachers who love their job and love the children that they teach and want the best for them.   

Clare Campbell 2

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The author

Dr Clare Campbell is a primary headteacher who has been teaching for 22 years in Salford. She has a Doctorate in education from Manchester University and an MA in SEND. She has had experience teaching children in the US, Australia, Kenya, the Philippines and Europe. She is the author of A Year of Mindfulness, Be the Change, Drawn to the Word and What is Beauty? published by McCrimmons. She is an artist for @coloursofkindn1 and you can find her on Twitter @clarecampbell7 on Instagram

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