Home' Independence : Independence Vol 43 No 1 May 2018 Contents VOL 43 NO 1 MAY 2018 INDEPENDENCE 77
I sometimes worried that my school
Board would wake and discover their
school was being run by an average
geography teacher who failed his 11+
exam. However, although I was a 'B
Grade' teacher, I could find 'A Grade'
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS When considering
career highlights, it is tempting to
describe a PhD, the publishing of a
number of books and running a school
with a longer that average driveway.
Another option would be to describe
the ascension of your school from 120th
to 30th on the HSC League table, as
might your name appearing in the Order
of Australia Honours' List. However,
the highlight for me was to get Jones
Minor to realise 'a lot' was, in fact, two
words. It has been the aggregation of
small things that has given me the most
Another delight is the ability to live
forever. Heads of school have no need
for a Genomic DNA Preservation
Service. Nor do they have need to
invest in tissue cryopreservation. If we
have promoted values, taught skills,
and influenced behaviour, we will live
forever in the communities we have
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES Some have
suggested that the biggest challenge for
a Principal is to be able to drink four
cups of coffee before 9.00am and keep it
in the system until after 9.00pm. What
this hints at is stress and long hours.
Both are true. Difficult and unpleasant
tasks tend to be handballed to the Head.
Add to this the burden of responsibility
and the basilisk stare of the curious,
venomous and judgmental, and you can
understand why hemorrhoid cream and
valium become essential.
The post-modern world seems hell
bent on destroying anything that was
thought wholesome twenty years ago.
The rejection of grand narratives and
absolute truth in favour of left wing
libertarianism and the worship of self,
means there are not many firm islands
left in this world's swamp from which
our students can take their moral
Stir in a growing culture of victimhood,
rampant litigation and a bunch of 'no-
win-no-fee' lawyers, and most Heads
can be forgiven for contemplating a
job at an unmanned weather station in
Heaping further coals onto the long-
suffering Principal are helicopter parents
who rain down hostile ordinance, and
mariner parents who are all at sea and
leave parenting duties to the dark and
dangerous citizens of Cyberia.
The contemporary Principal needs to be
prophet, priest and parent. They also
need to be tough.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING PRINCIPALS Go for
it! We are allocated a finite number of
days on this 'mortal coil'. Don't waste
them wondering whether you could
have been the Head. Find out.
Don't worry if some headship tasks
seem beyond you. You'll learn. If you
can't learn, then delegate. I still have to
take my shoes and socks off to count to
eleven. Therefore, I had to find myself a
More than once I've had to remind
myself that I play this game before a
higher authority than the Fairfax press.
A strong faith, an eternal perspective
and a good scotch are essential. To
this should be added a secure refuge, a
loving family and a bevy of friends who
will like you even when you are vile.
Finally, never believe the hubris.
Maintain a sense of humour and do
whatever it takes to laugh, love and
ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT Whether it's
been on Richard Glover's Political Forum
or fencing with Tony Jones on Q&A,
I've had the privilege of whispering a
few things into the occasional Prime
Minister's ear. It doesn't always do much
good, so it is as well to remain sanguine
about the impact of any such initiative.
That said, I think we, as educators, need
to remind our politicians that they must
put principles before popularity when it
comes to dealing with schools. Soaking
up a fifth of our nation's expenditure,
education and training is always going
to be the play thing of the political
world. However, the vicissitudes of
political power, when added to the
interminable buck-passing between
state and federal government, burdens
educators with uncertainty and constant
Let's have some bi-lateral stability.
Time now for a reduction in red tape.
Allow schools to teach rather than
be burdened by incessant reporting
MOVING ON I once wrote a novel
called Blizzard Lines, for my Year 10
boys. It was based in Antarctica. I've
never visited the place and feel that
should now be rectified. Add a few
revenge visits to overseas G20 schools
and contacting a few of my children
scattered carelessly around the globe,
and the duty-free collection is likely to
remain healthy for a while.
I'd like to think that I might also be
useful to colleagues in AHISA schools
for a few more years. Thus, I'll be
putting up my hand for the occasional
consulting task. I've already signed
up to help build a few schools both at
home and abroad.
Other than that, and some trips to a
school Jane and I are supporting in
Rwanda, it will be writing a few more
books, losing a few more kilograms
and adding a few more memories to an
already blessed life.
Dr Tim Hawkes has been a member and
supporter of AHISA, and independent education
generally, for many years. He served on the
AHISA Board from 2011- 2015 and the Association
of Independent Schools (AIS) in NSW, chairing
the Headmasters' Conference of NSW and the
Australian Boarding Schools' Association. He
has also served on the governing Board of the
International Baccalaureate Organisation and
was the Founding Chairman of the Association of
Heads of Independent Co-educational Schools of
Victoria. He was awarded the Medal of the Order
of Australia (OAM) for "service to education, and
to professional organisations" in 2014.
Links Archive Independence Vol 42 No 2 October 2017 Literature Review Navigation Previous Page Next Page