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Meet The Team: Jay Helbert

I have been here at SCEL as a lead specialist for a little over five months now and though the job title is new to me, and there has been a lot of learning, I do feel an element of familiarity about the role.  If I was to sum this up in a word, that word would probably be ‘teacher’.

And why ‘teacher’?  Well, I guess that’s what I’ll always be deep down and there are so many aspects of the job I’m doing now which will be very familiar to teachers and school leaders everywhere.

I am starting with assessment; an assessment of what folk need from SCEL in terms of learning opportunities and resources.  This has taken the form of online surveys, workshops, attending conferences and speaking to as many people as I can. The time that very busy teachers, PTs, DHTs, headteachers, union representatives, lecturers and everybody associated with education have given me has convinced me yet again of the commitment and generosity of our vocation.

After assessment comes planning.  You may have seen my blog on setting and working toward a vision which was the outcome of a facilitated planning session but my SCEL colleagues and I also had the very good fortune to undergo learning in a planning approach called Return on Investment planning (ROI) delivered by Karen Adams from Twig Associates.  ROI is a fantastic method for planning learning experiences by starting with the end in mind; consider investment to be the time you commit to a project as well as financial input.  It encouraged us to resist the temptation to go straight to ‘what should we do’ and instead start by thinking, ‘what’s the real need here – what are we trying to accomplish and how will we know when we have achieved it?’Employing this methodology with my team, associates, school staff and anyone else I have the opportunity to work with, has proven to be great fun and very effective.

After the planning comes delivery – I am not totally there yet, but I have been working with members of the profession to put into place the plans that have excited me so much so far, so watch this space (or even better, follow me and us on twitter).

There are of course many other aspects of my job that will be familiar to school staffroom dwellers from across the land, unfinished cups of coffee, working to last minute deadlines, esprit de corps, and multi-tasking like a boss, but the biggest most familiar feeling is that one has at the start of a brand new term, a clean jotter, new shoes and unlimited possibilities.  Bring it on.

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