Musing of an academic manager – The manager I’d like to be

As part of induction week and their start-of-the-year development, teachers at my academy completed the following task:

This is of course the activity The teacher I’d like to be, taken from Wright and Bolitho’s brilliant book, Trainer Development. I have been using this with teachers for the past two years, and have found it really useful. One reason it’s been useful is that it is great for getting teachers centred at the start of the year. Another reason is that at the end of the academic year, you can whip this out in the last staff meeting, and ask teachers to reflect on their progress (it is a great tool to get reflective discussions going – trust me!).

Much like my teachers, I am still developing, especially in my role as a Director of Studies (in which the lines of teacher educator and manager are often blurred). As such, I decided to complete my own – except, I’m calling it The manager I’d like to be. Here is my completed one:

I plan on coming back to this at the end of this academic year, and I hope I will have made some progress. I have to admit that this type of activity is very susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect; that is, it’s hard to know what you don’t know, so you rate yourself as good in something, even though you might not be! For this reason, I just want to say that my ratings are rough, and the progress for each of them will be highly variable depending on how much I focus on these areas. I also imagine that I’ll look back at this in five years time and note that I probably should have marked myself a lot lower in some of the areas!

Anyway, enough about me – what about you? Are you an academic manager? If so, why not give this activity a try yourself. You can find a template of the activity here (make a copy for yourself or download and print). If you do give it a shot, take a picture of your list, post it to Twitter or LinkedIN and tag me!


  1. awolloshin says:

    Thanks for this James. I will definitely use it. The first month as academic manager has been really challenging!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine! Best of luck with everything 😁


  2. Alex says:

    This could also be a great reflection tool for students. They so often have a hard time seeing progress or even understanding that learning is more than just “getting through the book”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, definitely! Another activity I stole and adapted from Wright and Bolitho was learner pathways. It could be combined with this activity.


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