I enjoyed most aspects of the course, on reflection those activities I found most challenging are now the activities where I feel I learnt the most. I was curious to complete the personality test and to discover my ESFJ type. This helps me reflect on how I deal with situations and highlights my weak spots well.
The day with the Craft of Communication facilitator was a highlight. I am quite shy and although passionate when I speak, I can forget to breathe! The skills I learnt in the session I am slowly taking on aboard, and I used them when I presented at a national event this week. The final session highlighted and refined my coaching skills, this aspect of leadership I found particularly powerful. The unique aspect of the course was the sense of LGBT+ community that was nutured quickly in the group. This provided a safe, trusting and insightful view of leadership, especially addressing LGBT+ issues in schools or our own personal challenges.
It was very useful to receive practical feedback to improve our practice. I enjoyed interactions with other participants in the group. It was inspiring to hear their stories and how they were making an impact in their own schools.
As a consequence of the programme I am more confident in my professional life, whilst being an out LGBT+ member of the school community. I feel I am able to articulate and commmicate with greater effect – both personally and in a larger forum. Previously I felt much more isolated and now I do feel as if I am part of a larger community faciliting change and support for LGBT+ students and staff. The course has had a huge impact in this field. It should not be underestimated of the positive effect of support for the LGBT+ individual on their mental health and overall well-being.
As a result of this programme, I have presented at a national conference on mental health, with specific consideration of the impact that a safe environment has for the mental well-being of the LGBT+ students and staff in a school community.
Straight away, I felt at ease on this course. I was a little apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect, but the programme leaders and mentors were very approachable and helpful. Personal highlights included feeling a real sense of community between the group, and having the opportunity to step outside my usual working and social circle to discuss and share LGBT issues within education.
The Craft of Communication workshop was really thought-provoking, and was hands on and well explained. Being coached into adapting my presentation skills was a really worthwhile experience. This programme was different to other CPD training, as there was a lot of group collaboration and sharing, rather than leading from the front, which can be passive.
I also feel that my awareness of leadership techniques has developed and I now feel a more confident and competent leader. It was an excellent opportunity to be able to have the time to reflect on my job and its demands, and to share ideas in a supportive space.
In the first session we all shared our experiences of LGBTQ+ issues in schools – whether or not that was related to us personally being known as LGBTQ+ by members of the school community or whether we had heard homophobic/biphobic/transphobic comments from parents/staff/students. It was interesting to hear of the varying settings people worked in and each others’ expriences, as well as initiatives colleagues had introduced in schools to increase inclusivity.
Each session was varied and different and I found learning about different personality types interesting and how one should be thinking about how you interact with different personality types in order to be most productive and efficient. I felt quite happy to share views and opinions with members of the group as others were very happy to share their experiences, too. The fact that everybody was very open about their experiences has meant that I am now happier to talk about LGBTQ+ issues in school and has build my confidence.
Taking part in this training also encouraged me to attend the NEU LGBTQ+ Teachers Conference. It has increased my confidence of discussing LGBTQ+ issues with colleagues and potentially in the future, with students.