Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Robyn Hair
Title: Deputy Principal: Teaching, Learning & Culture
Organisation: Calvary Christian College - Townsville
Being a nurse/midwife in my past life, I have always loved working with and helping people. My heart's desire to be a teacher came to fruition after I had my children and I have never looked back. I have worked in State and Christian Schools and my leadership journey was mapped out early - through divine direction. I am married to the one chosen for me - Murray for 34 years and have three sons, two daughters in love and one high octane and delightful grandson. I am currently leading a fantastic team of educators to serve efficiently and honour their calling.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I am innately a person who wants people to be content/happy with their circumstances. SO my greatest growth challenge has always been about delivering wisdom and guidance with integrity and above all TRUTH even though this may cause some pain or discomfort for the recipient! I hate seeing people struggle so have had to learn and grow in the skills of true mentoring and coaching to bring about transformation in others.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
In a nutshell, others saw my potential and tapped me on the shoulder, invested in my upskilling journey and gave me opportunities to shine. I have always tried to be a servant and I suppose that was appealing to thiose in my leadership world. I began as a classroom teacher, was herded in to some curriculum leadership positions, replaced my absolute education hero as a Director of Curriculum and have stood beside my husband in his Principal role, now standing with the senior leadership of a large school in regional Queensland. I have never actively sought leadership roles - they seem to come to me.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Upon waking (after showering) I sit in my reading chair and start every day centering myself in God's word and praying for my day and the people in it. I then share breakfast, devotion and prayer with my husband as we eat breakfast. The first stop for my work day is meeting with the wider team in our devotions, praying for, connecting with and solving any problems happen in this short time. I have meetings scheduled most days in the morning - my PA is very protective of my afternoons so that I can take the time to action those things raised in the meetings! Meetings include with team members, parents, the Executive Principal, enrolment possibilities and general problem solving. I do my best to have lunch WITH people and try to rotate through team staff rooms - although this is probably the first thing that gets moved if needed. After the bell goes at 3pm, I usually continue doing those things that require significant head space as there is less interruptions at these hours. I am home by 5:30pm most days with shared meal preparation with my husband and son - all teachers too. Three afternoons a week (most of the time) I walk, listening to a book that is usually inspiring me in my leadership. Once a week I attend a reformer Pilates class. After dinner, I may sometimes (but less and less) continue any 'important' work. I try to be heading to bed at 9:30pm where I read for fun and turn my light out by 10:30 - unless it is a gripping book!
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I have recently been reminded of the importance of working alongside like minded people and the importance of this when strengthening, maintaining and protecting a culture that is always under attack in this current ethical and moral climate.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I am reading currently a book by Daniel Jackson - 'Work Less Teach More' - Australian, Christian educator. It has made me refocus and become response-able for my choices not only n my professional life but also my personal life. This is helping me see the toxicity that our narrative around workloads can be! I am revitalised and rejuvenated to use what I am learning through this book to bring this to the teaching and learning culture of my whole team. Using it within my professional learning communities to unpack the realities of our profession, change our narrative and become effective educators who enjoy their calling.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Invest in people - spend time and energy with them, give empathy and compassion regularly and always truth with integrity. Strong and invested relationships will always get us through any situation or conversation.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I think all of the meaningful stories I have are founded on relationship. I really love working with people - the most precious and also the most painful part of my day! I recently had a young and upcoming leader express her gratitude for the mentoring and love I give her. Another middle leader thanked me for being the sort of mentor she needed - not the one she wanted! I took this to mean that maybe she wanted me to "puff her up" and tell her how great she was, when in fact I challenged her to think outside her direct realm and encouraged her to take the balcony view before making judgements. My overall favourite experience as a leader is my team. Investing in their professional and personal growth, journeying the storms WITH them, loving them and experiencing their love for me is life changing. It is not a sweet fluffy love. It is a love sprung from God's word, grace and truth. Sometimes love can hurt until we recognise the reality of true love - which involves transformation for all things good.