Name: Jennifer Dutton (JD or Jenny)
Role: Assistant Head of Faculty
Years Served in Education: 8 qualified, 11 total
Leadership Journey: Slow but hoping to progress
Leadership Coach/Mentor/Inspiration: Hannah Wilson – she is awesome (sorry!)
Twitter Handle: @NorthantsTeach
Why do we need WomenEd?
Because until every single person sees the importance of feminism and supporting feminism there is still a struggle. Too many people dismiss feminism as being for others or unnecessary in the UK but to ensure students are encouraged to achieve their potential we need to harness that support. WomenEd has led me to create some wonderful support networks and to meet some amazing people, every one should have that opportunity.
Why do you volunteer to contribute to the WomenEd community?
I have considerable experience of mental health problems and recognise that this is an issue not just in teaching but the wider community. I would like to become a mental health champion.
How do you maintain a work life balance?
By ensuring that I spend weekends with my daughter. This is so important to me, and also in my understanding of the families of the children I teach. Weekends are precious; we walk, eat out and explore. I let my daughter direct!
How do you challenge the stereotype female leaders?
As a bisexual, married, BPD, OCPD sufferer who is just about managing to hold it all together I think I challenge the idea of ‘normal’!! I cope and I am. This is what people need to see.
What is your vision for education?
I would like more of a focus on learning for the passion of learning. Moving away from an over focus on exams and knowledge only for exams. I love learning and have a very broad and excellent (as I am told!) general knowledge, because I just like to know ‘stuff’ and I think this should be encouraged because it is fascinating and enriching.
What change would you like to see in the system?
Better awareness of mental health and the range of mental health problems. Teachers are human like everyone else. Let’s reflect this. Be the change we want to see.
What myths would you like to debunk about female leaders?
The notion of a ball buster is so divisive and unfair. Women are often labelled with terms that are seen as negative whereas in men they are praised.
Be yourself; be honest and try.
Hmmmmm! I’m currently reading Agatha Christie Murder is Easy so I’m not sure that’s appropriate but I have also been reading Val Plumwood’s Eye of the Crocodile which looks at the wider role of feminism and humanity. I’m also reading Ireland before the Famine 1798-1848as this is a major passion of mine, Ireland from the constitutional nationalism through revolutionary nationalism.
Be who you are. That is all that you can do and be.