"Every teacher’s a leader in their own classroom; you leave lasting legacies on everyone you meet."
Haili is a lady on a mission.
Well, three actually.
First and foremost, as a practising teacher, she is committed to the young people in her care. Working in a successful secondary school in the north of England, Haili makes sure all her students excel academically but also know that they need never be bound by the circumstances around them.
In other words, through teaching English, she teaches her students that nothing is written.
Indeed, as if to prove her point, from her council estate roots where she was the first in a family of eight to stay in school post-16, she battled through homelessness to complete three Masters degrees, is half way through a PhD, is a regular TES contributor and has not one but four books coming out this year.
Haili combines such experiences with her creativity in teaching and learning to support teachers in all subject areas learn how to reevaluate their practice.
In particular - and this is her second mission - she encourages them to rethink their approach to children from poorer socio-economic environments. 'I was those children', she says, and her impressive track record in transforming the academic achievements of 'those children' clearly speaks for itself.
Haili's third mission is all about ensuring great classroom teachers can be just that - great teachers who stay in the classroom. Having experienced the transition to school leadership, she realised it wasn't for her. Not one to sidestep an important decision where her values were at stake (she had previously walked away from a high-flying journalism career to retrain as a teacher when it was clear that her values no longer matched those of her employer), returning to the classroom allowed her to be the teacher she wanted to be.
She was engaging, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. After 25 years teaching this text, I thought I knew it all, but I came away with new ideas, a greater understanding and some inspiration!
She is a clear concise and confident speaker. Her sessions are always well researched, engaging and thought provoking
Haili is really powerful speaker. Her understated, humble approach gives her words great authenticity – particularly when combined with the depth of thought that has gone into what she has to share.
Haili Hughes is a terrifically engaging speaker. She is effortlessly academic yet reassuringly practical and accessible. She is top drawer.
As a result, Haili is now also writing and speaking about teacher retention and what school leaders can do to hang on to quality professionals. Which brings us back to children from more challenging environments who are the ones who tend to suffer most from the constant coming and going of staff and the upheaval, stress and resentment that brings.
One of the many reasons Independent Thinking Associates stand out is the tales we have to tell from our own lives. No one can tell us what it's like. As one of our newest Associates, Haili is no different and we suggest that we can all learn a lot from the indomitable Haili Hughes.
Haili has been with Independent Thinking since May 2020
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