I promised Martyn Reah that I would try to contribute something to his campaign for teacher well-being (AKA: #teacher5aday). I also said that I would try to write something for #nurture1415. Not having managed either, I’m now going to attempt a kind of amalgam of the two.
On the face of it, 2014 was not exactly a stellar year for me. As you may already know, in April I fell down the stairs and managed to break both of my legs. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, they say. I am now (more or less) fully recovered, plus I had a real motivator to get moving again in the form of …
1. The ‘Don’t Change the Lightbulbs’ launch party:
I wrote my contribution for this book in the first few hours of 2014. Rachel Jones emailed on New Year’s Eve to ask me if I’d like to write some tips on behaviour for an ebook she was compiling. There was a 31st Dec deadline (?!), but I had a short extension!
I was delighted to contribute to such an excellent project, but more than a little apprehensive about book’s the London launch party in September. As it turned out, the event was a thoroughly lovely experience where I got to chat to many fellow teacher-bloggers (Heather F, Rachel Jones, ChocoTzar, Gwenelope, Thomas Starkey and Old Andrew, to name but a few!)
In preparation for the event, I took myself out for daily late-summer walks down the lanes at the back of our house. Had I not had such an important date scheduled, it’s unlikely I would have had such motivation to rehabilitate. A huge thank you to Rachel (and also to Gwen for thinking to recommend me!).
2. More Writing:
One of the singular benefits of incapacitation is having lots of time. This year I have managed to write posts for several different publications (Innovate My School, Forum Journal, UKEd Magazine, NAHT Edge, and Lightbulbs (above)) and am honoured and delighted that they’ve given space over to my ramblings. This has given me a slightly wider audience for my stuff, and it seems what I’ve written has generally been well-received.
3. Work Stuff:
The ongoing saga of my battles at work has continued to provide me with a rich seam of blogging material. As I have said before, it’s always a relief to know you aren’t alone with this stuff. On the occasions that I’ve come home from work feeling thoroughly beaten and battered and poured my out my feelings of despair in a blog, the online response has usually been wonderful. Seeing how many others are going through similar stuff has only caused me to redouble my efforts to tackle these issues.
Last month I had a bit of a break-through at work when they finally decided to abandon graded lesson observations. How much of a role I actually played in this decision I can’t be sure, but I like to think I just might have had something to do with it.
4. Ofsted Meeting:
At the end of October I was fortunate enough to attend a consultation meeting with Mike Cladingbowl (National Director – Schools), in Birmingham.
This was an excellent opportunity for me to air some of my worries and fears about the Ofsted process – I’m very aware of what a rare opportunity that is. Again, it was also an excellent opportunity to meet and chat to fellow-teachers from all around the country.
5. Home and Family:
There’s nothing like a crisis for making you appreciate what you’ve got. Now I’m back on my feet, it’s lovely to be able to do (just normal) stuff with my kids. Whilst unable to walk, I could hardly wait to take charge again of the housework and washing etc! In the inevitable moments of stressy anxiety that (I hope) all mothers have, I try to remind myself what it feels like to be unable to play any part in it at all.
6. Public Speaking
I’ve never done any public speaking before (unless you count college productions and Brownie church parades.) It now seems I’m about to be thrown in at the deepest end of all, having been asked by David James to speak about PRUs and behaviour at next June’s Festival of Education at Wellington College. In preparation for this, I’m making copious notes and rehearsing lines in the shower (which I usually forget by the time I’m out and dressed). Wish me luck..
1. To try my damnedest to do a good job of the Education Festival thing (above). I know I know a lot about this stuff. I just need to be able to communicate it all effectively.
2. To keep moving and try to lose a bit of weight.
3. To try my hardest not to be so permanently worried about things. A favourite singer of mine once said he was, “..smart enough to know that stress is what gets you”. If I can only try to heed such sound advice…
4. To keep writing my own blog, and also to continue to write for others – it’s always such a pleasure to see my own stuff in print and online.
5. To keep doing the best job I can do, both at home and at work. As I’m always saying to my pupils, “No-one can ask any more of you than your best.”
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