How has your first month gone?
Back at the end of last year I came across the #teacher5aday wellbeing movement.
Reading what had been happening over the previous 12 months amongst teachers with a commitment to wellbeing inspired me and I wrote a blog. The whole piece can be found here:
At the end of it I made three vows….and a timely tweet from @MartynReah has motivated me to reflect on how I am progressing a month on.
1. To myself. It is time I sorted this out once and for all. I love the Facebook ‘memories’ function where you can see where you were and what you were doing on this day in previous years. But I am concerned that I have been saying the same things about needing to slow down and look after better myself for 10 years. Now is the time. My family needs more of me and I need to accept that excuses won’t do any more. Only I can do this but but I am hoping for a bit of help from @Doctob’s book ‘Inner Story’ which fortuitously came into my possession recently….
I think that the very act of writing down these vows and sharing them publicly has had a transformational effect. The concept of wellbeing has been in my head in a way that it was not before and I have been forced to take it seriously in the knowledge that my writing has made me accountable.
Have I made changes? Yes.
I have been home at an earlier time in the evening on some days because my commitment to my family has been prioritised over a vague sense of loyalty to colleagues who probably wouldn’t notice whether I am working til late anyway.
On the occasion when my daughter asked ME to take her to dancing instead of her dad, I started to say ‘but I’ve got three million things to do for work…’. Then stopped. And took her.
I have not been running. I have been doing other exercise because if I don’t, I go a little bit mad….. But the punishing running has stopped for now because it hurts my hip when I run and I need to look after myself.
I feel calmer and I have been more focused because it matters.
I have to confess to a lost couple of days this weekend as I committed every minute to finishing an assignment for my headship course…. But without that I wouldn’t have managed the next one…..and I still managed to sit down for three meals each day with the guys so it hasn’t been THAT bad!
2. To education. I am doing the Scottish ‘Into Headship’ course this year and intend to learn all I can about how to be a Wellbeing-motivated educational leader.
It has been a real slog to do my first formal assignment but, having just submitted it, I think it is ‘good enough’. The reading I have done on leadership has been inspiring and motivating and I am more determined than ever to give Headship a go…I have been wrestling with the question of whether it is possible for a head teacher to remain true to a vision for improvement when that vision threatens to be eroded and undermined by demands and priorities that have been generated externally, whether at authority or national level. But I believe that it can and I am committed to a style of leadership that is moral and values led: ‘In reading about the School Leadership models described by Bush and Glover, I was drawn to the model of ‘Moral and authentic leadership’ which is “underpinned strongly by leaders’ values” ‘.
And as if on cue, the ever inspiring George Gilchrist provided a blogpost that helped to affirm my belief that there are head teachers out there who remain true to their moral compass and vision:
I even used George’s blog as a source in my assignment and have joined him in a call to:
3. To Twitter. I will use this forum to engage in the debate about wellbeing and teacher ‘agency’ and to support and nurture like-minded souls. I will not beat myself up if I don’t manage to tweet or blog as often as other brilliant twitterati friends…..(as I have in the past) but I will use Twitter for all its potential….
Well, the fall-out from writing my post on wellbeing and my subsequent use of Twitter and blogs have been quite remarkable. The positive responses I got to my writing (and in particular a lovely comment from @Ezzy_Moon) have made me start blogging more frequently and passionately and confirmed a sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, I have some things to say about some things.
So I now have a WordPress site and occasionally muse and ramble about life, wellbeing and education:
Whether others believe I have something to say or not, I have discovered that writing is therapeutic and helps me to get some of my sometimes chaotic and anxiety-inducing thoughts into a more structured format.
I know now that I don’t have to compete in the tweet/blog world, that I will never write for a living and that when Olivia from the company which monitors my tweets asks if I want to raise my online profile, the answer is no….
But writing has certainly helped my wellbeing and I intend to continue. The 29 day challenge is next…. Starting tomorrow. #29daysofwriting
To finish, one last huge thank you to Martyn and the #teacher5aday community. You guys are saving the teaching community, one tweet at a time…..