Final #Wellbeing Reflection

A final wellbeing reflection.

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. 
At the end of it I made three vows. I have written reflections regularly since such as this one from October:
At the end of the year, it is time for a final reflection.

Vow 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.

Update, a year on:
Honestly? As I said in October, I still work hard and sometimes find it hard to switch off. I am still driven and infuriating to those who love me.
I still hear my children say they don’t see enough of me.
But I do manage it all better. I did a course in mindfulness back in October and I also read Emma Woolf’s fabulous book Positively Primal, both of which have been a huge help to me. The world is never going to stop being busy and hectic but our approach to it is key: focusing on the vision, prioritising the important and taking time to savour the individual moments.

Vow 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.
Update, a year on:
I have finished all aspects of the course and await verification as to whether I have passed. The course was an amazing opportunity to learn about leadership and about the vision of leadership that Scotland aspires to for its future school leaders.
Are Scottish schools ready for that type of leader? I’m not sure.
I have been promoted to Acting Head of Teaching and Learning (Secondary) in my school recently and this has presented me with a amazing opportunity to take forward my ideas on developing ethos, promoting staff and pupil wellbeing and influencing the culture of our school.
On a practical level, I have a school timetable to write in the new term which will be a huge challenge for me and possibly the end of a short-lived career!

Vow 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….

Update, a year on:
I have come to both love and hate Twitter. I love it for its power to connect me to like-minded people and their ideas and writing. I hate it for drawing me in and making me spend more time on it than I should. I also wonder about the quality of interaction that can ever really be achieved on Twitter and the fact that what seem like genuine interest and compassion aren’t. If that sounds harsh, it is not meant to. It is just that when I went through a really hard time back in late October, Twitter barely noticed.
And why would it have?

On the other hand, I have found huge support and what has felt like more genuine connection through platforms like @staffrm and WomenEd and Pedagoo.

This will be my last #teacher5aday #wellbeing update. I will continue to #connect, #notice, #exercise, #learn and #volunteer, blog, reflect and be well. I will continue to encourage others to do so to. And I will revert to a paper sketchbook/journal as my tool of reflection, as suggested here:

Thanks so much again to
Martyn Reah and the tribe for getting me hooked.

Bye for now.


Advent. What is coming?

Advent. A time to reflect, anticipate, prepare.

The complexity of my life just now, both personal and professional, is extreme.
I feel as though I am on the edge of something either very good or completely overwhelming.

I need courage. I need resilience. I need focus and I need to be able to ignore the dramas and prioritise what really matters.

As a leader of the life of my school and as a leader of my own life and the life of my family, I need to remember the following:

  • To plant the soles of my feet firmly on the ground and breathe from the pit of my stomach.
  • That this is my life and that it is not waiting for me somewhere in a distant future when I am ‘grown up enough’ or ‘good enough’.
  • That people are complicated and that part of the challenge of life is trying to understand them and work alongside them.
  • That you can’t make everyone like you. But if they don’t, you should reflect on why this is.
  • That life is good and bad. That we have to work together to celebrate and embrace the good and to challenge and minimise the impact of the bad.
  • That education has the power to transform lives.
  • That we must never stop learning and that mistakes teach us as much as successes.
  • That we are both infinitely important and infinitely unimportant.

And this, from a previous blog:

If ever I run a school or the world, these will be my non-negotiables:

Everyone must be willing to self-reflect and learn.

We don’t shout at others.

We all get things wrong and need to be able to apologise when we do.

We are all human and being in a position of authority does not mean you are better than anyone else.

Everyone needs to take time to see the reality of a situation and not fall into making judgements based on half-truths, prejudice or stereotypes.

Everyone is worthy of love.