Work-Free Weekends…..

“Activity and rest are two vital aspects of life. To find a balance in them is a skill in itself. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have. Finding them in each other – activity in rest and rest in activity – is the ultimate freedom.” 
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar~

Well, the weekend has finally arrived.  Nothing to do… Weekends should be yours, a chance to shut off and give your all to your family….you deserve it and they need it.

On a previous post, Debbie Hepplewhite’s advice is, “I suggest to teachers that they have a really good routine day on Mondays that doesn’t need any formal or particular planning per se. This means they can leave on a Friday without any expectation of handing in any plans to be viewed by the head teacher on a Monday morning. Thus – this increases the chance of teachers actually enjoying the weekend in full with partners and family. Once the working-week begins, yes, they can give their 110% – but truly ring-fence the weekends to support that work-life balance.  All work and no play makes teachers exhausted and ultimately bitter and overwhelmed.”

I completely agree with these statements.  Most teachers work for hours on their Sundays. I go to church.  This is my time to be silent and reflective, to listen…..reminding me why it is so important for the children to experience this during collective worship.  We all need a time to sit quietly with our thoughts, thinking about what is before us……understanding how to be ‘still.’

There are some weekends where I have no choice but to finish up work that I just didn’t get a chance to complete – usually work that has a definite deadline.  Other than that, I leave work at work, so that my focus is at home.  Where it should be.

I still watch teachers spending hours during the week, going through routines that they are stuck in, not realising all of the simple ways they can begin to ‘work smarter and not harder.’ Have you started to see that this is my running motto?

For instance, as I have told the teachers, maths should only be planned until Wednesday. By Wednesday, the children will have either understood the concept you were teaching or they need additional input.  Therefore, if you have already planned the entire week and have to completely change things midway (how often has this happened to you?), you have wasted that time planning something that you aren’t going to deliver in the same way.  As a headteacher, I would much rather see maths planning for just a part of the week, and then separate planning for the remainder of the week.  To me this is an ‘outstanding’ demonstration of adapting the lesson according to the needs of your pupils.  It shows me that the teacher has reflected on their teaching so far, evaluated it, and used this to inform the planning for the rest of the week.  This is what teaching is about.  It is not rigidly keeping to a plan.  An outstanding teacher constantly assesses and often changes tactics or goes off plan all together because they understand that their children need that.  It is about the children and their ‘learning.’   Sticking to a plan does not cater for this.

So, this weekend take time to think about how you really can ‘work smarter.’  Your time is precious, so don’t waste time on things that will have to be re-done, or on things that don’t even need to be done.  During the week, teach the children with all you have, give 110%, but work smarter, not harder and take time to re-focus and unwind…..

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