As we approach the 31st of December, it seems the perfect time to reflect over the previous year. Other blogs have been popping up with summaries of extraordinarily busy years – I know my year has been busy but it does make me question whether I can do even more….should I be doing more?
Things that have gone well…..
So, I have now completed a second full year of headship and I absolutely love my job. Being headteacher keeps me up at night, it permeates everything I do….I love everything about it. Yes, some days are much better than others, but the challenges, the peaks and troughs – it is all a journey and one that constantly keeps me on my toes where I’m always learning new things. Mistakes come with the territory, but through these I’m always learning how to improve – how to be a better leader, a better me. It’s important to own up to your mistakes as well – during my first few weeks as head, I told my team that I would make many mistakes….we all do….but that I am here, just like them, looking to constantly be better at what I do, to make things better for everyone around me.
The incessant demands that are on us in education, means it is incredibly important to always put ‘wellbeing’ at the top of the list. I’ve stuck to leaving work twice a week in time to be home with my children, I’ve stuck to at least two nights a week not bringing any work home with me. I will continue to do this. Obviously there are weeks where there are late night meetings, PTA events, etc, but I still ensure that other days, I get home to be with my family.
It has been an eventful year; I now feel as though our vision is finally unfolding and becoming reality. The school looks very different to what it was just a year ago (and I thought it looked different then!). It is remarkable how quickly things have been moving on, how open to change the staff have been and how willing they have been to ‘research’ new things in their class and share ideas with each other. The team in school has changed……we are now a TEAM….what a difference it has made.
As we are now at a place where staff are more open to working together and now keep their classroom doors open, we have begun coaching trios, which has unleashed teachers creativity and problem solving skills. Small-scale research happens on a daily basis in our classrooms, where teachers feel confident to try new things and see what works best with the children. We seek to do everything that fits with our children……which is why so much is still changing.
With the release of the Commission Report on Assessment, our school (hopefully alongside many others) has begun questioning the ‘purpose’ of many things that we do, marking, learning objectives, etc, things like these….. In response, assessment has changed radically, verbal marking has taken a top seat; we are constantly finding ways to reduce teacher workload but in return improve pupil outcomes. It can be done…..
Finally, I’ve really begun ‘engaging’ with Twitter this year. It began late into this year, but the conversations and debates that I have been a part of have made me question and reflect on many issues pertinent to education. I’ve participated in #UKedChat, #UKGovChat, #SLTchat and just this week #teacher5aday. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing to be a part of these discussions. The community on Twitter is astonishing and I’m looking forward to continuing to increase my partnerships in 2016! Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to fully engage!
What needs to change in 2016……
- I need to get back to church, regularly. By the time the weekend arrives, we are all so exhausted that when Sunday morning gets here, we often just want a chance to lie in. Church, for me, gives me time to refocus on what is important and to reconnect with people outside of school. It is an opportunity, as a family, to be together…… these moments need to be treasured.
- One of the key headings in the #teacher5aday challenge is #notice. I need to do more of this. I want to be in the ‘moment’ – not just in body, but in mind – giving full attention to the person I’m with. For instance, sometimes there is such a rush to get the kids to bed that it all becomes a ‘process’. I ‘tout’ on to my parents about the importance of reading with their children at least four times week – I do read with my children most nights, but I want to take #notice. I want to be in the ‘moment’, not thinking about the things I need to do to be ready for the next day. These moments pass by us so quickly; both of my children want to read with me every night…..again, one day this won’t be the case, so I need to capture this as much as I can.
- Reflect more often. I only wrote around 50 blogs last year – I need to make more time to write.
- Make exercise a part of my weekly routine. Just because I didn’t get a place in the London Marathon, isn’t an excuse not to keep running!
- Do things today rather than tomorrow. I often can hear myself thinking, “Oh, I can do that tomorrow” – this needs to change.
I’m sure there is much more to add to these lists, but this post is already very long….so I’ll finish here.
Roll on 2016….a New Year, A Fresh Start and a New Perspective!