Looking back at #Nurture1415 and #Teacher5aday posts from this time last year; 2015 has been a good year in so many ways. Whilst not everything has necessarily gone to plan or moved forwards I don’t think they’ve gone too far backwards either, despite how it sometimes feels.
My work life balance definitely took a step forward in 2015 and I’m hopefully an easier person to be with and better leader for it. The twin mantras to “live a little more and work a little less” and “do less better” aren’t exactly embedded in my life but they’re having an impact. The family have moved on this year; whilst missing them around the house it was right and timely that they did. I’ve managed to meet more wonderful people from social media, spoke at a few events, visited some very different schools and learnt loads along the way.
This time last year we had sold our house and were looking to move; don’t ask we will be trying again in 2016. Our education system hasn’t become anymore authentic; there are some great things going on in many schools and some total madness in the system overall. There are some tough years ahead.
Time to #Connect Personally and Professionally
The comings and goings of family life and family members is brought home vividly and poignantly in John Tomsett’s wonderful book, Love over Fear, which I was re-reading at the start of the holiday prior to discussing it with the leadership team in January. John writes about the death of his father at a time the parabolic journey of young adulthood took him furthest from the family home. He regrets not being there at the moment his father died. A father’s joy at seeing his children make their own way in the World means so much; the invisible bonds of love stretch beyond sight and reach. We’ll need to continue to connect as a family during 2016 as the parabolic journey of our twentysomething children and the graceful aging of our parents creates more change for us.
Professionally there will be new opportunities, there always is. I’m looking forward to working with some great colleagues as part of @HeadsRoundtable and for ways to link or support the work @WomenEd is doing. As times get tougher politicians tend to listen a little more and there will be opportunities to influence at a policy level; being better connected together as a profession and better connected with political decision makers will be part of the challenge this year. Visiting other schools and linking up with @CarlJavis_Eos and the fascinating work he is doing are pretty much givens for 2016. Possibly a strange one, reconnecting with the staff across the three academies is also something I’ll need to work harder at. Apart from the engagement through professional development programmes I feel a bit more connected to none than connected to all. Time to turn this round whilst making sure I respect the position and authority of the head teachers.
Time to #Notice Life’s Blessings
It isn’t simply a question of mindset noticing life’s blessing; some people have more difficult and challenging lives but just about everyone can find moments of joy to celebrate. A couple were saving a bottle of Bollinger Champagne for a special occasion. Before they found their special occasion the husband died and they never shared the bottle and magic moment together. I have a tendency to think about and plan for the future a bit too much; an occupational hazard.
Bought for my 50th birthday, presented by the staff at morning briefing, we have been looking for a special occasion to open the bottle of Bollinger; the occasion found us in terms of a family Christmas together. The Bollinger was a 1996 Grande Annee. I’ve not much knowledge of champagne and not really a taste for it but this was beautiful. A quick Google search and I realised what a very special bottle it was. Slowing down isn’t about greater lethargy rather the opportunity to notice more things; things to appreciate and celebrate especially when they involve other people or collective achievements.
I hope this year to find more of the metaphorical Bollinger moments and I also hope you do to. May 2016 be a Grande Annee for you and your loved ones. If you’re working in education better get ready for a white knuckle ride.