Nurture 22/23: I really should re-read my own advice!

Getting to the end of the year and realising I’ve not posted anything has become a bit of a habit! I’ve written plenty in 2022 but it’s all been in the name of work or study. Blogging as a way to think through what I’ve been grappling with seems to have completely dropped off my radar. Yet sat here on a balcony in Tenerife I can feel myself properly getting back into being me and the urge to type has returned…

The last two years have seen me only blog at New Year about how I’ve struggled with accepting I really can’t hear very much, my body reacts by sending me off balance when I’m tired/stressed/basically do anything different and I have no real plan for my life. I’ve recognised the control freak, planner, organiser that I am and I’ve been learning to embrace both the fact and how sometimes I can’t control, plan or organise and have to go with the flow! My life doesn’t fit into neat boxes and I’m really ok with that – even down to ignoring everyone who pulled a face when I said life is better in dungarees and now owning 3 pairs 🙂

Back in 2017 when I first started blogging regularly, I wrote in an article for Teaching Secondary that my mantra was Work. Save. Travel. Repeat. I’d said “Being a teacher is hard. It drains you physically and mentally. So finding the right school and the right job that fits you is vital” but, reading my last few posts, three years later I’d clearly forgotten my own advice!

On paper it looked like I’d moved in 2019 to the perfect school and the perfect role for me. A school where I could bring my experience to grow and develop both the school and myself. I worked with amazing individuals and when times got tough we supported each other through them – with plenty of laughs and celebrations along the way too.

I blamed a global pandemic and my hearing declining for my growing unsettledness. I convinced myself that setting a new career path and completing by NASENCO would solve the issues. I picked up teaching and learning as my area of responsibility again and was back doing the same role that had made me happy elsewhere. But none of it helped. I wouldn’t have said I was unhappy but I also wasn’t happy either. I now realise there was nothing that would have made a difference; I was a square peg in a rounded edge hole and, while it wasn’t having the same negative impact on me as the school in London had, it would never make me happy working there.

So in the summer I took the plunge and left my safe job and safe school and returned to where I’m clearly meant to be – an urban school everyone else seems to be running in the opposite direction from given the challenges it and its community face.

For the first time since I was blogging regularly, I’m being an authentic me at school and not a version of me others wish to see. I’ve admitted when I don’t know an answer and I’ve apologised when actions have been flawed. I’ve made snap decisions to make sweeping changes while refusing to lift the lid on some of the cans of worms we’ll need to get to at some point but just aren’t a priority right now. I’ve asked for help when I’ve known I just can’t do something on my own. I’ve told those I line manage that their successes are their own but, as long as they keep me in the loop, it’s on me to fix if it goes wrong. I’ve tried to lead using the best bits I’ve learnt from others during my career and by being me and, so far, I don’t seem to have messed too much up (fingers-crossed)! I’m driving too and from work happier than I’ve been for years knowing that each day we’ve made a difference to our children and their families by them walking into our school each day – it’s why I went into teaching and it’s a feeling that’s not been constant since 2019 and it’s disappearance coincides with when I stopped talking, reading, sharing and blogging about education.

My first term has Deputy Head has involved Ofsted, 2 LA visits, countless interviews as we aim to recruit teachers our children need and deserve, evenings of inviting our families in to rebuild relationships, re-establishing the basics for high quality teaching and welcoming external support to help the school. Not to mention a Nativity, a complete re-timetable and starting the NPQH! I’ve started reading education books again, taking screenshots of ideas from Twitter and agreed to write an article for a teaching journal. And while every day has its challenges, some days are just plain tough and we’ve got our work cut out to get everything to where it needs to be, I’m back doing what I love. It is hard and it can be draining but it’s the right school and the right role for me.

Or to put it another way, I’m back to having so many thoughts going through my head about teaching and learning and all things educational, this might just be leading me to start writing again…but for now I’m just going to enjoy a little more of the sunshine 🙂

One comment

  1. Good to hear from you again and your feeling positive!
    We were on your trip to Vietnam and then China. Hopefully you remember us.
    Best of Luck! Very fond memories of meeting You!
    Carole ,Richard, Matthew and Natalie


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