My #teacher5aday

Having done my 14/15 nurture thing I thought I’d have go at the 5 a day one. Here goes:

I spend most of my time connecting with people. I work closely with a small group of young, dynamic senior leaders who are generous enough to include me in the initiatives they plan and lead. I line manage a curriculum area and a set of IT technicians and lead on assessment so I am, as you might say, in the thick of it. We must of course, move forward and initiate to keep what we do current and fresh but this must not be done at the expense of the work/life balance of the staff. It is for this reason that I make it my mission to minimise the demands on, and workload of, staff. I plan to do even more of this during my last two terms in teaching -*gulp*.

I recently followed the Couch to 5k programme with a group of colleagues. I’m pretty much the only one who followed it through thus confounding the sneers of a colleague who exhorted me – rather sarcastically – to consider my heart! I can now run for 30 minutes and do so three times a week. I swim a lot but this has taken a bit of a back seat since I started running so I plan to dust off my cossie and get back in that water on the days I don’t run. I might even get my bike back on the road for a weekend treat. I find I feel better for the running – fitter and energised but also proud of my achievement for sticking with the programme.

I plan to take more notice of the people around me, especially those who may need a lift or a bit of support. I’m at that point where I have the experience and, I hope, the wisdom to help less experienced colleagues and the luxury of time to spend with colleagues, friends and especially family.

I’ve always prided myself on being a life-long learner after a bit of a slow start. I’m not sure you can be a teacher without also being a learner. In fact, I am sure. You can’t!! Just recently I’ve had to learn– or maybe re-learn would be a better characterisation – a lot of Spanish. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster but exhilarating. So, I’m hoping to keep learning and improving. I’m also hoping to learn how to do front crawl – think that one’s a bit wobbly!

I’m pretty good at turning up and getting stuck in and it gives me pleasure to help others where I can. I volunteer to staff events at school because I enjoy it and as I live close by it means I can take some of the weight off colleagues who live at a distance from the school. I am a Governor at a local primary school so that’s a sort of volunteering. I enjoy it and feel that I add some value. I’m a director of our local rugby league club and that involves a lot of work especially during the playing season. I love it and have made lots of good friends through this volunteering. So, the plan is to keep all this up and more. I have a baby granddaughter just up the road so I’ll be doing a lot of volunteering with her and once I (whisper) retire I can help my young colleague and friend with her little one. It is often difficult for her and her husband as they have little family support which, as we all know, is difficult when you work full time.
So, that’s me. I hope 2015 is great for everyone.

#Nurture 14/15 – 5 of the Best.

So, here goes with my Janus act – looking back and forward. It’s always a sobering thing to do so best get on with it!

5 of the best

I dropped to 4 days a week as of September and to my astonishment…I like it! I have worked full time all of my life and often envied those who could be choosier about their working lives. I never could as I had responsibilities in the shape of two boys and only me to rely on. Now, I think everyone should only work 4 days a week – that’s how to sort out the work/life balance thing!

We have managed to devise assessments without levels – except there are really levels of a different sort hovering in the background – and seem to be the only school in our neck of the woods who have anything in place. I have to thank Twitter, as well as my lovely colleagues, for it was Twitter that helped shape my thinking. Recent postings suggest we are jogging along the sort of lines some of the big beasts in the edu-blogging world are also treading. In addition, our friendly Mocksted inspector said she had yet to see anything from any school she had inspected and gave us a seal of approval. We are using this year very much as a pilot and things may have to change but at least we have made a good start. As this will be legacy, I am pleased about that.

I have become the owner of a holiday property. Me!! It seemed such a slog to manage to own one property never mind two. But lo! Through a combination of circumstances too long to go into here, the husband and I now own a small holiday place. I see it as a resource and asset for family and friends and something to show for part of my lump sum.

I know this might seems pathetic but I blew some of my lump sum on new windows and porch for our house and I’m so thrilled with the result. It was chaotic as it all happened in the last two weeks of term right before Christmas and right when the days are shortest and the weather pretty foul. But the builder, Mark, was fantastic and the job was finished on time and looks fabulous! We now look smart and up to date rather than a bit down at heel and shambolic and our house is quieter and warmer.

I have a clutch of truly wonderful grandchildren who light up my life and for whom I would do anything. Four of them – Joshua, 13, Megan, 10, Jacob, nearly 9 and Luke, nearly 8 – are non-genetic (technically they belong to my husband but actually they are mine!). Until December, I had one genetic one – Matthew, 8 – but then, along came Peggy Rose on the 8th December and with her Lilly, 13, and newly acquired.

Peggy Rose is the first child of my first child and somehow that seems special and I can’t entirely explain why. We have waited a long time for her and she is worth it – all 6 lbs and 11 ounces of her – and she seems to be following a family tradition. My two sons and two genetic grandchildren were all born in December!!!!! I’d like to know the odds of that happening clever maths people!

And so to the future – an uncertain future.

I want to pluck up the courage to do a park run. In September one of our staff started a couch-to-5k group and I thought I’d give it a go mainly to support her initiative. I was fairly sure I would be rubbish and it wouldn’t last. Seven of us started out on this endeavour and to my astonishment, I wasn’t the worst! The years of swimming had obviously paid off. The plan was that we would all follow the programme and then enter a 5k race. Well, Dear Reader, I am the last woman standing as one by one they fell by the wayside with injuries and other commitments. I can now run for 30 minutes 3 times a week and I feel good about that!

I want to have a go at learning the front crawl. This featured in my #Nurture 13/14 as something I was going to try and do. I was not very successful in going it alone but wasn’t able to make any progress. So, in January, I am making contact with a swimming teacher to have a couple of lessons and see if it’s worth having any more!

When we lead busy lives – and let’s face it, working in education is synonymous with a busy life – family and friends sometimes become luxuries we can rarely or barely afford. I have lots of lovely friends and haven’t seen some of them for some time. I want to remedy this in the New Year as when I do spend times with friends I always enjoy it. The family is at an interesting stage with children coming up to GCSE time and a new baby to enjoy and I think I can make a difference in a way I wasn’t able to with my own two sons.

I want my rugby team to have a good season and great success. We’ve done alright recently but it’s an uphill struggle most of the time. That said, we don’t give up. We recently hosted the Rugby League Cares heritage exhibition and had a couple of lovely events to complement it. We had a Show and Tell where people brought their memorabilia and talked about what it meant to them and a dinner to honour our heroes. This year we honoured the Brothers in Arms – four players who went off to WW1 and did not return. It was an emotional evening. We may be small but we punch above our weight!

And finally, I can barely write this without a wave of emotion, I hope that I will embrace my impending retirement with dignity and grace. I don’t know how it has come to this. I don’t know where the time has gone and there seems so much not done, not said, not achieved. I know that when I go at the end of the summer term the water will close over my head and life will go – as it should – but I hope to leave on a high with the respect of my colleagues. That matters more to me than almost anything. I hope people will think that I did a good job. I hope I have done well by the children I have taught. I hope I have made a difference, however small. And I hope I can bear it.