I recently attended a very interesting session at #TLT14 recently, co-hosted by Martyn Reah and Tania Harding, who stepped in at the eleventh hour when Mark Healy was unable to run it himself. The focus was close to my heart – that of teacher well-being – and its necessary impact on that of pupils, hence by definition on the effectiveness of the learning and teaching taking place in a given setting.
Martyn has since continued his thinking in this area, and revisited it at a TLTea Party (google it!) and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Teachmeet at the start of December. And at some point in that process, he came up with an idea to help colleagues focus on their own well-being as we approach the traditional period of New Year’s Resolutions.
As we come to the end of the hectic Autumn Term, if we have the energy and time to do so, we try to help our pupils through a period of reflection and review – with a view to starting the next term in an even better vein. So why not do the same for ourselves, instead of just passing out on the sofa in front of Strictly/X-Factor/Question Time?
Martyn’s suggestion is to try and address five key areas, with a view to setting (and perhaps just as importantly, sharing) “resolutions” for 2015, under the umbrella Twitter hashtag of #teacher5aday:
So after a bit of thought, and an opportunity to read the early adopters’ blogs on the subject (see Rachel Jones’ post here, Chris Chivers’ one here and David Rogers’ here – thanks for the example, guys…), time to put ‘pen’ to ‘paper’ myself.
This is ostensibly the one I would regard as the “easiest”… If I had to distil my life over the past 8 years or so into one word, it would perhaps be “connecting”. It’s sort of the subject of a recent previous post here – also inspired by a Martyn Reah campaign! But I agree with Rachel that the real challenge, in this multi-social-media age, is to avoid echo-chambering oneself into a cosy little cocoon of ‘similarthinkers’, and avoid the intellectual challenge to ones own thinking which helps keep things fresh. It’s oh so easy to settle back into a happy you-scratch-my-blog-I’ll-fave-yours-mutual-retweeting-appreciation society, in the cyberlibrary, and we do so at our peril. At the other end of the spectrum, the number of times I’ve felt my heart-rate rise as I type a never-sent response to (what I perceive to be) an online outrage… Should we block? Should we mute or unfollow? Or is it a case of “ok, I object to the tone/message, but it has made me think…”. And I am sure some people find my twerbal diarrhoea rather irritating. Hmmm. Obviously not quite as straightforward as I thought!
I’ve been playing hockey for the Parents’ Team for 2 years, now, and more recently for Bournemouth Hockey Club – which has been great for my fitness (and social life!). That’s great – but I live 5 minutes bike ride away from the New Forest, and yet my bike remains resolutely un-ridden for vast swathes of the year… Time to do something about that!
I think I want this to be about two key – and perhaps diametrically-opposed – [sets of] people. One one hand, the pupils… making sure that everything I am doing in school really DOES focus upon their learning… and on the other hand, my wife. We pass like ships in the night far too much, in term-time, and this year is going to be about making sure that is not the case.
As I mentioned in this, I am getting a class-set of tablets in January, and inspired by the likes of Ian Addison and José Picardo, I am going to be quietly revolutionising my classroom practice (and, who knows? maybe my school, from within…?). Watch this space! I am going to try to blog* it as it goes, too.
*sets weekly reminder in phone from January 10th onwards…*
I was watching the Sports Personality of the Year show with my folks last night – a pre-Christmas family tradition since I can remember – and seeing the Clydesiders still buzzing from their work at the Commonwealth Games, felt the goose-bumpy tingle of my time as a Gamesmaker back in 2012 surging back once more, as it still does, so often. I volunteer in school as a Duke of Edinburgh leader, but I would really like to do something more again, in a sporting context, probably… in parasport, possibly. Watch this space #2!
That’s the easy bit! Now it’s just a case of keeping myself to it. As long as that, in itself, doesn’t impact on my well-being, of course… 😉
Right. Time for a cuppa.