Educational leadership & learning

#teacher5aday Review

It has taken me until the last week of the summer holiday to get round to re-reading my original blog and reviewing my #teacher5aday pledges.

It has been a packed but enjoyable summer holiday: visiting various relatives in different parts of the country (which has been lovely), finally getting round to a list of jobs in the house and garden (which look so much better), spending some time exercising (which has been beneficial), some time on family outings and some time having a few evenings out with my wife (which has been the best). I am viewing this as the last day of holiday (last day staying with my parents) as both my wife and I will be back into full work mode from tomorrow, having tinkered on occasions during the previous weeks.

What I know is that however good a time I have had, whatever the amount of time I have spent, I never feel like it’s quite enough. Take exercising for example. Most mornings I have spent 15 minutes doing some stretches and exercising at home, but so far I have only run 5 times, been on 2 long walks and swum 4 times. I was planning on so much more. I do feel physically fitter, but not as much as I wanted. I should have done more. I should have achieved more.

Worryingly I notice this trait in my daughters, who having enjoyed a, b and c during a day out, still feel aggrieved that they didn’t get to do d, or eat e, and what of earth happened to f which seems to have been forgotten by their parents. Looking at their behaviour I can recognise this is not a very healthy (or indeed grateful) perspective, but probably it’s one I model to them. So I can’t really blame them.

I think from a professional perspective being regularly dissatisfied with what you achieve and the impact it has can help drive you to constantly reflect and try to improve. Something I want to do. But I think I need to have and model a different approach in my personal life, both for my daughters and myself. To enjoy and celebrate the positives and what we have managed to have fun doing, rather than to focus on what we wished we could have done / have had.

So in light of that I will review my pledges both in terms of the “Positives” and in “Room for improvement” comments.

Firstly however, overall it has been a positive 2 terms at school, with much to celebrate and many shoots of progress and growth. I think I have managed to remain true to my principles: in terms of providing a positive and worthwhile education for the children, for trying to grow and develop into the type of headteacher I want to be and in trying to support the wellbeing and work-life balance of our fantastic and dedicated team of staff.

January 2015 pledges

  1. I am aiming to spend some quality time with my family everyday next year, not just being in the same room and thinking about work to be done.

Positives: I have spent more quality time with my family. I have been looking and thinking about my to-do list or my Twitter feed far less when I have been with them.

Points for improvement: I can still get quite tired and grumpy with my family and frustrated when my youngest takes so long to settle at night at times. This is mainly when I know I have deadlines approaching and I am stretched for time. I think I need to be more efficient with my in school time and keep re-addressing task priorities.

     2. I am going to exercise at least 4 mornings a week and run at least once. I have booked a 10K for March and a 48 mile charity walk for June. Again I am a stereotype of the person who needs an agreed goal to aim for to ensure work does not become an excuse to stop training. I am particularly looking forward to the walk as I am attempting it with 3 good friends, does that count as multi-wellbeing?

Positives: Managed this well in January-April and have re-started with more determination in the summer holidays (Great South Run is coming up at the end of October). I finished the 10K in a personal best (about 4 minutes quicker). My 3 friends and I completed the 48 mile charity walk, which was challenging, painful but also great fun doing it together.

Points for improvement: I must keep up running at least once a week, swimming at least once a week and exercising at least 4 mornings a week between now and Christmas. Too often after the first few weeks of term this falls by the wayside. I’m not as healthy as happy or indeed as efficient at work when I can’t, but I must also not beat myself up if I miss one week and think the whole term’s written off.

      3. I am going to attempt to eat healthily, which I generally do at the start of term, until tiredness sets in and the need for calories from any source becomes too much.

Positives/points for improvement: Good for most of the spring term, reasonably good for the first half of summer, fairly appalling for the second half of summer. My two daughters have their birthdays in the same week (end of June / beginning of July), so after the parties and cakes and then extra cakes at work it went a bit downhill. The summer holiday has been better, but I need to manage my sleep and workload to make sure in the last week of October I am not guzzling.

      4. I am going to attend some training event (course, TeachMeet, conference…) for my own PD each half term in 2015.

Positives: Attended a great 2 day new headteacher induction course, Hampshire headteacher conference, IT conference, #TMEggars, and RE training. I am already booked for #TLT15 and an IT TeachMeet in October. No real points for improvement here.

      5. I am going to message at least 3 friends and actually talk to 1 friend every week who I haven’t spoken to in a while.

Positives: I have sent a few more messages to friends, particularly via Facebook, but fairly brief and not in any real depth.

Points for improvement: There are some friends I have not spoken to in 6 months. I have met up with close friends about 4 or 5 times since January (not enough) and we struggle to find future dates. I need to make more use of Skype  / Facetime and to ring-fence time to see friends, but this is generally the one that always goes by the wayside.


Overall there have been many positives and many enjoyable / worthwhile experiences over the last 8 months. I have made some progress on most of my pledges and need to celebrate that rather than focusing on what I didn’t achieve. I think the biggest achievement is that I have consciously considered my well-being more regularly than I might have done without #teacher5aday. Importantly I have also considered the wellbeing and happiness of my family and my colleagues probably more than I might have done.

For 2015-2016 I want to not force myself to try to achieve as much. To do what I do at a more manageable pace and with greater impact. To build on the positives from the last 8 months. To prioritise more ruthlessly and use time more efficiently. Most importantly to recognise that by looking after myself a little better I can have a more positive and beneficial impact on the people around me.


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