Thursday, October 19, 2017

80% of success is just showing up (Woody Allen)

I tend to wander about. I can't sit still. I got the hippy hippy shakes!

Seriously, I find it hard to settle to one task for long. Usually there are at least 3 or 4 plates spinning and so I get antsy.

Then I wander around. It helps!

It helps my thinking. As I wander, I see people and say stuff that I need to say. 

I will often go for a walk to see a student or a staff member in their room, rather than call them to the office. It gives me time to run over in my head want I need to communicate.

Wandering gives me a feel for the place. It was a lovely sunny afternoon yesterday and the feel was definitely up (too up for a few girls who couldn't get themselves to maths class).

Some limited exercise comes from all this wandering too. A routine blood test this week indicated I need to step up my wandering even more (literally).

So yeah. The old adage about management by wandering around is really a thing for me.

Sometimes, when those plates get a tad overwhelming I need to get out of the school and go for a walk. Clears my head, puts things in perspective, recharges me.

Now, where are my walking shoes? Liz (my walking coach)? Are you ready to go? 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Laugh at yesterday (The Beach Boys)

Photo by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash
Right here, right now: first day back at school for the sprint finish to the year, Term 4. Well, for the seniors anyway. Basically they have three weeks of school and then go on exam leave.

The revision trick is all about focus. Qui Gon-Jinn's phrase is overused by me, I know, but it's so apt: your focus determines your reality.

To help focus I offer these great ideas from an Edutopia article on 'brain breaks'.

I've heard our students use this term but they regard it as a break from study and not a sharpening of their focus.

There are some great activities in the article. Read it! What have you got to lose? And you could gain some focus. 

It's within your grasp!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The sound that I'm hearing is only the sound of the low spark of high-heeled boys (Traffic)

Still on holiday and still luxuriating in the wise words from Seth Godin's Tribes.

Here he is on the discomfort of leadership:

Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.

He's right. It's not all peaches and cream! As he says:
It's uncomfortable to stand up in front to strangers. 
It's uncomfortable to propose and idea that might fail. 
It's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. 
It's uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle. 
If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as leader.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My love is like a storybook story but it's as real as the feelings I feel (Mark Knopfler)

Seth Godin's Tribes is a treasure store house (I guess that's what a trove is).

Full of good stuff. 

As I read the mini chapter called Switching Tribes, his bit on what a seeker is really resonated with me.

His definition of a seeker:  
People who desire the feeling they get when they're part of a growing, vibrant tribe, but who are still looking for that feeling.
I'm a seeker.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today, and then one day you find ten years have got behind you (Pink Floyd)

I had a birthday yesterday, pish posh - the age is immaterial, and a number of colleagues, former and current, got in touch via Facebook.

That's pretty cool of FB (who also wished me a happy birthday btw - touching that out of all the millions on FB they should remember mine).

It (the colleagues getting in touch, not the FB remembering me thing) reminded me of a bit I read recently in This Is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper. 

Context - central character, Judd, is reflecting on seeing some old colleagues and saying farewell to them. 
It's quite likely that I will never see either one of them again, and the thought saddens me. They were daily fixtures in my life for the last seven years or so, and now they are gone. Or, more accurately, I am. Just like that. That's the thing about life: everything feels so permanent, but you can disappear in an instant.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Each time I find myself flat on my face I pick myself up and get back in the race (Frank Sinatra)

End of the term and cream crackered.

I wonder (to myself) whether anyone's done any research into (the lack of) school productivity in the last week of school terms.

Oh, you over there towards the back. Ar har. You haven't done any, but think you may have read something somewhere.

Yeah, you're no help.

I'm tired, the rest of the staff are tired, and the kids are tired. Hard to imagine, when I started teaching back in the day, we had three term years. Man alive o. Tough. Brutal.

'Spech that second winter term.

Hold up. Next term is only three weeks long for the seniors, then onto externals. Revision time.

In effect, like that balloon thing in the picture, we have squeezed all of our quality teaching time into three shorter terms. 

Throw in all the disruptions that come every week in a busy school and, BAM, that creates pressure pressure, I got pressure, Oh Yeah. To quote the mighty Ray Davies of The Kinks.

No wonder we're cream crackered.

Which explains why this post is like that balloon - full of hot air, pretty, but ultimately vacuous.

Did I mention I'm tired?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

In the light you will find the road (Led Zeppelin)

Photo by David Moum on Unsplash
Hurricane Irma was not the only storm happening recently.

A good friend of mine was navigating a fairly brutal storm of her own.

Initially, there were a few flight or fight style decisions to be made. In the end, fight was the only option.Quitting is not an option if you follow the 'never give up, never surrender' mantra from Galaxy Quest!

Soul searching was the order of the day and she is (it's an ongoing process) weathering the tempest and learning tons of stuff about herself. 

Like what?

Stuff to do with 'above the line' thinking like owning the failure (that comes from, and leads to, greater empathy) with no blame or excuses.

And courage - she found it tough to admit she could do better; she told her students, "I need to improve. You need to improve".

Although it has tested her optimism, she has realised that stuff needs addressing if the culture is to improve.  

Finally, she has learned a valuable lesson in fortitude.

Dan Rockwell says: Own the consequences of your failures, but don’t circle the drain. Remorse for causing harm is healthy, but bags of guilt crush the spirit.

“Woe is me,” might seem noble, but it’s self-centered.

 She'll be stronger for this experience!