Thursday, July 29, 2021

Working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination (from 'Secrets of Adulthood' - Gretchen Rubin)

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Back at school this week and wouldn't you know it my Baggy Trousers' post falls on a Thursday - the busiest day of my week.

I normally send off my post before school but that's not an option on a Thursday.

From 4.30am to 6.45am I am getting ready for school and doing the hour commute. 

From 6.45am to 7.45am I am reviewing and writing comments to staff who have completed their weekly reports - today there were 17 of them.

From then on it's a succession of zoom and face to face meetings, duty and then the day heats up with double English classes, supervisions, reports on the previous week to write  and so on.

By the time I draw breath it's 4.30pm and time to lock the school!

Upshot of all that - this post is a day late. Grrrrrrr.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Yes, yes, you had to be a big shot, didn't you (Billy Joel)

Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

Seth Godin is a prolific writer. Not only does he blog every day, for the most part he has really smart things to say.

His post, titled 'the focus on the last thing' resonated with me a lot (my emphasis below btw):

The play before time ran out. The last speech of the campaign. The typo on your resume or the spot on your tie. The final decision before the company declared bankruptcy.

We focus on the thing that happened just before the end. And that’s almost always an unimportant moment.

Things went wrong (or things went right) because of a long series of decisions and implementations. A misguided strategy, a bad hire, a brilliant insight about network effects–these are the acts with leverage, not the obvious thing that all the pundits would like to talk about.

When you get to the thing before the last thing, don’t sweat it. It’s almost certainly too late to make the outcome change. On the other hand, when you’re quietly discussing the thing before that before that before that before that, it might pay to bring more attention to it than the circumstances seem to demand. Because that’s the key moment.
Recognising 'the thing before that, before that, before that' is the hard bit though, especially if you're as naive as I am. 

I didn't pay enough attention the last time. But I'm wiser now. I'm more mindful these days.

Monday, July 19, 2021

We might still survive and rise up through the maze, if you could change your life and never be the same (Crowded House)

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

While still on holiday, I thought I'd include this Seth Godin's post as it resolves a few issues for me:

A coaching paradox

At the top tier of just about any sort of endeavor, you’ll find that the performers have coaches.

Pianists, orators and athletes all have coaches. In fact, it would be weird if we heard of someone on stage or on the field who didn’t have one.

And yet, in the world of business, they’re seen as the exception.

Part of the reason is that work feels like an extension of something we’ve been doing our whole lives. Figure skating isn’t like school, but showing up at work seems to be. “I’ve got this,” is a badge of honor.

And part of the reason is that a few coaches have made claims that stretch belief, and we’re not actually sure what they do. It doesn’t help that there’s no easy way to identify what sort of coach we need or what we’re going to get…

It turns out that the people with the potential to benefit the most from a coach are often the most hesitant precisely because of what coaching involves.

Talking about our challenges. Setting goals. Acknowledging that we can get better. Eagerly seeking responsibility…

And yet we avert our eyes and hesitate. It might be because having a coach might be interpreted as a sign of weakness. And what if we acknowledge our challenges but fail to overcome them? It could be that we don’t want to cause change to happen, or that we’re worried that we will.

One company I admire believes in coaches so much that they’ve put several on staff, ensuring that their leadership all benefit from one. But mostly, it’s something we have to pay for ourselves.

And so, paying for a coach, for something that’s hard to measure, which might be socially awkward, to get better at something that feels normal—combine that with a hesitancy to ask for help—it’s a wonder anyone has a coach.

The paradox is that the very things that hold us back are the reasons we need a coach in the first place.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Make your vocation your vacation. That is the secret to success (Mark Twain)

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

For once I've been able to clear the decks of work so that I can enjoy my study break, rather than leave things hanging until the end of the break - my usual method.

That means my marking is up to date and feedback has been sent to my students; details of a health and safety incident in the last week have been completed; preparations and planning for the start of Term 3 have been sorted for my class and the supervision of students at my campus; and my email inbox is down to single figures.

That's a great feeling. I can head off on holiday now without that nagging suspicion that I have stuff to do.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks (Alice Cooper)

Photo by Mesh on Unsplash

School is out for a two week study break.

This is where teachers reconnect with the wider world.

As Seth Godin says in his recent post What did you learn on vacation?:

It always seemed like a silly question–school is for doing what you’re told, summer vacation was for discovering all the things that were worth caring about.

As adults though, regardless of our hemisphere, we’re always on vacation from school. No tests or diplomas, simply a huge array of choices.
Hurray!! An array of choices! I love that idea.

It always takes a few days to adjust (like rock stars coming back home after a tour) and there are so many choices it's a bit overwhelming for a start.

Mine started on Saturday with finally finishing Nicholas Nickleby (see Wozza's Place for more on this this week), watching some Netflix, playing Monopoly Deal with Jacky and listening to a few Blood Sweat and Tears' albums for a blog post.

All good choices I feel.

What's next?

Monday, July 5, 2021

You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead (Stan Laurel)

Photo by Arnaud Mariat on Unsplash

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice
- David M. Burns/ Wayne Dyer/Will Durant - various people have claimed this one!

There are many such quotes expressing this idea. One of my favourites, of course, is from Groucho Marx: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

Here's another: Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude - Zig Ziglar

Another of my favourite quotes from Qui-Gon Jinn is even more succinct - your focus determines your reality.

So true.