Reflections on 2015
In December 2014, I wrote: So what would I like 2015 to hold? Professional
1) Foundations are set in stone by September. Schemes, policies, plans etc are all solid and everyone in the team has had some input in one way or the other. Results are better and curriculum 2015 is written. The team continues to gain strength and we move closer to good.
The results were the best yet. In the year I joined we were at 44% and after two years of pure, hard, solid graft those results now stand at 63%. It’s funny but I was too exhausted to celebrate properly but know, in my heart, that this is a great achievement. I am proud that I have led two faculties and taken the results of those faculties from inadequate to good. The key to this is nothing but pure solid, hard graft.
As for the plans and the foundations. Erm no. I have never felt more chaotic. With three key stages worth of change, is it possible to feel solid? We are writing schemes as we go and finding our feet once again. The team, who have for the past two years been quite cohesive, have started to buckle under the pressure, as have I and I have been through the hardest two terms I think I have ever experienced. I feel like I am finding my rhythm again as we head into January but it feels like such a schizophrenic year: one minute feeling like some form of superhero who can take anything that is thrown at her and the next, flattened and exhausted. I have never been so mentally, emotionally and physically drained. I am fortunate to have such a supportive SLT but you cannot know what the changes feel like this year if you don’t teach or lead in English. It is beyond difficult.
2) I continue to champion imperfection. Those who are happy to admit their imperfections are authentic, more willing to learn and are happier because they are at one with themselves. I am imperfect. I make mistakes. I learn from them. I will make a million more and I will do so happily. I don’t need to blame others for my imperfections and I certainly don’t need excuses. I will not criticise others until I have walked a mile in their shoes and if I do criticise I will have the integrity to be honest with them about it in order to seek solutions or better outcomes. After all, we are all learning.
Absolutely. I am not perfect. Not by a long shot. I have made some poor decisions this year and will make poor decisions again in the future. I look at some people i work with who never admit their imperfections and it is like they have a shield up in front of them. Where does that come from and how do you get it? I don’t have the confidence or self-belief to champion myself and so this can, at times, leave me exposed, dwelling on what I can’t do rather than celebrating my successes and yet, I know, there are many successes to celebrate. Self-doubt is my worst enemy and I still need to find the confidence in my voice at times.
3) I will develop the strategic thinking. I am not sure when – there certainly is no time during the week to afford myself the head space but I will try to find a time when this becomes possible.
I have to have the ability to be strategic to see the results rise 19% in two years BUT the fact of the matter is, middle level leaders do not get the time to be strategic. I’m sorry they don’t. Especially this year. And that, sadly means progress is somewhat stilted.
1) I put myself first.
Starting to. Little things. Term 1, I didn’t work a single Saturday. I now leave school about 4.30pm because i work better at home and enjoy it.
2) I see my family more than 3 times a year. They are a three hour train journey away – it is not good enough to see them so little.
I think i have managed three-four times. They are patient and supportive. They get i am busy.
3) I see my friends more. I have them over for dinner. I go out to dinner. I say no to them less than I do now. I make more of an effort.
Yes, for the most part. Need to have friends over to dinner more. But i have some great friends. I go to Pub Friday every week and am close to colleagues. I have made some great friends on Twitter and i really appreciate and value their friendship.
4) I need to open up more. When one person tells you something about yourself, you can choose whether to listen or not. However, over the past few weeks 3-4 people have told me I am quite a closed person. Many people know Freya, the head of faculty but not many people know Freya the person. I need to work on letting people in and trusting them more.
Nope. I am guarded. I have a shield. Working on it though. If I trust you, i will let you in.
5) I tell people how I really feel. Too often I don’t do this because I wish to protect others’ feelings but this means that my own feelings are affected.
Getting better. But suffered huge disappointment this term and am too stubborn to forgive sometimes. I am tired of being disappointed. Life is too short.
6) I will lose weight. A dress size or two. A stone or two. This means dieting and exercising which equals misery but I do need to lose some.
Nope. Started the year really well – lost a stone and a half. Now put back on but i think i look healthier! So in January – Dry January, gym, better diet.
7) I do something creative for myself – art classes, learning the clarinet or getting back into the Italian.
I bought a clarinetto. It came out of its box and then went back into the box in terms 1 and 2. Balance is needed.
8) I travel more. Vienna is already booked.
Vienna, Dubrovnik and Italy. I love to travel. So much.
9) I read more.
Currently standing at 32 books.
10) I save.
Hopes for 2015/2016
- Bring the cohesiveness of the team back but with increased expectations and shared workload. Try and balance the schizophrenic feelings this year and accept that all will not be perfect but good enough will have to do this year. Continue to write SOW and push progress forward. Maintain good results whilst trying to step back and let our KS4 co-ordinator do the job (very hard!)
- I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with PGCEs, NQTs and Teach First participants by our VP. If I was to consider progression upwards, then this is where i would like to go so I want to make the most of this opportunity.
- Continue to think about the health and wellbeing of staff. This year so far I have organised a staff bake off and the chocolate box. Want to up this in 2016.
- Be happy. I have been miserable these past two terms because they have been hard, really hard. I have cried. I have written my resignation and i have nearly given up. And yet i am one of the most resilient people i know. I need to find the fight to see this through.
- Travel more – Sweden is booked with two of my fab colleagues and I have a feeling Italy will be a place I see fairly regularly this year. I need to pick up the Italian again.
- Work on my friendships. Have people over for dinner, meet up with people more often. Laugh with others.
- Lose weight – portion control, gym and care.
- Have one day off at the weekend. I need to rest. I am tired.
- Blog more often. I have achieved so much and i would like to blog more about the professional aspects of what I do. Aim = two a month.
- Read – Count is currently 32 so let’s go for 40 next year!