My #Teacher5aday Pledge: 2017

With #wellbeing as a value in our new school community I am keen to embed the #teacher5aday principles in the fabric of Aureus School from day 1. I will strive to model that we can be teachers and leaders but also establish balance in our pursuit of ‘work life harmony’.

I want to see our staff and our students ‘thrive’ and ‘flourish’ by creating the conditions  needed to nurture a #wellbeing culture.

My pledge:

#Volunteer

  • I will continue to drive the growth of our #WomenEd community and support aspiring leaders through the DfE coaching pledge.
  • I will continue in my role as a Primary Governor as it will give me insight in my role as Headteacher of a Year 7 school.
  • I will support the activity of #BAMEed as it is a movement I believe passionately that will affect change in the system, for the better of all.

#Connect

  • I will maintain my relationships with friends and colleagues in London when I move to Oxford.
  • I will get myself out and about in my new area to meet new people through some of the activities I have pledged to continue/ start.
  • I will grow my friendships with the people I spent my summer in  Tanzania with, both the local teachers and the volunteers.

#Learn

  • I will continue reading professional books by teachers and leaders.
  • I will complete my NPQH and build in visits to  Headteachers I have connected with to learn from their experiences a few years ahead of me.
  • I will join a choir as I love music and singing.

#Notice

  • I will start a daily gratitude journal and continue my Happy Moments: Live, Love, Laugh pot to remind myself of all of the fab things in my life.
  • I will explore the benefits of mindfulness.
  • I will go on more walks to explore my new area.

#Exercise

  • I will ride my bike more.
  • I will find a yoga class to join in Oxford.
  • I will go out dancing more!

Happy 2017 everyone! May this year be full of even more love, luck and laughter.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Maintaining some of the changes from last year and making more positive choices to impact my lifestyle and #wellbeing this year.

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • Thrive, Arianna Huffington

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • Martyn Reah for the #teacher5aday pledges.
  • Naomi Ward for the #teacher5aday journal.
  • Viv Grant for the #WinterCalendar.
  • Angela Browne for #NourishEd.
  • Maria Alexander for the #HealthyToolkit.

#Nurture1617: Past, Present & Future

Wow!

What a year?

It seems like it must have been much more than 12 months must have passed since I wrote my #Nurture1516 post! But clearly this goal setting had a positive impact on me and has guided me through my personal and professional journey. I will continue to use the same 5 point format as it seems to have worked thus far in structuring my thinking and my actions: New Opportunities; New Location; New Perspectives; New Freedoms; New Travels.

2015/16:

New Opportunities:

I have had so many doors opened for me this year. Presenting at #TMLondon and SSAT conference took me out of my comfort zone. I have gained a lot through becoming a DfE coach for women leaders.

New Location:

I interviewed for 2 roles in Bristol and 1 in Bath, I was convinced I would end up back in the West Country and I have enjoyed connecting with the edu-community in the SW. However, the stars aligned and have helped me leave London but will be taking me to a new place to explore and settle in…

New Perspectives:

Supporting the launch of #BAMEed, co-founded by Allana Gay and Amjad Ali has helped my insight into the barriers facing the system. It has also helped me support some of my coachees who are faced with the challenges of inter-sectionality.

New Freedoms:

I have really enjoyed having an outward-facing, autonomous role for a year. It has been weird not teaching, not having a timetable, not having any duties, not being based in a school, but it has been liberating getting out and about. I have met so many brilliant educators, initiated alot of collaborative partnerships, attended some thought-provoking events.

New Travels:

Tanzania and my LRTT experience was unexpected. I had not planned my summer and had it not been for a conversation on a sunny Friday afternoon, following a #womened networking event last July I would not have experienced the brilliant summer I had. A summer that reconnected me to my vocation and reminded me why I teach. I also met a great group of teachers from the UK and from Njombe who will be lifelong friends.

2016/17:

New Opportunities:

Well they don’t come much bigger than starting a school from scratch! I have a big bit of white paper laid out in front of me. My brain is like spaghetti junction, a web of ideas for short, medium and long term at Aureus. I am excited to start making sense of them and planning the strategy to support us in our journey to our opening in September. May 8th is our first landmark as we get the keys and the site is signed over to us that day.

New Location:

I will leave London at Easter and re-locate to Oxfordshire, I am not quite sure where yet, but I am looking forward to exploring and laying down some new roots. When  drive to the school site in Didcot, surrounded by an expanse of green fields and an endless blue sky, I feel a shift in my soul. I am excited to have a change of scene and a change of pace.

New Perspectives:

A new role, means a new CEO, a new boss and a new culture – all will bring new perspectives and new experiences. Equally as a Headteacher I am excited about creating a school community that finds solutions for some of the systemic barriers that #womened and #BAMEed criticises.

New Freedoms:

As a Headteacher and a Regional Director I am looking forward to the responsibility of decision making. The buck stopping with me, does not scare me, but thrills me as it is empowering. I can’t wait to make some changes to things that have frustrated me in previous roles and contexts.

New Travels:

I am starting the new year as I mean to go on – with a trip to Northern Ireland. Following a wedding in Lusty Bay, I will be catching up with friends, old and new in Belfast. Easter takes me to Canada to the #ulead17 conference in Lake Louise and a mini-break in Calgary with my best friend. Who knows where I will end up next summer as it is dependent on how ready we are for opening but Japan and Iceland are still towards the top of my list of places I want to visit…

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • A new year, a new role, a new chapter!

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • Thrive, Arianna Huffington

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • The overwhelming support of the #womened community.
  • Having the grit, determination and resilience to believe in things happening for a reason.
  • Martin Giles for introducing me to my new boss, Jon Chaloner for taking me in to the GLF family.

#WinterCalendar: Getting Perspective

When Viv Grant asked me to contribute a #wellbeing blog for the #WinterCalendar, a collaboration with #Teacher5aday, I didn’t realise quite how cathartic it would be. I reflected on the themes she wanted reflections on and offered to one on aligning yourself with your values. I entitled it ‘Getting Perspective’ as that is what I have spent a year doing.

I dug deep, to my core, and I shared. I believe in honesty, transparency and authenticity, so I modelled it. My professional contacts may choose to see the confident, composed version of me I present, but my personal contacts know that this does not mean that I do not have my own struggles and challenges to find solutions to. I have navigated some rough seas this year, but the experience has made me a better sailor as I set off on a new course.

Thank you to everyone who has commented and tweeted that the post resonated with you. I am touched at the feedback and am delighted to be shortlisted for the #WinterCalendar blog award.

My reflections are re-posted here:

12 months ago I was a shell. I was constantly, tired, stressed and questioning what I was doing.

I was constantly asking myself: Why are you working so hard? Why is good never good enough? Why does the workload never reduce? Why am I losing myself in this role?

My friends and family were worried about me, but they all tiptoed around me for fear of upsetting me, for fear of having their heads ripped off for speaking the truth.

I vocalised my frustration and unhappiness at work but I could not articulate what it was precisely that was making me feel like this.

I was beginning to lose control. I was beginning to lose myself. So I resigned.

I was told I was committing career suicide. To the contrary I was committing career salvation.

A week up a mountain, skiing with the family gave me perspective. The snow, the sky, the fresh air gave me much-needed headspace.

I had been asking the wrong questions, I should have been asking: Why did I become a teacher? Why do I lead? Why am I feeling frustrated?

The answer was simple: my values were being compromised and without values who are we?

So go outside this Christmas, go for a walk, fill your lungs with fresh air, return to your why and you will feel the weight lift.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Contributing to a #Wellbeing think tank with Viv Grant, Kathryn Lovewell, Sue Webb and Steve Russell.
  • Supporting Angie Browne with the launch of #NourishEd and going to the #SpringSupper.

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • Thrive, Arianna Huffington

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • Viv Grant for initiating the #WinterCalendar and Headteacher Nurture Meals – looking forward to attending the March one.