Being Grateful: Developing a Gratitude Practice

So my pledge to do a monthly blog fell somewhat to the wayside between the end of October and now but hey ho… best intentions and all that! It was a busy last few months in my previous role as Professional Learning Leader at the Harris Teaching School Alliance, which I was juggling with planning for my new role at Aureus and the ongoing activity for #WomenEd. I don’t beat myself up for not blogging and futher more I made the #wellbeing choice to take myself off of Twitter for Christmas to give me a chance to breathe, relax and reflect. Headspace is key for all of us. As my friend Kathryn Lovewell says: ‘Learn to take the oxygen first’.

So with end of an era, end of a role and end of a year, brings with it lots of gratitude. I was really moved at the thank you cards and presents I received as I finished my time at Harris. A really thoughtful Headteacher’s Hamper from the Teaching School Team, a beautiful bouquet from each of the Teaching School Directors who I have coached and mentored throughout the last year, and a pair of stunning diamond earrings from the staff at the school I left a year ago when I began my secondment. Saying thank you, and being thanked reminds us that our work as educators is based on relationships.

I, in turn, showed my thanks by writing cards and giving bubbles to those who had supported me in my role. As we all know it is the cards that last and are kept beyond the appreciation of flowers and consumption of bottles and boxes. My leaving speech and my leaving drinks were special but not emotional which is a sign to me that it is the right time to move on, I am ready to start the next chapter on my leadership journey.

Wishing my #PLN a Merry Christmas I received some lovely messages expressing thanks for the support I have given them this year via social media and #womened events.  People who don’t use Twitter are missing out on the friendships developed through the community you create on and off the digital wonderland. Kelly Leonard mentioned me in her  end of year round up blog and thanked me for the support I had given her, Yinka Ewuola mentioned me in her Twitter Awards for being a ‘champion’. Both women I have met through education, through tweeting, through blogging, through #womened. When people say teaching and leading is a lonely space – I challenge them  – it is only lonely if you allow it to be. Choose to be part of a community. Connect with a movement or movements that resonate with you: #womened #bameed #teacher5aday #sltchat #nourished – each brings value to me personally and professionally.

Then ping in my inbox this morning I received a stunning email from Yinka on the exact theme I was mulling  over a blog on.  Yinka shared her year with us and how she has changed her daily practice to incoporate being grateful. She captures this each day to remind herself of what she has achieved, what she has contributed and what she has changed. Her final line resonates: “It is not happy people that become grateful, but grateful people who are happy”.  I have a few unhappy people in my circle –  friends and family members are going through tough times – I will be sending them a new year’s gift of a gratitude journal to help them change their perspective this year. I will also start one myself to refer back to when I hit rough waters professionally in the next year. My Mum bought my sister and I a ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ jar a few years back which we fill with personal memories throughout the year to reflect on as a new year starts. I will continue this gratitude practice too.

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • Changing my daily practice and embedding this in the school culture at Aureus.
  • Starting my new role on Tuesday 3rd January; holding an open recruitment event on Saturday 21st January to get the right people on the bus; interviewing and recruiting  a diverse group of governors.

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • Making the Leap, Jill Berry

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • The gifts and cards from my colleagues at Harris.
  • Family and friends who have nurtured me over the Christmas break.
  • Yinka Ewuola and Kelly Leonard  for modelling being grateful.