Monthly Archives: February 2015
Wellbeing – we have all heard the phrase and are often reminded to consider it.
I have read a few blogs about it recently:
There are others, they are popping up because it is half term. Teacher’s ‘Me Time’ – yeah right!
I am not sure where this post leads – to be honest it is a bit of a brain dump. So please don’t hate me if I draw no conclusions or solutions. There might be some advice, but I suspect I am advising myself more than trying to help others!
I am, I suspect, a workaholic. I am reasonably confident that many teachers are. They just use words like ‘professional’, ‘committed’ and ‘driven’ to hide behind. I like to think I am these things too. I should be. But when is enough truly enough?
Not all that long ago I think that I found that point.
I didn’t look after myself properly. Slept little. Snacked badly. Drank to much coffee (in my own opnion). I worked. Literally all the time. Did it make me better? I don’t know.
I DO know that I got into some really bad habits. Over preparing, 2nd guessing myself – 3rd guessing sometimes!
What I do works, however I am not sure that all the extra made a real difference.
We all know about workload: planning, marking, assessment etc. etc. it is a burden but one we have to bear.
So, I suffered.
Tiredness, exhaustion, stress, depression, alienation from family and friends. No-one’s fault but my own ‘commitment’.
My family suffered. They lost me. Evenings and weekends evaporated. We didn’t do things together because I was ‘too busy’.
I am a workaholic and I have a problem.
There I said it.
I have forced myself to slow it down, stop it or do a little less, but the danger of a relapse is always there and it won’t be going away anytime soon.
How do you:
- Teach full time
- Lead a school
- Senior Lead across 2 schools
- Subject lead 3 subjects (one is Maths)
- Support colleagues
- Stay creative and interesting
- Have a young family
- Live a family life
Perhaps the key to my problem is the order of the list?
I have as many hours as everyone else and as many days. A little extra at the end of the month is great, although it won’t bring back lost days out, bedtime stories missed, bathtimes avoided (the little person’s not mine!), glasses of wine and conversation with my wife.
I think that my point here is to watch for the signs – I didn’t.
Have a break.
It isn’t enough to not work on a friday night – to sit down to watch NCIS instead and be asleep before the 1st grey fade, then shouted at for the next hour for snoring too loud.
It isn’t enough.
There must be time out – find it or you cannot and will not last the course.
If I hated my job – I would stop. The problem is, that actually, I don’t.
What have I done?
- I have a cut off time – 3am in BAD, 10pm is BETTER.
- I make better lists, ones that I can realistically complete – prioritise.
- Bedtime is sacred (again, not mine, the small one’s)
- I tweet – Hardly a hobby, but it is something I enjoy.
- I do things for me, that I want to do. Even if they are ‘work’ related – they are mine!
My advice to you?
Be careful. You do not have to commit body, mind, soul, guts and glory to your class.
Be happy, be healthy, smile, laugh and be ready for them – they’ll love you. If you aren’t, then you’ll lose them forever.
All too often I read motivational memes like:
I am a teacher. What’s your superpower?
Teaching is my superpower!
It IS a very important job – perhaps one of the most important. But you are not super human.
If I was Superman – teaching is my Kryptonite.
My downtime, rest and regeneration? That is the source of my power. That is my sun.
Like Superman, if I only have kryptonite, I become weaker and lose that power.
All superheroes have their weakness or breaking point (except He-Man, but that’s another blog!)
Know your limitations.
Remember that if you don’t look after yourself, then the job will not look after you.
The machine keeps turning.
Thanks for reading.
Please forgive errors!
This has been a tough write and sharing is even more scary.
I lost a friend recently.
I don’t know what type.
I am not sure that it matters and even though I hadn’t seen him for perhaps 4 years – it upset me.
Paul was not an especially close friend, but someone I held a close affection for and some for whom I had a lot of time. One of those friends who I would see for maybe 3-4 months a year and then not at all for the other 8-9.
He and I played cricket together for the local village team until the club folded. He had played for the club for over 25 years, despite having to travel from Sheffield to Lincoln every weekend of the season. It was just what he did, because he loved to do it. We couldn’t get people to walk across the road to the playing field on a Sunday afternoon, but Paul would be there. Larger than life, the wrong side of a 40 mile drive.
When I say larger than life I do mean it. Paul was 5’10” and 26st. One of the gruffest, most uncouth, foul mouthed and delightful Yorkshireman anyone could wish to meet.
I realise that this is an education blog so allow me to explain why I am writing this tribute to Paul here. He was not a teacher, not professionally, not conventionally. He was not a man who would grace a classroom (for long), but he could teach and did every time he took the field.
Everyone knew Paul, literally everyone. He had been around for so long, played everywhere, talked to anyone, had a beer with whoever. We were just glad that he was on our team. Bright red football socks over his whites (which were rarely white), fluorescent pink jockstrap (enough said really), false teeth, floppy red hat, 4 1/2lb of Willow (the biggest and heaviest bat any one had ever seen!) and the unerring skill to batter 4s and 6s for fun, even though he was never a fan of a quick single (unless to steal the strike for the next over). Something Paul taught you very quickly was ‘don’t run, there’s no point, I won’t be’. He made damn sure you could count to 6.
He also taught you not to judge a book by its cover. Paul was an expert bowler, not a ‘pie-chucker’ as his build suggested but a skilled swing, seam and spin bowler who could ‘think’ a batsman out better than anyone I ever played with or against. He could also week in and out, bowl 10 overs straight through, I couldn’t run in for more than 3 without needing medical assistance. Yet there he was, all 26st, ball after ball, giving away little and always near the top of the averages and leading wicket takers.
While this may prove to be a short post – there is a point.
I am no talented cricketer, I have ‘all the gear and no idea’, but by playing the game with Paul, I learned plenty and many more would say the same thing.
He believed in the spirit of the game, that it should be played fairly and no matter win, lose or draw, as long as everyone could say ‘they did their best’, he was happy. If you couldn’t say that, he would tell you why you didn’t and how you should have – and you’d listen. Because it was Paul.
People respected him for the fact that he did it his way and if you didn’t like it, tough, it was his way, you didn’t have to like it.
One of the finest lessons he ever taught me (and this is where I will conclude this eulogy) was when he once berated a team mate who was shouting at a young lad who had mis-fielded a simple ball and allowed a boundary from his bowling.
Paul ‘explained’ that there was no point in that action, it didn’t help. The lad knew he had messed up, he didn’t do it on purpose and he wouldn’t be trying to repeat the mistake – in fact why get cross at all? He was doing enough telling off of himself in his own head – why not say something nice to make him feel better?
Oh, and don’t bowl another sh*t ball like that, that gets hit over there!
1964 – 2014
Rest in Peace Bash
A lot of people miss you.