Reflect and pledge

#reflect and pledge

Reflection at this time of year is so important as we launch into pledges for the new year. Before we pledge, I feel it is important to see what worked last year, and why. Furthermore, what didn’t work, why and if there are any challenges that need to be faced, lessons to be learned to move forwards, onwards and upwards. External challenges are usually signposts to our inward journey, and for me it is always important to see what’s going on inside me.

So, here are my reflections on 2016, and pledges for this year:-

#connect 2016 #reflect

Being able to connect to people, and with people is really important. We can only know who we are, and what we are, based on our relationships with one another. If we were alone on a desert island we would not really find out what we are about, our values or what we hold dear. Relationships with each other allow us to reflect on what we are willing to compromise, accept, or not accept.

Having established myself as a teacher in a new school that I had only started in Sept 2015, and handed out wellbeing bags, I endeavoured to spend more time with colleagues at lunchtime, and start a wellbeing club. On reflection, this didn’t happen. This was for several reasons, and without going into detail, let’s just say the culture did not resonate with me, and hence I made the decision to leave in December 2016 to pursue the kind of role I really wanted.

However, as #connect is important to me, I found a way. I took every opportunity I could to attend great, informative events like #pedagooHampshire16 organised by @martynreah, made lots of connections and met some great teachers from Twitter. I attended #NorthernRocks where I had the pleasure of meeting and being inspired by @Stephen_Logan and the #WomenEd event in Leeds where I met Sameena, @EquitableEd, an immensely inspiring woman. Furthermore, I gained much insight from attending the #BeyondLevels event in Sheffield and the Research led CPD event by @kevbartle in Canons Park to name a few. Furthermore, it was great to get involved in, and run #teacher5adayslowchat in the summer where lots of good ideas were generated by everyone.

#connect 2017

This year, I still intend to attend conferences and events where I can, having already signed up for the #WomenEd one in Coventry, and will be attending the #pedagooHampshire17 event. I will still #connect with my new colleagues and make an effort at lunchtimes to do this and at other times. Also I would like to start a wellbeing club of some kind. How do I know it will work this time? I know as I had a coaching session with the amazing and inspiring @vivgrant who coached me through some of the challenges and learning I had been through. Furthermore, I have come to realise, there just are people in this world who may not like you, or resonate with you, even if you have done nothing wrong. This is something I have battled with for years, always thinking it was me and that is why it is something I will let go of in 2017. Whereas I am happy to support people, and coach them, show them compassion, and tolerance, I will not be consumed by making another person’s problem my problem anymore, and neither am I prepared to be held back by others.

#exercise 2016 #reflect

My aim last year was to buy a Fitbit and ensure I exercise regularly. The good thing is the Fitbit appeared and my activity happened in bursts! One day ran into the other and at times, 2 weeks had gone by, the Fitbit had not been worn and no exercise had been done! However, the progress was that I was more conscious of doing the exercise, whether it was a DVD, dancing and prancing around the lounge to 80’s or bhangra music….or even simply going for walks. Furthermore, joining in the #teacher5adayrun for MacMillan (or in my case walk), I did 80km, in one month and managed to kickstart my regime. It helped me raise £250 for MacMillan, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

#exercise 2017

I need consistency this year! So, in prep for this consistency I worked out a routine over Christmas that involves a burst of High Intensity Interval Training, yoga, weights and going for walks. I have managed to keep this up apart from 2 days and I have now found exercises that suit me and that I will do, which don’t take up too much time!

#notice 2016 #reflect

I had pledged to #notice what was going on in my inner world, be more aware of the quality of my breath and notice all the positivity in my classroom. In all fairness, in some areas of my life, the #notice improved, some other areas were a little more painful so looking inside became difficult…and hence the quality of my breath did not improve. In fact it got worse and had time off for breathing issues. Though I had many reasons to be positive with things that were going on in my classroom, towards the end of last year, behaviour became very difficult to manage across the school, and in my own classroom, and I feel I let this affect me, and my focus, though people around me thought I was quite calm!

On some occasions, when faced with challenges, I was able to focus on my breath and become calm. Yet again, it was inconsistent and I really need to build more consistency. I did manage to go on more walks and take note of nature more.

#notice 2017

So, 2017 brings me to a key #notice….that is to notice what I am doing every day. Is what I am doing worthy of my time? Is it an efficient use of my time? How much time should I be giving it? Is it going to help me progress towards my goals?

Another key thing will be to #notice my fellow colleagues and make sure I acknowledge and value what they do, and recommend them for recognition as it is a basic human need to be valued and appreciated. On Twitter, I managed to nominate @ottleyoconnor and @MartynReah for a #Madvent award by @TheSumoGuy, well deserved by both.

Practising more mindfulness in all I do, and breath meditation…there is always room for improvement and I am nowhere near where I would like to be. So practise makes things consistent…not necessarily perfect, but I can get close! #Notice the good things in life, practising gratitude either in my journal, or reflecting daily.

#learn 2016 #reflect

I aimed to continue on my learning journey, which as mentioned before I managed to do through a number of the conferences and events I attended. An area I still need to improve on is taking time out to read. On reflection, if it is something I enjoy, I should hold no guilt in spending time reading, instead of doing school work all the time. Everything within reason, and a balance. Most of the reading or listening to audiobooks I do is on growth and development whether it is self or leadership. It will all come with time management.

#learn 2017

As souls, we are designed to grow, develop and learn, and so my learning journey continues. To overcome the issue of taking time out to read, I have agreed to the #fiftybookchallenge started last November! I’m already behind, however, I have many research books for my studies so hopefully I’ll catch up. Furthermore, I am training my mind and myself to accept that taking time out to read is totally acceptable and does not need to be done only in school holidays! I am excited to #learn on the Diverse Leaders course, and my new Head agreed he will support me to become an Olevi OTP Practitioner when the courses become available to the Acadamies again.

#volunteer 2016 #reflect

In 2016, I had volunteered to mentor a Yr11 student, which I did and enjoyed. However, volunteering staff wellbeing didn’t quite pan out as I had hoped, as mentioned previously. It did appear in the form of supporting with behaviour and coaching where required, sharing and collaborating. Volunteering to do the Macmillan Outrun was very enjoyable and fulfilling. Furthermore, contributing to the #teacher5adayjournal was a highlight, and even more to see the whole journal  in print.

#volunteer 2017

So with 2017 upon us, if there are ways of volunteering that come up, I would consider taking them up. Furthermore, mentoring or tutoring students is an area I thoroughly enjoy and would look for, or even create opportunities for in my new school. Furthermore, volunteering to support staff wellbeing and starting up other groups within school is something to look into.


We cannot succeed in our journey alone. It requires being surrounded by people you can be open with, honest and trust. Furthermore, being able to show your vulnerability and know a judgement will not be passed, and that whatever is discussed is always in the best interest of you.

I’d like to therefore take this opportunity to thank @ottleyoconnor for the immense patience for coaching me when needed and @vivgrant for making me feel comfortable during our coaching session. Furthermore, you don’t realise something is wrong until it is put right, so thank you to @martynreah for introducing me to #teacher5aday, giving me opportunities and helping me to realise what a worklife balance actually is.

I am grateful to have a connection with a number of teachers on Twitter who are ever inspiring and uplifting @MrMcloughlin_PE, @HLucas, @LFPassmore, @felizz7, @FloraBarton, @KAB21MAC, @rondelle10_b, @LesleyMunro4, @annanolani, @chrisdysonHT…to name a just a few.


Take a few minutes to reflect on:

  • How did your pledges go last year?
  • Did you achieve them? Reflect on why and why not.
  • Who do you surround yourself with? Are they people who you can be open and honest with and show your vulnerability? Do you trust the advice they will give you?

Wishing you an inspiring and successful 2017!


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