Monthly Archives: March 2015

It’s all about the food! 

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Space to think and recharge is so important. For me the key is boundaried space. I don’t manage very well when it is endless- but when I know I have space for a finite amount of time- I find it helpful and restoratative. I have such a week. 

Skiing with friends. They ski. I do the après-ski morning, noon and night. They hit the slopes first thing, I hit the crochet hooks and wordpress. I have my little routine, I make myself get showered and go out for a small walk and then I engage with the outside world at the local bar. My quest for a really comfy sofa continues. 

Yesterday I began to see where things went not so well for me last term. The DBT module describes it as ’emotion regulation’. I describe it as looking after myself. And quite frankly I was appalling at it. 

For the past 10 weeks I have only eaten filled wraps and crisps for lunch and my evening meal has been two crumpets with cheese in Joan’s next door- falling asleep before I could even think about preparing food. I have survived on biscuits and cake in work, coke when I’ve really needed more fuel and a carbohydrate fest at the weekends. No one else to blame. I let it get bad again. I genuinely think my body and therefore my mind has suffered greatly for this lack of care. 

And I can change it. And I will change it. I’m sad that I’m not learning as quick as I would like. Self care is not the optional extra. It is the foundation. Ironically, when things are tricky and I have least motivation to look after myself that’s when I need it most. 

I have been running, which I am really enjoying. Unfortunately I damaged my calf muscles again so had to sit out for 2 weeks- it also meant I had to go back to the near beginning of my programme- I’m still on 1.5 mins running but I don’t really care- at least I’m moving. 

Last term I was also more slap dash with my 24 hours no work rule. I had a number of busy weekends for valid reasons but I now see it would have been wise to try and re-arrange the space. It makes a difference. 

I will need to work very hard at regaining the lost ground. But I will. I’m feeling Operation Rescue starting to form together. I’m off to shower, I will go and walk around a lake me thinks.

Thanks for listening. 

OFSTED came… 

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OFSTED came, OFSTED went and OFSTED will come again. 

I can’t believe there is any teacher in England and Wales who can not empathise with the trauma that is an OFSTED inspection. It is brutal. As much as I have opinions on the efficacy of this process, I will restrain as this isn’t really the place- but it is in my opinion a rather bizarre method of getting the best out of teachers to give their best to their pupils. 

We knew OFSTED were going to come. However, I was also in denial that they would actually come. Like a lot of things in life I convinced myself that it wouldn’t happen to us. It did. 

I have blogged before about my at times overwhelming sense of being a fraud. I know perfectly well that most people have this feeling to some greater or lesser extent. I speak with friends who feel frauds at being a mother, wife, business owner… I know it is a plight common to man- unfortunately that hasn’t helped me cope with my symptoms! 

When the call came, my terror was primarily at being found out. 

It was not helped by a comment I heard at a Heads conference the previous weekend. A highly respected educational professional in passing mentioned that he had met some heads who were only heads because they owned the school and there were not suitable. I am totally aware that I am only in my current role because a) we can’t afford to pay someone else to do it b) no-one responded to the ad and c) there is no way a state school would employ me as a Head! And yes I am one of the co-owners!  I am aware that I bring some strengths to the role but I’m unconventional at best, completely unaware of what I’m doing at worse. I also know in my heart that I’m trying my best for our pupils- but good intentions aren’t always enough. 

OFSTED came, as Directors we worked like Trojans, we argued our case, hardly slept, I cried and we survived. The school did well. But it didn’t help me with my fraud ness. (I’m feeling the slight need to justify myself and make it clear I don’t bang on like this all the time- but it is always there for me even if I don’t say it) 

So what do I do about it? There are always options… 

1) I learn the job quick! Get a mentor. Go on a course. Act like a Head

I am doing this. I ask for advice every step of the way. I speak to staff and parents like I know what I’m doing. I’m petrified they can see though me but I am a good actor. I do want to do a course. I know it will not make a jot of difference to my feelings, as my Play therapy supervisor used to say to me- Hepzibah you could have a PhD and still feel a fraud. But I would love the study and the process of learning. I am on a steep learning curve and my prayer is that I do not do any damage to my staff or pupils while I’m on it. 

2) give up the role. Re-look at staffing structure and cover things differently. 

But as I write, my heart and spirit can’t think of anything worse. I absolutely love the role. I say again I’m a round peg in a round hole. I’m possibly not the best head around, and I’m sure others could do it better- but only I can do it the way I do it. 

OFSTED didn’t think I was a fraud. They saw some good things. The only negative thing about OFSTED was that it scuppered my sleep pattern and left me and my team completely exhausted. 

I don’t like living with the fear of being found out all the time. It makes me far too vulnerable when others are unhappy with me and slightly high maintenance. But I can’t and won’t let that fear rob me of doing what I love and have some talent at: teaching.  But even more than that- setting a vision and making it happen. Impacting others lives for the good and speaking up for those who don’t have such a loud voice. 

This has been a hard post to write. It’s one of those where I start thinking in a certain way but by the end I’m in a different place. Absolutely brilliant but the temptation is then to censor my original thoughts. I will not do that. The paper doesn’t judge so nor will I. 

Thanks for listening. 

What’s different part 2

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On January 1st of this year I wrote a post entitled ‘what’s different’. In it I explored some of the reasons why I thought I might have managed so well during my first term in my new work role. It was a very encouraging post! This morning I’ve woken with thoughts about why this term has not been quite as ‘successful’ in my eyes. (I know others will have different perspectives on this, at the moment I need to get myself unstuck from my perspective.) 

Re-reading the previous post has helped me see that annoyingly I wasn’t so good at using the techniques I had previously employed. Out of self-compassion (?) I need to acknowledge some of the things going on for me this term- all of which I will process at some point. 

1) OFSTED came. 

2) I was burgled. 

3) I had sad news about my brother’s health

4) my sessions with Penelope have been the ‘messiest’ to date. At times trying to function as a vaguely responsible teacher while battling urges to mutilate myself has been tricky. As i write this, I think, no wonder I’m tired!!!! 

5) the final blow was my brother being hospitalised the day I left for this holiday. Another episode of them trying to save him in resus. Another conversation with doctors about how poorly he is. Another time of having to say goodbye wondering if this will be the time when he doesn’t recover. Sorry- have to stop that thread, it’s too upsetting. 

So as I list these 5 things, all over 3 months the challenge is, what do I do about it? As I wrote yesterday, this is about Operation Rescue for me. Unlike yesterday I do feel a bit more human this morning which always helps! 

I’m off for some breakfast! 

Thanks for listening. 

Going with it… 

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It has been about a month since my last post. I’ve meant to blog- but that moment hasn’t easily arisen. It is now school holidays and slowly space is emerging. It has been a pretty horrible start to the new year. Challenging, tricky and I’m feeling like I’ve made a pretty shit job of it all. 

I don’t even have a nice packaged post to write with thought through metaphors and nuggets of truth. I have so much to say but no words to say it… Yet. 

I have not managed myself very well at all. And currently I’m paying the price for that. My emotion regulation skills have been non-existent, my distress tolerance skills fairly dysfunctional and I’ve forgotten what it means to be mindful. I have had some interpersonal effectiveness success this term which has given me some respite in all the chaos. 

Now I find myself in France with friends, extremely tired and know that I need to attend to Operation Rescue. And unusually for me I’m not entirely sure what the rescue looks like. I came away with all my normal tools- crafts, books and journals- but I’m too tired to focus at the moment. Before leaving on Friday my dear friend encouraged me to trust myself and follow my leading for each day. Historically, I would have been unable to work out what I needed on a moment by moment basis so I would compensate by being super organised and every moment planned for. Now, as I know myself far more than ever, I need to try a different way. The way of going with it. 

The past two days I have slept lots. As soon as I start reading my kindle my eyes get heavy and I fall asleep. I had hoped to be out running round the lake- actually I can hardly walk up the stairs so my best chance of running is to follow what my body is saying. I don’t like it. I wanted a really ‘productive’ holiday- but maybe my productiveness will lie in not being productive at all. Gosh, that’s a challenge. 

I’m not sure if blogging will be part of the process. Quite a lot of the rubbish this term is not fit for pubic consumption- so I don’t know. But I do find comfort in knowing that I can write, the page doesn’t judge and I can feel a little more known in the midst of the aloneness. That is very special. 

Thanks for listening.