Week 4

Week 4 – a lot of breakthroughs I think…

I’ve decided that education is what I want…I just need to re-fall in love with it. Hard thing to do maybe. I need to get reading my books! I’ve also set up Twitter again properly. Made a start by following the recommendations on the Literacy Shed Blog. My Twitter is @EdOpinion.

I’ve also decided to get on with things properly. I started a Journal – it’s an amazing journal from Best Self. They cost a bit, but they’re simple, positive and focussed. I love it. I will definitely be using it to focus myself. As I say – love it.

One of the things which I’ve really tried to do in my time off, is to exercise more (as HT there were times I parked next to school, got to my office and stayed there all day. This meant less than 2000 steps in the day!). I’ve also tried to cook more. I even bought a slow cooker. Cooking and walking is good. I’ve even borrowed a wallpaper stripper. I hate decorating!

This blog has changed – now feels more and more an education blog…and updated more than the planned weekly…I should change the titles and introductions, but then this sentence wouldn’t make sense!

Things often quickly get in the way of everything. I need to be more focussed. I am being more focussed. I have been through every email I’ve had in the last month of job adverts. I’ve compiled a list of the jobs I’m interested in. These range from AHT up to HT. I’ve even applied for a SIP role! I guess that’s a bit of a punt, but you’ve got to be in it to win it! It’s now time to follow the other ones up. Only ten years ago you’d do this with a stack of envelopes and stamps – now websites and emails. A lot less romantic really and I think less manageable. I might have to print everything out and have a file…got to love a file.

I’ve also begun to look at other CPD – I’ve recently completed some Apple Teacher units, becoming a recognised Apple Teacher. I’ve registered and started on the Microsoft Educator route too…just need to do that.

I guess the key thing for me to think about is in the Headship I now feel like I burnt myself out. I think that is possibly the easiest explanation. I need to be careful that this wouldn’t happen again. What would I do to stop this happening? I need to give this some thought…

Whatever next?



Love Education

I once said that this was not an Education blog…turns out that it is going to become an Education Blog…the reason why? Because it is Education which I am passionate about Education. I loved it. Truly. But as (I think) I have said, I think I’ve fallen out of love with education.

I want to stay in Education.

I want to re-find the love of education.

I have bought several books – I just need to read them now!

Education is an amazing thing. I am privileged to have been a part of it. I need to find “me”. And where I belong in Education. I need to get back in it. I need to be more thoughtful about what I think in education and what we can do to fix it.

The amount of people who have been in touch since I left is astronomical. Friends and strangers. My parents have told people what I have done, as has my wife. Almost all people have had the same / similar response. Non-surprise. Those in education have been similarly envious. Curious about what I was doing. How I was doing it. How it was. Envious about the career break. Saying they needed it too. Sound disenchanted with education. Not sure what is going on. Saying things are bad. I sometimes wonder how many people this actually is impacting on. I don’t want to get political. Surely something needs to change?

I did meet an Education Minister from a different country – I think it was Thailand (but I can’t remember at the moment) – and it that country the government have nothing to do with Education…just the way it should be!

Perhaps at the end I’ll find that education has just changed so much and not taken me with it, who knows?

Whatever next?

To teach or not to teach…

Breaking it down…do I want to stay in Education? After I find the answer to that I’ll begin to look at what role I would like to do…

SO – and I’d like to hear your thoughts too, on the Contact link…

Five reasons to leave education:

  1. Work life balance
  2. Workload – it is massive! I read someone’s blog last night, Mrs P, and she showed her marking box which is fantastic…but also quite horrifying! (Actually, I really love the marking box and used to quite enjoy marking!)
  3. Assessment and curriculum – I think this was my original final straw if I’m honest
  4. Politics. Agendas. Leave educational professionals alone to do their job! Separate the Department for Education away from politics. When the next government gets in  everything changes again…no wonder nothing has time to work and embed. But this government (and the last one in the coalition) have been particularly bad.
  5. The forgetful attitude of those high up that we are dealing with children. They have completely forgotten that we are dealing with children. THEY ARE NOT NUMBERS! This should never be forgotten. (I’m off on a rant now…) A child does not make ‘expected’ progress. There is no such thing. A child has challenges and problems in their life. A death of a member of family. A falling out with friends. Bullying (sadly). Illness. Moving house. The list is endless. All of this stops a child from making linear progress…this should never be forgotten.


Five reasons to stay in education:

Let me say, that in this list, I am categorically staying away from ‘Holidays’ and ‘Money’. I always find it vulgar when people say that is why they are in Education. Education is about service. Vocation. Helping others. If it ever, even once, comes down to money or holidays you should leave (in my opinion).

  1. Helping children learn, reach their potential and excel towards their future goals
  2. Working with children
  3. Working with like-minded staff who are there to do the best for children – you get a certain camaraderie working alongside people
  4. Rewarding. It isn’t a 9-5 job, go home and forget about it…but it is so rewarding. It’s worth working all night to see little Nofil say his first English sentence and for it to make sense, for Kevin to grasp that concept, for Jessika to build in confidence.
  5. It’s what I am. When people ask what I am, I always very proudly reply…I’m a teacher.

Week 3

The job interview took a lot of time. Not the actual thing, that was just a day. But the whole process. Job interview was on Wednesday. Woke up Monday and panicked. And thought about it. Panicked more. Worried. Toilet. Panic. Toilet. Nervous. Panic. Sweat. Toilet. And so on…

Didn’t fancy a repeat on Tuesday so I decided to update my portfolio. This took all day. It is beautiful (actually forgot to take it to the interview – what a numpty, didn’t deserve the job!!). But what a portfolio should be in my opinion. A list of each piece of evidence and how it relates to the job description. I liked it! See below…


There were 18 sections. I won’t bore you. But that was Tuesday.

Wednesday job interview.

Thursday was recovery. Nice time though. Walked to pub. Drinking favourite beer at a time I wouldn’t normally be home – happy me! 🙂

The weekend was spent enjoying life.

I’ve always said that this wouldn’t be an education blog…but I fear it may be changing…on Monday it hit me in the face whilst brushing my teeth – BAM! My whole issue. The whole issue of a lot of people I think…I’d fallen out of love with Education. Fallen out of love with Teaching. With learning. With the politics. I’d become disenchanted with the whole thing. I need to fall back in love with Education!! For now I will try and keep it separate…I’ll do a separate post on it.

I did see this on the WWW.Can’t take credit for it or remember where I got it from. If you are ever in doubt about what you are doing…


Whatever next?

Week 3 – job update!!

So – the job interview was today. Should have been tomorrow too but I didn’t get through. It was a Deputy Headship in a school not too far away from where I live…one word sums it up I think. Horrific.

Whole thing was unseen tasks. All fairly standard. Some surprises – no data. Turns out that that is because the school doesn’t actually have any data, having not decided how to assess yet (yikes!!). And a teaching task. No warning of what it will be, what subject, what year group. Just a ‘Come with me’ walk and dropped into a classroom and told to teach. Some people just took over the already running lesson. I had to take over registration. Children were just sitting looking at me. Children were also WELL below National expectations which just added to the confusion. Quite tough.

No feedback from the job – can ring in a couple of weeks. They obviously have their reasons so it will be interesting to hear.

For now, more time with my family 🙂

Break until next Monday, enjoy this time, and then crack on with looking again.

Week 2

A week on…what’s happened? This is the week which I should have had first. A bit more relaxing. Also a birthday weekend!!

My project is well underway – it is basically a piece of fiction. I’ve always wanted to write a book. So that is exactly what I’m doing. Who knows where it will go? The likely hood of it going anywhere are extremely slim so I will obviously be pushing for work elsewhere too. I will call this Project Purple! I have spent a lot of time on this.
I have also tried to push this blog. I don’t know where the blog will end up. Possibly just my own thoughts – but it will be nice to have a record of this time. I keep thinking about how lucky I am. Not many people have this chance to have the time off. Not without having a baby! So I am still trying to appreciate it. (Having said that, if you are reading this I would love it if you could share it with your friends!)

I have had an email inviting me to an interview next week. It is (hopefully!) a two day interview. For a Deputy Headteacher position. If day one goes well, you are invited back for day two. I’m extremely nervous about it. Can’t stop worrying. There is a range of activities including the usual such as school council, learning walk, in-tray task but also something which is a bit unusual to me – I will be observed teaching a lesson. But they will only tell me about it before I do it to see if I can think on my feet!

Saturday was my birthday. It was a great day. However, feels like a waste of a weekend birthday given that I’m not working anyway!! It was an amazing time. Friday we went to Whitby – best town in Britain? Found the place we wanted to live – Sandsend, just about a mile up the coast. A fantastic little village.

On Thursday I got to go, for the first time, to a child’s class – Tumble Tots. It was amazing to be able to see her enjoying it. She ran around, had a great time and I was able to be part of it. This is the exact reason why I have done what I have done!

On Sunday, the wife had to do some work. I walked to the park with my daughter. We spent about an hour out and it was another amazing time.

The thing which is still taking time to hit me, is that I’m not at work! I stood in the garden after doing some gardening last night and realised that my phone was not constantly ‘binging’ and buzzing. There were no emails. No extra work. Nothing more for me to do when I came in than when I went out. I was free of it…or I am for now!

However, what I probably would say is that things feel strange. Amazing most of the time. It’s Monday and I’ve been to the supermarket, I’ve had a walk, I’ve taken some photos, I’ve watched some TV, worked on Project Purple, and am now writing this. This just doesn’t happen. Last week I spent another amazing week with my daughter playing! There is a bit of a panic. Will I be able to make a living? What do I want to do? Am I wasting this time? Should I change direction completely? Will I win the lottery if I buy enough tickets?! Will I get the job next week? Who knows?

The one thing that is clear…I’m still only missing the people and not the actual work! I never want to give up this quality time with my daughter again. Something which I need to remember when I do go back to work. Whatever I do, there needs to be a balance – or I need to keep this balance.
Whatever Next?

Week 1

If I had a pound for each person that asked “What’s the plan?” then I would enough money for several lottery tickets, and with a bit of luck, would never need to work again! The truth is. There is no plan. Work is too busy to be able to plan something extra whilst still working. So I didn’t. I planned to leave. The first day, in all honesty, was a little bit shocking. I suddenly realised I HAD NO PLAN! What was I going to do? How were we going to live? I have a mortgage, a two year old daughter and a new child on the way. Oh my goodness. I’ve made a terrible mistake…but it was nice to lie in this morning. And, shall I just watch a bit of television. Wave my wife off to work. Wander around the house a little more…then back to panicking. That was the entirety of day one. I did miss out the nice part there…for the first time ever on a Tuesday, I collected my daughter from Nursery. And the worst part – for the first time EVER, I dropped my daughter off at Nursery. She cried, gripped my neck and refused to be left. Never have I experienced heart-break like it. I vowed never to take her there again. My wife thought otherwise.

The week settled down. I realised that I am lucky as a teacher. I can always go on supply. (Although, even just writing this, it has spooked me again and I’m beginning to feel panicky!) The truth is, there’s lots to do out there. You might not want to do it. But sometimes you need to. I stopped panicking. The weekend before I left I saw a job which I really liked the sound of. It starts in September. I put a lot of effort into the application form. I did that mainly all day Wednesday. It would be a dream to get that job. To know that I had all these months off and a guaranteed job in September. My interview technique is unfortunately a little ropey. It usually consists of shouting ten random words, without a real context, and walking out. However, this is for a Deputy Headteacher job. One which would allow me back in the classroom – what I trained to do. One which would allow me to look after staff, and support them. A personal moral goal. One which would allow me to look at inclusion for the school – something which I feel very passionate about.

In this time, I bought a Best Self Journal. It is an amazing book which helps you to organise your days. The thing which really terrifies me is that I get to September and have achieved nothing. This is my one chance to have this time off. This time needs to count! Set a goal and work towards it over thirteen weeks. Sounds simple. To be honest, with the Best Self Journal it really does sound simple. Hopefully it will be. I set my goal. I’m not going to share that goal with you right now. All you need to know is that, regardless of what happens in September, before I get there I want to have had a proper crack at a few whips!
After the application form, the rest of week 1 was spent as it should have been. Relaxing. Recuperating. Re-finding myself. I went out for lunch with my wife on a Thursday. Have we ever done that outside a school holiday? I enjoyed a coffee with a friend. Had I ever done that? I thought about work quite a lot. Has anyone remembered that the 500 word challenge has started? Did someone remember to take the house point count so they don’t all need to be counted in July? Has the barrier been repaired? Are all action plans up to date? What is the progress of Year 4 looking like? Then quickly remembered I didn’t need to think about it. That was a nice feeling.

My daughter and wife both got poorly. This left me looking after them. Something I’d never had the time to do. Whilst it was naturally sad that they were poorly…it was lovely to look after them.

I had some contact from work. I was devastated to leave the people. I miss them. The site manager is a legend and phoned. He is sad I’ve gone…I might need to adjust my goal so that he can come with me. I always knew I’d be terribly sad to leave the people. The people were amazing. Not just the staff, but the parents and the children. The staff and school staff from the Academy chain. The staff from local schools. The consultants that we worked with. HR. IT companies. The list is endless. I’ll miss them. But it still feels the right decision.

It’s now time to focus. Focus on my goal. Focus on getting my CV out there. Updating LinkedIn. Sorting out a bedroom for the new arrival.

Whatever Next?