This has been much delayed, partly due to a decision that was looming on the horizon, that has now been made – more of that later.
It’s half term and a good time to reflect on the #Teacher5aday commitment. I should set out from the start that I did not go about this through the conventional route. I used this idea to look at 5 things I could do on a regular basis to bring my life back into balance. Too much time working and virtually none on family, friends and of course me, was not sustainable.
Twitter is good fun most of the time and I listen with interest to many teachers. A common concern is the amount of time spent marking. This was one of the great pressures on me and with my school implementing a new marking policy, which at first sight looked like even more time marking, I realised something had to be done. If you accept that the amount of marking isn’t going to decrease then the only way of creating extra time is to approach marking differently. I’m not going to go into detail on the variety of marking styles I use but I can honestly say my productivity is much better. I only mark selected assessments in detail. The rest is a variety of self, peer, verbal feedback etc. I have not broken my commitment once of marking beyond 7 pm. I do this 4 days a week and do not mark at the weekends. I also managed to be up-to-date with all marking by half term and have no marking to do during the holidays. #veryproud.
This has led to the other items on my list being achievable. I have had more time for me – reading, catching up on some programmes taped a long time ago and just reflecting.
I haven’t managed much in the way of fitness though. Being an hour away from work means I have 2 hours soaked up travelling. Audiobooks have meant that I have turned this into productive time – “The Court of the Red Tsar” by Simon Sebag Montefiore, heartily recommended. Going for long walks in the evening around here at this time of year isn’t really an option, so much more work needed on this front. Half term has provided the opportunity and the time to get into this. I have, infact, just returned from a 7 mile walk – beautiful scenery.
Importantly, I have had time to spend with the family. My eldest had been out of work for nearly 4 months. He was clearly struggling to find a way forward and was sending off applications like they were going out of fashion, with no success. My fleeting enquiries about “how many applications” had been sent off and “what had he done today” were more about ensuring he knew I was on his case rather than helping him. Over the Christmas holiday I spent time reviewing and editing his CV. A week later he had 2 interviews and 2 job offers. He started an apprenticeship 4 weeks ago. He is so chuffed and I am so happy to have played a small part in getting him back on track.
My lists and prioriting are helping all this to happen. I’m much less stressed and more energetic in the things that are important. Life is definitely better. However, how long will it stay that way? A job opportunity, which had been long in the offing, came available last half term. I pondered and pontificated. How would this impact on my new work/life balance? The consequences of not applying were quite long term. As most if you know, I decided to go for it and was informed on the last afternoon of half term that I was the new Welsh Baccalaureate Coordinator. We haven’t offered this before, so it involves creating a SOW for KS4 & 5; training and resourcing staff; promoting it to pupils, staff and parents, amongst many things. Oh, and it has to be ready for September.
Watch this space to see how it goes!