Posted in daily writing challenge, fitness, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 12 – Rituals

Ritual – noun – a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone.

I think it’s safe to say that over the last month or so, everyone has had their daily routines, habits and rituals interrupted, uprooted and altered. I think it’s important to define the difference between the above 3 nouns, as I often confuse them and may call one by another name.

Routine – a sequence of actions regularly followed. Wake up at 05:20, brush teeth, eat breakfast, put make-up on, drive to work etc.

Habit – a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Morning coffee, taking medication, exercising regularly, putting your car keys in the basket on the stairs, sitting in a certain spot on the couch etc.

Ritual – a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone. For me, this is some sort of a synonym for a routine, but the term ritual strikes a different note with me. It’s something meaningful, special, important.

The roots of the word ritual all connect with religious rites or activities. I think this is why it seems a more solemn idea for me than just what I do each day. I’m thinking deeply now about what a ritual means to me, and I can conclude the following:

-Something that assists my professional development

-Something that helps my mental wellbeing

-Something that helps my physical wellbeing

-Something that improve my life in small or large ways

I don’t think I ever had rituals before lockdown. I had routines and habits – things that I just did automatically or tried to do because it was good for me. I believe I’ve found some solace in developing and putting rituals in place since our lives changed so dramatically. I have a couple of rituals that I will now explore:

Daily yoga: I wake up at 05:20, take 10 minutes to make my bed, tidy up, lay out my yoga mat and get YouTube open on my television, then I do a yoga practice with ‘Yoga With Adriene’. I have, up until now, done this ritualistically for 10 days by following a 30-day program. She has several of these so I fully intend to continue with them. Yoga had provided me with a clear starting point to my day. It gives me time to reflect, think and connect with my body. Every session is different and some are more challenging than others. My abs still hurt from day 7, but then on day 8 it was a healing practice that didn’t consist of any strenuous movement. I fully intend to continue with this practice when lockdown is lifted as I worked out that I can stick to that ritual and still reasonably get ready for work and leave the house at a sensible time.

Meditation: I’m working on making this a ritual. I don’t do it every night because at the moment my bed time varies from my usual routine to 2 hours later after reading endless blogs and perusing Twitter and Instagram. I’m still not entirely sure what day it is! Before the lockdown, when school routines were normal, I couldn’t go to sleep without following a Headspace meditation wind down. I would never reach the end because it would work its magic and I’d be asleep within 10 minutes. I’m still dipping in and out of Headspace and exploring the different meditations they offer. This again gives me time and space to reflect and evaluate my day and help me to make sense of anything that’s troubling me.

Those are the two rituals most important to me right now. Sure, I have other routines I now follow. Video chat with the girls on Wednesday, NHS clap and virtual pub quiz on Thursday, Andrew Lloyd Webber musical on a Friday night, family FaceTime quiz on a Saturday evening. Those are short term routines though and I don’t consider them as rituals for me right now. They are still important and worth noting as behaviours and activities that are having a positive impact on my mental health at this time.

Yoga and meditation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There’s even times when I listen to some of the stuff they say and talk about and an internal scoff echoes through my head. Not in a disrespectful way, but in a ‘you would never say these words aloud to anyone’ type of way because it’s just not in my personality. I can’t suddenly start rocking up to drinks with the girls full of chat about inhaling love and melting my palms into my heart space. However, I respect those elements of yoga and meditation and commit to them fully during rituals.

To conclude, whether you focus on your routines, habits or indeed rituals, you need to focus on what is right for you. If the current climate isn’t the idea one for you to start building new routines and rituals then don’t. Find what feels good for you.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 11 – Perspective

Problems only exist in the human mind. Our perspective of these so-called problems underpins every aspect of our life. I believe that for the last 5 or so years of my life that I’ve slowly morphed into a Stoic without actually realising it until recent months. I’ve lived by a mantra of ‘if you can’t change or control it, don’t stress about it’. I try to advise people not to focus their energy and attention on something that won’t change, get better or get worse as a result. A current example being: my boyfriend and I are ready to buy a house, Coronavirus has had other ideas, everything is now on hold and we’re in lockdown in separate houses with our parents. We’re now into week 6 of not seeing each other and it sucks. However, is this within our control? Not at all. No amount of huffing and puffing and moods is going to make the pandemic stop and lockdown end, so why stress?

I don’t advocate a sunny perspective 100% of the time. I don’t think it’s in human nature to be positive and take the ‘right’ perspective of every situation every time. I think it’s important to reframe your outlook whenever possible if the result has a positive impact on you, but also sometimes we need to call a spade a spade, and a s**t situation a s**t situation. When you look at the world now you could so easily take the perspective of the victim. We’re being indiscriminately targeted by this evil virus, doctors and nurses don’t have the tools they need to save us and, slowly, confidence in the government to handle it is slipping. This I think requires three perspectives. The ‘real life’ one, the ‘Stoic’ one and the ‘positive’ one.

The real life perspective: Things are bad. People are dying profusely, years of underfunding and neglect are starting to peek through the cracks in the civil services, families are being torn apart, some never to see certain family members again, people are dying alone in hospital beds, children are missing school, people are stuck in lockdown with abusive partners, parents or other house-dweller, we are isolated and alone and there’s nothing we can do to change the situation. No amount of community spirit, clapping, FaceTime or hashtags will change the situation we find ourself in. It’s harsh and miserable but that’s the truth of the matter.

The Stoic perspective: All of the above, but with the acceptance that, no, we can’t change anything. I won’t take my emotions out on those I’m with because that won’t change anything. What I will do though is take this experience to learn and grow. I will evaluate what I see and read and hear and consider how I can develop from this. What beliefs and values of mine are coming to the surface right now? Do I act on these already? If not, how will I make them a key part of my daily life when all of this is over? I am not controlled by my mind, I control my mind and I will decide how this scenario plays out for me as far as is within my control.

The positive perspective: Taking both of the above into consideration, but seeing the positivity. Tragedy aside, people are talking more, we’re raising money, we’re voicing our opinions, we’re spending more time at home, we’re finding new ways to work, we’re spending time together as families, we’re exercising in the great outdoors, we’re looking after our homes and gardens, we’re learning new skills, we’re reading, we’re studying, we’re growing, we’re embracing the opportunities before us.

You aren’t a bad person for looking at the pandemic from a different perspective. For the first few weeks, I was still in shock of suddenly not being at work, so I quite enjoyed my early Easter holidays. I starting writing more, I tidied and cleaned, I read A LOT, I watched box sets, I cooked, I did my make-up properly, I took more care of me and I spent time with my parents. I felt so guilty when I first reflected and concluded that I’d, on some level, enjoyed myself. Then I realised that it’s all about perspective. I chose to take a positive perspective which probably did wonders for my mental health and helped to cushion the transition between being a full time teacher running round like a headless chicken to being a 3-4 day a week childminder.

After I was positive, I had a week of ‘real life’ perspective, and I got down and sad and fed up. I was undoing all the good work my positive mindset had done for me previously. And here we are, into 5 weeks of lockdown and I’m living by the Stoic perspective. I will worry about what I can control and let those that I cannot to continue happening around me. This perspective will save me a lot of worry, and I hope some of this is helpful for you too.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 10 – Change

I pondered this for a while today. First instinct, as ever, was to look up the definition of the word and research its etymology. This time though I wanted to go at it from a more organic angle. This is how I considered change today while I was in school with the KS2 children.

There is so much change happening in the world today that thinking about it too much actually made my head spin a little bit. I decided to focus on the change right in front of me. The first thing that struck me was the changing relationships with the children I teach.

On average I’ve been providing child care for 2-3 of my own class, a couple of Y4s and some Y7s that are staff children. I found the first few days in this format really challenging. Give me a class of 30+ children and I’m away, a small group of 4-6 and the atmosphere is totally different. It has demanded a dynamic shift of how we relate to each other in the classroom. Whilst I already had a good relationship with the pupils in my class and school, I feel like there’s a sense of ‘in this together’ and in time, we’ll be the ones who went through that weird time when school was open but not school together. Almost like there’ll be that sense of knowing what it was like when it’s been such a unique experience. This in itself is a sadness for me because I won’t be back in September, so if we don’t return to school before the summer I won’t get to even tell the children myself that I’m leaving. That’s why I’m so focused on making these days with them fun and making memories together! We’re having a water fight on Thursday, pray for nice weather for me!

The other change I’m experiencing is with my colleagues. There’s a group of us who keep in touch via a Whatsapp group and I think we’ve all found ourselves dipping into it more. It’s like we’re changing and becoming closer despite actually seeing less and less of each other. It’s almost as though colleagues cope with the holidays and not seeing each other because we’re expecting that to happen, but now that term time has been stolen from us I think we’re realising that actually we’re more than just colleagues and we’re genuinely friends. This, I think, will be a lasting change that will bring us closer as time goes on. Again, this is bittersweet for me as I won’t be returning to the same school as them when all of this is over.

Change could easily have turned into a mass of purple prose – but I’ve kept it simple. I hope that this resonates in some way. We’re all going through changes, but change and adaptability is what helps us to survive. And we are survivors.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, teacher, teaching, wellbeing

#Covid19WellbeingEdumeet – Supporting Student Wellbeing. #DailyWritingChallenge Bonus Post.

Teachers have been swept up in a wave of online learning, Google Classroom, YouTube tutorials and emailed assignments. I think we need to take a step back to ensure the wellbeing of our pupils, and worry less about the academic implications.

I am lucky in my current setting. Our head teacher’s take on home learning is to set a document of subject-specific tasks each week and respond to pupil emails as and when. We are working on a rota of some days in school and the others working from home. I have seen other schools that have taken a different approach and are going in on the online learning from a different angle. No one knows who is right and who is wrong right now. The word unprecedented is floating around so much, which is why we can’t be sure that what we are doing is the right thing. This is where student wellbeing comes to the forefront for me.

In recent days, I’ve started to try and see things from the child’s point of view. Our children have had their routine ripped away from them. That familiar classroom and teacher, seeing their peers each day and developing as members of society by interacting with children and adults each day. Children who struggle to focus in a classroom are now facing an even bigger challenge by trying to focus in a setting that is probably normally associated with down time and reward. We’re all living in a world which is alien to that which we know. Children must be terrified. I was heartbroken when I realised (through various PSHE activities) that the vast amount of my children have anxieties about death. Either dying themselves of losing members of their family. For those children now, how petrifying must this indiscriminate virus be?

Parents are trying to work from home and be teachers as well. Some may be handling it well, others may be struggling with their own subject knowledge or ability to juggle their various new responsibilities. So why are we concerning ourselves with setting assignments and chasing them up to be completed?

Student wellbeing should be number one on our to do list. I for one will be encouraging my class to do what they need to look after their mental wellbeing. My weekly home learning guidance includes practical, low maintenance activities to spark joy and creativity. I’m telling my children to pursue a hobby and learn something new. Do you know how to stitch on a button? Can you shine your shoes? Do you know how to tie your laces? Can you fold clothes properly? Do you know how to put a wash on and work the machine? Can you bake a cake? Have you ever planted and nurtured a flower? Can you learn how to knit or sew? Can you build something for your room or the garden?

There is a plethora of life skills that our children could be learning, maybe even more so for the older ones. I believe that the best way to get our pupils through this uncertain time with their wellbeing in tact is to encourage them to use this time to develop as young people and pursue new skills and hobbies. How marvellous will it be when you get your class back and you can share all the new things you’ve learned while you’ve been away?

Posted in Education, wellbeing

#SpreadKindness Controversy.

I’d be surprised if you’re a regular Twitter user and haven’t heard of the #SpreadKindness campaign. Just in case you aren’t aware of what this movement entails, users post their Amazon wish lists for others to gift them whilst the idea is that you also do the same.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a great idea. I loved the sentiment behind it and thought it was a lovely way for people to try and make others feel happy during these uncertain times. There’s no denying that it definitely makes you feel good giving to others as well. I joined in and gifted several people, spending around £30 in total (or thereabouts). That would probably have been a weekend of pottering about with my boyfriend were I able to see him (we live apart) so it was money displaced. I received a few thanks, directly and indirectly as some gifts had come through anonymously. There are a couple that seem to have gone unacknowledged, but hey, that’s life. I, as of yet, haven’t received anything – which is fine. Whilst you do hope for the favour to be returned, that isn’t the point of the gesture. Life goes on.

Now, I understand that this has been met with some controversy from others on Twitter. I think it’s disgusting that individual users have been targeted with abusive messages and tweets. Regardless of your opinion on this (more on that next) I don’t believe that sending abuse is ever justified. However, I can understand the other point of view that has gotten some people riled up, albeit that doesn’t justify the behaviour that I have seen from some.

We are in the midst of a crisis that is seeing the most vulnerable of society suffer. Whether this vulnerability is measured by health, social status or income doesn’t matter. If you’re in any way vulnerable, times are tough right now. Many people appear to have taken issue with the #SpreadKindness movement as they see it as people from a well-paid profession gifting others in the same profession, when the money could be better spent. I’m not going to get into a teacher’s pay debate, but I don’t believe you can say that a teacher’s salary isn’t good. Whether it’s proportionate to the hours, stress and effort put into the role is a whole different discussion. Some have even suggested that this is merely a way to highlight our comfortable income and flaunt it in front of others. The article on TES that first brought this divide and different opinion to my attention did resonate with me, and I felt an instant pang of guilt and shame which resulted in me removing my wish list from Twitter. Now that I’ve had more time to reflect, I feel more shame for the people on both sides that are generating unkindness from something that was innocently, I believe, meant to be a good thing.

There’s a question mark over the ‘selfless good deed’. I do believe that many people intended to #SpreadKindness and genuinely weren’t motivated by getting back, some will have hoped to get something back and others, although hopefully very few, will have bought only to get back. I’ve read tweets about people who have allegedly posted their lists only to delete their account once gifts were received. I’ve also read comments from people nastily making fun of people who took part in the movement, it was these very comments that made me feel like an awful person and led to me withdrawing from the campaign.

Regardless of your beliefs and opinions surrounding the #SpreadKindness controversy, I don’t think that anyone should be made to feel like a bad person when all they had was good intentions. I get it, I see both sides, I understand the divide. I also believe that everyone is just trying to do their best. That goes for what is best for themselves and for other people as well. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to make people feel bad when they’re trying to do something good. Nobody should have to feel targeted, abused or bad for just trying to do something that they think is kind and making a positive difference.

My stance now is to live and let live. I have chosen to direct any disposable income to charity, which I will tweet about as and when to try and encourage others to donate. If sharing your amazon wish list and gifting others is helping your mental health right now, crack on, I’m pleased you’re finding a way to cope. If your way through this is to focus on something else and the #SpreadKindness movement isn’t your thing, no problem, the main thing is that you have something to get you through these uncertain times.

The only way through this is together. We don’t know any more than what people share, that person who is sharing wish lists and gifting others might also be an NHS volunteer who is donating weekly to a local food bank. That person could have a monthly direct debit to a selection of charities and be doing their elderly neighbour’s shopping. That person could have a relative who works on the NHS front line and they spend their days worrying about them. That person could be isolating alone and social media is their only form of interaction. That person could be in a dark place and this is the only thing keeping them going. #SpreadKindness is exactly what is says it is. Whether you’re buying and receiving gifts or modestly helping those near to you. Just please, be kind and spread kindness.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 9 – Wellbeing

Wellbeing is such a buzz word in education today. It was simmering just as I got into the profession 3-4 years ago and now it’s a hot topic. Everyone has a different opinion on what wellbeing should be, what it should look like, how it should feel. There are so many plasters available for the ‘wellbeing wound’. The majority of these seem to take the shape of compulsory activities planned by SLT which, sorry, isn’t wellbeing. We need to stop talking about wellbeing, as Kat Howard’s book instructs us, and address the deeper issues that are affecting it.

Well-being – noun – the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.

The etymology of ‘well’ explores words such as ‘satisfactory’, ‘agreeable’ and ‘in good health’. ‘Prosperous’ is also hanging around in there. The same research for ‘being’ throws up words such as ‘existence’, ‘state’ and ‘that which physically exists’. Therefore, I can unpick the the term ‘wellbeing’ to be concerned with the state of a living thing being satisfactory. Satisfactory being defined as ‘acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect’. This has given me a whole new perspective on wellbeing.

We can only be responsible for that which is in our control. I dip in and out of Stoic philosophy and find that I often deeply identify with many of the ideas put forth by historical figures such as Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Something that I keep telling myself, in order to maintain some semblance of wellbeing at this time, is that I must accept that I am not in control. I am in control of how I react, but not of what happens to me or the world around me. This is a belief and practice which I will take with me back into the classroom, whenever that day finally arrives.

Life is a journey that is full of ups, downs and unexpected events. Our wellbeing will naturally blossom or wilt throughout our lives. We must accept that only a small proportion of what happens to us is within our control. So I invite you to ask yourself now, what is within your control today? What can you influence, stop or begin happening? Then go on to ask yourself what isn’t in your control. I will do the same:

I am in control of: the way that I speak to my friends and family, the amount of schoolwork I do, the social media and news that I consume, the food and drink that I choose to take in, the way that I react to the latest death toll and the daily briefing, the activities I partake in this evening (The Phantom of the Opera is the latest Andrew Lloyd-Webber to go live at 7pm tonight!)
I am not in control of: the way that other people speak to or behave towards me, any work assignments or tasks I am sent on or asked to do, the things people choose to send me via social media or text/calls, the news the Government relays to the nation, the weather when I take my daily walk.

The above is just an example, and you could probably get really deep into this if you think about it – that’s why I stopped myself there! Now I need to think about how these things will affect my wellbeing. That is, will they make my state of existence satisfactory, agreeable even? What things are good for my wellbeing that I have identified as things within my control today? Well, interaction with friends and family is good for me. Finding a balance between school work and personal tasks/reading/blogging is good for me. Choosing to eat healthily or enjoying a glass of wine this evening is good for my wellbeing. There’s no question that watching a musical is good for my wellbeing!

Image credit:
Eudaimonia = happiness, Areté = being your best version here and now.

I thought that it would be too easy to unleash a full assassination of teacher workload or the way that schools are being pressured to reopen. I could have written for hours about my mental health as a teacher right now, but I’ve touched on that in a couple of other recent posts. What I’ve tried to do here is look at wellbeing from a deeper and more analytical perspective. It’s so easy to become blinkered with wellbeing. An early finish here, a scrapped piece of paperwork there. For me, keeping it simple and asking myself – am I alright? – is key for wellbeing. Can I control what is happening, yes or no? If yes, is it good or bad for my wellbeing? If it is, great, if it isn’t – do something about it. If I’m not in control, what strategies can I use to help me react in a way that is more beneficial for my wellbeing?

I’d recommend visiting the link in the image credit as the author, Jonas Salzgeber, explains it rather well. This is just an example of how I use Stoic philosophy to support my wellbeing. Stoicism teaches us that we’re very much in charge of our own happiness and unhappiness, and this can be applied to our own wellbeing, or lack thereof. That is not to say that we don’t sometimes (or often) find ourselves in situations or environments that are out of our control and negatively affect out wellbeing. The thought I want to leave you with is: can you now consider your level of control over your own wellbeing and thus improve it?

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, fitness, teacher, teaching

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 8 – Flexibility

I have dipped in and out of yoga for a number of years now. I always envied the girls in PE who could touch their toes without bending their knees and do the splits. Admittedly, I wasn’t interested in extra-curricular activities as a child. I didn’t do dance or gymnastics, and to be honest I was pretty lazy. That probably hasn’t helped my muscle development and flexibility.

After lockdown began and I started to experience some anxiety and stress about everything that was going on, I turned to yoga again. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I discovered ‘Yoga with Adriene’. I’m 4 days into a 30-day yoga programme called ‘Home’. I’m making sure I wake up and do it first thing every morning, I’ve been in a good routine so far, and it’s really helping me to cope. Practices such as the breathing and the idea of grounding yourself physically and emotionally can be easily transferred to real life. There’s been a few occasions now where I’ve taken a moment to breathe or to allow myself to become aware of the space I’m in and how my body feels. The flexibility comes slowly but I can already feel my body changing and growing to this practice. This is supporting my flexibility in other areas of my life.

I’m writing this post as I wait for the children to arrive for a day of child care. I have lots of fun activities planned which, although fun, took a bit more thought and effort than you would think. As a teacher, I’ve found it challenging to plan a full day that:

1.       Caters for a wide age-range

2.       Is enough for a small group – they get through things pretty fast

3.       Is engaging for children who are probably just as anxious as me

4.       Doesn’t have a WALT or specific objective, other than to occupy and entertain

5.       Finds a balance between being ‘just child care’ but also uses my skills as an educator

Flexibility has been key here. Being able to take holidays at different times so that every member of staff gets some semblance of a ‘break’. Working in a school that seems to be stuck in an endless INSET day loop (that’s how the atmosphere strikes me anyway). Working remotely and utilising email and video chat more often and efficiently (I have a Zoom meeting with my new head today).

It is vital that we as educators remain flexible for the foreseeable. I have a sinking feeling in my gut that we are going to be operating in such a flexible manner for a long, long time. I have a feeling that the way society operates will be different after this, how can it not be? For that, we must be flexible.

I have found that practicing yoga daily is having a positive impact on my mental and physical health. For me, that trickles down into every aspect of my being, thus supporting my ability to be a flexible and accommodating educator during these unprecedented times.

It is better to bend than to break.

Posted in Education, teacher

We Are The Teachers.

We are the teachers who write the date,
take the register,
settle the class,
start the lessons.

We are the teachers who share the knowledge,
ask the questions,
mark the books,
give the feedback.

We are the teachers who plan just for you,
strive to engage,
aim to be fun,
love what we do.

We are the teachers who do the assessments,
manage the workload,
fill in the paperwork,
lead our subjects.

We are the teachers who keep on learning,
take the course,
attend the training,
do the twilights.

We are the teachers who worry about you,
log it on CPOMS,
meet with MAST,
lie awake and wonder.

We are the teachers who drink the coffee,
skip our dinner,
work at home,
put our heart into it all.

We are the teachers who try our best,
love what we do,
love you too,
wouldn’t change it for the world.

We are the teachers who now feel lost,
are as frightened as you,
know as much as everyone else,
need a friendly face.

We are the teachers who look forward to the future,
are planning for your return,
can’t wait to do what we do best,
will always be there for you.

We are your teachers.

Posted in daily writing challenge, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 7 – Trust

As a former emo kid with significant trust issues, I could open up a can of worms with this topic. However, I’m going to keep it simple.

I have been too trusting in the past as most of us probably have. This has negatively affected relationships with friends and boyfriends. I was the member of the friendship group who had the FOMO (fear of missing out) because I was worried that people would talk about me or that I’d be betrayed. I know, they aren’t real friends if they do that, but as a teen or twenty-something your mind just doesn’t work that way.

I was bullied significantly as a child, I lived in Wales for around 3 years and had to move primary schools because it had advanced as far as physical abuse. There is still a question mark over an incident that landed me in the hospital with the tip of my thumb hanging off and my thumbnail in a paper towel in the head teacher’s desk drawer. I trusted people because I craved friendship, and instead I was the joke.

I met with these children again when many of us graduated up to the same secondary school. This is where the more sinister and sly bullying happened. I trusted people because I believed in second chances and that people are capable of change. These so-called friendships had been orchestrated to simply gain my mobile number so as to inflict 24/7 harassment and to find out any embarrassing secrets. We moved back to England as soon as we had the chance to.

I trusted boyfriends. Ones who turned out to have been cheating throughout the entire relationship. Ones who actually weren’t bad guys, but nonetheless didn’t deserve my trust. The worst example? A boy who, as it finally transpired after my relentless Twitter and social media stalking because ‘something just didn’t sit right’, had lied about his entire past, had fathered two children and abandoned them, had stolen money from my purse, had stolen my mum’s and nana’s money from the kitchen table and who had wasted 4 months of my life, including tarnishing the early experience of travelling and teaching abroad. It’s safe to say, I vowed to never trust again after being so let down.

I remember talking to my sister about it, voicing my concerns that I really didn’t know if I could trust another boy again. She said that when I met the right one, I wouldn’t give trust a second thought. I didn’t believe her. Then I met Matt.

This isn’t going to turn into a soppy ‘I love you’ post even though I haven’t seen him for nearly a month (thanks, Coronavirus). What I do want this post to illustrate is that trust is something that can be many things. It can be earned, given, destroyed and rebuilt. I trust this man with my life and I never question or second guess a word he says because, as my sister said, when you meet theright one, you don’t question your trust. Here’s to nearly 4 years of a meaningful and trusting relationship.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, teaching

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 6 – Emotion


Noun – a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

Anxious, frustrated, irritable, curious, frightened, sorrowful, calm, courageous, loved, determined, astonished, guilty, joyful.

These are just a few of the emotions that I have since Wednesday 18th March 2020 – the day that Gavin Williamson declared that schools would close to most pupils from Friday 20th March.

Tomorrow will be 4 weeks to that day, and what a rollercoaster I’ve been on since then! I am trying to pay more attention to emotions, by identifying, accepting and understanding them.

Naturally, I’ve always been a bit introverted. If I’m in a mood, leave me to get on with it, if I’m happy, I internalise it a lot and don’t push my happiness onto others – this can be both good and bad. I’ve never been brilliant at controlling my emotions. So may say I have a short temper, others may say I am very patient. The way that I express and control my emotions in my personal as opposed to my professional life is very different, and I find that an odd pattern in human behaviour.

You hurt the ones you love the most. This is a common phrase, and it rings true. I recall a Twilight on emotional regulation I attended that was delivered by Maria Collins-Donnelly, a psychologist. You can find out more about her here: She referred to this saying by shining a light on the way we speak to colleagues when we’re in a mood as opposed to the way that we speak to our loved ones. She highlighted that often, we will take our moods out on our loved ones more often than those in our professional life, and the reason is that we can get away with it. Family and friends forgive each other. I will hold my hands up to the fact that I can be a totally different person to my family, and to my friends, and to my colleagues. I wish I wasn’t though.

I’m trying to practice what I preach a little more, I work with my children and help them to recognise and regulate emotions. I explain how normal they are and suggest strategies that will support overwhelming or negative feelings. Yet, whilst I, as every other educator has, have been adjusting to a new way of working and living, I have allowed emotions to consume me and I haven’t been the person I’d like to be.

This is my pledge, to do better. I have a wonderful support network, for which I am extremely lucky. I owe it to my loved ones to regulate my emotions better, after all, we’re 4 weeks in now, I really should. I truly believe that being back in school on a rota system and having the #DailyWritingChallenge will enable me to cope with this uncertain, strange new world we are all living in. And so finally, to end on a positive note, here’s a song: