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, wellbeing

Reflect On Your Ikigai

Our society is going through a troublesome time right now. Regardless of profession, religion, beliefs or social or financial status. Everyone is experiencing their own kind of difficulty. I have recently found solace in a daily writing challenge with some lovely educators and like-minded lovelies on Twitter, and I’d like to share something I’ve learned from the very woman who’s headed up the #DailyWritingChallenge.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.

Image Credit: Fran McEwan

After reading a host of inspirational and thought-provoking blogs on the topic of purpose today, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on my own Ikigai and invite you to do the same.

What is your profession? Teaching & education. I am 3 years into my profession as a primary school teacher.

What is your vocation? I believe that my vocation is to help young people reflect on their development to help them grow and realise their aspirations.

What is your passion? I am passionate about mental health, English, reading, writing and creativity.

What is your mission? I am committed to guiding young people in their education by supporting their mental and social-emotional health.

What do you love? I love networking, reading a diverse range of genres, writing to unwind and being in a classroom.

What are you good at? I am good at being positive and helping others to do the same. I am good at remaining calm during stressful times and prioritising. I am good at believing that ‘this too shall pass’ and helping others to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What does the world need? I believe that the world needs compassion, love, optimism and happiness.

What can you be paid for? Teaching, mentoring, curriculum design, CPD delivery.

Some of the above came very naturally while others I had to think about for a while. I think that’s totally normal. Especially when answering questions about what you’re good at. Had I been asked what I’m bad at, I think I could have written a whole post on that! Alas, this is not a time to be negative. I’ve enjoyed reflecting on my Ikigai and think this is something I’d love to share with colleagues in the future, and it’s definitely something that I’ll come back to when I need to refocus and remember my purpose.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, teacher, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 5 – Purpose

The word purpose comes from Anglo-French roots purpos/porpos and translates as ‘aim’, ‘intention’, ‘goal’ and ‘to put forth’. I believe purpose underpins everything I do as a human being, from being a daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, teacher and a colleague. I do everything with and for a purpose. To be truthful, I find it rather difficult to do things without purpose.

I’ve always needed to know why. As a child, I needed to know why my Stretch Armstrong was so stretchy, so I poked holes in him with a pin to find out. I needed to know how the Sylvanian Family animals were put together, so I peeled away their fuzzy skin to see. I always asked questions. I think this curiosity has developed into a need for purpose as I’ve grown. I need to understand how something is put together, how it works and how this translates into a purpose.

I need a purpose for what I do. Otherwise, what’s the point? If I’m teaching a scheme of work to my class, I need to know the purpose. What are the desired outcomes? Why am I doing this? How does it benefit the children? If I’m delivering CPD to my colleagues I need to make the purpose clear – I need to explain concisely how this CPD will develop them as professionals and how it can be used in practice.

What is a teacher without purpose?

I have a purpose – to teach my pupils and help them grow and develop into kind, knowledgable humans. I have a purpose as a daughter and a sister to pull my weight within out family unit and support everyone as they have supported me. I have a purpose as a girlfriend to be a life partner for someone else, whose needs will sometimes come before my own. I have a purpose as a friend to put into those relationships what I desire to get out of them. I have so many purposes that it makes my head spin.

Purpose is the reason for which something is done. Why do I do all of those things listed above? I do them so that I can share my knowledge and skills with others. I do them so that I can make other people happy and feel content. I do them so that I can feel like the best version of myself. I do them so that the people around me can be the best versions of themselves. Purpose can also be defined as a person’s sense of resolve or determination, to have a sense of purpose.

I worry that many people will be feeling like they’ve lost their purpose over recent weeks. As teachers we’ve had our classrooms and pupils ripped away from us and a whole new concept of education laid out in front of us. Don’t lose sight of your purpose. Now, more than ever, our sense of purpose is what we need to hold on to the tightest.