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

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: https://www.collinsdonnelly.co.uk/about. 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYi5aW1GdUU

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.