Posted in Education, teacher, teaching, wellbeing

Brain Dump.

It’s the penultimate Sunday night before school starts again. It’s been a funny old summer and really has just felt like I’ve waited to go back to school. 6 weeks has flown by and this week is time to get back into work mode. There’s a few different things I need to do this week so I’ve come here to get it out of my brain and into one place.

  • Go into school and prepare resource packs for each child
  • Find missing chairs for the children
  • Plan the first few days PSHE – class culture, mental wellbeing and support etc.
  • Map out the first half term of English
  • Plan the first few English lessons
  • Map out the first half term of maths
  • Plan the first few maths lessons
  • Read up on the Ark Curriculum+ Year 6 units for background knowledge
  • Re-read the end of KS2 expectations
  • Read over the most recent DfE guidance for the return to school
  • Re-read KCSIE and the school Safeguarding policy
  • Go over notes for any SEND children and plan for their first few days
  • Create/find initial display resources and put up in classroom
  • Check school clothes and buy some more long sleeved dresses/tops (long sleeves hide the tattoos – Dangerous Minds)
  • Enter important dates etc. into TPTC planner
  • Buy laptop bag for new school laptop
  • Continue with ‘Reading Reconsidered’
  • Get 2020-21 appraisal docs from head and populate my parts
  • Sign contracts with school manager
  • Go over English subject development plan
  • Continue with ‘Teach Like a Champion’
  • Spend some time getting used to using the classroom desktop and Google Drive to access resources
  • Handover of class Twitter/Google Classroom etc.
  • Make contact with children via GC and signpost parents to back to school support
  • Email housing developers to arrange viewing of show home and look around the plastered 3 bed home we’ll be having in the winter
  • Update budget spreadsheet once paid and organise funds for the month
  • Get petrol ASAP
  • Make time to pick BSL course from lockdown back up
  • Make time also to read over any CPD notes taken from lockdown to refresh memory
  • Take a moment to look over upcoming birthdays and arrange cards/gifts/money

That’s probably not even everything! However, must remember to take it one day at a time! Tomorrow is Monday – wake up, go to the gym, come home, get changed, get petrol on the way to school, sort anything for the children tomorrow – that’s the priority.

I think I’ll browse the internet for KCSIE and the latest DfE guidance, that should induce sleep at least! (the DfE guidance, not KCSIE!)

Posted in Education, teacher, teaching, wellbeing

Pause.

100% coincidental that the blog subject is ‘pause’ and it comes after a 7 week hiatus from writing.

Things have been busy since we welcomed more children back to school. I’ve tried to get ahead of myself and plan as much as possible early so that I can be present for the children and not be worrying about the workload.

I’ve taken this evening to pause and reflect. I spent an hour long PSHE lesson today working with my bubble on managing uncomfortable feelings and exploring scenarios and good advice. I’m taking some of it.

I’ve found myself becoming overwhelmed by the changes that are about to happen in my life. I’m moving from my school of four years, the place I began my teaching career, leaving behind a few great colleagues and moving to a brand new school. I’m so excited to start at my new school. I’ve already connected with some new colleagues, I’m meeting some of my class next week, I feel fully supported by my new Head Teacher and the school in general aligns with my values.

I think it’s just the circumstances in which I’m leaving that are niggling away at me. I don’t get to say goodbye to all the children, I’ll miss my friends… As positive as I feel about the move I’m bound to be anxious about fitting in somewhere new and essentially starting again.

I’m taking a moment to pause tonight. I’m reflecting on my time at my current school, the highs and the lows, and ultimately my reasons for leaving. I’m reflecting on the most hardcore interview process I’ve ever been through, and how sick I felt because I wanted the position so much. I’m elbowing out the imposter syndrome that creeps in by reminding myself that the Governor, who was on the interview panel, said I was a pleasure to interview and was outstanding a week after the interview when I bumped into him.

I’m reminding myself that little things like having a stricter uniform policy (tattoos need covering, no exceptions) don’t matter, and I can conform because professional settings will never change their opinions on things like this. However, I’m concerned about how the one on the back of my neck and my forearm will be consistently covered… Surely we draw the line eventually? It’s an excuse to lose some weight and go shopping for some new school clothes that keep me covered!

I’m pausing to remember that these last few weeks in school are about plugging the gaps, but also about enjoying the time we have together, making memories and ensuring the children are having fun and doing okay personally. That mindset has seen a few Maths Mastery lessons go out the window, being replaced by interactive iPad and Seesaw based learning.

I’m pausing to consider how far we’ve come. I desperately miss my boyfriend, who I don’t live with and who I’m not really allowed to see. Since March we’ve maintained a long distance relationship over around 4 miles. I’m pausing to reflect on the last few weeks where we’ve been allowed to spend some limited time together and feeling grateful for that.

I made a conscious decision to leave my laptop at school tonight to ensure I don’t do any schoolwork. Even at a time where the stresses and pressures are different, it’s important that we take a break and find room to breathe.

I encourage you all to take a moment to pause.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, teacher, teaching

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 19 – Inclusion

I’ve been away from my blog for a couple of days, I’m afraid to say that I just haven’t felt like writing! I hate that feeling because I feel like I’m betraying my love of reading and writing. This topic in particular confounded me last week and sort of brought about my writer’s block. I’m only a few years into my career and, of course, as a teacher I believe in inclusion. I’ve seen it work brilliantly and I’ve seen where it doesn’t. In my current class there’s a clear example of inclusion probably doing more harm than good, but when you’re stuck between the EHCP process and a hard place you have to do what you have to do.

So I was going to write about my personal experience, but then I got scared about GDPR and anyone being identified as it is quite a unique case. What has prompted me tonight to write about inclusion is my enrolment in an online British Sign Language course. Firstly, I need to plug this course. I’ve done one module so far and it’s brilliant. It’s normally £25 but with everything that’s going on they’ve developed a cheaper, tiered price list that starts at £3! Find all the details here.

There are two key things I’ve taken away from this recent venture so far, the first one I want to mention is the vastness of inclusion and what that means. Now I don’t know if I’m being naive, but at this stage in my career I understand inclusion to be about ensuring that everyone has access to the same teaching and learning as everyone else, regardless of learning or behaviour disability or challenge. I’ve never taught a child who is Deaf (or deaf – look it up, capitalisation makes a difference!) and until this year I hadn’t taught any children with complex needs, only a few challenging behaviours. The reason I feel that inclusion is so challenging is because it is so vast. We talk about the unique child and how everyone is different, but then every disability is different isn’t it? I’ve taught a handful of children with autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia and whilst two children may have had the same diagnosis, none of them were alike at all. The learning support assessment would flag up the same suggestions for supporting them in the classroom but you could not apply some or all to each child exclusively. What works for one hasn’t always worked for another in my experience.

This is why I reserve having a loud opinion on inclusion. Whilst I would love for everyone to access and experience the same, for some children it just doesn’t work. There can be so many barriers outside of that child’s own disability. Staffing, training, funding, resources, time – all of these things can impact our ability to promote inclusion, and these are the challenges we face if the child is even able to cope in a mainstream classroom. I know of one child however who I taught during my training in Y1. An abundance of complex needs that branched out into the physical and behavioural and led to this child having to be restrained for their own safety on a number of occasions. I recall conversations where the main concern was, ‘What happens when this child gets older and gets stronger?’ We couldn’t see how we could help this child experience mainstream school because there would come a time when real damage could and would be done that would be unable to be undone. It brings me great joy to say that I worked with this now Y4 child all day last week as they have started coming into school for childcare provision and it was a wonderful day. Everyone’s, not least the child’s, hard work has paid off and whilst entering for any formal examinations is off the table, they are about to embark on a Y5 journey, and I’m sure Y6, in a school that didn’t know if they could keep them safe and educated. That is when inclusion succeeds. What happens after Y6 is yet to be seen, and truth be told this child probably will need to attend alternative provision for their own safety and to receive appropriate education, but not yet – and that’s the win for me.

Where it doesn’t work? Well, my complex child who attends different classes and ‘accesses’ two different curriculums in the name of inclusion but who has made little to no progress over the last 12 months, and that is nobody’s fault. I should note that I typed accesses in inverted commas because the curriculum I have to provide for this child is of little value. What would a child get from Y5 history when they have the reading comprehension level of a Y1? We’ve worked so hard, as has this child, but we are still battling to get an EHCP so that we can start the process to get them into alternative provision because a mainstream secondary is unthinkable for this child. It’s a disgrace that the way the system works means that this battle has been going on for far too many years. The vast array of SEND means that inclusion is, and in my opinion always will be, a tricky, challenging and controversial (for some) topic.

The second thing I wanted to talk about was what I’ve learned so far from my BSL course. I’ve only learned the alphabet and numbers 1-10 so far (that’s session 1) but I’ve really surprised myself at how well I appear to have picked it up. I can look at words being finger spelled and follow along to identify the word and I can recite the alphabet almost fluently. I put off signing up to this despite telling my colleagues I was going to because I was worried it would be too much and I just wouldn’t be able to remember it. I looked at an image of the manual alphabet and just thought there’s no way! I’ve proven myself wrong tonight and it’s given me a little boost. I’m very lucky that my brain works in such a way that physical things, such as using my hands for sign language, sink in quite quickly – and always have done. It’s not that way for everyone and this is where the connection with inclusion comes in, what I have picked up easily could take another person weeks to get right. I’m not being big-headed, there’s a plethora of skills and knowledge that will never sink in for me that come naturally to many people I know. It just got me thinking about inclusion and the idea that it never stops. Adults can face as many learning difficulties as children, and I think that for us to fully understand and appreciate the challenges of inclusion in schools, we need to be able to apply it to our own lives and experiences.

And finally, I’m hoping to learn more about inclusion and SEND as my new school has a dedicated team and an integrated SEND facility as we have quite a few children with a whole range of SEND. I only got a glimpse at my interview but from what I can remember there’s a sensory room, walking frames and apparatus and a whole bunch of technology to support their learning, I can’t wait to find out more!

Posted in daily writing challenge, teacher

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 16 – Perseverance

Perseverance is a key quality of a growth mindset. Perseverance is the acceptance that you will likely fail many times before you succeed, but you must experience the failures before you reap the successes.

Credit: https://discoveryourprint.co.uk/2016/08/10/just-keep-swimming-how-to-swim-with-the-current-of-change/

I probably channel Dory in my daily life more than I’d like to admit as a 30-year-old, but she has a point, no? Just keep going, persevere. Don’t give up.

As educators we face challenges that require perseverance all the time. We can’t give up. We don’t give up on our children, we don’t give up on our colleagues and we don’t give up on ourselves. If we did then there’d be nothing left.

Perseverance is a state of mind. It’s the idea of mind over matter, and it is harder to be strong of mind than strong of body. I struggle with perseverance every day, more so in my personal life. I’ve been in a constant state of ‘getting fit’ for around 10-15 years. I’ve had bursts of determination and perseverance where I’ve seen the rewards of a strong mind. In a similar way, I’ve had plenty (probably more) of instances where I’ve allowed my mind to weaken and fail. I’ve woken up today with a sense of perseverance and no more excuses. I want to get fit this year, once and for all. I want to lose weight and develop healthier habits and right now is the ideal time to do it if I can get my mind straight. I always used school as an excuse. Too busy to eat, too busy to food prep, too exhausted to work out etc. Not a lot of that stands anymore, so why am I still making excuses?

The answer is that I’ve lost my perseverance. At the start of the year a nasty week of Norovirus gave me a kick start and the perseverance followed. I had a good 2 months or so of fitting in some exercise but most importantly of all, eating well and observing a calorie deficit. Now I need to find that perseverance without the grim side-effects of that particular sickness virus.

I will persevere with my morning yoga until it becomes an indispensable part of my morning routine. I will persevere with daily exercise, whether it’s a light walk or a moderate run (did the ‘run5k, donate £5, nominate 5 people’ challenge yesterday!)

I need to persevere for my health. Others need to persevere for their careers, their families, their futures. Our Government needs to persevere to beat this virus. Our communities need to persevere to support one another. This country needs to persevere to withstand lockdown for just a few more weeks. I am genuinely terrified that people are beginning to disregard the guidance and this will lead to another spike of infections and deaths and no doubt result in a longer, more severe lockdown.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.

You can’t give up, you can’t give in. You need to fight against the dying of the light. You need to persevere against the challenges that you face.

Posted in daily writing challenge, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 15 – Friendship

Credit: https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=friend&utm_source=extension_submit

If there’s one thing I’ve developed and strengthened throughout all of this, it’s my friendships. I have a couple of different pockets of friendship groups, as I’m sure many people do, and each one has grown and matured in its own way since lockdown began.

I have my uni girls, best friends for a decade now. Three of us live within a couple of hours of each other and one lives down in London, so we’re used to an online relationship and only a handful of reunions when all four personal and professional calendars align. We’re all at very similar yet very different junctures of our lives. One has a baby, one has met a new boy and started again, the other is busy renovating a house to move into and I’m just on the cusp of buying my first home. We always check in with one another and make time to catch up with the group chat, but we’ve really looked out for each other over recent weeks. One of my girls works in the NHS, another two have been furloughed and I’m providing key worker children’s child care. We’re all experiencing such different elements of COVID and lockdown.

I have my school and sixth form friendship group. This consists of my best friend since Y12 who I’ve known since Y10 and some friends I met in sixth form. They’ve always kept in touch but I sort of went my own way during my 20s. Over the last few years we’ve all reconnected somewhat and I’ve probably spoken more to these girls in our group chat and over Zoom calls in the last 5 weeks than I have in the last 10 years! Not counting my bestie. I like this group because we’ve known each other for around 12/13 years, and we’ve done our own thing, but we’re all capable of reconnecting and learning from each other. I love that I’m a part of this little group because we’re all so different.

Finally my work colleagues, I wholly consider these people my friends. We’ve had a group chat since December. It doesn’t contain everyone, just a group of us that went on the Christmas do. We’ve written in that more over the last 5 weeks that we have since December. We miss each other. as a team we’ve been torn apart. Two of our teachers are self-shielding and from this week we’re on a social distancing rota which means we’re only in school for limited times and with as few staff as possible. I maintain that when a natural school holiday comes around, we’re ready for a break from school. This isn’t a natural holiday and we’re clearly missing the contact we’d usually have. I’m truly gutted that I only have 3-4 months left of technically being part of this team, our relationships were just starting to bloom. However, I know that I’m going somewhere good and where I’ll also cultivate friendships and feel supported.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’d be getting through the dark days of lockdown without friendship. Obviously relationships with family and my boyfriend counts, but I’m trying to make a distinction between friends, family and boyfriend. They all play a vital role in my sanity right now. I sincerely hope that these friendships continue to go from strength to strength after lockdown.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 14 – Creativity

I have a love/hate relationship with creativity. I always considered myself creative, so did others. People would say I’m creative in friendly family/friend chat. I sometimes do feel creative. When I make something for my classroom, when I create a display, when I improvise in some way. Then I look at literally anything else my teaching colleagues do, make a brief comparison and then conclude that I’m not as creative as I wish.

I’m not bad at art. I have a good eye for detail when I focus and I can sketch quite well. I’m always envious of anyone who is effortlessly artistic. I just don’t understand how they can pick up a paintbrush/pen/pencil/marker and create something amazing with little error and vast talent. One of my colleagues knocked me up a Chinese dragon in an afternoon out of scrap resources from the art cupboard and honestly – it’s the best damn thing you’ve ever seen! I’ll be so sad to leave it behind when I move schools in the summer.

The good thing with creativity is that it’s subjective. Educators are having to get creative now with how they deliver knowledge and skills to their pupils. This looks like many different things, live classes, challenges, setting written work, online assignments… School’s are being creative with how they communicate with families, becoming more reliant on social media perhaps…

To be creative is to create. And we create learners and leaders of the future every day. I’m going to stop putting myself down every time I see a display that’s better than what I could do. We all create, it just looks different for everyone. My creativity comes with how I balance my life and teach my children.

I invite you to explore what you create and how that shapes your creativity.

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, 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 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.

Proverb
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.