2016 – Time for change

  
I used to make endless lists at New Year, and always ended up failing them all, mostly because I set myself ridiculous targets that I’d never reach. Now I’m much more used to setting targets for others that are concise and achievable, and this, coupled with perhaps just being older and wiser, means that this year I want to set goals that are a little kinder on myself, that are achievable but allow a different way of doing and thinking. 

Professional

Time to take on more?
I’m now one of the most experienced members of my department; perhaps it’s time to start looking for more responsibility? I don’t know. Part of me says yes, whilst the other part of me says that teaching, particularly for English and Maths teachers dealing with massive curriculum changes is hard enough as it is at the moment. But I do think I have good ideas, and think I’m heavily involved in the decision making/planning and resourcing of my department already, so perhaps it is time…

Training..

For the second year, I have been training new teachers, through the GTP and now the TeachEast programme. I myself trained through the notoriously difficult GTP 80/20 programme, so I know the difficulties and stresses that trainees have to deal with. I have an amazing mentee this year and want to make sure that she completes her year with minimum stress and is allowed to experiment and grow to feel confident going into her NQT year. I also hope to make sure that the PGCE who will be with one of my most difficult classes, isn’t scared off for good…

Exams

I have successfully applied to be an examiner for the new GCSE from September. I know this will be added stress, but I think it would be really useful for both myself and my department to have an insight into what will be expected and where the good marks will lie. 

Sharing/networking

If I make a resource/have an idea, I always like to share it. If it saves someone time or helps out in any way, then that’s reward enough. I am also eternally grateful to all the people who give me resources/ideas and inject a bit more life into my teaching day. 
I went to TLT15 this year. It was amazing to spend time with so many other positive and upbeat people and it was much needed at that point in time to inject a bit of enthusiasm. I’d like to do more of that, I love sharing and discussing ideas. Let’s do more of that people! 


Personal

Work less and have more time off. Here we go, how many of us have this one? But isn’t it time it happened? This year, I have seen wonderful people driven to tears, I have read heart-breaking blogs from people leaving the profession, and I have seen people exhausted. I consider myself a tough, resilient woman who has dealt with some pretty difficult stuff in my life, but at moments this year, I have found myself wondering if it is all really worth it; is life really worth it if you’re constantly exhausted?
But I don’t want to leave teaching; I love it far too much. I adore the students I work with, so it needs to be more about balance. Unfortunately, I think this can only really work if everybody thinks the same, if everyone refuses to allow it to take over. I work a lot, and I work hard, but it’s increasingly obvious that the the workload this year is just not sustainable – for anyone. Part of me thinks that maybe it will become easier when this year’s year 11 have gone through and we only have one GCSE to concentrate on. We can but hope. In the meantime, I’m going to set myself some targets to try and make sure that I am making more time for myself.
 

Reading

 I set myself a target of 100 books this year and I have managed 67, although I might get a couple more in…As English teachers, or any teachers for that matter, it’s so important that we read and share good writing and hey, I love doing it. I also listen to audiobooks, which some might say is cheating, but sometimes it’s just about the stories. 

The gym
I’ve spent some time at the gym this week and it has reminded me how much better I feel, both physically and mentally. So I am determined to go at least once every other day and to fit as many evening swims and jacuzzis as possible too. And it probably won’t hurt the old middle-aged spread either…

Meeting people old and new
My children are practically adults and I’ll have done the ‘bringing them up’ bit. I was a fairly young mum and didn’t get to do the travelling around and meeting new people that I should have done. Last year I spent my 40th birthday in Cardiff with people I hadn’t seen for over 20 years and it was brilliant.  So I want to do more of that. I want to visit new places and make friends with new people. I have some plans to visit some different people around the country already, but would love to arrange to meet more. I am a very friendly person so if any of my lovely Twitter friends fancy coffee, meals or getting drunk in a pub hit me up. I’d love it and I’d bring cake, chocolate or wine.

The future…
It’s time to start thinking about the future. One child is at university and the other is nearly there. They will go off and live brilliant lives, and I want them to. I never intended to live in the same city for my whole life, but it just worked out that way, so it may be a bit later than planned, but this is the year to start tentatively making future plans. I’ve always fancied the South Coast, I just feel a bit of a pull there and am desperate to be able to wake up in the morning and walk on a beach. So maybe a few scouting missions are in order. In fact, I know they are. 
I’ve come out of a very dark place over the last couple of years and the most important thing that I have learnt is that life is far too short to be unhappy, no matter if it hurts, it is sometimes better to do something new and exciting than to stagnate and stick with what you know. New and exciting things could always be around the corner and you’ll never know, unless you try. Take it from this 40 year old, life is far too short for regrets. Life is for living. 

I hope I’ll meet some of you in person this year, but for everyone else I wish you life, love and happiness. 

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