#teacher5aday Pledge 2017: Nuture through Kindness

Just looking at my Nuture post from this time last year, it was clear to see that I was trying to doing too much. This year has truly been my most difficult one to date, as my experiences were not only ones that I have ever endured before, but more frustratingly, I met obstacles that I had met at previous points in my life- both personally and professionally. I am going to try to make this a blog that doesn’t dwell on the negative or over share, but instead use the emotions and thought processes that came along  2016 to #learn how to be kinder to myself. To start, my 2016 pledges still ring true and I definitely think I am on the right track:

Get outside. National Trust membership is on its second year and whilst it gets neglected at the busier times of the year, I have managed to rack up 25k a week for the last two weeks of the year! Tragically (and much to my sloth of a partner’s dismay), I currently get very excited when I see a new yellow public footpath sign.

Spend regular, quality time with my small person. I am so proud of the wonderful young man that my son has become. His kindness has shone through in so many ways over the last year and he has a genuine gratitude for the little things.

Make fifty book challenge for the fourth year on the trot! Done! And Goodreads makes it easy to spot that when my mind is restless, my reading habits go out the window. You can find last year’s fifty books here and my 2016 lot will be up shortly.

Quit sugar! I managed six months before a holiday mojito broke me (happens to the best of us). I’m currently off meat a little bit and still eat considerably less sugar than I used to but I think the main learning curve that I have taken from this is beginning to change the way I look at food; instead of denying myself certain things, I eat to fuel myself and eat the things that make me feel good.

Work on my fear of talking in front of adults. Don’t worry too much about the direction. (These are important. I’ll come back to these).Write a book. (one for 20–)

Ditch the waste. To an extent; last year, I was blown away by the impact that negativity had had upon not only myself, but others within the profession. Looking with fresh eyes, I view this on a personal level at the moment. I’m currently reading Sarah Knight’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a f&*k’ which considers the time that we spend under obligation to the happiness of others at the expense of our own. I have learned the difference between kindness and appeasement.

Continue to blog, regularly, about more than simply musings. This has been a little bit of a 180 degree turnaround, but not in a bad way. I’ve deleted Facebook for the moment, and removed Twitter from my phone. Social media (particularly when used in a professional capacity) can be invaluable, yet creates several false allusions, including what I like to call ‘Missing-out syndrome.’ The opportunities  will still be there when I get back from whatever I’m doing in the real world.

See other teaching in action. (another one to put on a side-burner).

What can I take from these reflections? That sadly, work was driving things earlier on in the year and at one point, took far more of my brain time than the other stuff. In my constant bid to have stuff ‘done and dusted,’ I am going into 2017 at the furthest that I have ever been from a masterplan, and liberatingly so. Career path scrapped, life plan also scrunched up, and more in the present than ever, my pledges are not so much ‘to-do,’ but rather ‘to-be.’ In order to make small, effective changes, you have to strip it back a bit. Here we go for pledges:

#exercise every day, a little something. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it makes me feel good (fitbit at the ready).

#notice I subscribed to Headspace during my stay in hospital and I cannot recommend this app enough; mindfulness is something I have plugged more and more over the last few years but in doing so, I think I worked too hard at it. 2017 will be about being present and recognising the opportunities that I have to do so throughout the day rather than allocating time to be present (and somewhat defeating the object!)

#learn Futurelearn has been an amazing find and I hope to continue to find courses to explore this year at my leisure- the social wellbeing course has been fantastic. I’d also like to come back to the write a book bit here- I’m currently collecting all my recipes (sugar free, healthy bits) and compiling a bit of an introduction to how I approach food which will hopefully come to fruition at some point. #teacher5adayeat if you will. There’s a lot to be said for the way we expect our bodies to function without fuelling them properly (and what we expect from students who do the same)- but I’ll save that for another time.

#volunteer a bit of a tweak on this one. Again, instead of allocating a spot each week, I want to focus on being kind to people without expectation. Above all, I want to be kind; saying hello, smiling, making conversations at bus stops. The little stuff. Like my #notice pledge, this is a case of recognising the unbelievable kindness and positivity that people around me show me every day- @KAB21MAC, @behaviourteach, @martynreah, @thatboycanteach along with the hundreds of teachers that reach out on social media or share their experiences so that others can learn from them. This is one of the loneliest professions at times, and you cannot place a value upon the wonderful people that drive it, relentlessly and with patience and compassion.

#relax Ha! In three months I will have completed my notice period for my current role and resigned. What comes after at the minute is a blank page (which would have terrified me before). However, I keep thinking about all the opportunities that will present themselves, the people (students, staff or other people!) that I might meet and that it is actually a little exciting to not know what comes next. #relax for me this year is putting my needs as a priority in all aspects of life- we tend to view self-care as conceited, when it is actually one of the most important tasks of all. How to start? Using my voice more. Literally (see the talking in front of grown ups bit earlier on!).

My #teacher5aday pledges may not be mighty or tremendous, they may not scream change or improvement, but I think that’s the secret, for me at least. Teachers place so much expectation on themselves ( I would strongly recommend that you visit @thatboycanteach’s blog about Superheroism here for an eye-opening take on what we are inadvertently doing to ourselves) and sometimes the best of intentions get lost along the way. Be kind, always (that includes to yourself).



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