Why do teachers always count the days down to their next holiday? 

I challenge you to write down the things you have achieved this year.

Make a list.

On a piece of paper with a pen or pencil now.

Focus on the positives.

Don’t do the teacher thing and let your mind drift towards the negatives.

How many things did you write? More than you thought?

This review of my year is about enjoying every day of it. About noticing the achievements of each of the 365 component parts. About how I’ve become more connected and learnt many things about myself and others both in and out of school. About how looking after me as NOT just a teacher has changed my approach and helped me become more open to new ideas and people, more confident and happier.

A habit takes a while to develop. Some people say 66 days. Others say as long as 254 days. With this in mind I wanted to explain a little bit about how I developed my #teacher5aday this year and how trying to do one thing well has influenced my thinking.

The idea that teacher and student well-being is different sides of the same coin came from Sue Roffey’s superb 2012 paper and has inspired the development of #teacher5aday since it started in 2014. The idea that spending more time on me might improve the well-being of the students I work with still resonates strongly now.

I love listening to Vivienne Porritt talk about how we develop as teachers and her view of how we change our practice. To focus on one thing. To take our learning from a CPD session and then do something with it. This year at Pedagoohampshire 16 she explained how experienced teachers develop their behaviour management skills over years of deliberate practice. Not necessarily something an NQT can pick up during an after school session. More like sustained learning over time to develop some habits that work.

Andy Cope’s contribution to the #teacher5aday #wintercalendar also got me thinking. After reading his brilliant blog I was reminded to think about cherishing achievements and events rather than counting down the days to the next holiday. This works perfectly for me as we approach the end of 2017 a natural period of review.

Two years ago Vivienne’s first keynote in September 2015 at Pedagoohampshire 15 got me thinking about doing one thing well and developing a healthy habit. She invited / threatened the audience to take their learning from the day and do something with it. After a failed attempt to start running the previous year (one 10k completed in Eastleigh) I decided I would do one thing well and focus on five gentle jogs a week for a year. To improve my well-being which would have an impact on the well-being of the students around me. I had read that thirty minutes of running would make a difference so rather than training for a race completing it then stopping,  I wanted to make running part of my daily routine.

As the year ends my first thoughts are what I didn’t achieve. I’m not sure if this is a teacher thing. Years of looking to improve with little time to celebrate. Rather than focus on how far I’ve improved I’m looking back at the periods of time I didn’t achieve my target. It might be my personality or how I approach my work and life but even after a great year I’m drawn to the times of poor performance.

Maybe it us just my age…..

I am now a runner. I would recommend it to anyone now. The health benefits are well documented and if I can do it then so can anyone. I started with the couch to 5 k and in September I took part in the Macmillan OutRun month and beat my May distance of 150 k by 50 k. The little and often technique worked very well for me developing my running habit. An early morning gentle jog set me up for my day both physically and mentally. I’ve met some amazing people and shared many a mile deep in conversation. I’ve also explored places in a different way enjoying the view as I go. Rather than counting days until a holiday I’ve counted runs in a week. Not interested in a distance or time more enjoying the moment for what it is. A sweltering day in June followed by a dip in the open air pool or a sub zero romp around a geothermal town in Iceland.

Even though I haven’t achieved my original plan of 52 weeks of gentle jogging (yet) I now can pull on my trainers and enjoy something I didn’t used to be able to do.

So what is your celebration of #teacher5aday 16 all about?

How have you developed a healthy habit?

How have you enjoyed counting the days but not towards the next holiday but as someone who enjoys term time. Maybe just in one different way.

Right enough writing I’m off for a run.


One thought on “Why do teachers always count the days down to their next holiday? 

  1. Thanks for all you’ve done with #teacher5aday this year. I’ve found it really helpful. I’m glad I kept up the running this year too. I started doing it mainly for the physical health benefits but I’ve found that the main impact has been on my mental wellbeing. A run can feel like casting of the cares of the day or week and leaving them in a trail behind me. Hoping Santa will bring a bike this Christmas! Keep up the good work and have a great holiday!


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