Stick to your guns!

Young confident woman in red cape and mask

Many of us, myself included, made our own promises to change things this year. We had been through an unprecedented time and whilst challenging it also brought about a revelation that we could do things differently.

It’s a bit like when you make a New Year’s resolution- you start the year with a real passion to stick to what you promised yourself and then little by little you find yourself slipping into old ways.

I made my own promises which I wrote about in my earlier blog:

I promised I would stop:

1)writing unnecessary reports

2)having imposter syndrome thoughts

3)being a control freak

4)doing anything that didn’t add value for my staff or pupils.

So how am I doing week 2?

Given I have had no time to do reports- that one’s going really well!

On a serious note I have already had discussions with Governors about reducing the number and style of reports to be a more discussion- based format which will save me hours! I have also started a project for teachers where they do not have to type up any planning which I hope reduces their workload and made my improvement plan much shorter and more user friendly- 3 pages

Imposter syndrome will take time to change but I did a spot check with all my staff this week and 100% said they felt leaders had made school safe for them and done all they could and most felt confident returning to work- that was a start!

Being a control freak is part of my bones but I have tried to reflect much more and not focus on what I cannot control- that has been really useful this week when some of the systems did not go to plan such as parents not following instructions, instances of self- isolation for staff and pupils and lack of support with traffic from the council.

I have focused instead on my ‘circle of control’ concentrating on what I could do such as ensuring lunchtimes and playtimes worked well, weekly COVID meetings with staff representatives to ensure they feel safe and listened to and physically putting barriers out on the road to help with traffic!

The final one has been easy these last couple of weeks because everything I have done has been about staff and pupils. The day to day operations and daily check-ins with classes has meant that I have felt that I have really focused on what matters.

What will be harder to achieve, is this focus in the longer term. I know that once things settle down and we get used to the new norm I will have to make a conscious effort to remain as focused on the people that matter and not allow myself to get bogged down with tasks that add no value. It can be sometimes be hard not to get back into old habits of doing things just to tick a box.

I’ve got this on my desk now which I check before completing a task- I’m hoping a lot may fall in the ‘delete’ section.

There are also some tasks such as phonics testing, daily attendance registers etc, generally the ones led by Government that I can do nothing about. Some things you can change and others you have to accept are decisions that unfortunately many of us cannot change.

However- I am determined that my learnings from lockdown are going to inform my practice moving forward and that all the positives that came from it will not be lost.

Message to self- Don’t lose your resolve!

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