Yep the summer holidays are upon us (or those who work in education) and it is that time of year I look back at my professional year and review.
The 2013-2014 school year was a roller-coaster, no change there from any other year. There are things I wished I had done, high points and low points and I wanted to share my year.
- Getting the outstanding from Ofsted, well deserved, hard earned.
- Building my team from scratch, gaining them, developing them and letting them carve out their own niche.
- Being the key worker for a particular autistic student and being told (after 6 months or so) being told that they trust me and want me to work with them again next year. Believe me if you knew the student and the blood sweat and tears that got us to that point I felt elated, especially as this student could not always explain how they felt.
- Feeling that I finally find my calling and banging the drum for those students who are neglected, struggling and lost. Supporting them, fighting for them, laughing with them and crying with them.
- Overcoming my fear of snakes by allowing one to be put around my neck, then allowing a tarantula to sit only shoulder helping me face my fear of big spiders.
- Losing friends to other schools, we will always be in touch no doubt but I will miss the day to day laughter we will all have together. I will miss the feeling that we are all in this together and I will miss the great advice. The last day of term was highly charged, very emotional and I will be honest I shed a tear.
- The long, long hours at the start of the term as we were expecting Ofsted but had no idea when they were coming. This continued until June this year when they finally came it.
- Feeling so overwhelmed and uninspired for a variety of reasons that I wanted to leave and looked for other jobs, something that I felt so conflicted about as I wanted to stay and campaign for the students but I could not tolerate how I felt. The quote I used above summed up how I felt at times.
- Being assaulted, this was the start of me feeling overwhelmed, uninspired and unsupported. I felt very much alone at this point I stuggled to come to terms with this for some time feeling I had let myself down. I also felt that I could not support other staff members with this students, I was at a loss for a short while on what to do.
- Feeling undermined with a member of staff and having to push to ensure that I was not ridden over whilst they attempted to walk over other people to get what they wanted.
Things I wished I had done:
- Cracked the work/life balance sooner rather than later.
- Spoken up more with management and sooner explaining how I felt and what I needed.
- Delegated more.
- Faced the difficult conversations with my team sooner rather than later.
- Recruited for the team earlier and more robustly.
The 2014-2015 is a crucial year for the school, we increase the secondary school by another 180 students, some with some real trying needs. The school also opens its doors to a new primary school so we will also welcome 90 reception children. We will be steering our oldest year group towards options and then GCSE. We will be greeting new staff members and will begin to build solid relationships with them whilst keeping our teams happy and supported. I have mixed emotions about the next school year, I will look forward to it as always but I will also try not to make the same mistakes again making sure by July 2015 I have more high points than low points.