Woman Leaping

It’s a while since I’ve blogged about myself. I’m so used to having a goal, an audience and an aim, but the wonderful Georgia Holleran suggested it might be a good idea, so here I am.

21 days ago, I resigned from my teaching post at my much-loved school of three years, after 21 years living as part of the fibre and fabric of the school day. Schools will run in my blood always, and will still of course by the focus of everything I do, professionally, but, from September, no longer will I dependent on an external bell, timetable, schedule or calendar. I’m taking charge of my own career, going freelance, have set up a company, have a wealth of possibilities and a stomach which feels almost constantly as if the lift has just descended suddenly or the car has gone too fast over a hump in the road.

Those around me have been remarkably supportive, from the amazing leadership coach who first pointed out how much I have to offer, and that the world of education is so much bigger than I might have imagined, to my long-suffering husband and parents who have worked valiantly to disguise their anxiety. My kids are bereft at the thought of never seeing my students again – they get rather attached, you see – but excited at the prospect that I might be able to do a few more drop-offs and sports’ days than I already do.

And me? I’m riddled with germs, constantly exhausted, and going through such a kaleidoscope of emotions from minute-to-minute that I’m as exhausting to be around as I feel. I’m constantly distracted at home, still making sure I put in 100% at school, my brain never stops plotting and projecting and there are lists everywhere, from well-intentioned colour-coded apps on my phone to the back of my hand to the backs of the receipts which make the kitchen top (always) invisible. [Adding to the list: need to find a way of keeping receipts rather than letting them disintegrate at the bottom of my handbag].

So, what am I going to do? The flippant answer to this, and the one I’m frequently falling back on is, ‘erm – not sure, really’ followed by a rather unhinged, wild, ‘hell to the wind’ giggle. Whilst there is a little truth in this – I don’t know how the shape of my days will pan out, how exactly I’ll schedule all the conferences and the articles and the school visits – I have worked REALLY HARD to work out my ‘niche’ (why can’t I type or say that word without thinking Ann Summers?), to address the doubts and the reservations, to plot out the mortgage payments and set up calendars and systems… I’ve even organised the folders on my phone. I’ve had inspirational conversations with top influencers and people who’ve inspired me for years, who have done everything rom play devil’s advocate to offer an array of generous and invaluable advice. I even have an accountant. How grown-up is that?

I’m going to build on my research and reputation as a writer and speaker to support teachers, particularly those earlier in the career, to feel supported to stay in their careers for a long as possible. I’m also going to build on my new project to directly support young people and their parents to thrive at secondary school.

What’s harder to pin down is the tumult of varying thoughts which are currently dominating my mind, from the crucial to the utterly illogical; the minor-but-important to the wild dreams. I have deliberately put no particular order to the list below.

Teachers’ pension – what to do?

  • How do I keep my hand in in the classroom? I want to be teaching, call myself a teacher, but need to find a way of doing so which works for both me and the school
  • How do I keep the thing I’ve always valued the most: my integrity? I know how teachers feel about the kinds of ‘consultant’ who haven’t taught for yonks and are parachuted in to tell them how to do their jobs. How do I avoid being perceived as any way as falling into the bracket?
  • How the hell am I going to say goodbye to the students and colleagues to whom I continue to be utterly devoted?
  • How do I organise the 3000 different disparate thoughts and ideas in my mind at any one time? Trello, thanks @teachertoolkit, is proving a great start.
  • How, who, where and when do I approach the myriad organisations, from schools to conference organisers, I’d love to work with? Do I wait for introductions or be thoroughly audacious?
  • How do I keep as much contact as possible with young people. I’m going to miss them so much!
  • How much do I take on pro bono?
  • How do I ensure I stick to my stubborn promise to keep MY 50% coming into the household?

You get the drift. At the moment, I’m either going at 1000mph or, basically, asleep. Things will find a rhythm, won’t they? Midlife crisis, you say? Pah. I’m quite stubborn. I’ll make this work. Watch me. But I’m going to need a hell of a lot of help along the way!


Image: Fashion shoes photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com