Thursday, 4 April 2019

Farewell year 13

I am a teacher that shares, what I like to call, some wisdom in the form of some advice from my own life. Things I have and haven’t done, wished I had done, and things I have learnt. For my year 13 leavers this year I decided to write this blog. Last year I wrote 'the teacher's farewell letter’ about it not being your grades that define you, and that I am proud of the people that you have become, and whilst this is still true I feel for year 13 you need a slightly different message.

So my farewell this year is really a different slant on an old cliche.

For some of you, I have taught you maths, personal development, and for others, I have taken you abroad on school trips. I hope that during that time you have gained valuable experiences and knowledge. Your next steps are now entirely in your hands and if you can remember anything from me then let it be this.

I want you all to travel the world, not to see the sights but really meet the people and experience life. Whilst there are so many sights to see it is the people that make the world. If you get a chance in whatever you do next to take time out to visit somewhere you haven’t been before. It could be Manchester or Mongolia but try and meet the people there.

In my own life, I have met some truly inspiring people. A photographer in Worthing, I met in a bank, taught me to look up when going somewhere and see things that most people walk by every day without ever noticing. In Kenya at the orphanage, I met Jedihda, who absolutely inspired me by showing me her selfless sacrifice in her own life to support others.

So my message really is "Whilst you travel near and far become a traveller not a tourist". See things, experience life, try new things and meet as many people along the way as you can.

Finally, try and become the person you would want to meet.

Good luck year 13 in your future I really do wish you every success

Friday, 25 January 2019

Focusing on Well being

The long commute filled with people on their way to London and I usually find someone I know for a chat on our journey. The rest of the carriage is relatively quiet with the gentle sound of keyboard tapping and a couple of very quiet conversations going on.

I reflect back to the opportunities that I could have had in my earlier career in finance and the daily commute that I could have faced travelling to Canary Wharf every day and I know I made the right decision not to chase the money but to value work-life balance. Well being a teacher that changed dramatically and at times the balance is really off and I have to take time to re-centre my world.

Today I am off not looking for new technology as a must-have of the latest but actually looking for things to improve the well being of staff, students and school. The lunch will be an opportunity to see some familiar faces but more importantly to make so new ones.

My hopes for the day are 2 fold. I want to find ways that technology is being better utilised in other schools both locally and internationally, also to find other schools to partner with again within the UK and beyond. Strangely I usually get nervous when delivering at these sorts of events but actually, I have changed my tack and reduced what I want to say down to a couple of slides and I am going to talk about people and opportunity rather than the technicality of it all and this has made me feel far more relaxed. I only have a few minutes and I decided to take out all unnecessary words off my slides and for the first time ever written some notes into the notes of a slide presentation!

My 5Good2Bad challenge continues


  1. Delivered some great lessons that flew by
  2. Completed all tasks for Friday
  3. Started my plan for a future project.
  4. Made a student smile (she needed it)
  5. Realised that well being is at the core of my professional career

2 Bad
  1. Not had a good parenting day
  2. Too late to bed!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Excitement about the weekend

Friday this week sees me make the annual trip to London's Excel centre to BETT. The last couple of years have seen me speak on the Teaching theatre of the Google stand but this year I will be jointly hosting a networking lunch with Google for members of the European GEG's that have managed to come together.

The last 2 year I have spent loads of time looking at all the vendors making new contacts and looking at a number of tiny startups which I look at and wonder how they managed to afford the space at BETT. I can't imagine for a second that for some it really isn't worth the work when they are competing with some of the worlds largest companies trying to get their product sold.

The lunch is a really good networking opportunity. I will literally have a couple of minutes to introduce myself and talk about why networking is so important. I plan to use my experiences of the last couple of years to talk about building networks of educators globally and then finding ways of connecting our students. I am going to be using technology this year during my stats with some of my trickest students and see how they will cope with it.

The weekend will be spent indoors for a change and instead of standing watching my children play football I will be completing a course in Air rifle instruction which I will use for scouting and maybe school if the opportunity arises.

My 5 Good from today are

  1. Great lessons today
  2. Hosted Maths chat today off the cuff
  3. Back is getting better
  4. Dealt sensibly with a difficult student
  5. Found my enthusiasm again!
2 Bad
  1. Realised some people can't help themselves
  2. Not completed enough work on other projects!

Monday, 21 January 2019

2019 - A Challenge so far

So I started my challenge last year and I was hoping to continue with it this year. My biggest issues have been getting round to doing it so I will continue each day that I can from now on but also write my blog about 2019. Today is named 'Blue Monday' the lowest point of the year and now it is all on the up!
I haven't had the greatest start to the year. My own battles at work, insomnia and illness and pulling a muscle in my back have all lead to a difficult start to the year. However, there are future opportunities on the horizon and certainly some more positive things to look forward to.
I have had a couple of good chats with colleagues and friends and I have to make a plan for my professional career going forward. This isn't the simplest of decisions as there are lots of other factors that I need to consider first!
Something else that really struck me so very recently is how vulnerable I am. As teachers we are constantly under pressure from those on high, parents and then the children themselves. It is so easy for anyone of these groups to cause stress and anxiety that keeping all the groups happy is a really tall orders that can have disastrous consequences if anyone goes wrong.
I had a warning shot across my bow and I guess I need to take the wake up call and move onwards keeping everyone as happy as possible.

So today’s 5good2bad


  1. Restarted tutoring
  2. Realised how good some of my colleagues are 
  3. Crashed and bounced almost instantly
  4. Great teaching day
  5. Praised a colleague

  1. Realised how vulnerable am I
  2. My back which is recovering from an injury. 

Thursday, 17 January 2019


So I have missed a few days and I am conscious that I was feeling much better and much busier but you know what actually I need to keep doing this to help me reflect on my days. Today has been a tough day at work but great at Cubs.

5 Good

  1. Good Parent's evening last night
  2. Plan of activities to help map the future of technology at school
  3. Easier teaching day
  4. Great Cubs night with another Community initiative in place
  5.  Seeing Students appear happier than they have been.
2 Bad
  1. Am I too quirky?
  2. Difficult student causing more difficulties

Thursday, 3 January 2019

#5Good2Bad - New Year

So Happy New Year to everyone reading this. I saw one of my students that have been doing this today and I felt that they needed the moral support of keeping this going as they haven’t had the greatest of holidays with a bereavement during the holiday.

5 Good

  1. New seating plan went ok today
  2. Alarm clocks managed to wake me up on time
  3. Started a new plan in my classroom
  4. Caught up with my ‘Uncle’ who I haven’t spoken to in a couple of years
  5. Realised I have a close network of friends to lean on
2 Bad
  1. Dark when I got to and left school
  2. Sad news from one of my students. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Day 14 #5Good2Bad

Last day of the challenge and the last day of term! Phew is all I can say. It is definitely a long time since the start of September and a chance to recharge.
So last day of the Challenge for now.

5 Good

  1. Secret Santa presents - Awesome tree decorations
  2. Performing on stage again - Don't ask
  3. Being invited to the pub with some colleagues
  4. Fish & Chips Dinner
  5. Home Early
2 Bad
  1. Leaving work with things unfinished
  2. Not being able to check in with some of my students