It’s almost a week since the last Northern Rocks conference and I’ve been musing about the effect the day had on me ever since .
When I left my Headship I felt like the heart of me had died a little, at times, a lot- there were moments I wondered whether it was even possible for me to go on.B eing a teacher was all I’d ever wanted to be, even when I worked in retail and banking in my younger years. An OU degree and two kids later, it happened and I loved it. The road from Midday manager, TA, trainee, teacher, senior leader and HT in three schools was such an amazing adventure, as well as those in procuring an MA, being a network lead, and SLE and ELE roadtrips. All my learning along the way fuelled every decision I made for children, staff and families to inspire a love of learning and life.
Leaving a headship is wrapped up in a myriad of complex emotions and issues around loss and carries such a shift in identity, not just for ourselves, but sometimes, in the eyes of others too. It’s interesting how I became invisible to some people. No matter! My own learning and development and reconnection with my values and purpose spurred me on. The road led me to such rich adventures with so many wonderful people who saw me and valued me. I have had the good fortune to connect with so many values- led people on my Boundless adventure, and last Saturday was a highlight.
From the very start, collaborating with Jenny from Purplemoon to lead our interactive workshop and share the power of play in getting to the heart of serious thought focused on nourishing and supporting leaders at all levels made my heart sing. Sharing ideas and developing vision with Jenny is always joyful. Seeing people’s faces as they entered the room last week and they saw Lego will stay with me forever! The insights shared in the session nourished my soul. I certainly found more of my tribe in that session.
Reconnecting with old friends and those who have inspired me as an educator was life- affirming as well as hopeful, in that so many of us are so passionate about ensuring we create worlds where our children can develop the skills and understanding to flourish and thrive , with a deep commitment to enabling every child to succeed.
I have always been a champion of active learning , enabling agency and reflection while integrating the key aspects of direct instruction where it’s needed, but always focused on empowering learners to take charge of their own thinking, hence my approach to ensuring adults have the same experiences and the driving force behind much of my work. So many of the voices I heard last week were saying the same things. This is part of the quest to build the opportunities to thrive for our children.
Since I became Boundless I’ve had a fair few frustrations along the way because I know stuff that matters and I’ve developed some great work, but some of it lies in wait for the right people to listen and walk with me a while, or for me to find my voice and share it in the right places. All the work I did as the network leader for Leics RSC associate schools is still on the brew. I will shape the drafted book as soon as I can !
In addition to this, I have now developed an approach that aligns the elements of resilient leadership, rooted in developing emotional intelligence, building active approaches to texts and incorporating Resilient Leaders Elements for children and young people, Barrett’s seven levels of consciousness and Solo taxonomy, as well as building Oracy , Reading and writing skills and conceptual understanding . This lays the foundations for collaboration and preparing for challenge and risk- taking within an uncertain world.
I’m only just realising how powerful this could be! I’m hopeful that I can share this wider.
Saturday helped me to shape so much of my learning into some tangible thinking. I know leading teaching and learning is a key area of expertise for me and I’m planning to step into it more as well as deepen my coaching approaches. I’m currently learning about embodiment and somatic coaching, which is probably just right for where I am right now.
I’m lucky I get to work from ITT right through to a range of levels of leadership. At the heart of it all lies the golden thread of learning. I am deeply committed to radiating passion, purpose and love into the life and work of educators and their learners .
Learning about myself still always seems to take my by surprise! The joy of learning is actually my Superpower! Thankyou Debra and the team at Northern Rocks for enabling me to see and say this. I may not have my class or my own school any more but I will never stop enabling others to see the joy in learning.
The future is Boundless!