Tomorrow I will be posting a poem called ‘Baggage’, I mentioned in week four of journalling like this that I would be writing a poem in response to Hazel Haye’s comment on how we never keep a ‘bag of happy’. It is a cynical take on the metaphorical baggage we carry, thus I wanted to have a more positive outlook in this week’s journal post.
This week it has been half-term, and probably the best I’ve had ever since beginning my career as a teacher. In my first year of teaching it was full of essays, marking and what felt like never-ending, laborious planning. In my stint as an education blogger I wrote at length about working during this time, finding the balance between working from guilt and working from enjoyment. They say these things take time and I agree.
This week it has been half-term, and I’ve managed to strike a balance. A balance months ago I would have clinked a glass of gin over, cackling cynically in the face of anyone who told me somewhere, under some rock, I’d find it and have it for my own. However, keeping with my new found optimism thanks to support and understanding where I have needed it most, I wanted to share with you my cheerful, grateful baggage I would like to hold on to for a little longer going into next week.
First of all, the demon. The one nagging, convincing me when I’m staring at the kettle or running a bath that I’m not good enough, not trying hard enough in my work. I’ve known for a year now that my focus is assessment and how I use pupil assessment to enable them to make progress. I took this in hand this week, I will not bore you with the medium term plans I created or assessment opportunities I planned in. Instead, I’ll take you through my mindset. In my mind, I had finally been given the space, freedom and resources to tackle the demon reminding me where I was lacking. I planned my half-term (control freak alert!) the Friday before it started and I planned my work on my career right at the beginning. As a result, I achieved it this time. I’d been making mental notes for days. This is not helpful if you have not got the space to do it, however, this then makes it very clear that if you do feel stuck in a rut – you need space, freedom and resources; you need to work out who isn’t providing what, even if that includes you. I’ve been lucky recently, so I didn’t want to waste it but as I said last week, I went out and found the space, freedom and resources; I took a risk. Change isn’t comfortable.
Secondly, my mid-week was tightly packed with seeing my best friend, treating myself and walking. I got a haircut, or should I say, survived a haircut – long story short it took a year to grow my hair past my shoulders, the thought of anyone taking scissors to it gives me night tremors. Nevertheless, I lived to see another haircut. I went and spent a couple of hours, in wonderful company at a spa. After all, there is nothing like sweating in a seriously steamy room with strangers. I spent the day walking from Suffolk to Essex (sounds better than Flatford to Dedham…) with boyfriend, bestfriend and her dog (@wishuponastardust on Instagram). I surrounded myself with good things, people and places. I also did not plan any work in for these days, so I enjoyed them – more so knowing the main bulk of work I had hoped to do had already been done in the two days before.
I’ll admit, this week’s ‘bag of happy’ is not spontaneous. I did not travel far, I did not do anything out of the ordinary and I certainly did plan in great detail. However, sometimes you do not have venture too far and at least it reminds you happiness, the elusive emotion so hard to find and easy to miss, is never too far away. And being a complete control freak isn’t always anxiety inducing.
To end, the only tiny bit of spontaneity I can find from this week is creating my cat, yes, my cat, an Instagram account – you’re welcome. Follow him on @lifeofgingersimba, he is fame hungry and delirious with the 30+ followers he already has.