Where do you go for personal and professional support or advice?
Those who follow me will know I am a huge advocate of #TeamGeog - they are an amazing group of educators and I feel incredibly lucky to have learnt so much from all of them. Without sounding too much like a stalker, whenever I need some advice I know they are there... I have been lucky enough to meet lots of them in person and they are even more amazing in real life! I won't name individuals as I will miss someone out - but when I look at the amazing people teaching Geography I feel incredibly pleased about what the future of our subject holds. The worst bit of the profession for me is probably the unpredictableness of each week, you can write your to do list every Monday and some weeks you will have it all done by Wednesday (this is maybe just a dream) other weeks I have added 64 things to it by the end of Tuesday. I am lucky in that I'm quite good at adapting and usually quite good at prioitising but I think at times I still haven't got my work/life balance in the right place.
What strategies do you use to manage workload and protect your well being?
I'm not the best at managing my workload sometimes, but I have definitely got better - this year I made sure that from September I implemented 'me time' into my week, so every Tuesday night I go for a swim and every Thursday I play netball. I started it in September and with the exception of parents evenings I haven't missed a week. I just slotted it into my schedule and it was definitely easier to stick to because I started it at the start of term. I also don't do any work on these two evenings. I aim to never work friday night/Saturday but I also don't make myself feel bad if I need to. At the end of the day we have peaks and troughs and sometimes doing extra work one week will help you have an easier week the next week. I have recently moved to a new school and there are lots of changes going on at the moment which I'm hoping will help manage our workload in the new year.
What advice would you give anyone who felt like giving up?
I think the main piece of advice I would give is to take a step back, give yourself a break, leave the situation for a few weeks, months or even years and you will soon realise if it was the right decision or not. I think there is a lot of negativity in all professions and sometimes it's easy to get drawn in. But taking that step back might help you reassess what's important and whether you were having a bad week/month or if it's actually something you need to change. The main way I battle negativity is to remind myself why I am doing it. I have a 'happy wall' at work - which has cards I've been given by students and staff, quotes and pictures from places I've been - some with school and students and others from outside school. I try to pick up something from all the places I visit for my wall - but my husband and friends have also started contributing and it makes me smile! It's right next to my desk so when I'm having a 'I can't do this moment' or a 'why am I sat here at 6.30pm caring more than the kids' it's a constant reminder of why I am working so hard. I would seriously recommend it to everyone.
Sum up our profession in 5 words.
Worthwhile, Eventful, Challenging, Enjoyable, Inspiring