I have just had one of the most intense half-terms in my career. I won’t bore you with the details but safe to say, I am ready for a break. But will I really get one?
As the half-term holiday approached, I started to make plans for a short break (unfortunately on my own as the wife and children are on a different half-term). I decided to try to combine my couple of nights away with a visit to a school. This didn’t work out so I am going to meet up with one of the primary rocks team for lunch in Bournemouth instead. On the day I set off, I am planning to visit a local school where a former colleague now teaches. I like visiting other schools although I am not sure it really constitutes having a break!
As part of the primary rocks team, I am also heavily involved in the preparation for this year’s live event. It seems to have come round again very quickly and we have lots to do so I’m not going to get a break from that.
Having used Twitter professionally for quite a while now, every time I look at my phone, I see tweets/blog posts about education. I am also a member of some Facebook groups so am exposed to posts and ideas shared there. It’s pretty difficult to get a break from all of that unless I hide in a cave.
Tomorrow I am going into school to tidy my classroom, mark a few piles of books, plan with my year group partner and maybe put up a display or two. No break for me tomorrow.
I have been pondering the phrase ‘work/life balance’. Reading the above, you would think that I have got it horribly wrong. However, there are two reasons why I don’t think this.
The first is that I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. When I am working, I am still living and sometimes even enjoying it and being fulfilled by it. My non-work life can sometimes be more stressful than my working life so for me it is a bit of an inaccurate phrase.
Secondly, I love being part of the primary rocks team. It is the best thing I have ever done professionally. Also, I love meeting up with colleagues and sharing ideas or seeing how they work. It all helps me to become better at what I do. Similarly with the people I connect with on Twitter. They offer me so much and teach me so much. I have never been better informed about the current issues in education. Many of the people I have connected with, I would now consider friends. That has got to be good, right?
I guess what I am saying is that having a break means different things to different people. I have spent today ironing while watching a film. It has helped me to clear my head. I am now looking forward to my wife and kids returning home from work/school so I can spend some time with them.
Blog by Bryn Goodman @bryngoodman
I have heard the phrase ‘awe and wonder’ used in education to describe learning experiences or hooks that teachers have used to engage their classes. Having been teaching for about 18 years now, I can probably count on one hand when I have been in the presence of awe. However, I see wonder on a daily basis. Children wondering what the answer is to a question that seems just out of reach. Children wondering if someone they have fallen out with will ever be their friend again. Teachers wondering if the lesson someone has observed was good enough.
These two words are an apt way to describe my experience of being part of the team that helped to organise Primary Rocks Live last March.
In the build up to the event, we all wondered whether we would be able to make everything come together. We wondered if we could get enough high quality speakers who would share our vision for the event and its ethos. We wondered whether we would sell enough tickets. We wondered whether things would go smoothly on the day. Would anybody actually turn up? Personally, I wondered whether my headteacher (who I had only been working for for two months) would be impressed by the event. As a team, we supported and helped each other to minimise the impact of these ‘wonders’.
On the Friday afternoon, the day before the event, we set the chairs out. We checked through all of Sophie’s lists. We discussed logistics. We fussed and fretted a little. Had we done enough? Was there anything we had missed?
At about 9.40 am, the awe kicked in. The hall was filled with people, all chatting together, making new friendships or re-igniting existing ones. The entire room had a positive buzz. This was what a grass roots event felt like.
As I watched teachers moving from workshop to workshop, I stood in awe at what we had done. Ten primary teachers had created this. I said to Gaz at one point, “We did this!” He smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said, “Yes, Bryn. We did.” That’s was true awe, right there.
After the event, as teachers were starting to leave, Tim Taylor said to me, “I told my wife that I need to stay in Manchester for Primary Rocks because it is more than just a conference. I will be seeing friends.” I was awestruck by this comment from a man I hold in the highest regard and who travels to many conferences.
To be honest, the awe I felt that day will stay with me forever.
I hope you all have an awesome day at Primary Rocks Live this year. I know I will.
The primary focused edchat - Mondays 8-9pm UK time