Monday, 30 November 2015

B-A-L-A-N-C-E A One Word 2015 Reflection



At the end of 2014, just when I thought life was beginning to settle down a bit, I gained a ministry scholarship for a post grad diploma in specialist teaching.  Life as I knew it was about to disappear.  I really had no idea what to expect, and to be honest; I was naïve about the amount of time it would involve. As well as teaching, I’m part of the leadership team and also SENCO for years one to eight, so, I worked about 50 hours a week.

At the beginning of the year, we moved onto our new campus and team taught with a new group of people in our learning communities. Our team had 75 students, six teachers and one teacher aide.  It was hectic. Then, for reasons unrelated to school, I had to go to Wellington for a few weeks. This was extremely stressful, but made easier through the support of colleagues, friends and family. By the middle of the year, my studies were floundering.  I felt that I was losing control, and I felt that I might end up with a big bill if I dropped out of my studies.  The pressure was building.

By the time September rolled around, I was feeling the strain.  I had resisted talking to my university advisors, because I was beginning to question my own competency. However, there came a point where I had to.  Of course as soon as I did I wondered why I hadn’t done this earlier.  They were wonderful, understanding and supportive.  They suggested plans to help me get through it all.  One idea, which I initially fought, was to only complete one paper in 2015.  However, this turned out to be a life (mind, body and soul) saver. Hence, my one word goal for 2015 ‘balance’.

I look back at 2015 and am very thankful for the team I worked with.  They supported me by just getting on with it.  When I was away in Wellington on leave, they sent texts, emails and packages to support my family and me. I can’t express enough how this impacted on my well being. When you have a small family, it’s hard to share the load. I will always be grateful.  But how was I going to get some balance in my life in 2015?

I have learnt to ask for help, ask for advice, let other people do things and let some things go.  I work smarter, not longer.  Our team has found better ways to communicate, so I don’t have to be at school quite as much.   I introduced a study night at school for staff who were studying.  I have started taking the time to walk again.  I think carefully about what needs to be done and what can wait, or can be missed altogether. 

So, does my life feel more balanced?  Do I feel more in control? Have I achieved my goal this year? I will answer that with another question, what is balance and do I need to be in control all of the time?  I think the key was to become more mindful of what’s going on for me and act accordingly.

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