I dreamt, I woke up sad, I know it’s a mini dip and I will do things today but I will feel flat. I shared this on Staffrm.io a teaching mini blog site that I joined a few years ago and I still contribute to occasionally.
To be honest as many of you know blogging posts are my steam escape valve, I vent in writing and it helps me. I have never been widely read like some in education but that’s fine, it is helpful to my #mentalhealth.
Mentally I could teach but not emotionally I would just be waiting for the first slip up and cave and I owe it to myself and all around me not to do that again. It’s taking time to let go but at the end of the day 28 years and 120 days is a long term habit to unpick.
Still undulating with uncertainty in my mind from two days ago but lots of rises too. I have spent two evenings listening to live music at Swanage Carnival Week’s marquee – a great release and last night I sketched one of the bands too. I placed the pictures of Dana Immanuel and the Stolen band on Instagram and they have liked the b & w and coloured pictures post. Speed drawing needed.
On Monday I did a large panoramic piece after shaking myself up a bit. Then later I took part in the Carnival week 1000m open water swim, there were 36 of us and many wore wetsuits. The water temperature was good. I wasn’t last it took me a while to get out of the wa Today it has rained and been very windy most of the day. I have posted various pictures completed in the last week and these include a range of picture sizes.
Tonight I intend to attend my support group as I need to as the support will be welcome and a chance to see how others are doing too. Overall I am stable and that is fine.
Yep, for regular readers and friends – it’s a dip. I recognise it as such even though the sun is coming through the window. It’s not going to be allowed to have my whole day but to start with I am going to roll with it.
When I was teaching I increasingly made it my business to connect and network especially as social media allowed links overseas as well as across the UK. I felt this enhanced my professionalism and the teaching and staff training / management that I did. Several of my senior managers questioned why I would bother – I am still convinced that I was correct and they were misinformed, but whatever. I developed networks for things that I was interested in – Solo Taxonomy practitioners; a news sharing geography connection. I enjoyed the late night edchats with colleagues in the Southern Hemisphere for example.
Now my networking as I work at becoming an artist and one who earns some money from it means that I tend to connect on a more local scale. Yes there are still social media links and looking at each other’s online status / presence but much more connection is face to face and that is generally enjoyable.
I think this morning is one of those transitional – what is my purpose soul searching moments. I have almost let go of the “teacher” label but getting ex pupils to not call me Sir or Mr Knill is harder. I feel that many education links now make little sense and just remind me I can’t cope with that anymore, it proved to be detrimental to my mental health.
However, becoming an “artist” means baring my soul through my work, peoples reactions and so on. My hide is not always tough enough yet and I find myself being scared.
Meanwhile at home I have gone from head stuck in work mode for 60+ hours per week to having time to relax, work etc. I am not good around the house as I don’t notice things that passed me by previously.
A lower start to my day which I know will pass
Reflective and a culling of my LinkedIn contacts and profile
An appreciation that the sun is shining outside
Knowing that later I may do some art but only if I feel the calmness return
Have a good day yourselves.
I went out for a walk in time for sunrise on Tuesday morning and posted this on social media afterwards as it sums up how I feel about my change of direction.
I used to work for employers (schools). I still have one employer for my freelance part time job where there is structure and tasks that must be done but an opportunity to interact with customers. My main focus though is using my art to recuperate in periods of doubt, this week being one, and develop my work as an artist who sells.
I am changing how I work, no longer am I ruled by timetables, bells, deadlines set externally. My life doesn’t have a daily timetable – it varies and this still suits, in the future I may need to timetable in art time but I am enjoying the flexibility for now. I see friends and ex colleagues starting their six week holiday – I don’t have holidays, it’s not a dads statement just what it is. I have two set work days (even these can change) and then five days to use in a variety of ways. I still rush around too much at times. In six months I have created an art vehicle (AndyKnillArt.com) that has seen me publically try and see if people like my work enough to part with their hard earned money. It was a big risk for me personally especially at a time when my mental health is still on a rollercoaster, although less steep drops now. I have responded to the Interaction of visitors, and buyers. I have discovered that through theee commission based events that the ensuing stress levels this is not an area for me to work on at this time at least, but I have been trusted to do this three times already with both photography and art. I have tried new texhniques and media, attended art group, met a range of other local artists, some of whom I would happily call friends now. I have settled in 11 months into a new setting and got to know many new people – I am home now here in Purbeck and I live my surroundings even on the wet and windy days.
About seven and a half months ago a combination of circumstances including a decline in my mental health saw me leave my last full time role and the teaching profession frontline for the final time. My last visit to the school buildings was a surreptitious trip to collect my belongings at about 7 in the morning before staff were about to avoid meeting others except those supervising my visit.
Since then I have spoke with many of my ex pupils, some of their parents and some ex colleagues. The school premises however were an area I had no reason to return to, but had a shadow for me,
Today I ran a stand at the school’s Summer Festival. I was on the school grounds again but in plain sight. I found out about the event from friends involved in the school. I contacted my ex headteacher to see if he and staff would be ok with me being there, his reply was positive.
I did not take much financially, but got to raise awareness of my art work. The key for me was that the shadow of creeping back into school is now laid to rest. I found it very touching that after 35 weeks of the school year my 10 week stint was still significant for a number of pupils who have had several staff since.
There will always be others who will not want to communicate, I respect this but today was another significant step for me. I continue to have nightmares where teaching situations go “wrong” and it is going to take a long time to finally let go of my teacher role after 28 years plus, I hope it does come sooner rather than later.
Dear reader, have you had circumstances where you have laid a “shadow” to rest?
I am now happy to use the word artist to describe myself after a very successful Purbeck Art Weeks 2017 fortnight – to see more re detail please read the posts on Http://AndyKnillArt.wordpress.com .
In 16 days 252 people visited my Open studio, they spent over £400 on art that I produced and I worked 16 consecutive days – not a pattern to repeat too often.
I would like to thank my blog followers and especially old education teacher friends for their support in my “new life”.
I awoke at 06:30 in a slight panic and need to escape my dream, not the first time and I am quite sure not my last since I left teaching I have quite frequently had bad dreams about me failing in classrooms / teaching because of Poor discipline or breaking down mentally / emotionally. I have left, I am not going back to a classroom ever again because I know I have lost / used up all my mental resilience. I find myself talking to visitors to my art studio at the moment about my mental health ran out, came to the end of its tether.
My brain/ memories however won’t let go. I had the messages of support from ex pupils and colleagues. I k ow that most of the time I did a good if not excellent job but no more. That last statement still saddens me as I came out because I fell apart for a range of cumulative reasons.
Please do not offer me spiritual / religious belief based answers to my dreams because I will not be able to cope with such theories.
In reflecting, I realise how quickly I feel on edge in situations where I feel I have let others down. I must allow myself some space, forgiveness and aim to let go of things and thoughts, but it is not proving easy. Since I started essentially a new direction in my life officially on January 1st 2017 I have had several crises of confidence. However, at the same timeI can recognise that I have had many successes from:
– Glimpses of Brilliance (GOB) diary – loads of positives on most days
– I can do and am indeed more than “teacher”
– I can cope with things not working, mainly
– peace and quiet are actually pleasurable and I do not always have to be doing
Many thanks to those who continue to be supports and / or reach out. Some people. I have met in 2017 have found it odd to hear that I have mental health issues, but I can assure them that side will become apparent at times.
This blog has had a more retrospective / reflective role in the last 8 months as a new beginning fell apart and an alternative new beginning started. Last night I sat and read through all the posts from August 2016 to April 2017. It was good to see how low I had become and I was able to see that even on #rollercoaster days where my mood varies that I am in a better place.
So, how is life now we are in May:
This weekend I do my 14th and 15th shifts at Wareham Boat Hire – I have now manned the business on my own a couple of times and successfully set up and packed away. I have had a go in all of the boats except the SUPs which have rarely been out so far. I have learnt routines, how the various types of equipment work. I have a better knowledge of Wareham and am able to help visitors with questions. I really enjoy my days by the river in our sun trap. I have been fortunate to have only had one shift rained out. Last week Anne , while visiting, asked how I would score the job out of 10 for how happy it made me feel – my answer 19 !! Yes it is that good. At the end of the day I go away relaxed with nothing extra to do. I have started to paddle my own SOT kayak too in Swanage and on the River Frome. I will do more of this as it helps me when guiding our clients.
My artwork – I enjoy it but the being commercial aspect has caused variations in my mood and self doubt to come thundering in. In the next 16 days as we head into Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW17) I will:
– collect exhibition piece one back from L’Artishe gallery in Swanage
– drop off pieces, exhibition sheets and labels at Etches fossil collection in Kimmeridge, Verges piece for RSPB Arne and Corfe Castle canvas, prints and cards at Rollington Barn for PAW HQ exhibition. I will also have pieces on show at Art Workshop in Swanage
– make my home Open Studio (22) ready to receive visitors with signs, a silk flag, old examples of work and new pieces developed through the 16 days of the art festival.
– I must just enjoy the experience of chatting about my work, mental health linked reasons for starting. A lot has happened since the end of January, yes all that time ago!!
So life has enough to keep me busy. In addition there are family linked tasks that take up attention to. If you are in Dorset over May 27 to June 11 please pop by between 10 and 4pm for art stuff and contact me about other times. We have some guests booked but others are welcome.
This week some things have knocked me off kilter but now over 130 days into my GOB diary keeping only 11 have ended as being below ok. I don’t always dismiss the negatives now and some of those dominate my thoughts but every day has positives of some sort and there is clearly another side to me apart from teacher and I have a future worth living. Those two aspects are huge compared to where I was mentally just a few months ago.
Alternatively there are also weekly news updates about the art work on AndyKnillArt blog.
Posted in GOB 2017, Mental health, Post teaching, sport, Wellbeing #Nurture1415 #Teacher5aday
Tagged art, boat hire, future?, GOB, hope, person, Reflection