#teacher5aday….a reflection after two terms

Martyn Reah has led on this way of teachers reflecting and trying to strike a better work- life balance. He has now prompted a second term review…

The 5 headings are:
#connect, #exercise, #notice, #learn, #volunteer

I may apply my own interpretations but I am sure that is ok as it’s my reflections after all and I am never good at the balance idea as colleagues and family can confirm.



In 2014 especially I have developed the way I connect in several ways. From the drinks after work on a Friday which is far more frequent at my new school, even if my consumption of diet coke / pepsi bemuses others. I now enjoy more real time conversations with people in person rather than hiding behind my online personas.- the first school year in post is now done and I kept the social aspect going. The school prom showed another side of my character as I made the dance floor my home.

I continue to connect online and in 2014 have started two networks which have a global collection of followers as intended. I like that anytime of day or night (semi-somnia) there are people out there that I can chat with and / or share sources and information. – I have spent increasingly less time awake and on Twitter mid nighttime. Less networking but better sleep at times. The first network – @globalsolo has been passed onto Pam Hook (@arti_choke) as I did not have sufficient energy or time with the demands of my new department.

For 2015, that global aspect of communication will be a focus as I present an Easter workshop on Developing Global Networks. There is prep work with friends from as many other countries as I can as I want people who attend to go away with faces to contact and chat to, I will just take away some of the initial making contact phase as I have done it already. – the workshop although attended by only a few went well and I have used Global networking through handholding audience members now at two Teachmeets – GA conference and Dagenham – sharing jewels (or similar).


I love exercise, it does my mood all sorts of good and … It loses out to a mismatched balance often. My kayak has not left the back garden since September – floods withstanding I want to be taking it out at least once per month before the Easter break holiday which will see it travelling to Norfolk atop the family car. My 50th in 2014 saw me buy a new bike, a lighter cyclocross steed. It saw a lot of service pre September, again it has stayed dry in the shed. It got out for 16km on the 22/12 and I want to go out again during the break. Again I hope to be using it more in 2015 on and off-road so that I can build back up to rides like my 25 mile circuit that takes in all three of the Country Parks around Brentwood and country lanes twixt there and home. – exercise has not made the recovery I hoped for yet. Kayaking has only happened twice – both times greeting school groups on practice Bronze D of E trips. The bike has now started to come out. I have managed up to a 19 mile ride, but still needs to be far more.

There will be walks including the local nature reserve at Hanningfield reservoir with our Christmas binoculars so now we can say that bird over there is… As long as we remember to take the bird book too. – local walks in nature reserves has been a great success with some sort of walk most weekends this year unless away. The binoculars have been used increasingly.


I posted at the end of term about the eternal question…do I ever stop thinking about geography? No, I don’t as I am #alwaysageographer. So in terms of noticing, my eyes are always seeking new ideas, patterns, changes around me. Many find their way into my teaching – I believe in modelling being observant – I continue to take photos and now have started sketching too inspired by my friend Lucie..

I also need to continue to notice the members of my family and friends and be there to support them in any way I can. This has worked so well through the use of #BDAmigos, #mentalhealthmatters and my involvement in the Mindshackles project. I look forward to visiting the BETT show at the end of January and attending my friend Ian’s session on Wellbeing as we have been there for each other which I think we have both found reassuring. – family support has varied depending on energy levels but there have been several posts about this during 2015. My mental health has had a much stronger year, yes there have been dips, even to the point of thinking about ending it all but I have never even attempted this and we go on. Ian’s session at BETT was a privilege to attend and see a fellow #BDAmigo moving forwards. I have also been Shaun the sheep hunting with a range of  amigos – great to meet and chat. I must try and catch up with Iesha and Mindshackles over the summer.


The hardest thing for me to do is to sit still and do “nothing”, and I need to work on this more. I have used mindfulness apps to help me with this, so strictly I am doing something. But timeout is something my brain, emotions and body can do with from time to time.

I will be busy and I will continue to learn something most, if not every, day(s) and I enjoy this. I remember spending several years when my sone were in KS1 how they would not accept that teachers did NOT know all the answers. I will continue to advocate the importance and value of lifelong learning. – the advocacy re lifelong learning continues. I am hoping that now I am in the summer holidays I will slow down, I have started well this morning, even if maybe I should have tried to go back to sleep when I awoke at 05:41 hrs.


I used to volunteer in the usual sense when our children were very young. I had the privilege to be a #Sam for a couple of years. Now I do lots of things for others, whether that is volunteering an opinion, lending a hand I work situations that go far beyond the requirements of the job.

My two volunteer foci for 2015 will continue to be the tweeter running @globalsolo and @gasigict accounts. I started both in the lat 12 months and I enjoy the role of facilitator. I have moments of doubt when I start comparing myself with others using the links, but then manage to remind myself I set myself up as the facilitator as I find making links enjoyable and to be frank I am good at it (self affirmation – how much I have moved on from my BD low moments). If others ripen with ideas and produce something beyond my skills I just need to sit back and think, I helped and that is plenty to be proud of. I continue to meet people just starting out with Solo Taxonomy – I feel I can help them get started. The geographical links that the gasigict account is making fills me with hope and helps me with my friends truly spread all over the world. I may not always be able to understand the language of the tweets, but infographics and images provide resources I can use to spread the boundaries and awareness of other learners. – well this year has seen me give up @globalsolo network and my role as a Promethean advocate – things had to give with work demands. However, interest in and involvement in the John Muir Trust award has taken my department to Provider status, an Explorer award for myself and a set of science teachers and technicians happy to have a new ally in increasing the biodiversity of our school grounds. I was lucky to share this project with others at the July #PedagooLondon. That weekend also saw one of my photos from mooching around Brick Lane / Spitalfields be exhibited in both of he #teacher5aday exhibitions. I also wrote up about my online global networking and became a Fellow of MirandaNet. Applications for FRGS and CGeog await summer break attention.

In conclusion after two terms, I have not reached all my targets but that’s ok, I have become reflective and made sure I take time out every weekend. When I have come home exhausted I have recognise that and rested.

Thanks for the idea. Martyn, I will review how things are before the September return to school.

All feedback welcomed.


3 responses to “#teacher5aday….a reflection after two terms

  1. Pingback: #teacher5aday week 3 updates | 20 years a teacher

  2. Great to see how you’re getting better at giving yourself credit for the things you’ve achieved, Andy! That’s something many of us need to do more often!

    Good luck with your #teacher5aday plans in 2015.

  3. Pingback: #teacher5aday….a reflection after two terms | Mishmashlearning goes blogging https ://mishmashlearning.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/teacher5aday-a-reflection-after-two-terms/ | Mishmashlearning goes blogging

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