Today I had my absence review meeting and on Monday 7 December I will be back in school. It’s only part one of a phased return but it’s good to now have a plan for six school weeks from that date. I must make the most of the incremental nature of the phased return and have an honest review at the end of it what the next steps will be. Hopefully I can then be posting more positive blog posts once more.
Thanks for all the supportive contact from my friends online.
Black Dog / depression is known by many names to many people. It affects us in different ways and we have different ways that we manage our own condition. Sometimes this works and at other times life overbalances and we are ill. Since September 29 when I suffered a “breakdown” I have been working at redressing that balance so I can function again amongst others. I am almost there, it will take a bit of time to phase my back into the lifestyle and daily demands but, and most importantly, I want to be back in my classroom, teaching classes, developing the department and continuing the work I started last year.
Have I learnt anything? Yes again I have had to step back, rebuild my self confidence and resilience and look at ways that the role demands more from me than I can give and maintain a sustainable lifestyle.
I will be developing, alongside my counselling, new routines, checkpoints and activities that mean that my life will not always be teaching led. I have discovered and embraced a new hobby that does not link to work and involves socialising with a range of other people, most of whom do not teach or work in education. I will use my breaks in the working day to switch out and not be available all of the time. I will set time limits for the week and stick to them. I will not be weight lifting at the end of long tiring days and the plastic box in the boot of the car will cease.
Will I complete everything, all of the time? No. Will I aim to be in work consistently motivating, sharing learning and developing the young people I work with – pupils and staff? Yes. There is a stark choice here – play to an ever increasing demand while workload and work-life balance are bandied around as terms but not adhered to OR manage my workload and work-life balance so that I stay healthy and continue in the job that I love and want to continue doing.
As the image shows from my first sketchcrawl at Borough Market on November 7th, sometimes we need to let the bustle of life pass us by and focus on one thing at a time. Take time out occasionally as I did here to answer the lady’s questions about sketching in such a busy environment. On this day I knew that I was getting back to being ready to work in the school environment.
No animals were hurt in this event or knees damaged from crawling around.
So what is a sketchcrawl? It is a group of people who like sketching getting together in one area or on a led route visiting and capturing the atmosphere, architecture, life of the area in an artistic form. It may include painting but often starts with a sketch. It can be on a menu, a sketch pad or a mobile device or …
It is about sketching live. Yesterday I took part in one with the London Urbansketchers at Borough Market just south of the River Thames. The event ran from 11.30 to 16.30 and in that time market goers found a variety of people, over 20 of use drawing and / or painting around the market place. Some were sat on foldable stools, others sat at cafes sipping at rapidly cooling drinks between pen/pencil/brush strokes, others stood to the side of busy routes through the market. There may have been other teach inquest, these are what I saw or did.
Now, this week rather than go on about my sketches in detail on here I have started my own Sketching blog. The link will take you to Saturday 7th’s post on the sketchcrawl. If you fancy joining one let me know, look up urban sketchers online or make up your own with family, friends, colleagues or even strangers.