The problem I have with new year’s resolutions is that they’re mostly about doing something new – something we feel we should be doing – like eating kale or doing yoga. And often we return to school after Christmas with this same mindset. We have been on Twitter, we’ve read edu-books, we’ve had time to catch our breath and now, as we return to school, we want to do more things. Exciting things. But, don’t.
Instead, stop doing as many things as you can this term. Don’t introduce new things, even if they seem like a really good idea. Simply focus on the core business of teaching and learning, and making that as easy and effective as you can. Do not exhaust yourself, your students or your staff by trying something new and glittery. Just because it works somewhere else, or in a book, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.
A colleague once spent three days of her Christmas holidays creating a room of interactive displays. The children were intrigued for an hour maybe, and she was exhausted.
I know of one school that tried to change its approach to target-setting in January. Staff got half an Inset day, students a 20-minute assembly. All it did was confuse the community and take up time.
As you start the new term, avoid anything you know you can’t sustain – it will exhaust you and it will knock your confidence. What we need for the weeks ahead is rested and determined professionals doing what they do best.
Keziah Featherstone is head at Q3 Academy Tipton. She is a co-founder and national leader of #WomenEd and a member of the Headteachers’ Roundtable