As we approach the end of the academic year I hear the question ‘hasn’t it been a challenging academic year, more challenging than last year don’t you think’? many times. Possibly, I reply possibly not. However this year I’ve tried to promote health and wellbeing in the MFL department and in our corner of the school as we are at the furthest point from the staff room, the heads office and main reception. But that’s ok.
I truly believe that we have to keep an eye on each other so we can share the load, help a colleague and take care of one another. It bothers me to think that teachers, our own colleagues, might feel very alone in classrooms, perhaps in challenging circumstances with demanding classes and heavy workloads. I know of colleagues who are driven to think that marking at break and lunchtime is de rigeur rather than share lunch and a giggle with tutees, with other students in the canteen or with colleagues in the staff room or departmental office. Connecting is a necessity so I’ve sought people out checking they are ok.
We have an open office furnished with all mod-cons (a kettle and fridge) as well as a (sometimes alarming) array of tasty treats to breakfast, lunch or snack upon. The office is cosy and is, I’m proud to say, frequented by many. Some to make a drink, some to sit and have a natter, to share an idea or to bounce an innovation and some just to chill out. Some to loan a book from our pedagogy library. Others stick their heads around the door just to see what goodies we have or to ask advice but that’s ok because we share, we look after each other and anyone else that walks through the door because we care. But we don’t half get through some (Yorkshire) tea and coffee!
To promote positivity, a key to well being, I decided as well as the end of academic year treat-fest (pastries, biscuits and cake), thank you cards and gifts I felt inspired to promote, with increased fervour, seeing life and everyday challenges from a different perspective. Teaching is a fab job but also a tough one and if someone asked for the most memorable moment at school this year, I feel certain the first memory that springs to mind may not be positive amongst some colleagues.
On Tuesday evening I was slowly meandering through John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway soaking up the extensive new ranges and satisfying a deep desire to add to my stationery and notepad collection and as luck would have it I stumbled across several boxes of delectable and fabulously coloured ribbon. A spark of inspiration hit me like a bolt of lightening as I swiftly gathered up an array of different colours and headed for the till, basket bursting, mind positively buzzing, plan hatching!
On Wednesday morning and assisted by the brilliant @wordswag app I created brightly coloured labels and skipped off to the printer half a dozen glass (empty but clean coffee) jars and eye catching ribbon in tow. With printed sheets in hand off I went clinking up the corridors, strange looks aplenty, destination reprographics. I made a beeline to a brilliant and highly skilled creative colleague and friend who quickly became an integral part of the ‘positivity plan’ who, bless her heart, helped me realise a personalised gift for several utterly brilliant colleagues. The gift was hugged by one, reduced another to tears and caused squeals of delight by the other recipients but will, I am certain, help all of us individually and personally to focus on the positive by collecting and collating ‘magical moments‘.
The magical moments jars are a collection of all things good, positive and utterly magical. It’s a very personal gift made with lots of love and with stacks of potential.
A lovely and highly valued member of the MFL team left this week to become a full time mum, no mean feat, so her jar, I hope, shall be filled with details of ‘magical moments’ of the adventures she enjoys with her two delightful boys over the coming months for her to remember, enjoy and re-experience in the months and years to come. I suspect this jar shall be filled very swiftly with glorious and deeply personal family moments to be enjoyed and cherished forever and most definitely when the boys bring their first girlfriends home!
Another brilliant colleague who has multiple significant roles across the school has returned to teaching MFL this year after a significant break so I hope that this magical moments jar shall be filled with wondrous details of the magnificent wins she has experienced building relationships with students and extending her repertoire in her MFL classroom this year and beyond.
Obviously I would never direct how my team and the other recipients should use these jars, however I see these as opportunities for collecting the positives, truly ‘magical moments’ that should never be forgotten, but, with the daily grind and hustle and bustle of life we simply do forget to remember the ‘good stuff’ and these jars can encapsulate all of the amazing experiences they have personally enjoyed and will enjoy; perhaps in their classrooms or around school highlighting special moments with students, perhaps at home with families, perhaps for both.
A green ribboned one (pictured below) is for me and I shall certainly be collecting magical moments from my classroom to cherish and keep. I see the jars as ‘brimming with possibility, hope and positivity’ and I cannot wait to start collating and noting down the magical moments from my classroom adventures, from the interactions and conversations I have with students and colleagues to remember and relive at the end of each term. I’m going to try to collate my thoughts and to reflect at least once per week, focussing only on the positives of each lesson or day. I can’t wait to get cracking but perhaps a little rest first !
Have a brilliant summer holiday everyone and a well deserved rest. Please do create some magical moments for yourselves! Inspired by the fabulous and very lovely @musicmind – thank you Nina for sharing and for always inspiring.
Thanks to @ictevangelist for introducing me the @wordswag app.
Thanks to the brilliant coffee drinkers who call in to the office many of whom have emptied the (many) jars!
Thanks to the lovely reprographics star for assisting make the concept a reality and for making them look so utterly brilliant!