Posts from January 2024

This blog is inspired by a thread initiated by @msybibi (Yamina Bibi) that I engaged with on X, formerly known as Twitter, stemming from her participation in the @ChilternTSH #REND event on July 15th. The acronym REND stands for Racial Equity Network Dinner. This remarkable event, among other crucial messages, highlighted leadership narratives from individuals who, at first glance, may not have been perceived as leaders. The subsequent expressions of appreciation, love, and respect in tweets from school leaders and supporters who attended underscored the inspiration drawn from the journeys of those who had overcome challenges. 
It's always hard to recognise what you are good at. We are quick to recognise what is good in others - but we hesitate when it comes to ourselves. If I was a body builder, or an athlete, or any profession where I needed to display my physical strength, the visual representation of rippling biceps or the ability to carry weights/people would be applauded. And rightly so - strength doesn't come instantly. I believe that strength is a process and we can start that process whenever we choose to. We can rest well in our strength; or we can doubt it, question it, reject it. I truly believe that we all have strength. 
I am sure that intention (and I would add 'purpose') is part of what makes us human. We want to get 'it' done. We want to get 'it' right. "I am going on a diet"; "I am leaving that job/person"; "I am going to get started on learning/playing/doing..." The image shows how intentions may feel like - long; distant; a destination to reach; a journey to embark upon. We are often encouraged when we declare our intentions, that the first step is often the hardest because of the shifting states that we find ourselves in, and that the intention is most definitely a part of the process. 
A definition... 'Empowerment is a set of measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority.' Empowerment - for me at least - is the process and realisation of becoming stronger. I don't believe that it means that you are the finished product - sometimes this is not in sight - but it is definitely a state of mind that cannot be wrestled from you once you realise that this is where you heading towards your goal or goals. And like a coat of many colours, you can feel amazing - as Joseph did when Jacob gave his favourite son a present that sadly sealed his fate as he headed, not for the summit as Joseph thought, but for the valleys....the pits. The major difference between you and Joseph is that no one would have given you the coat - you have done the work yourself - or with some support - to have moved on to a point that you may not have thought that you would ever have achieved. This is the fuel that keeps you going in order to 'finish the race'. 
When I saw the title of today's #DailyWritingChallenge my eyes lit up....and then they reverted back and my face sported a frown. It's ok - I've stopped frowning, but it's definitely given me food for thought. Writing about them may allow me to make sense of my musings - and maybe it will be the provocation for yours. 
What does diversity mean to you? What about cultural diversity? Often mentioned, usually at interviews where the interview panel will want you to know that you "know" about diversity. I would put diversity in the same bag as equality and equal opportunities. When I was a teacher, these words scared me. Not because I didn't know what they meant, but because I couldn't be sure that I was applying them to my delivery of the subjects that I was teaching. As I reflect on those early years, I know that I loved promoting difference - probably because as a black women in a predominantly white world, I embraced difference. I have always loved any aspect of character that shows individuality in any shape or form and it may also answer why I love special educational needs pupils. I was a mainstream teacher before changing phase to SEND in 2008. I guess I thrive on the fact that despite difficulties, we can express our true selves; our true characters. Overcoming our difficulties is a strength and shows true resilience which is a value that I so admire. And we can bring this to any table we choose to come to. 
I love the game Chinese Whispers - I loved it as a child and as an adult it has become something that has both amazed me and frustrated me in equal measure! I am mystified how a word or a phrase can be miscommunicated and create a whole heap of trouble - and I would go as far to say that its quite possibly the essence of all conflict in the world! But enough of the world philosophy for now...... 
I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with Professor Guy Claxton's Building Learning Power and his approach to developing a more holistic view of learning to learn? The 4 R's that he promoted - Resilience, Reciprocity, Reflectiveness and Resourcefulness - have stayed with me ever since I came across them way back in 2005. I always liked the 4 R's and resourcefulness has been a part of my life and career. 
I don't know about you - but I am tired. I am absolutely jiggered. And I have not been in work since Monday 23rd March so naturally you may wonder what has caused my fatigue - but I have a strong suspension that you know of or may be able to empathise with my symptoms! Times of change demand so much in the way of energy - and this makes sense doesn't it? Everything is different - what we thought we knew we now have to re-think. All of this requires energy (so it's perfectly fine to go and get that snack/crisps/chocolate). The brain is an energy allocation machine and its been pretty busy, even if we have been physically still. If you are in school leadership then its been manic - assessing, processing, reflecting, pacifying - and that's all in one day! No time to reflect on what is needed for your own needs - plus your family's needs too. It's been relentless. 
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