I’m writing this sitting beside the beach with the waves gently lapping on the shore, the sun shining and feeling a million miles away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of school.
Wonderful – at least for a week, before thoughts inevitably come back to what is scheduled back at the ranch. It’s at times like this, when we get to recharge our batteries and see things from a distance, that issues which may have seemed huge only days before fall into perspective and the mountains become the mole-hills that they really are!
I always try to be mindful of this towards the end of term and particularly the Easter break, when so many things are going on, that even the steadiest ship may experience some bigger waves than usual.
This year, as all of those before, has been incredibly busy given the external agenda presented to us by government, Ofsted, associations and other bodies, but I think that we have seen a massive increase in the outpourings from these offices, and sometimes we are sprinting just to hop on the spot.
Missing an important announcement or change can have dramatic consequences, so it is even more vital than ever before to try to keep up, to share the work and to delegate, while making sure that colleagues get the right information at the right time.
More than ever too we need that synergy that comes about when individuals are committed to their goals and work constructively together to achieve them.
At the same time we are going through the period when colleagues are making momentous decisions which will impact upon their lives and those of their families, as well as on our own school communities.
Some may be taking up new posts while others are reaching the end of their working lives and I am always keen to have a chat with colleagues as they come in to let me know of their plans. They are making decisions as individuals but many of the worries and concerns, as well as the anticipated freedoms, are the same from person to person and from year to year. Some people are very guarded and don’t want anyone to know, while others will regale all and sundry of the hours and minutes left!
I hope that when the time comes I will take the middle ground, preparing myself for what will be a huge change after perhaps 35 years of continuous employment, and with the understanding that one day I will sit behind the desk and the next effectively it will be someone else’s office!
I love my vocation and have had enormous satisfaction from it over the years and hope that this continues. Yes, it is hard and some days are harder than others, but as long as one can maintain that balance and know that the work we do will make a difference at least to our own small part of the world, it all falls into place.
The other side of staff leaving is the opportunity this affords to meet and greet new colleagues who will bring their own skills and experiences into school. There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction having made a good appointment as you look forward to working with and getting to know new colleagues and seeing what they can bring for the benefit of students and their fellow teachers.
So, while it can be a reflective and sometimes sad time it is also refreshing and vibrant as we can look forward to the year ahead, or is that just the thought of the waves breaking on the summer shoreline!
Diary of a headteacher is written anonymously and in rotation by three practising headteachers from schools across the country.