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Milestones along your journey

This week sees the return to school for children in England.

As parents undoubtedly heave a collective sigh of relief, teachers prepare to welcome and transition students back into school.

As one who has been coaching teachers during this pandemic, I can only say how impressed I have been with their heart to deliver the very best not just in terms of the curriculum but also to ensure their students are well provided for in terms of their emotional wellbeing. They have adapted with resilience and creativity while looking after the needs of their own families at home and beyond! Well done teachers – the nation applauds you!

As you go back into school, this is a great opportunity to plan some time to work out your own “Plan & Pace” programme. Over the coming weeks and months there will new challenges and unexpected adjustments as you assess and respond to the needs of your students.

So the question is…. What about you? Have you assessed and provided for your own needs in this season?

Maybe you’re sorted and have found a rhythm that works for you

Maybe you can’t imagine taking time out to do this

Maybe you don’t see the value.

Whatever your situation, because you have such a vital role to play in your own life and in the life of your students, I’d love to recommend you look in your planner and take 30 minutes to design your own “Plan and Pace” programme for the remainder of this term and then again when the Easter Holidays come. This is a great opportunity to work out a mini-programme which you can then tweak for the Summer Term.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started

1. Plan your 30 – 45 minutes in your diary.

2. Grab your favourite cuppa - or something stronger!

3. Close your eyes and take a deep breath – breathe in to the count of five and out again – do this five times. You may want to use a calming picture or play some soothing music, or just settle down into the quiet. Consciously put down the things that are on your mind and bring yourself into the present moment.

· Grab a large sheet of paper and write down three things you are proud of at the moment – take time to congratulate yourself!

· Ask yourself “What am I feeling right now?” There may be emotions in your body, such as joy, gratitude, anxiety, stiffness, tension – it can be really helpful to take a moment to identify and name what is happening for you. There is no right or wrong way to feel – just a recognition and acceptance can help.

· Then ask yourself ‘Why am I feeling like this?” and “Is there anything I can do about it?”

· Check your habits and routines – hours spent working, sleep, exercise, healthy and regular eating, water. Are there small, manageable changes you could make?

· Ask yourself “what is priority for me in this season?” Is it work/life balance? How can you set healthy boundaries? Is it your family? What are the needs and desires there? Are there targets you have to meet? – what is the timeline and how can you plan these in? What are the stressors in your life? How can you manage these better? Taking time to thing about these in advance can help substantially to pace yourself well.

· Can you plan for margin? We all need to react to the unexpected and it can help to know that not every second is scheduled. Can you take time to have a coffee with a colleague, to cut yourself some slack when marking or planning/preparing?

Finally – what are the things in your life that help you to relax and recharge? Write a list of these – why not schedule to do a couple of these each day – reading a few chapters of that novel, some gardening, exercise, painting – something to switch off with. Concluding questions …

· What small step can you take to get you started?

· How will you know when it’s working? Try it for the rest of term - if you don’t manage it, don’t beat yourself up – just pick up from where you were! We all have those days!!

· Would you find it helpful to connect with a friend on your Plan and Pace steps in order to champion each other on the journey.

My hope is that you will have found some encouragement to prioritise your wellbeing in this season

Denise specialises in Coaching into Education, staff, students and parents. For further information, please contact her on

for a free 15 minute no obligation confidential coaching session.


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