April seems like a ridiculously long time ago. Since taking the terrifying plunge of leaving my job I have been a very busy little beaver. I have, as the title suggests become a 'business woman' - I say this in the most delicate sense of the word. In my experience there are a lucky minority of teachers who are able to dedicate time to the emotional well being - and if i'm honest any sort of imagination and fun to their classrooms in the way that they'd like to. I am determined to do something about this.
Setting up a business sounds very grand. I could walk around saying, 'Oh hey, I own a business. I'm a business woman.' The temptation to wear an 80's power suit and some stilettos is UNREAL, however this would be less than productive. Owning a business means sod all unless you've got some big balls, determination and can accept that initially you will be a poor little church mouse. After registering the company I had to go to the bank to set up an account - I feel very old school about this, in that I dressed smartly and tried to look responsible with my folder of documents.
|Miss Honey - Business Woman|
Bank Lady: Ok. What does MHOAM stand for?
Me: Miss Honey on a Mission.
Bank Lady: As in Miss Honey from Matilda? Wonderful. Tell me more.
All was going well until the bank lady called another branch to verify something, I decided in spectacular fashion to send my cup of tea flying, all over myself, all over the desk, all over my folder of documents, and all over her. As she was on the phone, I started doing that bizarre thing that people do when you can't talk out loud; mouthing words as if you are deaf. I then had to run around the bank looking for a cloth. This may surprise you but there aren't many cloths available in a bank. Eventually a man found me, soaking wet, and retrieved some toilet roll. I managed to creep back into the room, to find the bank manager still on the phone. I then had to dab everything I could see with some very poor quality toilet roll, apologising in deaf speak. Luckily, she still opened the account for me and said;
"Well Miss Honey, we won't forget you in a hurry."
As mentioned in last blog I have trained as a Relax Kids coach, enabling me to go into schools, community centres, hospitals etc etc... and offer children and their families and schools a bit of relaxation and mindfulness. The Director of Relax Kids, Marneta Viegas - is a hero. Absolutely inspiring and believes in the same as I do, that children have a right to a magical and happy childhood. There are a huge number of Relax Kids coaches, 1500+, and with mental health being very big on the new government agenda I can tell that this movement is about to get BIG. I am extremely excited about proud to be a part of it. (See more at www.relaxkids.com.)
I had the extreme honour of delivering a lecture at one of the UK's best teaching colleges, (St Mary's University in Twickenham) to a group of 180 PGCE teaching students last week. It was their final ever lecture before finishing for the summer and going off to embrace their new teaching careers. I did this alongside my very dear friend Amy, who is still giving teaching her all in a primary school in Greater London. When we did a little survey before the lecture, to ask teachers their top tips on surviving the trade, 70% said alcohol. We were tempted to stand at the front and shout, "RUUUUN! RUN WHILST YOU CAN!" However, we decided that this probably wasn't the most positive message to send out. Instead we focused on being realistic and telling these new teachers that the job is blooming hard work - but it is a powerful and special job if we all work together to make it so. We told these teachers to remember that the children are children - to remember they are individuals, not percentages.
|"I believe that children are the future.."|
Amen to that Whitney.
As the late and great Whitney Houston said - "I believe that children are the future". They are - and what we teach them now in terms of technology may be entirely irrelevant in 20 years time when they are out in the working world. With that in mind we should aim to give them the tools to cope with and have the confidence to work with whatever it is they want to by that point.
Many teachers will be in assessment/report writing hell at the moment. There is a lot a pressure to make the right amount of progress. I won't harp on - I did that in the original post, but take a moment to remember that children's lives, nor their education is linear. How many of us are actually working in direct relation to the university degrees that we specialised in? Not many of us. So then why should a child's grades in aged 6 - HAVE to match up with those aged 11? It's a nonsense. The current education system is creating an army of robots, forgetting about children's individual talents and creativity. Celebrate each child's talent - teach them to believe in themselves. That was our message in our lecture- alongside encouraging these teachers to remember themselves, to take time out and realise that you are more than your job. Inspectors, children, parents, head teachers... they can throw whatever they wish at you. At the end of the day if you are a TEACHER (or work with kids) this by nature makes you kind, creative, caring and generally awesome.
I am currently creating my website, which will explain of what I do and the services I can offer to schools, community centres, hospitals and families. Relax Kids classes, Imagination Workshops and Private Tutoring (at the moment). Thank you to all of you who have been so kind to me on my journey so far!
If in the meantime you want to know more, or know someone that does - email me at email@example.com - or follow me on twitter... https://twitter.com/tillywilko - I look forward to hearing from you!
This is a terrifying but exciting venture - if I can make the difference to just a few children, i'll be chuffed. And what a fantastic word chuffed is - say it out loud, go on. It'll make your day better.