Friday, 22 November 2013

Passmores - do things everyone does in a way no-one does

So many blog thoughts, so little time.  I'm going to channel Phil Beadle a little bit here by acknowledging that I can't really be arsed to write this blog.  It's not that I'm not inspired by being at Passmores today for the Independent thinking day, I am. My mother in law and MY OWN MOTHER said I sounded happier tonight than I have for months.  But I can't really be arsed to write about it because I'd quite like to watch TV and drink wine and beside that the kids were a pain in the arse to get to bed and  it's taken me absolutely ages to do the washing up because there was loads of it.

But I am going to write about it.  Because if I don't it won't be fresh so it won't mean as much. When I write a blog post  I get a bit 'oh someone read it' over it which is utterly stupid as the intention is that someone reads it.  Or is it? Is the intention that I get to write it?  So when I blog I use that to reflect a lot.  I re read old posts.  I don't want to not capture (double negative - SPaG police) that moment and how I felt.

I got an extra four hours of quality JPD (rather than CPD) today from the fact that I was driven to and from Passmores by my children's headteacher.  I could go on and on but all you really need to know is that my two children, aged ten and four, genuinely think that he puts on his superhero cape before his shirt and tie.  And I think they might be right!

Arriving at Passmores and being there,  I've done it a couple of times now, is special. The first time I thought it was the building.  I get jealous when people can get paint to stay on walls and things don't leak all the time! Passmores is the stuff of dreams building wise.  But it isn't that.  It's how it feels in there.   I saw it loads last time I went as there were pupils around and the interactions and relationships were the stuff of dreams education wise.  My husband went to visit and he didn't want to like it because I'd gone on about it.  But he couldn't help himself.  As a person who loves opportunity and excellence he loved it immediately with just the same regard as me.  As soon as you walk in you feel better about yourself.  Every person you see or speak to, and this was the same at Springwell in Barnsley where Dave Whitaker is HT, no matter who they are or what they do is sunny and helpful.  Every person, EVERY PERSON, subscribes to Vic's newsletter and is on the same road with the same intentions for children.  It makes me feel like I can do that too. Vic and Dave are infectious and contagious. It's not just that you want to be like them, you feel like you can and will!  It's unconditional positive regard & authentic care for us adults too. 

The other thing that both Vic and Dave do is say things without fear of retribution, as long as they are true and fair.  They are very similar and I guess that's one of the great things about the way the world is now.  We find our value twins.  We are able to because of media and sharing.  I loved what Dave said in his talk today about when he was an NQT.  He saw colleague shouting at and pushing a child that had just had a fight.  The child punched the teacher and got permanently excluded. Dave: 'saw that guy the other day at a funeral. He's a deputy, looking for headship.  Still a dickhead.'  I don't think I've ever met a person who uses a few words, and the pauses between words, in the way Dave does.  It's something I aspire to!

Seeing Vic and being at Passmores also helps me to remember that this is the best job ever.  Who gets to go into an environment every day where they literally can change the future?  Who gets that moment most recently seen in Educating Yorkshire where your work (YOUR WORK ) affects a person in a life changing way.  It's such a privilege and such a feeling that it is totally addictive and that's why we do it.  We are addicts.  This job can be harsh and damaging but we are as addicted to it as a class A drug addict as 5 minutes of that feeling when a pupil does something that will change their life because of you and the way you are and the way you teach is worth a weeks of the DTs where circumstances conspire to convince you that you are shit at all you do.

Every single workshop contained resonance.  It was joint practice development today.  We were all in it together because Ian Gilbert and Vic Goddard had decided we would be and my goodness best of luck defeating either in an argument, never mind both! I picked up some of the best hot tips ever! Here are just a few:

1: If brilliant sparky staff love working for you they will come back across the world to work for you
2: You need a balance of those massively sparky staff  and the quiet supportive staff that sort of emerge from nowhere when you most need them and both need to feel as valued.
3. When you work in an ethos where you can ask questions you forget how little most people do that and how uncomfortable they find it to do
4. Really good teachers can teach anyone whether they are adults or children.
5. its really exciting when a massive Christmas tree arrives :)

There's loads more I could say but as I've said I want my glass of wine and twitter has been without me for a good hour now ;) so I'll finish with something I learned about myself today that was totally incidental.

I had a tweet after the day from Ian Gilbert to say that I should have come and introduced myself.  I didn't reply for ages because my first thought was. Yes, I should have.  Which was swiftly followed in my brain by 'why didn't I?'

I have two ITL cards that I've had for so long that they are kinda peach now rather than red.  They are the same.  They say 'do things no-one does, or do things everyone does in a way no one does'

When I moved into my first house. My house. That I rented. I stuck card 1 to my kitchen wall.  When I was promoted to my first leadership job.  The first time I had an office and a door that I could choose to open or close, I stuck card 2 to my office wall.  I am now in a different marriage, house and school but card 1 is on my kitchen wall and card 2 is on my office wall.  What Ian Gilbert has done for what I believe and how I am I can't even begin to explain.  What I couldn't explain in 140 characters on twitter to him is that I couldn't just bowl up to him and go 'Oh hi Ian, I'm Lynne.  You might have seen me on twitter. I hugely admire you (goes into all reasons why for last 15 yrs) ' as I would look a bit of a nutter.  But equally I couldn't not say that.  As it's the truth! What else would I say? Next time gadget :)

Thank you for today everyone at Passmores and ITL.  Your weather is becoming a wider range and longer term forecast Vic and that's making this continue to be the best job in the world.