Thursday, 26 May 2016

Embracing my green brain

I'm embracing my green/red/blue/yellow brain this year, I tend to be very yellow as a preference, present as almost square-like in profile but green collapses when stressed and yellow becomes dominant.

This is the type of conversation that you'll often hear amongst the staff at HPPS. It's indicative of understanding our Hermann's Whole Brain Thinking profile and acknowledging that we are all different, that we need to be considerate of our differences and utilise all preferences in our collaborative teams. Even during the interview process for new staff, a mini profile is created and I remember how this altered the way I dealt with many people. Nicole, my new teaching buddy arrived back from a PD session about her profile and it has brought a new understanding of each other as well as a added a layer of humour to what we do.

2016 has become a year to embrace my green brain.

In the middle of term 1 I took up the challenge of the Sports Coordinator role, it was presented to me as something that would provide some opportunities to extend my organisational skills. I'd already taken on a Mentor Teacher role for one of our new staff, was forming a new team with Nicole in LC4 and wasn't sure how I would cope. As I drove home that night, I considered the extra work load, the time available to do this work and a lingering doubt about my ability to do the job to the level I'd expect of myself.

I believe I have a growth mindset, however, I have a continuous fear of not looking capable in front of my colleagues or wider school community, no doubt its tied to my ego. It's a nagging doubt and does inspire me to work harder so that I get things to the level I want. I also need to ensure that I face problems with a solution-oriented mindset, together these approaches to create some significant expectations and pressures that are all of my own making.

Work life balance clearly was going to become an issue, so I explained the offer to my wife, including what I saw as the positives and negatives. Her response was deserved, "You keep going on about a growth mindset, this is your opportunity to take something on and learn new skills, how can you say no?" Decision made then!

Its not that I'm not organised, but I tend to get distracted easily, am a champion procrastinator and am not excited by lists. My first few weeks of the sports role felt like was I constantly chasing my tail, my email box exploded, morning tea and lunchtime was filled with meetings with students, sorting newsletters and dealing with team registrations. Often my response in these situations is work harder, not necessarily smarter. Worklife balance clearly goes astray when I respond in this way. We had our athletics day on a Friday late in Term 1, so the Thursday was stressful. I did try using a list, Nicole thought this was great but we both had a giggle when I'd lost it by morning tea! I did have a run sheet and had been using it more as a reference point than a tick list. As a teacher, I am organised, planned and generally have things in a modicum of balance but with the various layers of sports there has been a need to refocus my attention. It's not organising the one event that stresses me, the last 2 weeks have involved Athletics, Netball, Rugby, Soccer, Gymnastics and Diving - altogether now, breath! Its required operating across many different organisations, various calendars, multiple approaches and many different dates.

Our Athletics Day being run successfully on Friday was positive, it was reaching that first completion and knowing that this is all achievable. I just have to keep moving forward and eventually many of the organisational challenges that face will become second nature. Realistically, I'm moving through my own novice to expert cycle and having to apply all I know about event management to get me through.

I recently presented a session on Reading to the PRTs at the Learning Network. In the 30 minutes before the session they met with a Continuity Leader, one of the PRTs was sharing that her Mentor Teacher has many roles at her school and she was finding it hard to get meetings. It struck a chord as I too undertake many of these same roles so I checked in with my BT as to my accessibility but decided that it needs to be something that I raised during school coaching

During coaching, we've been discussing my roles and how I can organise myself better, not in some micromanaging way though. More from the perspective of getting systems in place, becoming better at asking for support or delegating tasks to others. We have been concentrating on "How might I manage the sports role so that others can support me?" Its  about knowing what resources to tap into at the right time, there is an array of parents, teachers and management with useful expertise, not to mention the multitude of sports organisations.

Run sheets and checklists are slowly going to become my norm, they're supplemented by calendars, due dates and complemented by gear lists, budgets, wish lists and overviews. There's a healthy dose of blue and yellow, mixed with a super-sized portion of green and some red so that you don't forget you're dealing with people. It has been an incredible challenge and to be perfectly honest has had its fair share of learning pits.

What does this all mean for me and for sport at HPPS?

The holidays were shaping as a time to get some newsletters and registrations organised in advance, prepare for several events and get the budgets/wishlists updated to reflect 2016. All so that Term 2 would look proactive, rather than reactive. We've now participated in the first North Harbour Rippa Rugby tournament, have a sports section on the school website and begun forming a sports team.

My main focus is that LC4, its parent community and Nicole all get the best of me. I was employed to be a teacher first and foremost, therefore  I have to manage everything else so they all get the Reid they deserve. Sport is a secondary, albeit significant, focus.