Sticky vinyl seats, sweltering summer afternoons, dusty gravel roads and a rickety old school bus made lurching to a stop at the farm gate a great joy! Quickly quenched, I walked into our air-conditioned house, dropped my bag in the corner of the kitchen and plonked down in front of Looney Tunes at 5 o’clock each day.
Vivid memories of favourite cartoons flood back. Road Runner and Coyote is a classic saga that I never grew tired of. I marvelled at the problem solving and persistence in the zany contraptions created by Coyote, but really admired the depth of Road Runner’s character. Road Runner always seemed to be thoughtful, decisive, forward looking, wise, agile and purposeful, all while travelling at phenomenal speed! Road Runner had an uncanny ability to be at full speed, legs a blur and in an instant, stop with a “Meep, Meep”.
Leaders of learning in our schools are also thoughtful, decisive, forward looking, wise, agile and purposeful, all while travelling at phenomenal speed! Celebration of learning and growth is the unique fruit of educators’ dedication. Unlike Road Runner, coming to a sudden stop can be quite challenging for teachers, leaders and especially our Principals.
One vital aspect of the recent practical workshop by Dr Adam Fraser with our Principals is wellbeing, especially recovery using strategies to rest, reset and reflect. Adam highlights the importance of this for self-care and done physically, mentally or ritually calls this ‘The Third Space’. The Third Space is not at work and not at home, but the deliberate practice of the in between. It may be the drive home, exercise, meditation or car karaoke! The Third Space provides a healthy boundary between the professional and personal aspects and responsibilities of life. Unwinding into a time of rest each day but especially over the semester break can require deliberate strategy and practice. Whatever the practice, Fraser suggests these three steps in The Third Space;
- Reflect on your day. Ask yourself: “What went well? What did I achieve? What might I do better tomorrow?” These questions are intended to remind you about your successes, nudge you to learn from your experiences, and adjust for the future.
- Rest by doing something that makes you present. It could also be as simple as taking a shower and changing out of your work clothes before you engage with other people.
- Reset by asking yourself: “How do I want to show up at home?” Rather than flying in the door with your work day trailing behind you, try to be purposeful as you step into your personal life.
Jesus provides a powerful model of the space between His ongoing active ministry with multitudes of people and intensive learning with the disciples by intentionally creating space to reflect, rest and reset, especially in prayer. In Mark 1:35, we read that very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Many times, Jesus withdrew to a place of solace, not to be selfish but to be mentally refreshed, physically invigorated and spiritually nourished.
With deep gratitude, thank you to each of our support staff, teachers, leaders and Principals for their professional dedication, support and service of others throughout the past semester.
Reflect, rest and reset.