I turn 40 tomorrow. It has been an interesting 10 years. To be honest it has been a reasonably interesting 39. I went into my 30s as an NQT, I was single and still living with the parents, weekends were for partying (this sounds like a phrase a 40 year old should use). My teaching career had just started. I spent my time experimenting with my lessons, I would stay up late looking for ideas on what might work. Science was my subject and I would spend hours researching ideas to try in class. Marking I needed to work at, the ‘Big Write’ would come home with me at weekends while I tried to juggle a new job with a demanding social life! Google was the font of all knowledge and I would spend a large amount of time ‘surfing the net’.
The social life is a little quieter now and the research now consists of creative solutions to my current budget predicaments. I have replaced using Google with Twitter, blogs and other social media outlets. There are plenty of ideas out there, all waiting to be explored and tried in my own context. I feel that since starting the job I have certainly hit my first major challenge. Despite not having a large budget last year I have lost a portion of my funding due to a miscalculation in numbers while also suffering a drop in numbers. Possibly following the Ofsted we had earlier in the year.
I have never been someone who has claimed to have all the answers. In fact I have always enjoyed the level of challenge the profession brings. I like to feel the pressure of the job. However planning staffing, resources and a level of service with a deficit budget is a real test. How to prioritise what is needed against what is a so called ‘luxury’ is proving to be difficult after just one year. I want us to build on what we have started this year in order to develop and refine our systems and level of service. Any reduction in staffing or resources effects our ability to do that. Significant water leaks, fencing, buildings and furniture are all testing our budget. The teaching and learning? This is our core purpose and has to be prioritised but they are being pushed. Bullied by the pressures that a lack if significant funding brings.
We have a plan. Its a good plan. And the books will balance for another year. I will turn 40. The game has changed. I go into my 40s looking very different to the 30s man. I have a beard for a start. Grown myself and then trimmed for the big day. I am a headteacher, starting my second year. I have a house of my own with a mortgage I lose sleep over. It has a garden where I head at the weekend to garden hard! I have two wonderful children. One that wakes me up with a loving slap on the face at 5 in the morning. The other who has just asked how I feel about turning 40, apparently its very old and I should be worried. I have a beautiful loving wife who has supported everything I have done, particularly through my career. She has always encouraged me to take the challenge and recognised the level of pressure I thrive on. She has shown complete faith in my abilities. Refuses to feel sorry for me when I complain after a bad day and instead insists I know what to do.
Do I think I can rise to the challenge this budget presents? Possibly. Does my wife believe I can over come this challenge? completely. And unequivocally without doubt.
I love my life. I love my family. And I look forward to my blog at 50!