13 July 2020

With the demands of remote working and the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis, the summer break will be a welcomed time for practitioners to re-charge their batteries and prepare for the new academic year.

Luckily, we had regular speaker Jaz Ampaw-Farr to join us on our final professional development session, ‘Setting you up for a successful summer’.

The aim was to help attendees work out how they could use their summer break most effectively for them, so that they return to work in September feeling refreshed and motivated.

It was a typically inspiring and stimulating session from Jaz, containing many useful tips for attendees to take on board and put into practice over the summer. Here are some of the highlights.

Change your ‘To Do’ list to a ‘To Done’ list

For the first exercise of the session, Jaz asked attendees to share something that they had achieved in the last few weeks. The aim here was to switch our focus from the things we have to do to the things we have achieved. Most of us are guilty of not acknowledging our achievements and instead finding fault with ourselves for not completing our ‘to do’ lists (which, let’s be honest, never really get completed!). Acknowledging our achievements provides us with motivation and helps us to be more productive.

“After an earthquake, a map is useless…what you need is a compass”

This was a particularly pertinent quote in the session. Jaz explained that after a crisis (such as the one we have all faced this year) the knowledge and methods that you relied on before won’t necessarily help you anymore. Instead you have to rely on your purpose (your compass) to guide you and motivate you.

Make a list of steps you can take to help yourself recover when your motivation is low

2020 is turning out to be a tough year and there may be times over summer when you are lacking in energy and motivation. It’s important to have steps planned for these occasions, so that you can do the things you need to recover.

Jaz gave the example of her ‘SHIELD’, a reminder of the things in her life that keep her motivated:

Squad

Health

Inspiration

Everyday Heroes

Laughter

Dream bigger than you think is possible

Jaz also recommended that you schedule in ‘fire breaks’ during the summer. These are weeks in your calendar that you keep clear so that you can have some time to focus on YOU. It can be easy to spend large portions of your summer break preparing for the next academic year and on family commitments, but it is important to put aside time for yourself so you can recharge your batteries.

And last but not least…

Jaz’s final messages for the summer were simple: talk to yourself kindly, be selfish when you need to be, and play more!

Jaz’s support in delivering online professional development sessions has been invaluable to the Skills and Education Group throughout lockdown.

Her energetic delivery and useful advice are always well received. Prior to the ‘Setting you up for a successful summer’ session, she delivered an ‘Everyday Leaders’ programme, which received very positive feedback:

‘I have gained confidence, inspiration, hope and strength.’

‘As a teacher, I have new drive to make sure my pupils and their families know I am on their side.’

‘I now know I have to take ownership of me - values, happiness, love, wellbeing ....before I can support others to be themselves.’ 

We look forward to continuing to work with Jaz next academic year. In the meantime, we hope that you have a truly successful summer and will join us for our professional development events next term – fingers crossed that we’ll be able to deliver face-to-face sessions again soon!

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