Today’s Blog comes from an ex-secondary Headteacher, trainee therapist and Integrity Coaching Associate, Tim Small.
I’ll never forget the face of a dear friend one evening as he arrived for the start of a two-day retreat.
He was in a leadership role in education. His week so far had left him looking pale and harrowed, with the crease of a deep frown between his eyes, which were dull. The light was out. He looked spent.
Forty-five hours later, he was beaming. His face was alive again, twinkling with humour and he looked ‘on top of the world’. It was quite a remarkable transformation.
What had happened in between?
Those two days were like a ‘plunge pool’ of reflection and restoration. Being in a Circle of Trust had made him feel safe to allow his vulnerability out, so it could be shared, honoured, treated, put into perspective.
Rising above it, like a helicopter, he saw the wood for the trees again. A walk across fields even imprinted that image on his memory. Nothing was quite so important as to get the better of him again, as things had started to do.
In quiet dialogue with like-minded fellow professionals, he found answers coming to him. He had new clarity about the way forward and new energy to get there. He regained the quiet conviction that comes from remembering the values that underlay his professional calling.
Three Reasons School Leaders occasionally need to retreat
1. Our relationships, at work and home, can get overloaded, mostly with other people’s agendas. Retreat provides us with that precious, calm, reflective space in which we remember who we are and what really matters (and what doesn’t!) that the pace of work in school can starve us of. On top of this, we find a place where can draw on the unconditional trust and regard of our fellow professionals who understand but without any self-interest.
2. Our first responsibility is to be fully present every day, aware, attentive and ‘on form’, with ‘time for people’ and the wisdom to make snap judgements accurately. The energy required to do this on a daily basis is huge and needs regular renewal, which is exactly what retreat offers.
3. However strategic we try to be, we can always benefit from renewing our ‘helicopter view’, to gain clarity on the situation we are in, the challenges for what they are and ultimately begin to see the wood for the trees.
I believe that if we model this way of looking after ourselves, so we have that much more to give, our colleagues may get the message, do the same and have that much more to offer the children and young people, whose success is our reason for being leaders.
Reconnect with your original vision, passion and purpose on a Summer Retreat
If you feel you’ll benefit from an opportunity to retreat, re-energise, reconnect with your values and focus on your strategy for securing outstanding results for you and your school this summer then we’re now offering a series of relaxing school leaders retreats enabling to do just this.
These relaxing getaways are 2 days long and will involve journaling, discussion and walking and a series of structured discussions and are designed to help you:
– Learn how to build emotional resilience and courage to take risks
– Develop relationships with, share support & best practice with like-minded school leaders
– Make sense of what it means for you to be a school leader today
– Deepen your connection with your values and your original vision, passion and purpose
– Identify ways of being that will support you in being the best that you can be
– Reflect on your the year, experiences you’ve had & how these can be used for growth
6 and 7 July: Suffolk
21 and 22 Sept: Suffolk
28 and 29 Sept: Bristol [venue tbc]
Places are very limited, so to avoid missing out – please register your interest today!