I love it when a plan comes together!

Is it just me or has the pace of life quickened and everything is so fast?

Perhaps I’m getting old! We are always ‘on’, always contactable. Instant email and indeed instant everything! Being instant - instant downloads, instant access, instant gratification!

When do we take time to stop, reflect and celebrate our progress? How do we know we are making progress? And how do keep our sanity in an age of digital distraction?

It’s in this context that I find myself considering it a miracle that we get anything done let alone be our personal best.

Teachers, like all of us, are far from immune from the competing demands in the frenzied fast-paced world we inhabit. Like crazed circus jugglers, they spin many plates simultaneously and manage to help our children and young people nurture, grow and develop. What is the key to knowing that we have achieved what we set out to?

For me, the trick to achieving anything in this world, is to have a plan. I recently visited a school who are determined to make growth mindset a reality. The last two times I’ve been in school, the headteacher had sheepishly apologised for not having made much progress.

I pointed out that they were being hard on themselves given the plethora of changes that were occurring including staff absences, inspections and the juggling required to keep a school running well and reminded her that culture change takes time. She still wasn’t satisfied and was somewhat dejected. So, I suggested we create a plan. Not a huge plan - but a brief, focused action plan.

Three months later, as a result, the headteacher had purchased the brainlology software to teach children about the brain, had organised for a CPD session for staff on mindset, had delivered lessons on the brain and had vibrant, colourful displays everywhere! Little by little they had made incremental steps to achieve their vision of creating a growth mindset culture in their school.

When I next met the headteacher, she was confident and content about their achievements. She could see that from being able to tick off the completed items they had made good progress on their mindset journey. Having a plan had really helped them see the distance travelled. When I met with her, I noticed she had included growth mindset on her school improvement plan as one of only two items for her school to focus on.

Intrigued,I asked “Why only two items on your school improvement plan? She looked at me with a glint in her eye and said “JP, I’d rather do two things well than five things badly”. Amen to that!

And next for me? I’m off to to disconnect from the internet on a digital detox and review my own plans and see what I have to do next!

John Paul Fitzpatrick

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