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One Year On

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

365 Days After Leaving The Teaching Profession

And there it is, with a blink of an eye and gone in a heartbeat, one entire year has passed by. A whole year since I made the choice to step out of my comfort zone and step into the arena, as Brené says. It’s been just over 365 days since I chose courage over comfort- walking away from stability, and leaving behind what I knew as structure and routine (imagine the Monica in me!). Read more about it in my first blog post. And, as scary as it’s been, and as challenging, relentless and unpredictable to say the least, I’m extremely grateful to have stepped out onto the arena where I’ve found comfort in the discomfort, stability in the instability, predictability in the unpredictability and, above all, where I found the most profound growth!

When I first started turning my Instagram platform into something more, now known as Hands On Heads Consulting, I began to miss the little things

about a school environment- the bell telling me when to eat and use the bathroom, the kids coming up to me for the most random of things, bumping into parents, the staff meetings which could have been an email (we know the ones!), and those incidental, yet necessary,

corridor conversations with colleagues.

As I moved around from school to school this year, I learnt that many things resonate between schools, no matter the sector, the location or the environment; the number one thing I’ve come to realise over the past twelve months is that everyone is doing their best with the resources they have available to them at any given moment. It's only once we reveal the hidden potential and bring an awareness, we realise what's there- exactly what coaching is all about!

It wouldn’t be a true teacher reflection without using a Thinking Routine! I created this reflection tool, ‘3 Successes, 2 Challenges, 1 New’, which I’ve used with the students and teams.

Comfort from Discomfort

Much like when we move year levels, change schools, step up or step down from positions, or similar to when we have to teach a new content area, initially, we feel out of our depth and have absolutely no idea what we’ve gotten ourselves into! For me, my level of discomfort was so high that I was resisting a lot of what was going on around me. I knew that this was the right choice I’d made no matter how difficult or challenging each day was because I was connecting and working with educators and I was helping them make a difference to their literacy practice for their students. It wasn’t about me, it was about them…you!

They say growth comes from being comfortable with the uncomfortable, how did you grow this year? Where did the most growth take place for you?

Stability from Instability

When the routine and structures are familiar and constant, we don’t seem to second guess what’s coming and we take for granted the mundane that is the everyday procedure. The assemblies every fortnight, the homeroom at 8.30am, the Wednesday after school meeting, the 8am Monday briefing, etc. I learnt that when things become unstable, it’s a chance for creativity, productivity and innovation. So I took all of what was ‘stable’ to me-the learning, the literacy and the leadership, and I held space for the ‘unstable’- the new daily routine and weekly schedule, and encompassed both in order to spread more love and support to teachers wanting to enhance their practice and improve what they’re already doing.

How and where did you find peace in the instability this year?


This was the one thing I really yearned for during my time as a leader. I wanted to have the freedom to work across schools, sectors and settings without limitations or boundaries. You may have read or heard me say just how much I enjoy coaching teachers in their practice- I love helping them help their students…your students! Having the flexibility to work virtually, create online coaching courses, work side by side in the classroom and be on the ground running with you, is something I absolutely love doing. This year has taught me the significance of learning from and with others while being adaptable and accommodating across different contexts.

How were you flexible this year in your practice?

What 3 successes would you celebrate in your practice this year?

What 2 challenges would you be proud of overcoming this year?

What 1 new thing would you acknowledge this year?

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