Monthly Archives: November 2014

Personal Reflections: Purpose, Vision, Goals… What’s Your Why? How Can You Start to Get There?


If your purpose explains what you are doing with your life, what’s your purpose? Some people will phrase this as ‘What’s your why?’

If you don’t know, look at how your life is currently unravelling. I guess you need to look at what you do day to day and let that explain your purpose. Maybe you are just coasting along and you didn’t even realise that if your actions are what defines you that you then must currently have purpose ‘x’. Do you like purpose x? Are you happy with all aspects of your self examination? If you don’t like purpose x then you need to reflect on what actions are defining your purpose in this way. It’s only then you can change some of your actions to redefine your purpose to something else you are more happy with. What purpose would you like to define you? What actions do you need to make that shift towards that purpose becoming real?

To give your purpose a real overhaul in this way, it seems to be that your vision is key. What vision do you have of yourself and your life? (Link back to ‘what’s your why?’) That’s the hard bit. Once you know what that is you can make your actions fit for purpose in quick time (through alinging the right ‘what’ and ‘how’).

Creating a vision takes effort. It’s not for the lazy. One of the easiest ways to start though is to examine your own values. What are they? What do you feel is important in life? What takes precendence over what for you?

Once your vision based on your values is firmly in place, small goals will help you realise it – SMART goals! For example, if you would like to improve as a teacher, or become a middle leader or SLT/Head, what goals are you going to set to achieve the vision of the kind of teacher or leader you want to be? And before that, what is your vision of a good teacher/leader? What values underpin that vision? Why do you want to be a teacher/leader? Are you sure this is your purpose? Look at your day to day and week to week actions… Do they define a good teacher/leader in your view? What actions do you need to change to be the teacher/leader you want to be?

What if… your true purpose isn’t really teaching or in school leadership? What is it?

Thought of the day: Identify the problem

In the words of Vanilla Ice, ‘If there’s a problem, yo I’ll solve it…” (See for more inspiration).
In a tizz?
Step 1: identify the problem.
Step 2: explore possible responses
Step 3: implement options
Step 4: evaluate outcomes
Works every time. Stay calm. Just identify the problem.


Teaching job cover letter? Inspired by Leonardo

After my visit to the Leonardo da Vinci museum in Florence this week I bought a book about him. It’s interesting and amusing. See the photos below for an extract from the book giving a translation of a cover letter in application for work by Leonardo written in 1482 to Ludovico Sforza, regent of Milan. I had a play and wrote my own version, addressed instead to a Headteacher, for a teaching job:

Most Magnificent Headteacher, having now considered all the research evidence, observed all the guru teachers in practice, and weighed all the edu blogs and twitter resource shares in the balance, having attended all the teachmeets, teacher conferences and CPD events, having partaken in all the twitter edu chats and read all the edu books, I am emboldened without prejudice to anyone else to put myself in communication with your most omniscient self, in order to acquaint you with my teaching secrets, thereafter offering myself at your pleasure effectually to demonstrate, by micro teach or cover supervisor session, all those matters which are in part briefly recorded below:

1) I have plans for lessons, very brief and very rigorous, and very suitable for writing in LESS than five minutes…
2) When a school is to be besieged by Ofsted I know how to get the news fast, and how to construct an infinite number of… Pieces of evidence of excellent teaching and student learning over time…
3) If because of the high (unreasonable) standards of an HMI it should be impossible to impress him/her by bombardment with marking evidence, I know methods of discombobulating any inspector, even if the patriarchal of Gove-ites.
4) I have plans for making isolation units, convenient and easy to transport included students to
5) And if it should happen that any teaching and learning is outdoor, I have plans for constructing many outstanding lessons, most suitable for stretching and challenging the most gifted and talented
6) Also I have ways of arriving at a certain fixed spot by QR code orienteering activities, to divert students through caverns and secret winding passages of the school refectory
7) Also, I can make things, and I can get all the students to make all the things, too. Then they can blog about it, with lots of digital wizardry, without needing to fear about safeguarding, or whatnot.
8) Also, if need shall arise, I can make the most beautiful teaching resources, overlays for analysis of poetry and literature, with useful shapes, like hexagons and triangles and cubes, quite different from those in common use
9) where it is not possible to employ school iPads, I can supply smartphone apps for students and other gadgetry of wonderful efficacy not in general issue. In short, as the variety of teaching and learning circumstances shall necessitate, I can supply an infinite number of different digitally native tools for teaching and learning
10) in time of high achievement, outstanding rating by Ofsted, I believe that I can give you as complete satisfaction as anyone else in teaching, in the engagement of students both struggling and gifted, and in safely isolating the included ones
11) also, I can write teaching research papers for high impact journals in which my work will stand comparison with that of anyone else, whatever teacher that may be
12) moreover, I would undertake the work of getting all the students A*, the record of which shall endure in the Guardian GCSE results tables with immortal glory and eternal honour for at least a month to the auspicious memory of yourself and the board of governors of your illustrious school.

And if any of the aforesaid things should seem impossible or impracticable to anyone, I offer myself as ready to make trial of them in your school or in whatever place shall please your magnificence, to whom I commend myself with all possible humanity.

Do I get the job? I can organise good parties, too.