My mother always used to tell me that procrastination was the thief of time. I would naturally have no idea what she was talking about and return to playing in my tree house secure in the knowledge that adults spoke in a code of their own that would never be cracked by me or, indeed, by anyone else. Having now written an alarmingly decreasing number of blogs since Christmas I am beginning to think that procrastination is another word for laziness and am grateful to my mother, without whom my tree house would never have been built.
In my defence, there have been an increasing number of calls upon my time from outside school in the past few months, most of them still stemming from our successful Ofsted pilot which has made our experiences of particular interest to others as the new inspection framework has lurched across the land since January. People are very keen to learn from us and I have found myself giving conference presentations at a range of venues from Ashford to Birmingham, with the majority in London. Following one last week I received invitations from local authorities in Leicestershire, the West Midlands and East Sussex, though am still awaiting anything from Antigua or the Maldives.
When presenting at conferences there is a real temptation to exaggerate or, indeed, simply to make things up. I have attended events in the past where I have been absolutely convinced that the speaker was telling stories that had little or nothing to do with the reality of his own school. Fortunately, I have always kept within the bounds of honesty, which was a good thing last week as two delegates at the conference knew the partner of one of my senior colleagues and so could check whether my claim to bounce into school each morning with a smile on my face was true or at best a huge exaggeration; to quote the current BBC panel show it is, in fact, true.
The first person to talk to me about feelings on the way into school was my head of department at my previous school, who was absolutely definite that, should there ever come a morning when she felt less than 100% enthusiastic about her job, that would be the moment at which she turned her car around and went home, never to teach again. Although there are days when I do not necessarily look forward to every last aspect of my day, this is a message that has stayed with me and something to which I now fully subscribe; nobody can work in schools without a passion for what they are doing and the staff here are a real embodiment of this principle. Mind you, such a stance may have been made easier for my head of department as she was married to an extremely wealthy farmer and it was strongly rumoured that the Desiree potato was named after her; possibly not as romantic as a rose but, I gather, infinitely more lucrative.