My stress levels shot through the roof; I wasn't sleeping, I even ended up having to wear a 24 hour blood pressure monitor. All in all, I felt like I was drowning. Not surprisingly, this reflected in my performance in the classroom and my attitude towards the children. I was close to becoming the kind of teacher I hated - snappy, highly strung and irritable.
Not a good combination for a teacher of needy 5/6 year olds. I felt I was failing both my pupils and my colleagues. Which in turn led to even more negative feelings.
As the year progressed, I realised that I was not alone. Several teachers were off sick with stress (two of whom actually left the school at the end of the year because of the working environment) and the morale of the rest of the staff was practically on the floor.
In some respects the morale at the school and, particularly, the actions of the Senior Leadership Team are out of my hands, but this year I'm determined to take back some control of my wellbeing.
I began towards the end of last year - making time to go swimming (something I love, but had neglected due to the demands of teaching!) and have continued into the summer holidays by building up this blog and selling resources online - the satisfaction of knowing someone wants to use my resources helps make me feel like perhaps I'm not a complete failure after all.
Additionally, I've began looking at ways to become more organised and reflective. One of the things I came across was 'bullet journaling' but as I scrolled through Pinterets, looking at, image upon image I decided it wasn't for me - the journals on there were beautifully presented and rather creative - something that I am not. I knew that my journal wouldn't look like that and the chances are that it would become another source of negativity (or even failure) in my life.
But then I found a system known as 'Year in Pixels' A simple grid, with 12 columns for the months, and 30 or 31 blocks or “pixels” for the days. You choose different colours and equate them to feelings and then all you do is shade the boxes depending on how you feel each day: A bit like these examples (which I've borrowed from the internet).
So I made a second page for my pixel reflection - a notes page.
Hopefully, this system will allow me to take back some control of my wellbeing and in turn, lead to a more positive school year.
If you'd like to join me on this 'Year in Pixels' journey - you can download the materials in both my TPT and TES stores.