Go Be Happy!

Go be happy!

These were parting words to me from a colleague as I left work today. It was at the end of a conversation about how in teaching there is so much to do and that it is ok that it’s not all for you. Some of it is and some of it isn’t.; whatever you do though, just go be happy!

For some of us teaching kindergarten is our thing and for others it makes us squirm, others love Year 6 while some of us would never go there, some teachers teach PE while others teach art, some love science, while others would rather teach poetry, for some of us teaching in public education is important while some prefer private, some of us have themed classrooms while others leave it to their students, some of us play the piano and have sing-a-longs while other are great storytellers.

I could keep going…

In this industry, we bring so much and have so much to offer, but what we need to remember is we don’t have to be great at everything. It is important to know your thing, to do your thing and do it well. We can’t all be masseters at math or artists in the classroom, excellent at running assemblies or the master of writing newsletter articles but we can each have our own piece to contribute, and ways to contribute to each other.

If each of us works together, imagine the range of skills we could bring, and time and energy we could use to support each other.

You teach mine science while I do the math lesson for your class, I will write the newsletter article if you organise assembly, I am happy to read the story if you do the music for the afternoon sing-a-long.

So how does this relate to ‘Go be happy?’, well, if you do your thing you will have time to go be happy too.

Sometimes we teachers stress the small stuff, we worry and fumble and struggle, we complain and get stuck, we get frustrated yet persist, when maybe what we should have done from the start was ask for help, find the person who’s thing it is, offer a trade-off or just for support, and from this you will have more time to go be happy!

So teacher, go find your thing, work with others and GO BE HAPPY!!!

Teach Less, Ask More

So here’s the thing. It is not your job to do all the talking… An odd idea for a teacher, I know.

But too often, classrooms are filled with teachers who talk and students to listen. Gone are the days where this is our job.

If you are doing more talking then your students, you are working too hard. Our job as teachers is to make our students think, which means less talking and more asking. Yes, asking questions. How many things do you say in a lesson, which could actually be turned into a question instead?
Just because your students are listening does not mean they are learning. We need to ensure our students are actually thinking to be learning, and the best way to do this is through asking questions.

Now, this does mean you have to think of other creative ways to teach in order to get students thinking, but it also means the learning will be far more engaging than you just sharing a bunch of facts and showing them what it is they are doing (let’s be real here, your students don’t need to listen to you talk all the time).

When I teach, I have a few go-to questions I use over and over again:
What are we learning?
How do you know?
Explain that in more detail?
Can you add to that?

These questions can be applied in any subject, and mean our students have to actually think about their learning, not about the activity.

Why else are using questions a great idea?

Because it means your students are talking, listening, connecting and challenging each other. A great bonus about teaching through questions is it means our students have something to do other than listen. Think/pair/share, talking partners, clock partners, see/think/wonder; these are examples of different ways we can have our students think and talk about learning, not just listen to us talk about learning.

So how does this look in a classroom?the teachers coach

1. Ask more questions than you do share facts and content.
2. Think of and plan creative ways to get your students thinking.
3. Create key questions which match the essential learning.
4. Include an opportunity for students to talk to each other every 5 minutes or so (they get bored of hearing you talk for longer than that – sorry)
5. Always ask a follow-up question; Tell me more… Why do you think that? Can anyone add to that? What makes you say that? How do you know?

Remember, questions mean the students do all the hard work in the lesson, your hard work comes in thinking about how to put a great lesson together and working with your students on their learning.

*Not sure how many questions you ask or if your students are really listening? A great way to see is to record yourself and do a question audit recording how many questions you ask and noticing where you could have asked a question instead of giving a fact.

Don’t wait until you retire to start that hobby you have always wanted to take up…

Whenever older staff are retiring, or the conversation of not working comes up, I am instantly one to put my hand up to say I 100% would be OK with doing this now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, but the idea of not working and being able to take up all of the hobbies I dream of doing sounds great to me!

But here’s the thing, why wait until I retire to do the things I want to do?The Teachers' Coach

I have been a bit up and down lately (let’s just blame this on normal work and life stress) and when working with my coach (because we should all have one), she asked me what I do for creativity, as an expression of me, where my juices flow… well, nothing really, I thought.

To be honest this shocked me. I am someone who loves being creative and crafty, I always took an art class at school and I love to doodle and draw my way through meetings and PL. What I realised though, is that I have absolutely let this part of me go, or rather, put on hold.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, just something that has happened over time, as life got busy, routine took over, along with longer work hours and trying to balance everything out, my creative outlets have completely disappeared.

Growing up you would find me in my room after school dabbling in all kinds of things; jewellery making, drawing, sewing, baking, knitting, painting… I even painted a giant sun mural on my wall when I was about 15.

Now though, I just don’t do anything. I have tried a few times to get back into it, but this more often than not results in me taking some kind of class, buying all the resources to do this at home, where unfortunately the items just become dust collectors and never reach their full potential.

I have a cupboard full of silicone bakeware from the time I was going to take up vegan baking, a selection of rope from the time I did a macramé class and was going to make something extravagant for my wall, and a bag of stones I collected from the beach from the time I was going to make some stone art for family, and this is all in the last 18 months.

I think I need a hobby!

I mean, I actually need to take up and do one of the hobbies I have started…
I don’t need to wait until I retire to take these things up, what I need to do is make them part of my weekly routine NOW!

I am aware of all the great things having a hobby can do for you, yet for some reason, I think these don’t apply to me. I am wrong though. I need a creative outlet just as much as you do.

So here I am committing to taking up macramé and stone art (I’ll leave the baking this time). Watch this space, there are some cool things coming your way soon!!!

What I learnt from Brene’ Brown

This week I attended Brene Brown – Dare To Lead.
If you don’t know who Brene Brown is I suggest you look her up. She is someone who is changing how we see ourselves, each other and leadership. Her work is based on extensive hours of research, studies and training based around shame and vulnerability. Emotions we often try to avoid yet where so much growth and learning occurs.

I had so many takeaways during the day, but what I want to share with you is one which I think will really impact leaders in education and that is leadership is about self-awareness.

I chose this to share as I so easily relate to this, my own experiences on my journey with myself and how that has impacted me as a leader.

You see leadership to me has been a journey about understanding myself. Understanding the good and bad my strengths and weaknesses. My areas for development and straight-up owning and taking responsibility for and accepting some stuff I just didn’t want to own.

This is leadership.

Leaning into the uncomfortable. Being vulnerable. Embracing the suck. Choosing courage over comfort.

It’s not easy.

I don’t think. It’s supposed or be.

I think it’s supposed to be hard. To. Challenge us beyond comfort to allow ourselves to grow and change and evolve into who we know is inside but who we ignore because we want or be safe.

Safe isn’t leadership.

Safe is staying the same.

Leaders don’t live here.

Leaders live where it’s scary and unsafe. Where it’s unpredictable and painful. Where we can fall and not know how to get up. This is leadership.

Whether in work or life or relationships or family we can all find ourselves needing to lead. Lead with courage. Lead from heart. Lead not for now but for how you know it can be.

This is leadership.

Getting things done on time – why deadlines actually help to give you more time!

Deadlines can sometimes be scary. Deadlines put pressure on people. Maybe they make you feel anxious or overwhelmed, maybe a deadline even makes you doubt yourself, and whether or not you can actually do the job.

Not all deadlines, however, are the same.

Deadlines are also a way of making sure something happens.

By putting a deadline in place, it can increase our productivity, it can make us more focused and it can ensure that we use our time more wisely.

By having a deadline our thought patterns can shift. A deadline can create urgency around something, it can make it more important, it can become a ‘must do’.

Our life actually has deadlines in it all the time.

A birthday is a deadline. A birthday is a point in time which you must meet if you want to wish that person happy birthday, if you want to give them a gift, make them feel special and show that you care. A birthday is a deadline you can’t miss. You can’t put someone else’s birthday off you, can’t change the date and you can’t get to it later, it is a deadline that you have to meet. Paying off a holiday is also a deadline. If you don’t make the payment, you don’t go on holiday. Now we all love holidays, so the urgency around making sure that we pay for the holiday is a very important deadline.

Why is it that we can adhere to some deadlines in our life but not others? And why is it that some things have deadlines and others don’t?

Deadlines have actually changed how I see the simple tasks in my life. Planning, report writing, writing my logs, scheduling my FB posts; I give each of these things a deadline. By putting in my own deadline, I am saying to myself, that I commit to getting this done by a certain point in time.

This is important. It shows I value my work, it shows I value my own time and it shows I value the tasks I need to complete.

Now some people find this really hard to deal with, I even get questions about why I structure my day in such a tight, routine way. But this all comes down to one thing, productivity. By having deadlines in place, I allow myself to be productive, and when I’m productive it means that I get things done, and when I get things done it means I have more time to do the things I love.

Deadlines and productivity for me at all about freedom. Essentially we are all aiming for some sort of freedom, whether we realise it or not. Freedom means we have time to do what we love, we have time to spend with our loved ones, time to read, time to go on more holidays and have more adventures, time for more variety in our life and time to be more relaxed and happy. Ultimately this is what we are all aiming for. It is part of achieving work-life balance.

Deadlines are a reflection of excellence. By meeting deadlines it shows that you have a high standard around yourself, who you are, how you carry yourself and how you act. It’s not about saying that you value necessarily the task or the work at hand, it says that you value your time, you value yourself and you value what you give.
So if you struggle with time, if you struggle with deadlines, if you struggle with productivity or if you struggle with getting things done, I suggest you start introducing deadlines along the way, even for the small tasks. Try introducing deadlines for marking, try introducing deadlines for putting up a display, try introducing deadlines for when you want to have all your lunches made for the week, when you want the washing to be done, or deadlines for when you finish working each night or being on social media.

If this sounds like something you would like to implement, take advantage of my 20-minute FREE strategy session and we can talk about how to improve the deadlines and productivity in your life. PM or email me to book in your time now.

You are what you say you are!

A few weeks back I did a FB live about language, about what we say to ourselves as we head back to school, what we tell ourselves– seems kind of funny to think that the language we use can impact our day, but truth is it does, in so many ways.
Language shapes how we see the world, how we feel and how we are able to deal with certain situations. I am sure you all know of a time where you have heard a student say things like ‘I’m dumb’ or ‘(Name) is stupid’, and our response was most likely ‘Don’t talk like that, it’s not nice’. Our response is true, it’s not nice, but what we need to understand is what they say is what they believe to be true. It is an insight into how they see the world.
The same applies for us. We are constantly telling ourselves things, practicing self-talk we don’t even realise we are doing and saying things out loud which again we don’t realise are doing us more harm than good.
It is our self-talk, the things we tell ourselves, out beliefs which make us who we are (If you aren’t sure what I mean, I cover this in my 10 week ‘Teacher get your life back ‘ program if you want to know more.) This means we need to start to pay attention to the things we say and think. For example, if we are constantly telling ourselves and saying to colleges ‘I’m soooo tired’, then guess what, you’ll be tired and if you continuously say ‘I just don’t have nay time’, then guess what, you will have no time.
So why does this happen?
Well it’s all ego. If this is what we tell ourselves then there is no way we can be wrong, so ego and our unconscious mind makes it happen (thanks ego). Even though you may be thinking you want more time, or you don’t want to be tried, the negative weighs out the positive. All our brain hears is the negative, so this is what we get.
Now don’t worry, it’s easier to change than you think. Instead of saying ‘I’m tired’ replace this with ‘I have plenty of energy’, instead of saying ‘I have no time’ replace this with ‘I have enough time to do what I need’. o
There are some key things to remember though. Your brain is like a muscle, so you will need to train it to think like this, which means catching it in the moment and replacing it with your new thought. This is hard, abs aren’t built overnight and neither are new neural pathways in your brain. It takes time for muscles to grow, and this is a new muscle so stick with it and keep building that muscle in your brain (I explain this in my 10 week program too).
Give it a go and let me know what happens for you.
Notice other thoughts which aren’t working for you eithers, easy, just change them to the thoughts you want to have and add them into your new way of thinking.

5 things to implement on your first week back!

5 things to Implement on your first week back!

So you are back. Holiday mode is off and school mode is back on. You have swapped late nights for laminating, sleep ins for staff meetings and pool parties for planning. The summer holidays are officially over!

By now you have most likely started to get your school mode up and going, your students are either with you, or arriving in the next few days, you have your name labels printed, door display up and the pots ready to be filled with pencils. The new year buzz and excitement is around you, you can feel it, but so is something else…

It is this time of year we get confused about our emotions; excited for our new class, mew responsibilities and new things to teach but also scared, doubtful, worried, our head fills with thoughts we just can’t escape…

‘Will I be good enough for these students?’

‘ Will my students learn?’

‘Will the parents like me?’

‘Will I have enough time for each of them?’

‘Will I have enough time for myself and my family?’

‘How much work will I have to do on the weekend?’

All of these thoughts are normal, we all have them, but what you need to understand is that none of this needs to be true, these are just thoughts designed by your ego to keep you safe. Safe is good. But change means getting a little uncomfortable, going into the unknown, trying new things, and new things can be hard, which is why we like things to be the same and the ego is around to keep us safe.

However, if you want change, if you want things to be different or you want to just know you are improving, you have to try new things. And what better time is there than now?

The start of the year is perfect for starting new ways of doing things, that’s why so many people start the year with new years resolutions or goals; fresh year, fresh start.

So this year, I challenge you to implement some new things which I can honestly have honestly helped me to make better use of my time, get more done and reduce the stress I have felt.

5 things to Implement on your first week back!

  1. Routine

If you ever read, hear or listen to anything about successful people ad how they manage to achieve so much they always talk about establishing and sticking to a routine. Routine is great for so many reasons, it ensures you maximise time by having set things to do, you don’t waste time wondering what to do with the time you have, and your brain loves it. Routine means predictability, safety and no surprises, which means you brain is ready before you even start, and productivity is up.

  1. Establish a home time

Home time. The bell rings, all the students run out the door with their bags over their shoulders and you breathe a sigh of relief thinking: ‘Now I can get to work’. Your to-do list is long, you have parents to call and a meeting to go to. Home time for you is a long way off…

Home time though is really important, not just so you can go and be with your family, but so you can switch off, breathe easy and again, it’s routine. Before you eye roll and think it just isn’t possible, there is one more piece of advice I have. Before going home, make sure you have everything ready for tomorrow; resources made, photocopied and organised, day planned out and things ready to go. Everything else can wait, and you can go home.

  1. Make the most of the little bits of time you have – they add up

Time – the one thing we all want more of. Only, time really is plentiful, it is just how we use it that makes a difference. I often hear teachers say they don’t have enough time, that they haven’t had any time during the day to do anything. Yet, we always seem to have time for a coffee break, a chat in the playground or a visit to a colleague in the afternoon. Now I am not saying we shouldn’t do these things. All of these things are important, and you should do them every now and then, but do you need to do all 3 every day?

There are hidden bits of time here which you can use to the quick and easy jobs; have your coffee while marking homework, cut out resources over lunch with colleagues or use the afternoon conversation as a chance to get together and do some marking or change a display. All the little moments add up.

  1. Mindfulness and gratitude are a must

I work alot with teachers on mindfulness and gratitude. Whist they are common words at the moment and we talk about them to our students, pausing and applying them to ourselves isn’t as easy… But, both of these things are proven to help with stress, overwhelm and burnout; all things which teachers talk about.

I highly recommend using a gratitude journal or jar with your class and personally, writing 5 things a day you are grateful for, or adding notes to the jar as a class and reading them at the end of the year. Mindfulness is also a must to help with calming your mind, pausing and even getting to sleep; meditation apps (there are heaps), or videos on YouTube are great to use as a class or before bed. A great way to calm the mind and finally be at ease. Both of these things will have ripples into the following days and weeks (if done consistently) and make a huge benefit to how you and your students feel.

  1. Build relationships with EVERYONE

Schools are busy people; colleagues, staff, office people, parents, students… There are so many small communities in one. Building relationships with each group is key, that doesn’t mean everyone, but I would work on developing relationships with those who you are going to be connected to a lot throughout the year. Smile, ask questions, be polite, all these things are free but go along way. Before asking the office staff to do something for you, say hello and ask how they are, contact all your parents telling them something good about their child by the end of week 3, take time out of the first week to just chat to your students and really take an interest in them – all of these things are simple yet very affective and will set you up for the year ahead.

These 5 things are from my own personal first week back to school check list, I trust that by implementing these you will set yourself up for a successful 2019!

TEACHERS – Why your holiday may have done more harm than good…

Holidays are coming to an end…

The late night Netflix binge and a few glasses of wine, sleep ins and no alarm and lazy days with nothing on the to-do list will soon be behind us. Instead we will be hearing the alarm ring before the birds begin to sing, Netflix series will take a term to watch instead of an afternoon and the wine will stay in the bottle until next time.

There is no denying holidays have been fun. You have laughed, played, worked on your tan, read books, caught up with old friends, watched movies in the afternoon and had a few nana naps (something we all love to do).

However, now the end is only a few sleeps away, I hate to break it to you, but you might be better off toning down the holidays and building up the work thing before your first day back and the first alarm clock is set for the year…

Now before you pull that face, cringe a little and exit this blog, let me first share why…

It takes 6 weeks (so they say) to build a habit, and most of us have been on holidays for 6 weeks, which means everything we have been doing consistently, are now habits – the sleep ins, the nana naps, the afternoon TV session and wine afternoons with friends, these are all now habits, your body expects it, and even makes sure it happens (that sleep in is a little easier than you thought hey?).

So if it takes 6 weeks to build a habit, and the ones we have established over the last 6 weeks while on holiday are pretty solid. This means we now need to re-teach ourselves the habits of getting back to school life, but it isn’t easy.

For me, the thought of a 5am alarm and rushing to the gym makes my eyelids heavy, not to mention back to making my lunches and 8am meetings.

So how can you avoid the inevitable back to school battle – easy, start building up those habits needed to get through the day early.  

Luckily, you have been here before, so just like muscle memory, your brain remembers what school is like and the habits you had before holidays, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get things back to where they need to be.

Next week, I’ll be doing a few things to help ease this transition and get me back to work mode before the school bell rings.

Here’s what I suggest you try to help get yourself ready too.

1.       Set your alarm for the same time it would be on a school day and get up! Use this time to move, exercise and begin to think about your 2019 goals. I also like to use this time for journaling and meditating, as well as a walk and listening to a podcast to get me motivated.

2.       Get back to eating like you are at school. On holidays we can eat when we want, but school, as we know, is very different. Soon your meal times will be dictated by the bell and the option of putting off lunch until mid-afternoon may not be possible. Take this week to get back to eating a proper lunch at lunch time. For me, I’ll be doing my meal prep on Sunday like a normally would, but I’ll be eating at home instead.

3.       Get your brain tapping into school by starting to plan your week or meeting with colleagues. After not being in school mode for such a long time, it can be hard to tap into this part of your brain straight away; it will need some warming up before you can get into full swing. To do this, I like to actually go to school and be in the physical space, tidy things up, make sure my classroom and work spaces are organised and ready to go as well as mapping out what my first week will look like. It can even be nice to meet up with a few colleagues and start having conversation which get your brain thinking.

4.       Sleep. This is a must. The week before you are back to school start introducing the idea of bedtime again, aim for 7-8 hrs a night (no less than 7 if you can), and make sure you are on track for getting the sleep you need.

Really, this week is about making sure you are ready for 2019, that you have given your body and your mind the start it needs, and that you are set up and ready to go for an awesome year.

 If you haven’t already, take complete my ‘Reclaim YOUR time’ and/or ‘Reclaim YOUR Energy’, course depending on your needs, and make sure you are putting in place the things you need to succeed.

Make 2019 your year, put you first, and take the time you need to care and value yourself. You are where it starts.


TEAHCER – You are top of the list!

As we sit and reflect on 2018, and start to prepare for 2019, it’s easy to start rattling things off the list. Things you didn’t get to do last year, things you think you didn’t do very well, or things that were awesome that you want to do again.

  • I’ll try a new reading program
  • I want a better reading corner
  • My maths needs to be more hands-on
  • I want to try a passion project
  • I want to use flexible seating, not seating plans
  • Peer marking needs to be more consistent

It’s so easy to think about what you want to do in the classroom, with your students, for your students.

But what about this list:

  • I want more time
  • I am not going to take work home
  • I will actually have a weekend free of school work
  • I’ll leave school at a decent hour
  • I won’t spend so much time marking
  • I’ll be more organised
  • I’ll pack my own lunch and not buy it
  • I’ll be healthier
  • I want to exercise every day

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

There is a problem with this second list though… this second list isn’t about your students, your school, or even teaching. This list is about you.

Yes you.

There are two lists for 2019. One is about your students, school and teaching, and one is about you.

So which one gets done? Which one becomes your priority? Which one is top of the list?

It’s not you, is it?

It’s your students, school… it always is.

Well, not this year.

This year is your year to put you first, put you at the top of the list, make you number 1.

So how do you do this?

Start by asking yourself what you want and then say it as if you have it now (because if you wait until school starts, it is never going to happen).

Try these:number one

  • I have all the time I need
  • I leave work by 5pm
  • I don’t take work home
  • I work effectively at school
  • I put me first
  • I eat healthily
  • I move daily

Make these your goals, your mantras and your standards.

Write them on post its and stick them everywhere.. inside your roll, in your car, on your desk, in your diary, on the back of the toilet door.

Putting yourself first means reminding yourself that you are doing this, and you will need reminders every day, because as we know, teachers are great at putting everyone else first, but not this year.

Now it won’t be easy, and it won’t happen instantly, but know that by writing it down, reading these and making some small changes, you are saying yes to you.


Person First, Teacher Second.

Just to share… I have had me at the top of my list for a while now, and will always be top of my list. It meant some pretty big changes but also meant I had to be very clear about what I wanted, what I was happy to give up and let go, even if it meant others didn’t agree, and some still don’t, but that’s not my problem. These are my examples, you will need to find your own, and if you have trouble doing this, let me know. This is something we can do together.

Happy 2019 – You got this!

Get your classroom organised in 2019

For those who know me well, you would know I am a fan of being organised. In fact, it is also something I teach and work with many teachers on.

If you don’t have an organised classroom, or office, or desk, you can constantly feel in a mess! And when you are in a mess at school your whole life suffers.

One of this biggest thing that can get in your way of your day going smoothly is being organised. Bits of paper spread across your desk, piles of student books on the floor, documents saved on your computer but you never know where to find them – this is all adding to the chaos of your day, and can so easily be fixed!

So, with 2018 coming to an end, yes you can pretty much forget it existed, those papers, books and files are done with, but let’s not repeat that same thing for 2019, it’s time to get organised. Here a my top 5 tips for organising your classroom so you can then organise you!


  1. Organising student work and assessment:  

Purchase an expandable file, label each tab with a students name and filing is now made easy.

Kmart has these beauties in a range of lovely colours and for only $6.00


  1. A space for rubbers, paper lips and those small bits and pieces

Next time you are in Woolworths, grab yourself one or two of their ice cube trays. They are great for storing the small items you and your students can never seem to find; paper clips, erasers, your marking stamp…

Keep this on your desk and you and your students know where to find things and where to return them.



  1. Desktop clutter

Nothing drives me more insane than messy desks. Pencil pots, rulers and scrap bits of paper can often be seen covering classroom tables at the end of the day, but not any more. This great item from Ikea can serve as a place for all your desktop needs to be stored while you sleep soundly. At then end of each day have students remove all desk items and neatly arrange here and no longer will you have to spend time after school picking  up  the stary pencils, paper or tiny pieces of eraser.




4.       Students Mailbox

Student items, messages and notes can be second behind the desk clutter. Try using one of these show racks as individual pouches for student belongings. You can use them for notes to go home, homework or even a place to encourage students to write kind messages to each other. It’s also a great way to keep track of who did and didn’t take their homework home!




2.       Get a good diary

Of course, a good teacher diary is essential to be able to plan your days, lessons and self. The Teachers’ Coach Diary for 2019 is a must have. You can plan lessons and your day, but also plan for you by setting goals, practicing gratitude and recording your top must do’s and like to do’s for the day.

Download your free sample or purchase here:2019-teacher-diary