Photo by Anthony Tori 

What do you stand for?

I was at a convention last week where one of the speakers shared an epiphany moment they had a few years ago.

They were at a cross-road in their career and were forced to take time off from a busy job. It slowly hit them that they were ‘lost’ in who they were, and where life was going. It was in this involuntary moment of wondering that they realised they knew what they didn’t like, value or respect – the things that they were against.

But on the flip side, they didn’t really know what they were for.

Our speaker took the time, and put in the effort to change this, and from that point, their life changed too.

In a complex role such as school leadership, we are often challenged to explain our decisions and actions. Clarity on what we deeply believe in, just might be a crucial way to avoid doubt and approach decisions with confidence.

What do you stand for?



Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Can you remember when you were sick for a few days 5 years ago? What about a year ago? Me either. I can remember the times I broke a bone or had some sort of medical intervention, but not the times a seasonal bug flattened me for a few days. I know it happened but it’s not important.

So, what does that prove?

Firstly, we can safely assume that everything turned out OK. That urgent work was either not as urgent as we thought, or someone else dealt with it.

Secondly, the worry involved in deciding whether to stay home was a tragic waste of life energy.

Unless you are one of the tiny minority of people with bullet-proof immunity, or luck, you will sometimes become unwell. We work in very close proximity to a lot of children, and they are essentially little human Petrie dishes in the winter months.

But here you are this morning, beating yourself up about needing to stay home even though you feel like rubbish.

Perhaps you’ve got an ERO review happening (who’s feeling déjà vu at the latest version of the model?). Perhaps there’s a Board meeting tonight. Perhaps an angry parent has a twice delayed meeting scheduled . . . Pick your pain.

As leaders we operate from a position of supporting people, trusting them and setting a good example, but here we are seriously considering doing exactly the opposite, by:

  • Working at 50% capacity
  • Spreading germs to others in our schools
  • Not trusting our teams and systems to deal with our absence
  • Modelling the wrong thing to do when sick
  • Sending a message that we think we are indispensable

Don’t do it.

Message your leadership team, crank up the heater, and head back to bed. The only person standing in the way of this sensible, professional response is you.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema

It’s audit time in New Zealand schools. A state appointed auditor has a close look at the financial performance of your school (with a few random ‘add-on’ questions included).

This can be a process akin to dental surgery or it can go quietly in a low-key type of way. What I’ve learnt over time is that the amount of stress involved is directly proportional to your understanding of the MVP – minimum viable product. And, if you like acronyms, you are the other MVP in this process (most valuable player).

MVP in the sense we’re using it here is straight from the land of product marketing. It describes the least developed product/thing/widget that can be put into the market for consumers to consider – in effect, you get your biggest amount of bang for the least amount of bucks.

As your personal stash of ‘bucks’ is both important and finite, it makes sense not to over use them on tricky audit questions. Recognising this happy balance improves with experience, but there is a simple hack that anyone can use which will get you 90% of the way to a sign-off – it’s leveraging the infallible power of “yes” or “no”.

“Do you have a policy for disposal of assets under the value of $50?”

Yes or no.

“Do your cash handling policies, procedures, and practices ensure the risk of fraud is properly managed?”

Yes or no.

Sure, sometimes an explanation is required, and in these cases the concept of MVP is again the best way forward. This bit could be called the MVWs (minimum viable words). Less is always more for these queries and any degree of overthinking should be squashed at inception.

I always find it helpful to remember that some hard-working junior auditor is responsible for getting all the required answers and in most cases, they simply want to get the job done. It’s a kindness to make it easy.

It obviously goes without saying that every answer should be completely honest and factual, and occasionally that will mean you must admit a deficiency. Again, this is not a problem to worry about, even if it leads to a “note” on the final accounts. Unless a note involves fraud or serious mismanagement, neither your mum nor Presiding Member should care.

I once received a note for getting 2 FlyBy points on my personal credit card related to a school purchase. I still remember it because it annoyed me greatly. The school had ordered a piece of computer equipment from a well-known national retailer. No one had time to collect it during the week, so on a Saturday morning I hopped in my car and drove down to the shop. As I waited at the checkout for the helpful person to process the order, they said, “FlyBys card?” Without thinking I handed them my own one.

So, on a Saturday morning, in my personal time, using my own car and with no malicious intent, I earned our school a “note” . . .

I rest my case.

It’s possible that by the time you read this post your audit will be complete – congratulations, you can go back to leading learning. But if you’re still in the process, keep it simple, keep it brief and this too will pass.



An eon ago you woke up, and try as you might, you just can’t get back to sleep. Random thoughts, ideas and worries flick through your mind in a messy cascade of wakefulness. You don’t really know how long this has been going on, but it feels almost endless. And you know this is bad – there’s work tomorrow.

Eventually, you roll over and check the time. Surely, it’s nearly time to get up, but those glowing wee neon lights make your heart sink. 4am.

How will you possibly get through the day? And yesterday the same thing happened .  .  .

.   .   .

Sleep – the best of things and the worst of things. And many, many school leaders slide to the wrong side of the equation on a nightly basis. When Steve and I talk to principal groups we often ask how their sleep is going, and on average, 75 percent of all principals we’ve asked report significant problems with their sleep.

If you’re one of the three quarters of these sleep deprived school leaders, it’s time you stopped worrying about the science of reading and started considering the science of sleeping because there’s a growing amount of it, and the current buzz phrase – “sleep hygiene”, might actually change your 4am experience.

So why do you wake up or stay awake?

It’s almost certainly a combination of things, but three that drive a lot of people’s wakefulness are:

  • A high level of cortisol
  • Misuse of caffeine
  • Bad habits around screen use


Question – do you regularly feel stressed at work?

People operating with elevated levels of stress produce more of the hormone cortisol. It’s our bodies way to get through difficult situations and in the right amount, for a short time, is good. Too much, for too long is bad.

As part of our human circadian rhythm, everyone’s cortisol naturally peaks around 2 – 3am daily, which is fine, unless your base level is already too high. If it’s too high, the 2am boost pushes you into consciousness (even if you are tired).

There are many ways to deliberately reduce stress (meditation, exercise, diet, etc) and I believe our job choice requires us to make an effort to do so.


Question – do you know how much caffeine you take each day?

(cup of instant coffee 60mg, double shot café coffee 200mg, can of Coke 30mg, cup of tea 50mg)

We love caffeine. It’s addictive, it’s fun and it’s certain to wreck your sleep if used thoughtlessly.

The problem with caffeine is that it binds to exactly the same receptors in your brain as does the natural sleep-inducing chemical adenosine. One function of adenosine is that it builds up over the day and at a certain level makes you feel sleepy. If you take caffeine, it blocks the adenosine from working.

With a half life of 5 – 6 hours, that 2pm coffee you had after lunch is still 50% active at 8pm and 25% active at 2am . . .

Based on this long effect, it’s generally well-known that taking caffeine after midday is not a winning move. However, drinking coffee first thing in the morning can also negatively impact sleep.

Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and researcher at Stanford University, has studied what happens when caffeine is taken in the first hour of waking. If you do this (and I always used to!), you’ll get the usual ‘lift’ as it blocks your adenosine, but at the cost of stopping your naturally rising cortisol from waking you up.

There are two downstream effects – firstly, that adenosine doesn’t disappear. It stays circulating waiting for a receptor to bind to and unless you keep adding more caffeine, will eventually succeed and cause the dreaded afternoon energy slump. But the bigger effect is that by stopping your body using cortisol to maintain a natural rhythm across the day/night you impact on your sleep too. A double whammy. Mr Huberman suggests waiting at least an hour, ideally two after waking, before feeding your caffeine habit.

Screen Use

Question – do you have a screen device in your bedroom?

Are you looking at a screen in the hour before going to bed, or worse, scrolling on your phone while in bed? Most people I know do one or both of these things . . . and they wreck sleep.

We’ve all probably heard that blue light emitted by screens effects sleep. It does this by supressing the hormone melatonin which regulates the good old circadian rhythm. What happens when you mess up your circadian rhythm? You also mess up your sleep cycle.

Any light when you should be asleep is bad, but the blue wavelength has the strongest suppressing effect on melatonin. It’s not rocket science to know what to do about this, but it can be incredibly hard to make change because addiction and habits are involved.

One simple step to take is to keep your phone out of the bedroom.

.   .   .

I’m no sleep scientist but have had my own struggles with sleep over the years, which is why I try to keep up with the thinking. I strongly recommend that you do your own homework in this area and happily, there are plenty of experts publishing practical guides that can help.

Two books to read are:

              “Why We Sleep”, Matthew Walker

              “Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night”, Guy Meadows

Two podcasts to listen to are:

              Sleep Toolkit: Tools for Optimising Sleep and Sleep-Wake Timing, Andrew Huberman

              The 6 Sleep hacks You Need – Matthew Walker

Sleep well!


An earlier post Steve wrote on this topic.

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Photo by Garrett Jackson

One quarter through this new year and you’re probably already behind on some of those aspirational goals that you set with the energy and optimism that the Christmas holidays brought. This is business as usual for most of us mortals and nothing to worry about, but over the last week we have also been treated to a list of the new Government’s own ‘to do’ priorities, and as faithful public servants, we are paying attention and starting to wonder what the nitty gritty details will mean . . . specifically what we will be required to do.

It’s a bit like the recent solar eclipse across North America – through the wonders of modern science pretty much everyone knew it was coming and understood what was happening, so it was merely interesting. 500 years ago, the same event would probably have caused terror.

Knowing something is coming and understanding what it will look like are two critical steps in avoiding worry. On the flip side, if the sun suddenly disappears and you have to make up your own explanation . . .

.   .   .

The great news is that we remain ‘self-managing’ schools here in New Zealand. We have the ability to create the ‘how’ of what happens each day. The ‘what’ is largely mandated, and this is no different with the latest set of Government priorities and aspirations.

A degree of autonomy is a degree of insurance in a time of change. Insurance against what? I suggest against any possible unhelpful and/or unreasonable policies with the word ‘possible’ being critical. It’s easy to see change as threatening and to lose objectivity even before that change arrives. At least we have half of the picture – we know our next wee eclipse moment is coming.

The bottomline is that significant change requires significant energy, and so the annoying gap between knowing change is coming and understanding what it will look like, is an opportunity to shore up our personal reserves.

Luckily, a Term break is right in front of us and with that freedom comes the opportunity to do things that mean we will be ready to deal with whatever is coming down the pipeline of new governance. I intend to get moving, get connected, and to do some more learning about how to sleep like the proverbial baby. What’s your plan?


Photo by Nubelson Fernandes 

How open are you to change?

The answer will vary based on a number of factors – not the least being how busy you are when the possibility arises.

As we are currently in a 5 day mini-break, and with the April school holidays only a fortnight away (in NZ anyway), it’s just possible that now is a time when things could happen.

What habit do you need to stop?

What habit do you need to change?

What habit do you need to create?

Easter well.



Last weekend our school held one of those uniquely NZ events – a working bee. There are things happening on our site this year and we needed to remove/prune a large number of trees and shrubs. So out went the word to the community – help needed.

When I got onsite just before 8am (the advertised start was 8:30am), there were already people in action, cutting, shifting, loading trailers. And from there it just got busier.

By 9:30am there was a small army of people doing what needed to be done. By 12pm we were finished.

.   .   .

On Monday we held student conferences. This was an important event at our school too, but this time, we had to work much harder to get people involved. The same dads who willingly gave up a precious half Saturday had to be cajoled and reminded to get them there for 15 minutes.


There will be lots of different factors in play, but I suspect at least one of them was clarity of the purpose.

On Saturday, the reason for being there was obvious, and recognising the success outcome was easy. There was no ambiguity, and so the goal was super clear with all working side by side. Result? A massive task was achieved without much stress.

Contrast that with the conferences – each family experienced the event separately and in isolation with their teacher, worked through the allocated time. No one could look up across the school and say “job done” in a collective sense. There was a tangible feeling of uncertainty with many as they arrived and waited for their turn. Combined, these factors meant enthusiasm and commitment to the event was harder to build.

Which raises the question – can we do better?  Can we simplify the goal of each conference down to one thing. No ambiguity, no ‘open’ agenda, but focus on the one overarching outcome that would equal success? All other things achieved being unexpected bonuses.

For example, if the common, over-riding goal of every conference was building a working relationship with their child’s teacher, and all parties knew what that looked like, just maybe the usual reminders wouldn’t be needed.

Clarity of purpose + Common goal = Commitment. I think we can do better.



Photo by Sergio Capuzzimati 

The thought below came out of a recent conversation with a colleague where we were discussing the the willingness (or otherwise) of some newer staff members to take on extra responsibilities when needed. They were frustrated at this situation and wanted change, but at the same time were grateful that many others were willing to step forward. 

Culture, an eclectic mix of elements, thoughts, actions, and ways of doing things. And it’s also one of the biggest things that is laid at your principal door. It might even be in your Job Description and it’s an ongoing work stream that every school leader has to deal with.

.   .   .

We use the word all the time in conversation about our schools and it’s often in a judgement – “School X has an awesome culture; you can feel it the moment you step onsite”.

People will say things like, “you need to visit Suzy over at Y School, their playground culture is so settled.”

So off you go to have a coffee with Suzy and wander through their grounds to see this for yourself. Then you come back to your place and tell your team about the goodness. At this point it’s possible that some goals start to be set and plans formulated to develop a new playground culture at your school. Maybe you need to.

The problem with this approach is that culture is very complicated and nuanced – it can be incredibly difficult to understand exactly what is driving that “settled” playground. And it’s all too easy to start following a particular path of action that should have worked, but doesn’t.

I suggest that there is an easier way, a way that is more likely to get you to where you want to be and doesn’t involve translating someone else’s magic mix into your setting – instead of new, how about amplifying the ‘good bits’ of your existing reality?

A major plus of this approach is that you are starting in your own context with the assets available and already intimately known by you.

The cliched reality that ‘you will get what you focus on’ is your driver here, and it’s a lower key, positive way to create change.

Is your mission to create a completely new culture? Or might it be better to amplify what is already good?


Photo by Markus Spiske 

When the road works signs went up along the local road I drive every day, I think everyone  noticed them. They were brightly coloured and eye-catching. Everyone slowed down, some even got right down to the new 30km/hr limit.

A fortnight later, the media were reporting that traffic was speeding by, and the local police had ticketed lots of drivers. A day after this media coverage I noticed that the cars were again crawling along close to the posted speed limit. But that was last week, and this morning, I see that the speed is edging up again . . . 

Our attention to what matters can fade very quickly.

Advertisers are all over this concept. Go to a big sports event and you’ll see rolling signs – they change all the time. TV ad agencies try to beat the fade by splitting the ad up into parts of a story – if it’s a good story we pay attention again when the next episode comes out. When you go to a website many of them sense the fade coming and try a last ditch attempt to keep you by throwing up an offer that locks your screen until you find that tiny wee cross. 

In our schools we have many things that are important, and we too have an audience – students, parents and colleagues. Our audience is just as fickle in their attention span as those speeding drivers. 

Some sort of rotation of focus is needed because fresh is exactly that, and anything else is either a habit or is not happening at all.

So, what’s your refresh plan for your key goals this year?


Photo by Ethan Robertson 


And so ends 2023 for the Forty Hour team. Thanks for following along and being part of our push to challenge the status quo of principalship in Aotearoa New Zealand.

You 100% should ‘clock out’ too when the time comes, but if you find yourself lying on a beach somewhere and wondering how to fill in the time, below are our most read posts – maybe there’s something in them that will interest you too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – let the resting commence!

Dave and Steve

Top 3 posts of all time

  1. Who’s Sitting in The Principal’s Chair 
  2. You Are Not A Machine 
  3. Flattening The Curve 

Top 3 posts 2023

  1. When was The Last Time? 
  2. Sprinting or Jogging? 
  3. What’s Your real Insurance Policy? 


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People often comment on the financial difference between working in the public sector and working in a business. When contracts are being negotiated comparisons are made and we often end up bemoaning  the relative under pay.

But it’s not under payment that is causing me to age a little more quickly this week, it’s people. Specifically, some of the people we are mandated to serve – ‘difficult ’ parents.

.   .   .

There’s a fundamental difference between how you can deal with difficult people if you are running a business as opposed to running a school.

Imagine owning a bookshop where a particular customer is always rude to staff or publicly criticises the decisions you make – it wouldn’t be long before you asked them to leave. Or perhaps you run an irrigation supply business and one particular farmer is often awkward to deal with and abuses your sales rep – it’s likely that you would simply stop working with them.

Therein lies the problem for public servants, we can’t simply stop working with our most difficult people. And unlike a retail business where an unpleasant customer calls in once then goes away forever, difficult adults in our school communities stay with us – often for years.

So, both management and teachers have to continually work at maintaining relationships with people that for varying reasons do not reciprocate this responsibility. Its often an unequal dance with one party demanding/expecting something more akin to servitude than service!

So here’s a question – what standard of behaviour is acceptable for parents in your school? In effect, is there a ‘line’?

Many years ago, a principal of mine had a very clear personal view that there was a line, and that crossing it meant you either changed or left. In the top righthand drawer of his traditional old school desk was a stack of ‘transfer slips’. These small pieces of paper were for recording the basic details of a student’s enrolment and were used when a student was moving to another school.

When he felt all avenues had been exhausted, he would calmly open the drawer, pull out a slip and place it on the desk. He would then say something like, “I’m sorry that we can’t meet your needs, perhaps another school might”. An interesting effect was that often the parent would immediately start retracting some of their more unreasonable statements and demands. 

Putting the slip on the desk was effectively drawing a solid line in front of the behaviour.

As we sit here at the end of the Term, with pressure on everyone’s’ time and energy, perhaps we need to get more direct with some in our communities. Perhaps we need to rehearse a verbal version of the old transfer slip – “I’m sorry that you feel like that, but that’s all we can do.”

Fullstop, no more commentary.

While the almost universal implementation of ‘zoning’ has made shifting schools difficult for most, the well known saying that, “you’ll get what you are willing to accept”, is never truer than deep in Term 4 – service needed, not servitude.



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Photo by Chris Abney 

Three weeks to go in Term 4 – welcome to the jungle!

This is the time when I start to have a nagging feeling that the human brain (mine) isn’t made to work at this pace. I was standing in the playground after school this week and simply could not remember the name of a parent. I value connection and knowing someone’s name is a critical part of that, but my mental resources were drawing a blank. I suspect some of you might relate to this.

I have a completely un-scientific theory that I can check what capacity (slack) my mental game has by doing the Stuff Quiz (a daily NZ news site quiz). My observation is that in the holiday periods my scores get better and at pressure times worse . . . so that day I checked. I can report a reasonable 10 out of 15 result so not disastrous thank goodness.

.   .   .

How about you? Are you picking up clues that your mind is running out of spare capacity as we race to the end of Term? Now might be exactly the wrong time to be doing too much high level strategic thinking and is also probably why those teachers still writing reports can struggle to string a coherent sentence together – system overload.

It’s at times like this that I deliberately slow down. I know projecting an aura of ‘busy’ negatively affects others in my kura – people ‘catch the vibe’ from their leaders and if I am clearly flat out, I subtlety turn the pressure dial up for all.

Personally, I have two simple strategies I use to try and manage any impact my busyness has on our team –

  1. Physically slowing down
  2. Making space/time

Slowing down – I’ve confessed before that back in the early days of this adventure, I used to almost run around the site when super busy. In hindsight, this crazy behaviour was akin to getting a super soaker full of stress and spraying it on those watching me.

These days, when the pressure really comes on, I physically walk slower. Simple as that. I pause, chat to kids and move more slowly around the site. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but try it and see for yourself. Walk slower and talk to at least a couple of children every time you are out and about.

Making space/time – I’ve built a wee habit in the mornings where I get up a bit earlier than I once did and get the day straightened out in my head. I look at my schedule, check my email and generally get the shape of what will happen clear. Once I’ve done that, I write a single Post-It note with the one or possibly two critical pieces of work I have to do that day. That note sits where I can see it all day and at the end, finished or not, is biffed. Tomorrow I will make a new one based on what that day brings.

This is a win/win/win strategy. It means I have both clarity and peace about what needs to happen that day, and it also means that when I arrive on site in the morning, I can focus on talking with people and making those critical ‘start of the day’ connections. I can’t overstate how useful this tactic is.

A 15 minute investment each morning is all it takes.



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Photo by Rod Long 

How’s your urgent list going? Getting longer or starting to glow with an ominous neon highlight?

As the clock ticks down for the last few weeks of this year, it’s easy for the ‘urgent’ stuff to cloud what’s important. Urgent by itself is not necessarily a reason for something to be at the front of your queue.

A little sorting might be necessary and the first place to start is by filtering for ‘important’. All things being equal, I usually find that stuff to do with people is likely to be important – jobs, staffing schedules, family traumas, teacher performance management . . . These things matter and may also be urgent. If so, straight to the top of the list.

The next thing to consider is who labelled a particular thing urgent? If it wasn’t you, then potentially it doesn’t even need to be on your list. Later in Term 4, it’s fairly common for someone else who is feeling time pressure, to suggest something on their own list should be urgent for you too. This can be a slippery slope of responsibility shifting and is where the ability to politely, yet firmly say ‘no’, is a vital principal skill.

But perhaps the most important thing to remember is that what is ‘urgent’, by definition, will change quickly. An item that is genuinely urgent can’t stay on your to do list for long, otherwise it wasn’t.

In 2020, thinking about and planning for Covid was urgent. However, its position on all our lists changed a long time ago. Likewise, having a cohesive agenda and plan for the first staff setup day this year was urgent. But, if on the morning of that same day, one of your own whanau became very unwell, the order of urgency is rearranged.

Urgency is relative and time limited. So as the Term races by, and you find yourself feeling ever more pressure to get ‘urgent’ things done, just step back a fraction, pause, and give yourself permission to rearrange what gets your attention. A lot of what is creating mental workload is almost certainly neither important or urgent – it just feels like it is.


Photo by Liam Martens 

I once spent a week in Wellington as part of an initiative only the ‘senior’ members of principalship will remember. It was called the Principals’ Planning Development Centre. An experienced leader could apply after a minimum 5 years in the role and if selected, had access to an intensive, immersive course where 3 – 5 principals were put through their paces by an equal number of trainers/assessors.

The experience included simulations using actors to create scenarios, for example, a difficult conversation with a staff member or developing a strategic plan for a Board. Out of sight, a group of observers watched everything you did and wrote a report on your performance. At the end of each day, you were debriefed by one of the facilitators and given feedback. At the end of the week, you received a report that included a marking schedule across all of the activities and tasks.

I’ve still got my report. It grades me on every aspect assessed, as either a ‘strength’, proficient’, or ‘development opportunity’. (Anecdotally, post the course, a number of principals decided that the job wasn’t for them – it was an emotional and all-encompassing experience.)

Looking back now, it seems incredible that the Government was willing to invest this amount of resource in us. It was the first, and so far for me, only time that the system invested so much in an attempt to make me better in my complex role. It was a true unicorn event.

.   .   .

The reason I mention the PDPC in this post, is because of an accidental ‘by-product’ of the experience – it highlighted a job/role that I could never do, and in comparison, how great my current job often is. This thought has regularly helped me keep perspective when principalship has been challenging.

For the week I was in the capital, I stayed at a hotel close to the Centre, (just off Lambton Quay for those who know Wellington). The course started on the dot at 8am every day, and so I found myself walking through the central city in the early morning while it was half dark. As I walked, the office blocks around me slowly came to life. Those myriad individual windows towering up above me randomly blinked alive as the lights turned on, one by one.

I could see right into many of them, and what seemed to be the norm, was that there was some sort of cubicle setup with a desk, a filing cabinet, a partition of some sort and sometimes a plant sitting hopefully by the window. The person occupying them was effectively in a small box for the day. And of course, the vast majority of people working in those buildings didn’t have a window at all. Their boxes were deeper inside the building, where the fluorescent lights hummed and flickered with no natural light to assist. I wondered at the time whether they even had plants.

I’ve never forgotten this. In fact, the very thought of heading day after day, into a small, enclosed space to make phone calls, process paper and generally stay there for an 8 – 9 hour shift makes me feel slightly ill.

And the upside is that it reminds me that my days are the complete opposite. They are filled with noise, activity, unpredictable excitements and an ever-changing variety of tasks, places, and people. Yesterday, I finished my day checking a go-kart our kids are going to race this weekend. Today, I’m starting with a class trip to a local Eco Centre.

Yes, there will be paperwork today. Yes, there’s a very difficult conversation coming up with a parent, and yes, I will spend more time at my desk than I want to, but my days are never boring and for that I am ever grateful.


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Photo by Georgia Vagim

What a double header we have this weekend!

On Sunday we have a classic sporting event between the All Blacks and Ireland with the experts picking our Irish friends as the probable winners. Despite the predictions, right up until the moment I’m proven wrong, I’m hoping deeply that our team wins.

On Saturday we have a classic general election where the outcome seems likely to be close, and the experts are desperately trying to arrive at the result before voting closes. Despite the predictions, right up until I’m proven wrong, I’m hoping deeply for inspiring educational outcomes.

I can’t influence the rugby result at all, and once my vote is cast, there’s nothing more I can do on the election front either.

In effect, I am powerless.

And this week I’m OK with that. It’s actually a peaceful position to be in.

.   .   .

What we do have some power over, is how this final Term will play out in regard to our professional impact and our personal hauora. I think I’m safe to assume that you have many key professional goals and events locked into your calendar, but how many of you also have key personal goals and events there as well?

If you’ve been following the 40 Hour Project for a while, perhaps you have already done this, but what about your neighbouring principal down the road? Before the Term gets too demanding of your time and energy, how about catching up with them and telling them about some of the practical actions you’ve taken to ensure you arrive at the end of December in great shape? Hearing what someone else is successfully doing, often helps people give themselves permission to do the same.

.   .   .

So, puff up the cushions on the couch and pass the popcorn – there’s a lot at stake this weekend and as spectators, it’s going to be exciting!