It’s been a helluva year!

Suffice to say 2020 has been a year right out of the box. It’s certainly been full of challenges, frustrations, false dawns and even a bit of heartache. In New Zealand we find ourselves in a position that life is pretty much back to normal, but there’s always an uncanny shadow that lurks in the background.

For the rest of the world, lives have been upended and life as we once knew it, with the freedoms that we once had, has been severely altered.

People are stressed, tired, aggrieved and over it. With all this uncertainty comes a change in the way people behave. People are anxious and their patience levels and stress points are all skewed. 

Earlier this year we described a normal school term like a race. With weeks 7-9 being akin to “the wall” in a half marathon. At that point injuries manifest themselves, doubts arise and take over, and our patience for anything other than the plan goes out the window. I’m beginning to wonder if “the wall” has come early this term and that this is a direct result of the uncertainties of our new world. All the crap is with us already! And that “the wall” is likely to be with us for weeks to come.

The places in our lives where we used to find gold to get us through this time aren’t always attainable.

But it’s not all grim. Not all that glitters is gold. It’s important to see this as a positive. There is a lot that can be found in our lives (both professionally and personally) which although isn’t gold, still glitters. That’s a great thing to keep hold of.

I was reminded of this the other day when I watched one of my Year 7 and 8 classes perform a play. Out the front of the stage performed the gold class students; words carefully learnt, movements choreographed to the finest, perfect detail. At the back of the stage was a group of children, equally important, looking slightly awkward, but nonetheless as authentic as the “stars” in front. I couldn’t help but watch them throughout the whole show. They might not be gold, but heck in their own way, they were pretty close – maybe even diamond like! They glittered in their awkwardness, and they yelled (quietly) “we’re here too, and hear us roar!”. The loudest of my applause was for those kids. Their awkwardness was beautiful, but the fact that they were up there giving it their all was the stunning glitter.

A few months ago I found myself wailing at my perceived injustice of the appraisal process I had walked into. A small number of staff enjoyed the anonymity of a 360 review to let me know of my shortcomings. Their written words stung. There were some savage comments. It took me a couple of weeks to get my head around the fact that this feeling wasn’t shared by everyone, and certainly not the vast majority. However my confidence was hit, and so I had to find a way back. 

I didn’t do this intentionally to begin with, but I found myself stopping and looking at things. First it seemed like a mechanism just to get my breath. But I began to see things in my school that I hadn’t really appreciated before; a couple of five year olds holding hands in friendship, a kid picking up a piece of rubbish that wasn’t his, a thirteen year old helping a six year old with a grazed a knee, the laughter of a group of friends, the insistent crackle of communication from one our ASD kids.  

These weren’t the “gold glitter” things that we are forced to look for in strategic plans. They weren’t the accelerated learnings or surplus budgets or even a mythical wish that everyone would support me in a 360 review. Nope, these were every day glitter that comes and goes. And they are simply beautiful. 

Our lives are full of glitter that isn’t gold. Don’t let the uncertainties of our time, whatever that looks like, get you down. The secret is to take time to look for the other glitter. This involves getting up and getting out. Get away from your screens and go looking. It’s everywhere if you take a chance and open your eyes.



Post note …. If you like your inspiration via music listen to this! 

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1 thought on “Not All That Glitters is Gold

  1. Well done Steve – there – I knew this would be just the right topic for you to share this week – I’m so proud of you for laying it on the line and being brave to share this – just remember that we all have these times in our professional life and that it is the kids that we are here for and maybe some people need to get on the waka and paddle in the right direction – for kids.
    Have a great weekend Sandi

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