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Looking forward to 2012_13. The end of being a habitual underachiever?


As we near the beginning of the 2012_13 academic year and a new role, it seems like a good point to take stock, reflect and possibly think about some goals.  I will add that this is a post mainly for me – a place to return to at some point in the future.  It’s also here as putting out some ambitions here feels a little committing.

First of all, I should explain why I consider myself an underachiever.  I remember being called in to the Headteacher’s office during my own GCSE course and being informed that I was on the underachievers list – I fell as if I may have stayed on there for a while.  I should also add (and I feel comfortable sharing this now with the wider world) that the turning point of my life was when my fantastic mother left a physically abusive marriage with four children.  We moved from what could only be described as a mansion in the Welsh mining valleys to living in a single room within a refuge run by the marvellous women’s aid in West Wales.  This was fortuitous for a number of reasons three being avoiding physical and emotional abuse myself; the opportunity (well, the necessity) of becoming more independent and accepting consequences and the introduction to the Air Training Corps through 621 Squadron and the excellent leadership of the Commanding Officer at the time, John Evans.

This stage of my life also ended a period of almost constant movement as the coal mines of the Welsh Valleys closed, although this is something that still affects me now as I do tend to get restless quickly.

I’m not saying that we were the only family to go through such things.  Nor am I asking of sympathy or a well done.  It does put life into perspective for me, especially when dealing with young people with less than desirable backgrounds.  We were very lucky and of my siblings, one has a first class degree in nursing; another is active in leading workshops with charity volunteers and the other has already had a successful career in the RAF.

So, why the habitual underachiever?

  • It’s time to repay the support that Women’s Aid showed.
  • I tend to follow instinct rather than theory and established methods.
  • I should be reaching out to and helping to influence more people.
  • I need to give more independence to the team that I work with.
  • I can’t get away from the feeling that I should find my job difficult or more challenging.
  • The number of mad-capped challenges that I have taken part in recently has declined.
  • The young people I have the pleasure to work with deserve better results.

I won’t unpick these individually and I live a fulfilled and active life so won’t be jumping off a bridge or anything!  It does lead me to be able to identify a few goals though – some of which I am well on the way to achieving.

  • Running toward 500 miles in 2012 has already improved my fitness and allowed me to buy some more mountain gear that I really do need (although the smaller, older stuff I have now seems to be back in fashion!).  I have a number of challenge lined up for 2012 and plan to devote an event to fundraise for and raise awareness of Women’s Aid.
  • The new role of Professional Tutor is seriously scary.  This is also very good and it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.  It’s relatively easy to spout out ideas in front of already converted audiences at conferences such Learning Without Frontiers, it’s another issue to work with those at a school level who have a whole multitude of needs and (often rightly) look at some ideas with a degree of scepticism.  I’ll also be line managing a Head of Year and their team, something that is seriously out of my comfort zone. 
  • It’s time to listen more to my awesome team, Priory Geography.
  • Results are going in the right direction, but I am someone who likes to celebrate success in others while personally I always see the improvement.
  • I’m going to get my MA in 2013.

Anyhow,  back to playing doctors with my three year old Smile


  1. Best of luck with 2012/2013 Dave - like everything you do, you will make it into a great adventure!

    1. Thank you Ollie! Hope I get the chance to catch up with you soon.

  2. Sounds exciting David. Have a great year.


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