The Not-So-Secret Diary of Rachel O Connor
The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Teacher
My name is Rachel O’ Connor, I am in my 10th year as Principal of Ramsgrange Community School, situated on the Hook Peninsula in Southwest Wexford. I will begin in a new position as Deputy Director of NAPD on September 1st.
My alarm goes off…
at least three times before I mange to drag myself out of bed! I am a big fan of the 5-minute snooze, I need to ease myself into each and every day!
Psst… check out our blog-post on morning routines HERE.
I am responsible for…
everything! Well, that may not be exactly true, but it is how I feel as a School Leader sometimes! I see my main responsibility as ensuring that our school gets up and running each day, that our school community is safe, that teaching and learning will take place and that our teachers are facilitated to do their job as best as they can.
My typical day...
a typical day for me is rise and shine at 6.20am (after 3 x snoozes as described above!), then just over 1 hour is spent in very high level, intense negotiations getting our two five years olds to dress themselves and have their breakfasts without any major international incidences breaking out! I leave for work at 7.30am each day and arrive at about 8.10am. I catch up with some emails, then out on the corridors for 1st bell to say hi and good morning to people. Then my day is a mixture of meetings, administrative tasks, health and safety issues, behavioural issues, covering for absent colleagues, manning the lunch queue, walking the track, picking up litter, turning off lights, more admin tasks and so on. I try to leave work before 5 each day to collect my kids from afterschool club before 5.30pm.
The best part of my job is...
The sheer administrative burden of the job now pulls me away from the best part of my job. In a recent study conducted by NAPD and IPPN school leaders cite that they spend far too much time on administrative tasks and are spending far less time on leading learning and teaching (Comparative survey 2016 and 2023). The most challenging aspect is trying to balance the two.
Psst.. Read our article “What’s going on with Teacher Workload” here?
I am inspired by…
working mothers! Women who get up and show up for work every day, despite that fact that they had 3 hours sleep because a little one has chicken pox, the women who carry their jobs, their households and all the physical tasks and emotional burdens that go with it. They inspire me.
My number 1 tip for teachers is…
one day at a time, surround yourself with positive people who inspire you and lift you up. Invest in your professional development. Be a champion for the students sitting in front of you – you may be the only champion they have!
My favourite teaching & learning strategy is…
Group work. A well-constructed lesson around group work is very effective. I love watching students engage in peer mentoring, collaboration, debate, and teamwork. It is the epitome of the skills we try to develop in our students.
Then its’ being present with my children for the evening, I rarely bring work home anymore (as Leaders we have our fair share of evening time meetings). I think it’s important to acknowledge and accept that if the world will keep spinning if I don’t manage to finish my to-do list in any one day, then the to-do list can wait until tomorrow! After bedtime, I usually watch some golf on TV or a good boxset, I avoid the news as much as possible (I only read headlines now). Then I read a little of a good crime novel every night before I go to sleep!
The motto I live by…
your best is good enough – and have some fun along the way!
A huge thank you to Rachel for sharing her not-so-secret diary – congratulations to Rachel on her new job!
Would you like to share your diary or like to suggest a teacher, principal, SNA or education professional whose diary you would like to read?!
Contact us at email@example.com to nominate yourself or someone else – ah go on!
Go on, go on, go on!
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The Not-So-Secret Diary of Rachel O Connor
My name is Rachel O’ Connor, I am in my 10th year as Principal of Ramsgrange Community School, situated on the Hook Peninsula in Southwest Wexford. I will begin in a new position as Deputy Director of NAPD on September 1st 2023.
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