Celeb death maths

So two more ‘celebrity’ deaths have been reported in the media this week – Victoria Wood and Prince, and probably a few more that slipped my notice. There’s been a lot on my news feed on Facebook and Twitter with people saying ‘Oh no not another one.’ It seems as though there have been a higher than usual amount of celebrity deaths this year starting with David Bowie in January. Or have there?

Being a mathematician I thought about this in terms of numbers. Firstly I am of a certain age, about 5 years ago in my mid-forties I realised that more than half the population of the world are now younger than me. People under 40 don’t seem to be overly concerned about these older people dying because they have not had much influence on their lives. Growing old is a privilege denied to many so once you get past 50 your chances of dying increase rather a lot each year. Thinking about how many films, TV programmes and musicians there are around these days statistically a few are going to die each week. Look how many obituaries there are in the papers each day – 3 or 4? And I bet some of these people did stuff that probably increased the likelihood of a shortened lifespan like David Bowie and his drugs, Victoria Wood and her weight. That’s not being judgemental – it’s a fact – they weren’t bothered they just enjoyed life.

So party like it’s 1999 or something like that and live like you’re going to die tomorrow. Because you might.

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Thoughts on Bristol WomenEd LeadMeet 16/4/16

I first came across TeachMeets about a year and a half ago and I continue to be inspired by all the wonderful stuff going on in schools despite what we read in the media.

As well as the traditional TeachMeet formula the Bristol event had a presentation from a keynote speaker, a choice of workshops – we had to choose 3 out of about 18, it was so hard I wanted to go to them all, followed by a wonderful ‘plenary’ by Sue Cowley and a few short presentations, of which I did one and led a 3 minute meditation.

It was so refreshing to hear Natalie Scott talk about ‘imposter syndrome’. It is something I felt for years and if it wasn’t for my lovely mentor in my first teaching practice I would have given up before I started. I then went on to have my confidence severely knocked by my mentor in my second placement and in the first school I worked at. After a few years out of teaching I was able to rebuild my self belief by working as a supply teacher when it got to the point where schools were asking for me by name.

The keynote speaker Claire Carter explained that she did not follow a traditional career route which did away with some of my pre-conceptions about leadership in schools. I am currently writing a book to help school leaders become more mindful and I have suffered with a lot of self doubt over this. For example, who am I to be advising people who are more senior than me? Yes I know this is just a perception. Thanks to my own mindfulness work I know my thoughts and beliefs aren’t real and although I have not followed a conventional career path I do know what I am talking about!

I identified with much of what Sue Cowley said in the ‘plenary.’ My first entry into personal development was through the book ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. I had done pretty much everything Sue talked about and more and it’s that depth of experience that enables us to be authentic. I still feel scared when I am going to coach someone or get up to speak but I have managed to get over myself.

I came away from the day feeling inspired. I have worked in over 40 schools and at times felt very much alone and that heart-centred leadership was an impossible dream. I will mention Kat Schofield and Jane Tailby because I heard them speak but if they are just two (and I know there are many more) the future for education is looking good despite the government rather than because of it.