Life itself brings us all many ups and downs, but it is our ability to cope with these that determines our personal resilience.
Being a successful person is not necessarily defined by what you have achieved, but by what you have overcome
I therefore refer to the quote above for all Denefield students and staff, but most notably for our Year 11, 12 and 13 students who may have found some of their recent examinations challenging and are questioning their ability. I urge each of them to take time now to reflect on their successes and use these as a platform to build further momentum to secure outcomes they can all be proud of this summer.
It is not easy to bounce back from disappointment, particularly as a young person, but it is our duty as school leaders, teachers and as parents/carers to ensure that each individual feels sufficiently confident to cope with day to day life, both within school and outside.
You may have seen that the Department for Education (DFE) has recently reported on the role that it expects schools play in supporting the mental health of young people. It correctly states that we should be teaching students to be ‘resilient’ and ‘mentally happy’; two of the aims of Denefield School’s widely publicised values and therefore something that we take very seriously and continue to invest resources in to.
Sticking at things and showing resilience when times are tough is not easy, however pushing through the challenges really does bring about a sense of achievement.
Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn
I hope to be able to model resilience to the students and local community of Denefield, as well as support mental health, through completing my own personal challenge on 24 April 2016.
Many of you will be aware that I trained at University as a PE teacher and when I arrived at Denefield in 2002, right up until a couple of years ago, I taught PE across the full age range. My passion was to be a successful badminton player, and although I knew very early on that I would never make it to the All England Championships, I focussed on personal enjoyment. As a result I still play for a premier league team locally which I very much enjoy. Team sport has always inspired me more than anything individually focussed; working with others and achieving together is what has always driven me.
However, given the fact that I celebrated a milestone birthday last year, I thought that I would set myself a new challenge, do something that I had never done before and push myself beyond my own limits. What could that be, I asked myself: how about applying for the London Marathon? I don’t run and therefore I would have to start from scratch! I remember completing the form at the end of May 2015, honestly believing I would not get a place due to the demand. I recall thinking how difficult I would find the solitary training schedule that runners put themselves through and that perhaps I wouldn’t cope. This really would be a real challenge for me. I put it from my mind as I wouldn’t hear for five months.
To my surprise, in October 2015, I received notification that I had been awarded a place in the 2016 Virgin London Marathon. Once the news had sunk in and the initial wave of excitement had passed, the realisation soon set in. I had to train and complete this! My self-doubt leapt in to my mind and I questioned how I was going to do this on my own when I am used to being motivated by those around me in my team.
Well, currently I am in training, which, given the dark nights and long days isn’t easy. There are days when the last thing I want to do is go out and run 13 miles! I then remind myself that I have committed to this and people are relying on me now.
Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful
It isn’t going to be easy. I have, and will continue to, hit barriers both physically and mentally, throughout my training and on the day of the race. I am already having to show my resilience and this will be even more apparent as I get closer to the race and the training intensifies. However, my chosen charity, the Samaritans, Reading, need me to do this. Raising funds for this charity will enable the wonderful volunteers who give up their time freely to continue to offer support to vulnerable people when they are not feeling ‘resilient’, nor ‘mentally happy’.
To identify how we might collaborate with them over a longer term, I am also working closely with colleagues at the local branch so that both young people (through Childline or the Samaritans) and colleagues can be signposted to any resources which may be of benefit to them personally, now or in the future.
I have set up a Just Giving page which can be found at:
If you would like to assist me in ‘supporting the people who support the people’, then please do so. Any donation, regardless of value, would be appreciated.
Be someone’s sunshine when their skies are grey
I shall update you on my personal progress as I write my blog in future weeks and particularly as we get closer to the big event.
May I thank those of you that wish to sponsor me for your kind support.
Dates for your diary
Year 9 options form deadline 29 January 2016
Year 9 history visit to Ypres 5 February 2016
Parents’ forum 9 February 2016
Parents’ meeting: Year 8/9 Madrid visit 11 February 2016
Miss L A Dawe