Mary-Jo Hill

18 Feb 2021
The day a pop single made me think about being chained to life patterns. Revisiting a blog post from three years ago.

The day a pop single made me think about being chained to life patterns. Revisiting a blog post from three years ago. It is now 2021, my daily rhythm has become a walk (ideally with all children and the dog, but not guaranteed), house chores and Fortnite/ Netflix. As Katy might put it ‘We are not lonely in utopia, but possibly dystopia.’

Jan 2018 “Does anyone still have a cd player in their car? The car is feeling quite decrepit already and only just over ten years old. The rear passenger electric window is broken and will cost more to fix than the value of the car. Still, it gets me places I need to go and more importantly the radio/cd player fills me with joy.”

Feb 2021. I consider myself lucky to still have a car with a CD player. It is definitely not the same car that I drove then. I think it was a faithful VW Passat but that seems a lifetime ago now. Not sure where else I would play CDs these days. I am obviously spending less time in my car at the moment but the repeat button is oh so overplayed. I miss this one. I must have lost the CD along with the last car. It is now the windscreen motor that needs a repair following ill-treatment by myself during the latest Storm Darcy, and the ice it created. I have been gently scolded by those that know more about windscreen wipers sensitivities to ice than I do.

But what can we take from this blog post from three years ago? Has much changed? A lot. Absolutely. It is all a bit more acute and urgent. Changes happening at breakneck speed. We need to really look at our current lens and re-evaluate. Moving house, moving jobs, moving on.

So, this is the album that I used to listen to a lot and I still find myself now hitting the eternal repeat of Katy Perry’s ‘Chain to a Rhythm’. Listening to this great pop tune, some thoughts still come up. (Such high fashion. I need to try harder to wear something different when I get up in the morning.)

Before diving in my reflection, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy Miss Perry’s fabulous work!

Are we crazily living our life through a lens? Probably. What is your current lens? Worth a re-examination. How easy will it be out of the path of least resistance? Harder than we think. 

So put your rose-tinted glasses on? Definitely. Allows us to procrastinate at length. Be a bit dreamy.

What patterns of life are we so chained to that we cannot see another pattern? What books, (we don’t have books anymore?) are you marking, what is the impact of your marking? What is online learning going to do to the ways in which we teach and learn moving forward?

During the time of now 9 years as CEO of Coach for School Improvement, I have met teachers and leaders that suddenly realise that they are on a treadmill of doing, rather than thinking and doing. And there, and that, is where the danger lies. This has changed beyond recognition. Autonomy for the local community has had to take first gear. Thankfully, with headteachers and their Senior Leadership Teams at the forefront of this, change is all upon us whether we like it or not. 

A school calendar (and daily school continuous demands) leads us to a rhythm that can sometimes distort the rationale that is going to give us the answer to the fundamental question “What is going to have the greatest impact?” A really valid question as students return to school. What are our current needs?

What dance are we dancing to?  (in distortion).

Are we tone deaf? Sweeping it under the mat? Chained to life patterns without realising it? Avoiding questioning and being questioned? How do we honestly harness the technology we have had to embrace alongside the real needs of our teachers and students. Not an easy one to navigate. The leadership of our school communities is about to step up a gear. Big time. 

And as Katy Perry so eloquently puts it as we shrink back to the life going on before us…”Drink, this one’s on me.” Oh what a lovely idea that is. A pint of wherry, even in a pub garden rather than cosy fireside, with friends. What a thought. Let’s hope we all have the courage. As slipping into pyjamas with a Netflix Series is quite familiar these days. Let’s hope the youngest amongst us can lead in the brave new world of social contact. I am in need of it but I think we are all going to be in trepidation. 

Pint of wherry anyone?