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Join me on a blog series that looks at each month of the year ahead. I will share my thoughts on what to plan for, think about and prepare for.

Planning is one of those words that we all hate and yet it is an essential part of our job. Maybe if we call it “Forward Thinking” or “Success Management” it might stick better. I guess we need to approach planning in such a way that it doesn’t bog us down but instead gets us motivated for the year ahead. August is a great time to start thinking about the year ahead!

New Blog Series

In this blog series I want to share with you some of my thoughts on each month of the year. Every month of the year presents different challenges and I have some thoughts, tips and ideas for each and every month, starting with August. 

The aim of this series is to give you some ideas for your department. I am always learning, and every year I like to try something different or innovative. But there are things that I believe work well (for me at least) and so I always make sure that they are part of what I do. Having taught in the same school for 16 years, I have had a chance to develop strategies that work well for me.

August is here!

Let me start by saying that I hope those of you reading this blog have had some time to relax since the end of term. I have certainly detoxed my mind and body from all things school related. But I am now dipping my toes into the realm of work. It isn’t easy, especially when the sun is shining. But, I like to just slowly drip feed thoughts into my mind so that I don’t forget that I have another year ahead. Please don’t think that I am doing much though, it is all about thinking a bit and not getting overwhelmed!


Reading is great, but during term time it can be hard to find a moment. August is therefore a good time to plan some reading, and I like to read as many books as I can. The older my kids get, the more time I seem to have in the summer to read. I like to cover a range of different books, from smart thinking to crime novels, from social justice to auto-biographies. My first thought for August is, plan to read, and where possible, read something that will inspire you. Here are some recommendations from that will get you thinking, put your mind on work a little bit and hopefully inspire you:

  1. Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed
  2. The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle
  3. Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson
  4. Shoe Dog – The Story of Nike – Phil Knight 
  5. Start with Why – Simon Sinek

These books are not teaching books, but they all relate to how we think, do, create and live. I do also read novels, but I won’t get in to the world of crime thrillers here. I have actually blogged about the Phil Knight book before


Most of our year is dictated by listening to Set Works, Wider Listening, songs for whatever musical we are working on or Christmas carols. Rarely do we really get the time to listen to the stuff we want to listen to. In August, plan to listen to loads of great music, the stuff you want to listen to (although everything is Wider Listening!) I am working my way through a few things this summer. I won’t share my entire playlist, but it includes lots of Mahler, lots of Brit-pop and a few operas that I am going to see in the Winter season. Listen to lots and it will help you to remember why you love teaching music.


It is not directly related to teaching, but I do think it is good to plan some exercise time. Term time is so full on and often we forget to look after ourselves. A good summer run in whatever location you find yourself in will do you the world of good. Often I will use running time to just reflect on the year that has been and think ahead to the coming year. It was on one such run that I thought about writing this blog.

To Be Continued

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you my thoughts for each month of the year. Hopefully you will find the ideas helpful and if you have any questions then please do get in touch. I don’t know it all, and you will most likely have your own routines. But fingers crossed, something will jump off the page and help you with your planning, thinking and strategising.

Next stop September…to be continued.


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