Creating a rhythm for the term: Starting, staying and finishing well

23 May 2023

Students and teachers navigate a unique rhythm throughout the year, working in intense bursts during term time and then enjoying space to rest and recover in holidays. During my time working in schools, I have realised how important it is to master this rhythm so we stay motivated, purposeful, and optimistic and arrive at the end of the term buoyant. To do this, requires preparation and deliberate practice.

students walking together through campus

In this short blog post, I have outlined some ideas about what actions students and staff can take to start, stay and finish well each term. This is a long list so you should choose to focus on those actions that resonate with you.

Starting Well

  • Begin by reconnecting with your overarching purpose. Why do you do what you do? How will your actions this term feed into your big-picture vision/values? What are your values?

  • Set and prioritise specific goals you would like to achieve this term. We encourage students and staff to set academic and well-being goals. In the Secondary School at St Andrew’s College, we use WOOP, an evidence-based goal setting strategy. You can read more about WOOP here.

  • Get organised. Review your planner for the term and ensure all key dates, deadlines and commitments are entered so you can see the big picture.

  • Create a weekly routine you will commit to. This should include time for study, exercise, socialising, rest and recovery. Minimising technology and prioritising sleep are central to an effective schedule.

  • Reconnect with your colleagues and friends who support and energise you. Share your goals and make a plan to encourage one another through the term.

Group of students in PE gear walking along the sea shore as the sun comes up.

Staying Well

  • Establish a weekly rhythm that could include:

    • time to engage with your schoolwork. This requires you to be focused and to avoid distractions (especially social media). The Pomodoro Technique is an effective strategy to inspire flow. You can read more about this here

    • at least 30 minutes exercise a day;

    • time to connect with family and friends;

    • space to relax and recover. Mindfulness and meditation are a wonderful way to do this (we only need 8 minutes a day);

    • technology-free time, especially 2 hours before sleep;

    • 7-9 hours sleep a night.

  • Break down large projects and goals into manageable tasks, create lists and track progress each week. 

  • Be self-aware and self-regulate. Continue to check in with your energy levels, thoughts and emotional state and then ask yourself “What actions do I need to take?”. Dr Sven Hansen’s resilience spiral provides valuable advice to guide useful next steps.

  • Value learning new skills and knowledge to stay engaged and motivated. Ensure you experience activities each week that evoke a state of flow. 

  • Use your strengths to contribute and give to others.

  • Be grateful. Take time to reflect on what is going well.

Related Posts