From the heart – at the end of Term 6

The end of a full-on term 6 often leaves an SBM exhausted. Here one tells it like it really is in a blog from the heart…

I am sitting here in my kitchen after another drama filled term trying to work out how I can learn to leave the stresses and workload at work. And then it came to me…after reading blogs by other SBMs in this role maybe I should try my hand at it to!

So here goes, maybe this will help me let go once I have shared.

I think I need to start, as all stories start, at the beginning to put some perspective to this insane scribbling.

My career of 20 years had become stale and I had lost the spark I used to have so after all this time I decided to find a new path…that of a School Business Manager.

For me, term 6 has seen tears, tantrums, Ofsted, union meetings and A&E, and that’s just the SLT! Honestly, I am no fan of soap operas or Jeremy Kyle but sometimes I truly believe I am living in one.

The role of the SBM is full on and there is never a dull moment. I will not lie, 15 months in and I have questioned my decision to change career many times.

But I know I am not alone in this feeling

Colleagues have told me and have seen the stats that show that many new SBMs do not continue past the first year. At one point I thought I might be part of that statistic!

The reality of the role is mostly one of stress, being the multi-tasking information hub for your school. Payroll and HR, finance, premises, purchasing, project managing, negotiator, mental health adviser, governor liaison…I mean you know…the whole world and more. I am always up for a challenge and have always had a good sense of humour on these sorts of things, but that has been stretched to its core.

However, no matter how many times I may tear my hair out at the red tape, or question the unrealistic never ending to-do list, I look up from my desk and see the faces of these innocent, inquisitive and amazing little people…

It’s purposeful.

I may not be the teacher who is guiding and moulding the minds and I’m not the teaching assistant who gives them the pastoral care they need. I’m also not the caring administrator who gives them a cold pack…what I do is give all those staff the chance to do their jobs.

A watertight roof over their heads, the IT equipment to show the videos and work, the paper and pens to draw the amazing art work, the food that is served each lunchtime and if I am doing my job well, all those additional treats which broaden their horizons and opportunities. That’s an amazing thing to be part of.

So yes, I may be that woman who they see every day and are not 100% sure what I do, but I can go home happy knowing that because of me they are learning. This is what I need to remember That being a SBM is so much more gratifying than the previous career.

Whenever I meet people and they ask me what I do, my usual simple response is…

“I work in a school.”

“Oh wow you’re a teacher! Which year?”

“Um..no I am a School Business Manager.”

I can guarantee there’s a blank look that follows.

“Oh you get lots of holidays, how lucky are you? I wish I could have 6 weeks off”

Yes, I have to hold my tongue…”so do I!”

That’s the reality, a School Business Manager is not term time only…even if your contract says you are!

I have to manage lots of things over these 6 weeks and I know that across the schools in the country there are many more SBMs trying to fit it all in!

My Head and the Trust CFO both keep telling me to turn off and forget, but I can’t. I feel I am missing an opportunity to get ahead, to make a small dent in the task list, to give myself a chance of maintaining my sanity when we start term 1 all over again.

Term 6 has not been easy

I’m in no doubt, and I’m writing this from the heart, my mental health has taken a knock in term 6, and I must take heed of what my family and doctors are telling me. Rest and switch off is the prescription. I know that’s what I have to do.

Mental health is the hot topic at the moment, we help others with ways of coping with education stress, but we also must embody the methods we preach. That is something I struggle with, I have always been conscientious and want to do the best job I can, but can I do that if I am lacking sleep and am feeling “meh”?

The clear answer is no! Rest is vitally important to us, to rejuvenate the mind and allow us to enjoy our friends and families.

So I am being a good girl

I am going to turn off for 2 weeks! I will not have email on my phone and I will try and “switch off” my overactive brain.

Wish me luck.

Ask Anna offers some stress reducing tips here

Here are some of the things I’ll be doing

@Rachaeljstewart

One thought on “From the heart – at the end of Term 6

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  1. Sbm’s are so important to every school, many do not understand what they do but the role is so varied and vast – I bet you do it so well, but a life/work balance is so important…..I hope you get it for you, your family and your school

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