Friday afternoon, I rushed home, grabbed some stuff and a clean shirt and headed off for the Marriott Hotel in Sheffield's leafy Nether Edge. It is about ten minutes walk from our house. When our Ian was a waiter at The Marriott, I would often taxi him there and back but I never though for one moment I would ever sleep there. After all bed and breakfast is £120 a night and as you may have gathered already, I am so tight-fisted there are padlocks on my wallet!
But I wasn't paying. This was a "teambuilding" or hyphenated team-building exercise paid for by my school. I am being promoted to the Leadership scale ( senior management) even though I never asked for this and still harbour some suspicion about it all.
Everyone had to take an object that would say something about who they are. This was an ice-breaking session. My object was a chunk of Flamborough Head - a fist-sized rock in which flint and chalk merge. I said it represented my Yorkshire heritage and it also stands for fundamental Yorkshire values such as decency, honesty, kindness and respect. I spoke of how in my East Yorkshire childhood, the rolling wolds were always there in the distance, culminating in the chalky promontory at Flamborough which looks out to sea and the world beyond. Rather poetic I thought. The rest of my "team" applauded me.
Painting of Flamborough Head
Later in small groups - rather bizarrely - we had to use tin foil to create a metaphorical model of our school. My group made "The Balloon of Hope" - a hot air balloon chained to the earth with a figure holding a telescope and looking out from the basket. Later, I drank beer until two in the morning and woke up at seven on Saturday to eat a big fried breakfast followed by a fruit salad dessert. I was building myself!
Following our OFSTED inspection with all the associated stress the past week brought, the last thing I needed was a weekend of team building but I got through it and you know, at times I quite enjoyed it all - standing back from my usual workplace and reflecting on how we operate and the way ahead.