#senco5aday, People, Uncategorized

SENCOs – take ownership of YOUR narrative!

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

BBC Radio – Listen with mother

Watch this 2 minute YouTube video before you read this month’s blog: Live Different – Own Your Story … be an author of Hope

Did you know that May 2022 was National Share-a-Story month? The month of May also embraced Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, and this year’s theme was loneliness. It always concerns me when I hear the SENCO role being described as ‘lonely’, just as much as when I hear a headteacher using the same word associated with their role. However, I am not one to dismiss this, it was not part of my narrative, but I understand how it is in the narrative of others.

This leads me to one of the most fundamental points I frequently make about wellbeing; how comparison can harm, and how self-awareness can lead to empowerment. We all know a SENCO that seems to have it all, the SENCO who is the expert in all things, and the SENCO that is breezing through all the bureaucracy. When we compare ourselves to them we feel like we fall short, and here we can allow the ‘imposter syndrome’ feelings to creep in. However, one conversation with these SENCOs will often lead us to discover that indeed the narrative that we create about them is not identical to the one they hold about themselves!

  • How often do we take the time to pause and consider our own narrative, or are we getting swept up in the narrative of others?
  • How do we rationalise and come to terms with both the positive and negative aspects of the emotional, cognitive and mental effects of our job on our self?
  • When do we celebrate our ego and when do we put down the markers to start and end a chapter in the book of our life?

If someone was to flick through the book of your life, what would they see as themes and patterns? Who are the influential characters and where are the important settings? When would they shout out, ‘OOOh plot twist!’ or cry with laughter, joy or sadness?

Crucially, who is writing this book? What are the key themes, people and places you want to be heard or seen?  Are you allowing others to control the narrative, or are you allowing your self to take control? You may find it strange that I am writing this, as I frequently talk about the importance of others and of collaboration. I do believe it is crucial for wellbeing and workload management, but to collaborate most effectively, to be a good leader and strong voice within a team you need to know what you are good at, where your strengths are, and be comfortable to use them. You need to be aware of the areas where you feel out of your comfort zone, what you are less knowledgeable about and what the down sides of your key drivers are. This is not to berate or diminish yourself but to know where to lean in on others, and be prepared to take a less prominent position. It’s also about when you may need to dig deep or find out more. This is about knowing when to shine the light on yourself, when to shine a light on others, and when to share it!

It took me a while to understand how important it was to own my own narrative, to shape the way that I want to be known and seen. There are times when you are a minor (or major) character in the narrative of others, or a narrative of a place. We are social beings and we are all part of things. Naturally, our narrative gets tangled and intertwined with others. This is what makes our thread so rich and diverse if we let it. The key is ensuring it is still at its core and you own the narrative.

During the upcoming half term break and extended weekend perhaps find some time to really get to know your self, think about how you talk to yourself, and how you respond! Are you using positive language with yourself, are you constantly berating or focusing on all that is wrong? Are you in denial of things that may be difficult? Are you good at reframing thoughts and feelings so that your actions are positive? Maybe (if you don’t already) take up some journaling or any kind of art to explore who you are and what you want, and how this fits with what you are getting up to in your book of life.

What is the key narrative thread of YOUR story that you want to hold on to? Let me know! If you want to explore this theme further, get in touch!

Have a good rest,

Jenny Bowers


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