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What Are Your Qualities?

In this blog, David Gumbrell author of LIFT, SPIN and RISK, asks you to step back and take some time to consider your qualities....

In the early 1930’s, a box of chocolates was a luxury that many could not afford. A certain Harold Mackintosh sought to change that and bring about a lower-cost option. Using a revolutionary ‘twist-wrapping’ machine, he was able to individually wrap each of his chocolates and add the distinctive shiny colours and the shimmering paper. This became the signature visual treat of opening a box of Quality Street for many at the time. Adorned with the figureheads of Miss Sweetly and Major Quality until the year 2000, when the design was changed, this Christmas ‘must-buy’ for many has given Mackintosh’s sweet a legacy that he could have only dreamt about.

An expert on Quality Street, Alex Hutchinson, suggests that less wealthy people usually ate toffee as opposed to chocolate. Quality Street, by mixing toffees and fruit creams that were coated in chocolate, made them more affordable to the masses. A small number of completely-chocolate chocolates, like the green triangle, meant for many that it was the first proper chocolate that they had eaten. That particular favourite has been part of the selection since the start in 1936, one year before the caramel cup - if that is your ‘go to’ Quality Street. The ones that lasted the least amount of time are the lesser-known Gooseberry Cream (sheathed in green wrapping), the Fig Fancy (in its light brown wrapper) and the Apricot Delight (strangely wrapped in blue)!

Having whetted your appetite for chocolate, I want you to consider other qualities that you may rarely consider. When was the last time you reflected on what your qualities are? What human traits are important for you to be known for? What are your qualities as a practitioner in the classroom? Consider them now ...

. . . how did that feel?

Slightly awkward?

For most of us, this is not an exercise we partake in very often. We find it hard to consider our qualities. Yet, if you asked loved ones around you, they would be quick to identify them, I am sure.

Also, we all came into the teaching profession with aspirations to be a particular style of teacher (often inspired by teachers that we had in our own schooling). Those ambitions haven’t gone; you just need to remind yourself of what they are. Once reminded and re-recognised, you can then work harder on ensuring that these are the characteristics you prioritise in your daily working lives.

This process can be a very cathartic exercise and can reconnect us with our authentic selves. This is both empowering and motivational in equal measure. When the day-job gets us down, we need to hold onto the qualities that we hold most dearly. Not the Strawberry Cream, but Trust; not the Purple One, but Reliability; not the Vanilla Toffee, but Compassion. Try not to get wrapped up in the shiny paper-thin coating of façades or masks of your true self. Be proud of your Qualities and be true to them as often as you can in the classroom and beyond.

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